WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Kreditech Holding SSL GmbH v. Anonymous Media LLC
Case No. D2016-0183
1. The Parties
Complainant is Kreditech Holding SSL GmbH of Hamburg, Germany, internally represented.
Respondent is Anonymous Media LLC of Albany, New York, United States of America ("USA").
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <kredi.tech> (the "Domain Name") is registered with Domainsite.com Inc (the "Registrar").
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the "Center") on January 29, 2016. On January 29, 2016, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the Domain Name. On February 3, 2016, the Registrar transmitted by email to the Center its verification response confirming that 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 Respondent of the Complaint, and the proceedings commenced on February 24, 2016. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was March 15, 2016. Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified Respondent's default on March 17, 2016.
The Center appointed Clive L. Elliott QC as the sole panelist in this matter on March 29, 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
According to the WhoIs data, the Domain Name was registered on August 5, 2015.
Complainant is the owner of numerous KREDITECH trademarks including Mexican trademark number 1415383 registered on November 28, 2013 for finance services.
5. Parties' Contentions
Complainant states that it is the owner of the trademark KREDITECH, which has been registered in the Russian Federation, Mexico, Peru, the USA, Poland, Spain and the Czech Republic, the earliest of which was filed on September 6, 2013 (the "Trademark").
Complainant contends that the Trademark is used in connection with its commercial activities, including the development of software applicable to consumer lending and the provision of services in the field of information technology and other related consulting services, in particular for finance and credit institutions throughout the world. Complainant also contends that its company website, "www.kreditech.com", was registered and has been used in business since August 19, 2012.
Complainant asserts that the name "Kreditech" has become a distinctive identifier and has achieved a secondary meaning associated to the goods and services it has provided internationally since 2012, enjoying significant recognition as one of the leading Financial Technology (FinTech) companies worldwide.
Complainant submits that the Domain Name is virtually identical to the Trademark, with the words "kredi" and "tech" being separated with a period ".", thereby rendering the Domain Name visually and aurally identical to the Trademark, which Complainant suggests is evidence of typo-squatting by Respondent. Complainant contends that the intentional misspelling of the Trademark in the Domain Name does not constitute fair use and is the obverse of a legitimate noncommercial use.
Complainant also submits that Respondent is not affiliated with Complainant, nor has any authorization been granted by Complainant to Respondent to register and use the Trademark.
Complainant suggests that Respondent has intentionally sought to confuse Internet users seeking the services of Complainant and its website, and as the Domain Name currently diverts users to a generic landing page containing a number of pay-per-click links of different categories, without making any mention of its commercial activities or any bona fide offering of goods and services, Complainant asserts that Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Domain Name and has "parked" the Domain Name until it can be sold.
Complainant contends that on September 18, 2015 it received an email from Respondent stating that "I am the co-founder of Anonymous Media LLC owner of the Kredi.tech domain name, we were going to develop a product under this domain but our plans changed so we thought you guys could be interested in acquiring it since you're using a somewhat similar name", and that on August 18, 2015 it received another offer to purchase the Domain Name from Respondent.
It is contended that in light of the above it is clear that Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Domain Name and that its use and maintenance misleadingly diverts Complainant's consumers, partners and users, tarnishing the Trademark held by Complainant.
Complainant submits that a trademark search at the time of registration of the Domain Name, or during the course of its usage, would have revealed details of Complainant's trademark registrations and filings around the world. Complainant holds that even if Respondent was not able to perform a trademark search online, a simple Internet search using a major search engine would have revealed significant details of Complainant's presence, commercial activities and trademarks. Therefore, it is very unlikely that Respondent was not aware of the existence of the Trademarks and the domain names registered by Complainant, as well as of the increasing reputation of the latter at the time of registering the Domain Name.
Complainant submits that by using the Domain Name, Respondent has intentionally attempted to attract Internet users to Respondent's website for commercial gain by creating a likelihood of confusion with Complainant's mark as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation, or endorsement of Respondent's website or location.
Complainant states therefore that the Domain Name was registered and is being used in bad faith by Respondent, with a considerable intention to disrupt Complainant's business activities, in infringement of the Trademark and with no other apparent reason other than selling, renting or otherwise transferring the Domain Name registration to Complainant or one of its direct or indirect competitors, for valuable consideration in excess of Respondent's out-of-pocket costs directly related to the Domain Name.
Respondent did not reply to Complainant's contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
It is clear that Complainant has for many years used and sought protection for the Trademark in connection with software in the financial and information technology sectors and related consulting services area. Complainant asserts that the Trademark is used and registered in a number of countries around the world and that Complainant enjoys a worldwide reputation. Respondent does not dispute these assertions.
As noted above, Complainant asserts that the name "Kreditech" has become a distinctive identifier and has achieved a secondary meaning associated to the goods and services Complainant has provided since 2012, enjoying a reputation as a leading company in the financial technology sector.
Complainant submits that the Domain Name is virtually identical to the Trademark. Complainant further contends that Respondent is engaged in typo-squatting. There appears to be a basis for this contention and as noted above it is not disputed by Respondent.
Accordingly, the Panel finds:
a) Complainant has established rights in respect of the Trademark;
b) The Domain Name is confusingly similar to Complainant's Trademark;
and that the first element of the Policy has been met.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
On the basis of Complainant's assertions, it appears that the Domain Name does not resolve to an active website. It does however evidently divert users to a generic landing page containing a number of pay-per-click links of different goods and services. As this assertion remains un-contradicted, it appears that Respondent is engaged in a typical pay-per-click revenue gathering exercise, using a well-known trademark to generate such revenue.
Given that Respondent has failed to file a response and properly explain its position, the Panel accepts Complainant's arguments, in the light of the record and submissions as a whole. The Panel finds that Respondent has failed to demonstrate use of, or demonstrable preparations to use, the Domain Name in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services. As a result, there is no evidence to show that Respondent has any intention of legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the Domain Name.
On this basis the Panel finds that Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the Domain Name and that the second element of the Policy has been met.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
Respondent has failed to establish that it has any license or permission to use the Trademark. On that basis, it is open to the Panel to infer that Respondent registered the Domain Name with a view to making some pecuniary advantage, in all likelihood by generating revenue through click-through activity and perhaps also selling the Domain Name to Complainant for some sort of profit (as Respondent's email of September 18, 2015, appears to show was its intention).
In the absence of a plausible explanation from Respondent as to how and why its registration and use of the Domain Name is appropriate or necessary for its activities the Panel finds that it registered and used the Domain Name in bad faith. That is, so as to take advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Complainant and to benefit from the Trademark.
The Panel thus concludes that the third element of the Policy has been met.
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 <kredi.tech> be transferred to Complainant.
Clive Elliott QC
Date: April 8, 2016