WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Taylor Wessing LLP v. Peter Smith
Case No. D2015-0701
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Taylor Wessing LLP of London, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, self-represented.
The Respondent is Peter Smith of Douglas, Isle of Man.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <taylorwessing.lawyer> is registered with GoDaddy.com, LLC (the “Registrar”).
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on April 17, 2015. On April 17, 2015, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On April 18, 2015, 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 proceeding commenced on April 24, 2015. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was May 14, 2015. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on May 15, 2015.
The Center appointed Adam Samuel as the sole panelist in this matter on May 27, 2015. 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
The Complainant is a limited liability partnership registered in England and Wales. It is a firm of solicitors. The Complainant owns a Community Trademark number 2727519 for TAYLOR WESSING. It markets its goods through its domain name <taylorwessing.com> which was registered on June 29, 2002. The disputed domain name was first registered on October 30, 2014.
5. Parties’ Contentions
These are the Complainant’s contentions with which the Panel may or may not agree.
The dominant and distinctive element of the disputed domain name is the Complainant’s trademark. The suffix “.lawyer” is purely descriptive and should be disregarded.
There is no evidence that the Respondent has made use of, or demonstrable preparations to use the dispute domain name or a name corresponding to the disputed domain name in connection with a bona fide offering of gods or services. Nor is it conceivable in the circumstances that the Respondent could do so. The Complainant has not found any registered trademarks owned by the Respondent that correspond to the disputed domain name. There exists at least a prima facie case that the Respondent lacks rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. As a result, the burden of proof shifts to the Respondent to come forward with appropriate allegations or evidence demonstrating rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name.
The Respondent registered or acquired the disputed domain name primarily for the purpose of selling, renting or otherwise transferring it to the Complainant or one of its competitors for valuable consideration in excess of his documented out-of-pocket costs directly related to the dispute domain name. The disputed domain name was registered long after the effective date of the registration of the Complainant’s trademark and after the Complainant’s name became well-known. This, combined with the fact that the disputed domain name is identical to an invented name and trademark that consists of an unusual combination of words and the choice of “.lawyer” as the suffix all demonstrate that the Respondent must have been aware of the Complainant’s name and trademark and have registered the disputed domain name in bad faith. The disputed domain name currently redirects to the website of another law firm based in London which is a competitor of the Complainant. On March 9, 2015, the Respondent emailed the Complainant offering the disputed domain name for sale stating that he was in the business of “acquiring new domain name extensions”.
The diversion of Internet users seeking the Complainant’s website to that of another law firm disrupts and damages the Complainant’s business. The Respondent is also creating a likelihood of confusion as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation or endorsement of the other law firm’s website.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
Under the Policy, the Complainant must prove that:
(i) the disputed domain name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which it has rights; and
(ii) the 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
The Complainant’s trademark is a made up name which combines a common English surname and a German one. The disputed domain name replicates the Complainant’s trademark with only the necessary addition of the generic Top-Level Domain (gTLD) suffix, here “.lawyer”, which reflects the nature of the Complainant’s activity. For these reasons, the Panel concludes that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to the Complainant’s trademark.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
The Respondent is not called “Taylor Wessing” or anything similar and does not appear to engage in a legitimate trade under that or any related name. There is no evidence that the Complainant has ever authorized the Respondent to use its trademarks. For these reasons, and in the absence of any response on this point, notably one contradicting the Complainant’s claim that the Respondent has never been connected to it in any way, the Panel concludes that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
Here the disputed domain name essentially duplicates a trademark which is a made-up word. The disputed domain name resolves to a website belonging to another unrelated law firm. The Respondent seems to have tried to sell the disputed domain name for a sum in excess of his “documented out-of-pocket costs directly related to the domain name”.
Since the disputed domain name clearly reflects the Complainant’s trademark, an artificial name which the Respondent must have known about to replicate so precisely in the disputed domain name. In this Panel’s view, one is left with three possible motives for the Respondent’s decision to register the disputed domain name: to disrupt the Complainant’s relationship with its customers or potential customers, attempt to attract Internet users for commercial gain or persuade the Complainant to buy the disputed domain name from him for an amount in excess of the Respondent’s out-of-pocket expenses. These all constitute evidence of registration and use in bad faith. The Respondent’s motivation may have been more than one of these and perhaps all three. At the very least, the offer for sale and the way in which the Respondent has linked the disputed domain name to another law firm’s website suggest that the Respondent registered the disputed domain name knowing of the Complainant’s existence and planning to sell the disputed domain name to the Complainant for valuable consideration. It then created the link to the website of the Complainant’s competitor to encourage the Complainant to pay more for the disputed domain name. This is all evidence of registration and use in bad faith by the Respondent.
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 <taylorwessing.lawyer> be transferred to the Complainant.
Date May 28, 2015