WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Learning Tree International, Inc. v. hghghjjk jghjjklk
Case No. D2015-1243
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Learning Tree International, Inc. of Reston, Virginia, United States of America, represented by Gowling Lafleur Henderson, LLP, Canada.
The Respondent is hghghjjk jghjjklk of New Port Richey, Florida, United States.
2. The Domain Name(s) and Registrar
The disputed domain name <learninngtree.com> 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 July 17, 2015. On July 20, 2015, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On July 21, 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 proceedings commenced on August 11, 2015. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was August 31, 2015. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on September 2, 2015.
The Center appointed R. Eric Gaum as the sole panelist in this matter on September 7, 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
This dispute concerns the domain name <learninngtree.com>. The Complainant has offered educational and training courses since 1974 in association with the trademark LEARNING TREE. The Complainant is a global company with locations in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Sweden and Japan. The Complainant is the owner of numerous trademark registrations worldwide, including in the United States, that are comprised of, or contain LEARNING TREE.
The Respondent registered <learninngtree.com> on July 16, 2015. The WhoIs information identifies the Registrant’s name as “hghghjjk jghjjklk.”
5. Parties’ Contentions
The Complainant provides hands-on training for business and government professionals and managers in the field of information technology. The Complainant has been offering educational and training courses in association with the trademark LEARNING TREE in the United States, Canada and elsewhere since at least as early as 1974.
The Complainant is a global company with education centers located in cities throughout the world, including in Washington, New York, Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Ottawa, Toronto, London, Stockholm and Tokyo, and on-site at customer locations throughout the world. Since 1974, over 2 million course participants from over 65,000 organizations across the world have enhanced their skills through intensive hands-on exercises under the guidance of the Complainant’s expert instructors.
The Complainant is the owner of over 150 trademark registrations comprised of, or containing, the element LEARNING TREE in the following countries/territories: United States, Canada, European Union, Benelux, Germany, United Kingdom, China, Australia, New Zealand, Bahamas, Norway, Peru, Bermuda, Poland, Brazil, Puerto Rico, Romania, Chile, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Denmark, Slovenia, South Africa, Finland, Republic of Korea, France, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan Province of China, Hong Kong, China, Thailand, Hungary, India, Uruguay, Indonesia, Venezuela, Israel, Italy, Kuwait, Malaysia, Argentina, Mexico and Japan (collectively, the “LEARNING TREE Trademarks”).
Included among the Complainant’s LEARNING TREE Trademarks in the United States are LEARNING TREE, LEARNING TREE INTERNATIONAL, WWW.LEARNINGTREE.COM, LEARNING TREE UNIVERSITY, LEARNING TREE ANYWARE and LEARNING TREE ANYWARE BE THERE WITH ANYWARE.
The Complainant operates a frequently visited website located at the domain name <learningtree.com>. The domain name was registered in 1995.
On July 16, 2015, without the permission of the Complainant, the Respondent registered the disputed domain name.
According to the Registrant information, the owner of the disputed domain name is “hghghjjk jghjjklk”, which is of course a false contact name. Further, the street address identified in the ownership information, “16 tet lane”, does not appear to exist in the state of Florida as per searches conducted by the Complainant.
The disputed domain name constitutes an intentional misspelling of the LEARNING TREE Trademark as the Respondent added the letter “n” between the letters “n” and “g” (i.e., <learninngtree.com>).
As part of a fraudulent scheme, the Respondent created the email address using the disputed domain name, which reflects the name of the Complainant’s Chief Financial Officer copying the same format of his legitimate email address, virtually identical to the fraudulent email address used by the Respondent.
The Respondent then dispatched an email from the email address created using the disputed domain name, wherein he directed an employee of the Complainant to wire USD 48,750 to a bank account. With the subject line Capital Remittance and wiring instructions attached to the email, the Respondent wrote as follows:
“Process a wire of $48,750 to the attached account information right away. Code it to G&A and notify me once completed.
I'll send full support later.”
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
The Policy adopted by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) on August 26, 1999, (with implementing documents approved on October 24, 1999), is addressed to resolving disputes concerning allegations of abusive domain name registration. The Panel will confine itself to making determinations necessary to resolve this administrative proceeding.
It is essential to dispute resolution proceedings that fundamental due process requirements be met. Such requirements include that a respondent have notice of proceedings that may substantially affect its rights. The Policy, and the Rules, establish procedures intended to assure that respondents are given adequate notice of proceedings commenced against them, and a reasonable opportunity to respond (see, e.g., paragraph 2(a) of the Rules).
The Center forwarded notification of the complaint to the Respondent via email and the written notice of the proceeding via courier in accordance with the contact details found in the appropriate WhoIs database confirmed by the Registrar. The Center also forwarded notification of default to the Respondent via email.
Based on the methods employed to provide the Respondent with notice of the Complaint and default the Panel is satisfied that the Center took all steps reasonably necessary to notify the Respondent of the filing of the Complaint and initiation of this proceeding. The Panel also finds that the failure of the Respondent to furnish a reply is not due to any omission by the Center.
