WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
PayPal Inc. v. Jon Shanks
Case No. D2014-0888
1. The Parties
Complainant is PayPal Inc. of San Jose, California, United States of America, represented by Hogan Lovells International LLP, France.
Respondent is Jon Shanks of Denver, Colorado, United States of America.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <paypal-escrow.com> (the "Disputed Domain Name") is registered with Launchpad.com Inc. (the "Registrar").
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the "Center") on May 27, 2014. On May 27, 2014, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the Disputed Domain Name. On May 28, 2014, the Registrar transmitted by email to the Center its verification response confirming that the Respondent is listed as the registrant and providing the contact details.
The Center verified that the Complaint satisfied the formal requirements of the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (the "Policy" or "UDRP"), the Rules for Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (the "Rules"), and the WIPO Supplemental Rules for Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (the "Supplemental Rules").
In accordance with the Rules, paragraphs 2(a) and 4(a), the Center formally notified the Respondent of the Complaint, and the proceedings commenced on June 11, 2014. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was July 1, 2014. On June 11, 2014 the Respondent sent a non-substantive email correspondence to the Center. On June 13, 2014 the Center confirmed its receipt of the Respondent's email communication and requested a formal response by July 1, 2014. On June 13, 2014 Respondent replied by email with the same non-substantive content. The Respondent did not submit any formal response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent's default on July 2, 2014.
The Center appointed Maxim H. Waldbaum as the sole panelist in this matter on August 6, 2014. The Panel finds that it was properly constituted. The Panel has submitted the Statement of Acceptance and Declaration of Impartiality and Independence, as required by the Center to ensure compliance with the Rules, paragraph 7.
The Panel extended the original Decision due date to August 29, 2014.
4. Factual Background
Complainant has numerous trademark registrations in the United States and abroad (the "PayPal Marks") including, but not limited to:
- PAYPAL, United States Trademark No. 2646490, registered on November 5, 2002;
- PAYPAL, United States Trademark No. 2959971, registered on June 7, 2005;
- PAYPAL, United States Trademark No. 3680256, registered on September 8, 2009;
- PAYPAL, Community Trademark No. 001362565, registered on December 4, 2000;
- PAYPAL, Community Trademark No. 003026382, registered on July 28, 2004;
- PAYPAL, Community Trademark No. 003681137, registered on May 26, 2005;
- PAYPAL, Community Trademark No. 003690261, registered on June 30, 2005;
- PAYPAL, Community Trademark No. 003690211, registered on September 20, 2005;
- PAYPAL, Community Trademark No. 005849898, registered on March 27, 2008.
In addition, Complainant is the owner of dozens of domain names using the PayPal Marks.
The Disputed Domain Name was registered on November 12, 2013.
5. Parties' Contentions
Complainant is an internationally known company specializing in online payment and money transfers offering a service which allows customers to make secure payment online using credit cards, bank accounts, or account balances without releasing financial information. Created in 1998, Complainant current has more than 148 million active accounts worldwide and works across multiple different locations, currencies, and languages. Complainant's services are available across 196 markets and in 26 currencies around the world, processing more than 9 million payment transactions daily with a total net volume of USD 180 billion in transactions in 2013 alone. Complainant's entire business is based on customer's ability to access and use its domain names which all consist of the PayPal Marks followed by various generic top level domains ("gTLDs") including, but not limited to ".com", ".net", and country or region specific gTLDs such as ".uk" and ".eu".
Complainant invests substantial resources annually on advertising and promotion of its PayPal Marks and services through a variety of media including print, online, billboards, and social media.
Complainant states that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to the PayPal Marks; that Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name and that the disputed domain name was registered and is being used in bad faith.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant's contentions. The whole of Respondent's communications with the Center consisted of the repeated use of an expletive.
6. Discussion and Findings
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The Panel finds that the Disputed Domain Name is identical or confusingly similar to Complainant's registered PayPal Marks. The Disputed Domain Name uses the PayPal Marks in their entirety and the addition of the word "escrow" is insufficient to distinguish the Disputed Domain Name from the PayPal Marks. See Dow Jones & Company, Inc. v. Down Jones Update, WIPO Case No. D2000-0495. In fact, the use of the financial term "escrow" and the nature of Complainant's company as one that processes online payments, if anything, increases the likelihood of confusion.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
Complainant alleges, and Respondent does not dispute, that Respondent is not licensed or otherwise authorized to use Complainant's PayPal Marks.
Complainant alleges, and Respondent does not dispute, that the Disputed Domain Name re-directs to Complainant's official website and that therefore Respondent is not using the Disputed Domain Name in connection with any bona fide offer of goods or services in accordance with paragraph 4(c)(i) of the Policy.
Complainant alleges, and Respondent does not dispute, that Respondent is not known by the Disputed Domain Name nor is Respondent making legitimate non-commercial or fair use of the Disputed Domain Name.
The Panel finds that Respondent has no legitimate rights or interests in the Disputed Domain Name in accordance with paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
Complainant has established itself as an internationally known company specializing in online services for well over a decade. Respondent cannot have been unaware of Complainant's existence or identity or of Complainant's eponymous PayPal Marks at the time the Disputed Domain Name was registered. Aside from Complainant's indisputable international reputation and branding, Respondent has combined the PayPal Mark with the word "escrow" in creating and registering the Disputed Domain Name. Given the financial transaction nature of Complainant's business, the use of this particular term is only further evidence that Respondent was aware of Complainant and sought to trade on Complainant's good will. Further evidence of Respondent's awareness of Complainant's existence and business is clear from the immediate redirection of users who visit the Disputed Domain Name to Complainant's own website. See Statoil ASA v. Domains By Proxy, LLC / John Brendon, WIPO Case No. D2013-1074. There is no conceivable explanation by which Respondent could have registered the Disputed Domain Name in good faith.
The use of the Disputed Domain Name to redirect to Complainant's own website only serves to increase customer confusion that the Disputed Domain Name is somehow licensed or controlled by Complainant. See AXA S.S., AXA Investment Managers S.A. v. Domains By Proxy, Inc. / Adam Long, WIPO Case No. D2009-0452. This reinforced confusion can only be the result of Respondent's attempt to trade on Complainant's good will and gain illegitimate benefit from Complainant's carefully built international brand. In this particular case, Respondent's attempt to trade on the good will of Complainant creates a unique public hazard based on the sensitive financial nature of Complainant's business.
Finally, the Panel notes the extreme lack of respect with which Respondent chose to communicate with the Center in response to notification of this action. Respondent has made it evident that he has no intention of conducting itself in good faith as regards this proceeding.
The Panel finds that Respondent has registered and is using the Disputed Domain Name in bad faith.
For the foregoing reasons, in accordance with paragraphs 4(i) of the Policy and 15 of the Rules, the Panel orders that the Disputed Domain Name <paypal-escrow.com> be transferred to the Complainant.
Maxim H. Waldbaum
Date: August 27, 2014