WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Seminole Tribe of Florida v. Transure Enterprise Ltd
Case No. D2015-1668
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Seminole Tribe of Hollywood, Florida, United States of America ("US"), represented by Richter Trademarks, US.
The Respondent is Transure Enterprise Ltd of Tortola, the British Virgin Islands, Overseas Territory of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <coconutcreekseminolecasino.com> is registered with Above.com, Inc. (the "Registrar").
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the "Center") on September 20, 2015. On September 21, 2015, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On September 23, 2015, the Registrar transmitted by email to the Center its verification response disclosing registrant and contact information for the disputed domain name which differed from the named Respondent and contact information in the Complaint. The Center sent an email communication to the Complainant on October 5, 2015 providing the registrant and contact information disclosed by the Registrar, and inviting the Complainant to submit an amendment to the Complaint. The Complainant filed an amended Complaint on October 6, 2015.
The Center verified that the Complaint together with the amended 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 and 4, the Center formally notified the Respondent of the Complaint, and the proceedings commenced on October 8, 2015. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was October 28, 2015. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent's default on October 29, 2015.
The Center appointed Charles Gielen as the sole panelist in this matter on November 11, 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 owns the trademark SEMINOLE CASINO on the basis of use in the US and of several US trademark registrations. The Complainant owns the following US trademark registrations: registration No. 3501804 for SEMINOLE CASINO and design, which was registered by the United States Patent and Trademark Office on September 16, 2008, registration No. 4146847 for SEMINOLE CASINO, which was registered by the United States Patent and Trademark Office on May 22, 2012 and registration No. 4126987 for COCO SEMINOLE CASINO COCONUT CREEK and design, which was registered by the United States Patent and Trademark Office on April 10, 2012.
The Respondent registered the disputed domain name <coconutcreekseminolecasino.com> on December 6, 2011. The disputed domain name links to a landing page on which online games are offered.
5. Parties' Contentions
The Complainant argues that it has used the trademark SEMINOLE CASINO in the US in connection with casinos since at least as early as 1980. According to the Complainant, casinos using this trademark have gained recognition and stature around the world as the archetype Native American gaming facilities, with the facility operated by the Complainant in Hollywood, Florida being the first Native American casino in the US. Casinos operated under the SEMINOLE CASINO trademark have also gained international fame through its association with Hard Rock International, Inc. and in connection with Hard Rock Cafes and Resorts. Complainant has multiple casino locations including one in Coconut Creek, Florida.
Complainant, either directly or through licensees, controls domain names containing its SEMINOLE CASINO trademark, such as < theseminolecasino.com>, < theseminolecasinos.com>, <theseminolecasinococonutcreek.com> and < seminolecoconutcreekcasino.com>.
The Complainant is of the opinion that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to the trademarks it owns. Furthermore, the Respondent does not own any rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name and finally, the disputed domain name is registered and is being used in bad faith. The Respondent registered the disputed domain name for the purposes of profiting from the goodwill associated with Complainant's trademarks. The Respondent associated and redirects the disputed domain name to the website "www.nodepositbonus.cc". This website purports to offer online gambling and casino services to visitors and the purpose of the website is to offer online gambling and casino games in competition with the Complainant.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant's contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
The Panel is of the opinion that the Complainant's contentions are justified and that the disputed domain name should be transferred to the Complainant. The Panel gives the following reasons for its decision.
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The Complainant proves that it has rights in the trademarks SEMINOLE CASINO and COCO SEMINOLE CASINO COCONUT CREEK based on the aforementioned US trademark registrations and on the basis of use in the US. These trademarks are distinctive trademarks with a substantial reputation and goodwill. The disputed domain name is confusingly similar to these trademarks because it contains the words "seminole casino" identical to the first mentioned trademark of the Complainant as well as the words "coconut creek" forming part of the second mentioned trademark of the Complainant. In making the comparison between the trademarks and the disputed domain name the generic Top-Level Domain ("gTLD") suffix is usually disregarded. The Panel is of the opinion that applying these principles to this case, the disputed domain name should be considered confusingly similar to the trademarks. Therefore, the requirement under paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Policy is met.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
The Panel is of the opinion that the Complainant made out a prima facie case that the Respondent lacks rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. First of all, the Respondent makes a commercial use of the disputed domain name by offering services, identical with, or similar to the services offered by the Complainant under its trademarks. Secondly, the combination of the words in the disputed domain name has clearly been derived from the trademarks of the Complainant. Thirdly, the Respondent did not present any allegations or evidence of rights or legitimate interests it might have in the disputed domain name. In view of the aforementioned, the Panel is of the opinion that the requirement of paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy is met.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
The Panel is of the opinion that the disputed domain name was registered and is being used in bad faith. The Panel recalls that the trademarks of the Complainant are reputed marks in the US and were used and have been registered before the disputed domain name was registered. The Panel agrees with the Complainant that the Respondent has intentionally attempted (for commercial purpose) to attract Internet users to the Respondent's website, by creating a likelihood of confusion with the Complainant's trademarks as to the source, affiliation and endorsement of Respondent's website as well as is intentionally misleading the consumers and confusing them by making them believe that the website to which the disputed domain name redirects is associated or recommended by the Complainant. This website purports to offer online gambling and casino services to visitors and the purpose of the website is to offer online gambling and casino games in competition with the Complainant. Furthermore, as the Complainant correctly outlines, the bad faith of the Respondent is confirmed by at least eighty prior Panel decisions in which it was held that the Respondent registered and used reputed trademarks in domain names. Clearly, the Respondent is known as a cyber squatter.
In view of the above, the Panel therefore considers the requirement of paragraph 4(a)(iii) to be met.
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 <coconutcreekseminolecasino.com> be transferred to the Complainant.
Date: November 25, 2015