WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Hartford Fire Insurance Company v. Mumbai Domains c/o Namase Patel
Case No. D2015-2329
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Hartford Fire Insurance Company of Hartford, Connecticut, United States of America, (“United States”) represented by Fross Zelnick Lehrman & Zissu, PC, United States.
The Respondent is Mumbai Domains c/o Namase Patel of Mhada, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <theharrtford.com> is registered with Fabulous.com (the “Registrar”).
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on December 21, 2015. On December 22, 2015, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On December 22, 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 and 4, the Center formally notified the Respondent of the Complaint, and the proceedings commenced on December 29, 2015. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was January 18, 2016. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on January 20, 2016.
The Center appointed Fabrizio Bedarida as the sole panelist in this matter on January 25, 2016. 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 and its related entities (hereinafter “The Hartford” and/or “the Complainant”), whose business was founded in 1810, operate one of the largest insurance and financial services businesses in the United States. The Hartford is a leading provider of investment products.
The Hartford has provided and continues to provide its products and services under the marks HARTFORD, THE HARTFORD and other HARTFORD-inclusive marks (collectively “the HARTFORD Marks”).
The Hartford spends tens of millions of dollars annually on advertising and promoting the HARTFORD Marks and its products and services under the HARTFORD Marks, including via television, radio, print media, and on the Internet.
The Complainant holds several domain names including the HARTFORD Marks and amongst these also the domain names <thehartford.com> and <hartfordinvestor.com> which were registered respectively on June 11, 1995 and October 5, 2000.
A cease and desist letter regarding the disputed domain name <theharrtford.com> was sent to the Respondent (via email) on November 3, 2015, without receiving a response.
The Complainant owns, amongst others, the following trademarks:
US trademark THE HARTFORD No. 1155051 registered on May 19, 1981 (first use in 1971) – Insurance underwriting service in Class 36.
US trademark HARTFORD No. 2,153891 registered on April 28, 1998 (first use in 1996) – Asset management, investment, retirement planning services in Class 36.
The disputed domain name was registered on October 4, 2004.
The website at the disputed domain name displays a parking page provided by the Registrar, where pay-per-click advertisements and hyperlinks are displayed.
5. Parties’ Contentions
The Complainant claims that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to the Complainant’s HARTFORD Marks; that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests with respect to the disputed domain name nor is the Respondent a licensee of the Complainant; and that the Respondent registered and is using the disputed domain name in bad faith for the following reasons:
1) The Complainant’s HARTFORD Marks were registered, used and extensively promoted well before the Respondent registered the disputed domain name <theharrtford.com>; thus the Respondent, when it purportedly registered/acquired the disputed domain name on October 4, 2004 was aware of the Complainant’s HARTFORD Marks and rights;
2) The Respondent is trying to take advantage of the HARTFORD Marks in order to confuse consumers and trade on the Complainant’s rights and reputation and to drive traffic to its own website, all for its own commercial benefit. Therefore, the Complainant submits that the website has been registered to commercially profit from the likelihood of confusion between the trademark and the disputed domain name;
3) The website at the disputed domain name displays a parking page provided by the Registrar, where pay-per-click advertisements and hyperlinks, including some that refer to services competing with those of the Complainant, are displayed;
4) The Respondent’s failure to respond to Complainant’s cease and desist letter;
5) The fact that the disputed domain name is a typo variation (“typosquatting”) on the HARTFORD Marks.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
In order for the Complainant to obtain the transfer of the disputed domain name, paragraphs 4(a)(i)-(iii) of the Policy require that the Complainant demonstrate to the Panel that:
(i) The disputed 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 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 has established rights in the HARTFORD Marks. The Panel agrees with the Complainant’s assertions that the disputed domain name is a typo variation (“typosquatting”) on the THE HARTFORD trademark, merely adding an additional “r” to “HARTFORD” along with the “.com” generic Top-Level Domain (“gTLD”).
The additional “r” is practically irrelevant and undoubtedly not sufficient to avoid confusion.
Therefore, the Panel finds the disputed domain name to be confusingly similar to the HARTFORD Marks in which the Complainant has rights.
Accordingly, the Panel finds that the Complainant has satisfied paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Policy.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
The Complainant has made out a prima facie case that the Respondent does not have rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. The Respondent has no connection or affiliation with the Complainant and the Complainant has not licensed or otherwise authorized the Respondent to use or register any domain name incorporating the Complainant’s Marks. The Respondent does not appear to make any legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the disputed domain name, nor any use in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services for the reasons described in section 6.D below. In addition, the Respondent does not appear to be commonly known by the name “Hartford” or by similar names. Moreover, the Respondent has not replied to the Complainant’s contentions, alleging any rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name.
Accordingly, the Panel finds that the Complainant has satisfied paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
Based on the evidence put forward by the Complainant, the Panel is of the opinion that the Respondent was aware of the Complainant’s trademark registrations and rights to the HARTFORD Mark when he registered the disputed domain name.
In fact, the Complainant’s trademark is a fanciful name with no meaning. It has been registered and used for many decades and thus it long predates the disputed domain name’s registration. Therefore, in the absence of evidence to the contrary, the Panel finds that the Respondent knew of the Complainant’s Marks and intentionally intended to create an association with the Complainant and its business, and that the Respondent must have had actual knowledge of the Complainant’s trademark at the time of the registration of the disputed domain name, with respect to the use of the disputed domain name.
The Panel notes that the disputed domain name displays a parking page, where pay-per-click advertisements and hyperlinks including some referring to services competing with those of the Complainant are displayed, and that this falls clearly within the example of bad faith set out in 4(b)(iv) of the Policy: “by using the domain name, you have intentionally attempted to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to your web site 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.”
Inference of bad faith registration and use of the disputed domain name is also given by the fact that the Respondent has never replied to the Complainant’s cease and desist letter. Indeed, due to the fact that the Respondent has not responded to, let alone denied, the assertions of bad faith made by the Complainant in the pre-action communications and in this proceeding, it is reasonable to assume that if the Respondent had legitimate purposes for registering and using the disputed domain name he would have responded.
Further inference of bad faith is given by the fact that the disputed domain name represents a clear case of “typosquatting”. As observed in National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues, Inc., d/b/a Minor League Baseball v. John Zuccarini, WIPO Case No. D2002-1011, “Typosquatting is inherently parasitic and of itself evidence of bad faith”.
Accordingly, the Panel finds on the basis of the evidence presented, that the Respondent registered and is using 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, <theharrtford.com> be transferred to the Complainant.
Date: January 29, 2016