WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Comerica Bank v. Will Rote
Case No. D2016-0425
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Comerica Bank of Dallas, Texas, United States of America, represented by Bodman PLC, United States of America.
The Respondent is Will Rote of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, United States of America.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <my-comerica-alerts.com> is registered with Melbourne IT Ltd (the "Registrar").
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the "Center") on March 1, 2016. On March 3, 2016, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On March 3, 2016, 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 March 15, 2016. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was April 4, 2016. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent's default on April 6, 2016.
The Center appointed William F "Bill" Hamilton as the sole panelist in this matter on April 13, 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 is a substantial financial services company headquartered in Dallas, Texas, United States of America, with offices throughout the continental United States. The Complainant is the owner of numerous COMERICA trademark and service mark registrations with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, the first of which dates back to 1982 (the "Mark"). The Complainant has registered and is using numerous domain names incorporating the Mark including <comerica.com>.
The disputed domain name was registered on January 18, 2016 and does not resolve to an active website
5. Parties' Contentions
The Complainant asserts the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to the Mark. The disputed domain name wholly incorporates the Complainant's distinctive Mark that is bracketed by two generic words "my" and "alerts" separated from the Mark by hypens. The Complainant further asserts the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the Mark or the disputed domain name as there is no evidence of any legitimate business activity of the Respondent prior to registration and use of the disputed domain name. Further, the Complainant asserts that the Complainant has not authorized the use of the Mark by the Respondent. The Complainant also asserts the disputed domain name was registered and used in bad faith to create confusion with the Mark as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation, or endorsement of products or services on the website or activities associated with the website.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant's contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The Panel finds the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to the Mark. The bracketing of the Mark with generic terms is insufficient to avoid confusing similarity. Mastercard International Incorporated v. Dolancer Outsourcing, Inc., WIPO Case No. D2012-0619 (transferring <my-mastercard.info>); Societé Française du Radiotelephone – SFR v. Tobadoros Musicania, WIPO Case No. D2011-0815 (transferring <alert-inforamtion-sfr.com>). The Complainant has meet its burden of proof under paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Policy.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
The Panel finds the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. The Complainant has specifically denied any license or authorization provided to the Respondent to use the Mark or to register it in the disputed domain name. Moreover, there is no evidence that the Respondent had any legitimate business before its utilization of the disputed domain name. Finally, the Respondent has failed to respond to the Complaint providing any evidence of rights or legitimate interests in the Mark or the disputed domain name. Absent any reply from the Respondent, the Complainant has meet its burden of proof under paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
The Panel finds that the dispute domain name was registered and is being used in bad faith. The Mark is well known in the United States, and the Respondent is listed with the Registrar as having a United States address. It strains credulity to believe that the Respondent was not aware of the Mark and the Complainant's services. Moreover, the slightest check or investigation would have disclosed the Mark's registration and use. Myer Stores Limited v. David John Singh, WIPO Case No. D2001-0763. Significantly, the Respondent also registered the nearly identical domain name domain <my-comerica-alert.com> days before registering the disputed domain name. Comerica Bank v. Will Rote, WIPO Case No. D2016-0419 (transferring <my-comerica-alert.com>). The disputed domain name <my-comerica-alerts.com> is virtually identical to the transferred domain name <my-comerca-alerts.com>, but for an added "s". The nearly simultaneous registrations of the disputed domain name and <my-comerica-alert.com> supports an inference of bad faith registration. In any event, the disputed domain name does not resolve to any website offering bona fide goods or services. Similarly, <my-comerica-alert.com> does not resolve to an active website. Such a passive holding of the disputed domain name under these circumstances constitutes bad faith use. Telstra Corporation, Ltd. v. Nuclear Marshmallows, WIPO Case No. D2000-0003. The Complainant has meet its burden of proof under 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 <my-comerica-alerts.com> be transferred to the Complainant.
William F Hamilton
Date: April 26, 2016