Paragraph 4(a) of the Policy sets forth three elements that must be established by a complainant to merit a finding that a respondent has engaged in abusive domain name registration, and to obtain relief. These elements are that:
(i) the respondent’s domain name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which the complainant has rights; and
(ii) the respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the domain name; and
(iii) the respondent’s domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.
In the administrative proceeding, the complainant must prove that each of these three elements are present.
As the Respondent has failed to submit a response to the Complaint, the Panel may accept as true all of the allegations of the Complaint (see, Talk City, Inc. v. Michael Robertson, WIPO Case No. D2000-0009).
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
Based upon the registered trademark for LEARNING TREE and the continuous use of the mark, the Complainant clearly has rights in the mark. The Panel agrees with the Complainant that <learninngtree.com> is nearly identical to the Complainant’s registered LEARNING TREE Trademark. The fact that the Respondent has added the letter “n” to the disputed domain name does nothing to diminish confusion as <learninngtree.com> remains virtually identical to the LEARNING TREE Trademark. The Complainant asserts, and the Panel agrees, that the domain name <learninngtree.com> is confusingly similar to the trademark LEARNING TREE.
The Panel finds that the domain name <learninngtree.com> is confusingly similar to the trademark LEARNING TREE owned by the Complainant pursuant to paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Policy.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
Paragraph 4(c) of the Policy lists several circumstances, without limitation, that if found by the Panel shall demonstrate the Respondent’s rights or legitimate interests to the domain name for purposes of paragraph 4(a)(ii). In particular, paragraph 4(c) states:
(i) before any notice to you [Respondent] of the dispute, your use of, or demonstrable preparations to use, the domain name or a name corresponding to the domain name in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services; or
(ii) you (as an individual, business, or other organization) have been commonly known by the domain name, even if you have acquired no trademark or service mark rights; or
(iii) you are making a legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the domain name, without intent for commercial gain to misleadingly divert consumers or to tarnish the trademark or service mark at issue.
The Complainant has not licensed or authorized the Respondent to use its trademarks in any matter and there has never been any relationship between them.
There is no evidence in the record that would indicate that Respondent has any rights or legitimate interests in respect of the domain name <learninngtree.com>.
The Panel finds that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the domain name <learninngtree.com> pursuant to paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
Paragraph 4(b) of the Policy lists several factors, without limitation, that 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 web site or other online 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 <learninngtree.com> domain name is virtually identical to the LEARNING TREE Trademark.
Although the domain name <learninngtree.com> does not lead to an active website, the Respondent has used the domain name to confuse the Complainant’s employee into believing that the Respondent is the Chief Financial Officer of the Complainant.
The Respondent has also clearly engaged in typosquatting, which evidences bad faith registration (see, ESPN, Inc. v. XC2, WIPO Case No. D2005-0444).
Further, the <learninngtree.com> domain name would put the Respondent in a position to reap a financial benefit. This is particularly apparent from the Respondent’s fraudulent scheme to steal USD 48,750 from the Complainant. Under these circumstances, any use of the <learninngtree.com> domain name by the Respondent would appear to be for unlawful financial gain.
In addition, a respondent’s actual or constructive knowledge of a complainant’s rights in a domain name at the time of registration has been found to reinforce a finding of bad faith (see Document Technologies, Inc. v. International Electronic Communications Inc., WIPO Case No. D2000-0270). A trademark registration provides constructive knowledge to third parties of a complainant’s rights (see The Sportsman’s Guide, Inc. v. Modern Limited, Cayman Islands, WIPO Case No. D2003-0305). Given the impersonation of an employee of the Complainant, there is no doubt that the Respondent had actual knowledge of the LEARNING TREE Trademarks at the time of registration, further supporting a finding of bad faith. The Respondent also had constructive knowledge of the LEARNING TREE Trademark by virtue of the numerous United States trademark registrations comprised of, or containing, LEARNING TREE.
Finally, it is a well-established principle that providing false contact information supports a finding of bad faith (see Provent Holdings Ltd., Harmony Park International Inc. v. Xia jiang / ganzao huang, WIPO Case No. D2014-2226; Big 5 Corp. v. Peter Carrington and Party Night Inc., WIPO Case No. D2002-0897). The Respondent’s name “hghghjjk jghjjklk” appear to be false, as is the street address “16 Tet Lane”. The Respondent’s use of false contact information further supports a finding of bad faith.
Respondent clearly registered and acquired the domain name primarily for the purpose of disrupting the business of the Complainant.
The Panel finds the Complainant has established that the Respondent registered and used the domain name <learninngtree.com> in bad faith, pursuant to paragraph 4(a)(iii) of the Policy.
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 <learninngtree.com> be transferred to the Complainant.
R. Eric Gaum
Date: September 22, 2015