WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Verizon Trademark Services LLC v. Zhang DongYi
Case No. D2016-0528
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Verizon Trademark Services LLC of Arlington, Virginia, United States of America, represented internally.
The Respondent is Zhang DongYi of Hong Kong, China.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <verizon.online> is registered with Chengdu West Dimension Digital Technology Co., Ltd. (the "Registrar").
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the "Center") on March 16, 2016. On March 17, 2016, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On March 18, 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.
On March 18, 2016, the Center sent an email communication to the parties in both Chinese and English regarding the language of the proceeding. On March 21, 2016, the Complainant requested that English be the language of the proceeding. On March 22, 2016, the Respondent requested that Chinese be the language of the proceeding.
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 in both Chinese and English, and the proceeding commenced on March 24, 2016. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was April 13, 2016. On April 14, 2016, the Center informed the parties that it did not receive any formal Response in this matter and would proceed with panel appointment.
The Center appointed Douglas Clark as the sole panelist in this matter on April 21, 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 an intellectual holding company for the Verizon Group. The Verizon Group a provider of communications, entertainment, IT and security products and services to residential, business, wholesale, and government wireline and wireless customers. The Verizon Group started using the name Verizon in 2000. It is a coined term. The Complainant is the registered proprietor of a number of trade marks for VERIZON in the United States of America as well as in China.
The Respondent is an individual based in China.
The disputed domain name was registered on August 28, 2015.
The disputed domain name resolves to a blog page on the website "www.sina.com.cn".
5. Parties' Contentions
Identical or Confusingly Similar
The Complainant contends that the disputed domain name <verizon.online> and the trademark VERIZON are identical or confusingly similar.
No rights or legitimate interests
The Respondent has no connection with the Complainant or any of its affiliates and has never sought or obtained any trademark registrations for VERIZON. It, therefore, has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name.
Registered and used in bad faith
Before acquiring the disputed domain name, it is highly likely that the Respondent knew of the Complainant's rights in the mark VERIZON and acquired the disputed domain name to disrupt the business of the Complainant and to prevent the Complainant from reflecting its mark in a corresponding domain name and/or divert business to the Respondent's website.
6. Discussion and Findings
A. Language of the Proceeding
The language of the Registration Agreement is Chinese. Paragraph 11(a) of the Rules provides that:
"Unless otherwise agreed by the Parties, or specified otherwise in the Registration Agreement, the language of the administrative proceeding shall be the language of the Registration Agreement, subject to the authority of the Panel to determine otherwise, having regard to the circumstances of the administrative proceeding."
The Complainant requested the language of the proceeding be English on the grounds that the Complainant conducted business in English and it would be unduly burdensome for it to translate the complaint into English. The Complainant further submitted that the Respondent had registered over 344 domain names many of which were in English. The Complainant also asserted that the disputed domain name resolved to a website that featured written material in both Chinese and English, namely the sina.com.cn website where the Respondent's blog was located.
The Center made a preliminary determination to:
1) accept the Complaint as filed in English;
2) accept a Response in either English or Chinese;
3) appoint a Panel familiar with both languages mentioned above, if available.
The final determination of the language of the proceeding lies with this Panel.
While the Panel notes that the Respondent requested Chinese to be the language of the proceeding it claimed to have done so as the agent for the Registrar. The Respondent subsequently did not file a substantive response which would clarify this.
The Panel does not accept that the disputed domain name resolved to a website that had material written in English. The website "www.sina.com.cn" does have English written on it. However, Sina is a well known hosting service. It is clear that the blog in question was merely being hosted by Sina.
As set out below, the merits of the case are strongly in favour of the Complainant. The Respondent has received notice of the proceeding in English and Chinese from the Center and had chosen not to file any substantive response. Translating the Complaint would cause unnecessary delay in this matter.
These factors lead the Panel to determine to follow the Center's preliminary determination. As the only pleading before the Panel is in English, the Panel will render its decision in English.
B. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The disputed domain name <verizon.online> is identical to the registered trademark VERIZON. The only differences the generic Top-Level Domain ("gTLD") ".online".
The first part of paragraph 4(a) of the Policy is therefore satisfied.
C. Rights or Legitimate Interests
The Respondent has not responded to the Complaint to assert any rights or legitimate interests.
Paragraph 2.1 of the WIPO Overview of WIPO Panel views on Selected UDRP Questions, Second Edition ("WIPO Overview 2.0") provides:
"While the overall burden of proof rests with the complainant, panels have recognized that this could result in the often impossible task of proving a negative, requiring information that is often primarily within the knowledge of the respondent. Therefore a complainant is required to make out a prima facie case that the respondent lacks rights or legitimate interests. Once such prima facie case is made, the burden of production shifts to the respondent to come forward with appropriate allegations or evidence demonstrating rights or legitimate interests in the domain name. If the respondent fails to come forward with such appropriate allegations or evidence, a complainant is generally deemed to have satisfied paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the UDRP."
The Complainant has made out a prima facie case that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. None of the circumstances in paragraph 4(c) of the Policy, which sets out how a respondent can prove its rights or legitimate interests, are present in this case.
The second part of paragraph 4(a) of the Policy is therefore satisfied.
D. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
For the same reasons as those above, the Panel has no hesitation in finding that the disputed domain name <verizon.online> was registered in bad faith and is being used in bad faith.
The disputed domain name is made up of a coined term "Verizon" and has been registered with the gTLD "online" suggesting an intention to use it for online services. The Respondent must have known of the Complainant when registering the disputed domain name. The website under the disputed domain name previously resolved to a blog that appears to have no relation to the domain name. Effectively, this was a parking page. In addition, the Panel notes that the website currently resolves to an inactive page. Although, the domain name has not been put into actual this does not prevent a finding that the disputed domain name has been used in bad faith. See paragraph 3.2 of the WIPO Overview 2.0.
Having examined all the circumstances of the case, and particularly that the trademark VERIZON is a coined term and that the Complainant does provide online services, the Panel finds that the Respondent registered and is using the disputed domain in bad faith.
The third part of paragraph 4(a) of the Policy is therefore satisfied.
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 <verizon.online> be transferred to the Complainant.
Date: April 27, 2016