WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
CNU Online Holdings, LLC v. Thaimaeo Vitoza
Case No. D2015-1890
1. The Parties
The Complainant is CNU Online Holdings, LLC of Chicago, Illinois, United States of America, represented by Foley & Lardner, United States of America (“United States”).
The Respondent is Thaimaeo Vitoza of Samut Prakan, Thailand.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <cashnetusaapplynow.com> (the “Domain Name”) 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 October 23, 2015. On October 23, 2015, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the Domain Name. On October 24, 2015, the Registrar transmitted by email to the Center its verification response disclosing registrant and contact information for the 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 28, 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 the same date.
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 November 5, 2015. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was November 25, 2015. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on November 27, 2015.
The Center appointed Ian Lowe as the sole panelist in this matter on December 4, 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 operates a website at “www.cashnetusa.com” offering online loans. The Complainant and its predecessors have used the names and marks CASHNETUSA and CASHNETUSA.COM to brand the Complainant’s financial services since least 2004. The Complainant is the registered proprietor of many United States trademarks including United States trademark No. 3210976 for CASHNETUSA registered on February 20, 2007 and United States trademark No. 3380743 for stylized CA$HNETUSA.COM registered on February 12, 2008.
The Respondent registered the Domain Name on March 8, 2015. The Domain Name points to a website (the “Respondent’s Website”) that uses the Complainant’s registered trademarks, identifies itself as “CashNetUSA” and contains hyperlinks to several financial services websites competing with the Complainant. These include “NoProblemCash.com”, “credit.wallfunding.com” and “NeedCashnstantly.com”, amongst others. The Respondent did not respond to a cease and desist letter sent on behalf of the Complainant.
5. Parties’ Contentions
The Complainant contends that the Domain Name is confusingly similar to its CASHNETUSA trademarks, that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Domain Name and that the Respondent registered and is using the Domain Name in bad faith within the meaning of paragraph 4(b)(iv) of the Policy.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
According to paragraph 4(a) of the Policy, for this Complaint to succeed in relation to the Domain Name the Complainant must prove that:
(i) the 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 Domain Name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The Panel accepts that the Complainant has uncontested rights in respect of the CASHNETUSA mark both through use over a number of years and by virtue of its registered trademarks in the United States. Ignoring the “.com” suffix for the purpose of assessing the similarity of the Domain Name and the mark in which the Complainant has rights, the Domain Name comprises the entirety of the Complainant’s mark CASHNETUSA together with the generic words “apply now”. In the Panel’s view, the addition of these words does not detract from the distinctiveness of the CASHNETUSA mark.
Accordingly, the Panel is satisfied that the Domain Name is confusingly similar to a mark in which the Complainant has rights.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
The Complainant has made out a strong prima facie case that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Domain Name. In the view of the Panel, use of the Domain Name for a website purporting to be the website of the Complainant and providing links to websites of competitors of the Complainant also offering financial services does not amount to the offering of bona fide goods or services.
The Respondent has chosen not to respond to the Complaint or to put forward any explanation as to any rights or legitimate interests on its part. It has therefore failed entirely to dispel the strong prima facie case raised by the Complainant. In the circumstances, the Panel finds that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Domain Name.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
In light of the nature of the CASHNETUSA mark and the way in which the Respondent has used the Domain Name, the Panel is in no doubt that the Respondent must have had the Complainant and its rights in the CASHNETUSA mark in mind when it registered the Domain Name. The Respondent has used the Domain Name comprising the Complainant’s distinctive mark to draw in Internet users and redirect them to other websites for obvious financial gain. The Panel considers that this amounts to paradigm bad faith registration and use.
Accordingly, the Panel finds that the Domain Name was registered and is being used 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 Domain Name, <cashnetusaapplynow.com>, be transferred to the Complainant.
Date: December 18, 2015