WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
U K lnsurance Limited v. Nassib Kadri
Case No. D2014-1549
1. The Parties
Complainant is U K lnsurance Limited of Leeds, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland ("UK"), represented by Sipara, UK.
Respondent is Nassib Kadri of Gatineau, Quebec, Canada.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <directline.net> is registered with Domainyeti.com LLC (the "Registrar").
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the "Center") on September 10, 2014. On September 10, 2014, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On September 19, 2014, the Registrar transmitted by email to the Center its verification response confirming that 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 Respondent of the Complaint, and the proceedings commenced on September 23, 2014. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was October 13, 2014. Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified Respondent's default on October 14, 2014.
The Center appointed Sandra A. Sellers as the sole panelist in this matter on October 21, 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.
4. Factual Background
Complainant is the trading arm of Direct Line Insurance Group plc, which is a FTSE 100 company and one of the UK's leading insurance groups. It has been trading in the UK under the mark DIRECT LINE since 1985, and is currently one of the UK's leading direct car insurer. It currently has businesses in the UK, Italy and Germany. In addition to car insurance, the Direct Line business now offers home, travel, pet, life, landlord and business insurance. It is estimated that it provides more than 13,000 car insurance quotes daily and that a policy is sold every ten seconds. It has over five million customers around the world, with approximately GBP 424 million in sales in 2013.
Complainant is the owner of numerous registrations for the DIRECT LINE mark, in the UK and over a dozen other countries.
Complainant operates a website under the domain name <directline.com>. It receives approximately 30,000 visitors per day.
The disputed domain name, <directline.net>, was registered on June 24, 2014. It resolves to a pay-per-click site with links to Complainant's direct competitors offering various kinds of insurance.
On August 8, 2014, Complainant sent a cease-and-desist letter to Respondent. It sent another letter on August 22, 2014. Respondent did not reply to either letter.
5. Parties' Contentions
Complainant asserts that it has rights in the DIRECT LINE trademark. It contends that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to Complainant's mark because it consists of Complainant's DIRECT LINE mark in its entirety. Complainant further alleges that Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name, and that it registered and uses the disputed domain name in bad faith.
Respondent did not reply to the Complainant's contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
Paragraph 4(a) of the Policy provides that in order to divest a respondent of a domain name, a complainant must demonstrate each of the following:
(i) the disputed domain name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which complainant has rights; and
(ii) respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name; and
(iii) the disputed domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
To satisfy paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Policy, Complainant must show that the disputed domain name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which Complainant has rights.
As set forth above, Complainant owns various trademark registrations for the DIRECT LINE mark.
The disputed domain name contains Complainant's DIRECT LINE mark in its entirety.
Accordingly, the Panel finds that Complainant has rights in the DIRECT LINE mark and that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to Complainant's mark. Complainant has established the first element of paragraph 4(a) of the Policy.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
Because it is generally difficult for a complainant to prove the fact that a respondent does not have any rights or legitimate interests in a disputed domain name, previous UDRP panels have found it sufficient for a complainant to make a prima facie showing of its assertion where there has been no response.
Complainant has exclusive rights in the DIRECT LINE mark and has not authorized Respondent to register and use the domain name <directline.net>. Respondent is not affiliated with or related to Complainant, nor is Respondent licensed or authorized to use the DIRECT LINE mark. Respondent is not known under the mark. Respondent has made no showing that it has any legitimate interest in using the disputed domain name or a bona fide offering of goods or services under the mark. On the evidence before the Panel, Respondent does not appear to make any legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the disputed domain name.
The Panel is satisfied that Complainant has made a prima facie showing of Respondent's lack of rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name.
Respondent is in default, and has not provided any evidence in its own favor.
The Panel finds that the evidence in the record is sufficient to establish that Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name, and thus Complainant meets the second criterion of paragraph 4(a) of the Policy.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
Paragraph 4(b) of the Policy states that:
"for the purposes of paragraph 4(a)(iii), the following circumstances, in particular but without limitation, if found by the Panel to be present, shall be evidence of the registration and use of a domain name in bad faith:
(i) circumstances indicating that you have registered or you have acquired the domain name primarily for the purpose of selling, renting, or otherwise transferring the domain name registration to the complainant who is the owner of the trademark or service mark or to a competitor of that complainant, for valuable consideration in excess of your documented out-of-pocket costs directly related to the domain name; or
(ii) you have registered the domain name in order to prevent the owner of the trademark or service mark from reflecting the mark in a corresponding domain name, provided that you have engaged in a pattern of such conduct; or
(iii) you have registered the domain name primarily for the purpose of disrupting the business of a competitor; or
(iv) by using the domain name, you have intentionally attempted to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to your website or other on-line location, by creating a likelihood of confusion with the complainant's mark as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation, or endorsement of your web site or location or of a product or service on your web site or location."
The Panel is satisfied that Respondent has registered the disputed domain name in bad faith. Respondent is based in Canada. Complainant has owned a registration in Canada for the DIRECT LINE mark since 1996, which was registered on the basis that the mark had been known in this jurisdiction since 1990. It is therefore unreasonable to believe that Respondent did not know of Complainant's DIRECT LINE mark before registering the disputed domain name.
The Panel is also satisfied that Respondent has used the disputed domain name in bad faith for several reasons. First, the evidence shows that Respondent is offering the disputed domain name for sale for USD 9,900, which considerably exceeds its out pocket costs to purchase the domain name. This contravenes paragraph 4(b)(i) of the Policy. See, e.g., The Wiggles Touring Pty Ltd v. Thompson Media Pty Ltd, WIPO Case No. D2000-0124.
The disputed domain name reverts to a landing page that displays links to third-party websites. Respondent's website intentionally attracts Internet users for commercial gain by linking to other websites through which Complainant's competitors sell similar goods and services. This creates a likelihood of confusion with Complainant's mark as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation, or endorsement of a product or service. It has long been held that this type of click through revenue contravenes the Policy under paragraph 4(b)(iv). See, e.g., Express Scripts, Inc. v. Windgather Investments Ltd. / Mr. Cartwright, WIPO Case No. D2007-0267.
Additionally, Complainant sent Respondent cease and desist letters on August 8 and 22, 2014. Respondent therefore was made aware of Complainant's rights in the DIRECT LINE mark and Complainant's demand that it transfer the disputed domain name to Complainant. A failure of a respondent to respond to a cease and desist letter has been considered relevant in finding of bad faith in certain circumstances (see News Group Newspapers Limited and News Network Limited v. Momm Amed Ia, WIPO Case No. D2000-1623; Nike, Inc. v. Azumano Travel, WIPO Case No. D2000-1598; and America Online, Inc. v. Antonio R. Diaz, WIPO Case No. D2000-1460).
The Panel therefore finds that paragraphs 4(b)(i) and (iv) of the Policy apply and that Respondent registered and used 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 <directline.net> be transferred to Complainant.
Sandra A. Sellers
Date: November 4, 2014