WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Compagnia Assicuratrice Linear S.P.A. v. Koncept-IT
Case No. D2016-1201
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Compagnia Assicuratrice Linear S.P.A. of Bologna, Italy, represented by Bugnion S.p.A., Italy.
The Respondent is Koncept-IT of Dallas, Texas, United States of America.
2. The Domain Names and Registrar
The disputed domain names <linear-it.com> and <linear-it.net> (the “Domain Names”) are registered with Network Solutions, LLC (the “Registrar”).
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on June 14, 2016. The Center transmitted its request for registrar verification to the Registrar the same day. The Registrar replied the same day, confirming that it was the registrar and the Respondent was the current registrant of the Domain Names, that they would remain locked during these proceedings, that the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (the “Policy” or “UDRP”) applied to them, and that the language used at the time of registration was English. The Registrar provided the full contact details held on its WhoIs database in respect of the Domain Names.
The Center verified that the Complaint satisfied the formal requirements of the 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 paragraphs 2 and 4 of the Rules, the Center formally notified the Respondent of the Complaint, and the proceedings commenced on June 27, 2016. In accordance with paragraph 5 of the Rules, the due date for Response was July 17, 2016. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on July 18, 2016.
The Center appointed Jonathan Turner as the sole panelist in this matter on August 1, 2016. The Panel has submitted the Statement of Acceptance and Declaration of Impartiality and Independence, as required by the Center to ensure compliance with paragraph 7 of the Rules. Having reviewed the file, the Panel finds that the Complaint complied with applicable formal requirements, was duly notified to the Respondent and has been submitted to a properly constituted Panel in accordance with the UDRP, the Rules and the Supplemental Rules.
4. Factual Background
The Complainant is a subsidiary of the Unipol Group, one of the main insurance groups in Italy, and carries on a business of direct selling of car insurance policies by telephone and Internet, in particular through its website at “www.linear.it”. Between January and September 2015 the Complainant’s website was accessed by over 2.4 million users with nearly 11 million page views.
The Complainant has used the mark LINEAR for its insurance services since 1995 and has registered it as a word mark in Italy (with original filing date of March 6, 1996 and registration date of January 7, 1999) and the European Union. The Complainant registered the domain name <linear.it> in 1996.
The Respondent registered the Domain Names on January 2, 2016. They currently locate a website displaying pay-per-click links, mostly relating to the Complainant and/or car insurance services.
5. Parties’ Contentions
The Complainant contends that the Domain Names are nearly identical and highly confusingly similar to the mark LINEAR in which it has registered and unregistered rights.
The Complainant submits that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Domain Names. It states that the Respondent is not an authorized dealer, distributor or licensee of the Complainant; that the Respondent is not commonly known by the name “Linear”, is not using the Domain Names in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services and has not made demonstrable preparations for such use; and that since the Domain Names are pointed to a website displaying pay-per-click links, the Respondent is not making a legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the Domain Names.
The Complainant alleges that the Domain Names were registered and are being used in bad faith. According to the Complainant, the Respondent’s aim was to create a likelihood of confusion. The Complainant draws attention to the fact that the Domain Names are pointed to a web page which displays sponsored links relating to the Complainant and/or its area of business. The Complainant infers that the Domain Names were chosen by the Respondent to maximize pay-per-click revenue. The Complainant considers that the Respondent cannot disclaim responsibility on the ground that the links are generated automatically by the service provider. The Complainant concludes that the Respondent deliberately attracted Internet users to the web page for commercial gain by trading off the likelihood of confusion with the Complainant’s mark.
The Complainant also infers bad faith on the part of the Respondent since it provided a false name of an entity which does not appear to exist.
The Complainant requests a decision that the Domain Names be transferred to it.
As stated above, the Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
In accordance with paragraph 4(a) of the Policy, the Complainant must prove: (i) that the Domain Names are identical or confusingly similar to a mark in which it has rights; (ii) that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Domain Names; and (iii) that the Domain Names have been registered and are being used in bad faith. It is appropriate to consider each of these requirements in turn.
In accordance with paragraph 14(b) of the Rules, the Panel shall draw such inferences as it considers appropriate from the Respondent’s default in failing to file a response. This includes the acceptance of plausible evidence of the Complainant which has not been disputed.
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The Panel finds that the Complainant has rights in the mark LINEAR by virtue of its registration and substantial use of this mark.
The Panel further finds that the Domain Names are confusingly similar to this mark, from which they differ only in the addition of the string “-it” in the second level domain and the addition of the generic TopLevel Domain (“gTLD”) suffix. The addition of “-it” does not provide a distinction that would avert confusion, particularly given that it is the recognized two-letter identification of Italy, where the Complainant carries on its business, and is also the country code Top Level Domain suffix used in the Complainant’s domain name <linear.it>. As has been recognized in numerous decisions, the gTLD suffix should normally be discounted in making the comparison required by the first element of the UDRP.
The first requirement of the UDRP is satisfied in relation to both Domain Names.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
The only use which appears to have been made of the Domain Names has been to locate a parking page displaying sponsored links to websites related to the Complainant or its area of business. The Panel does not regard this as a bona fide offering of goods or services or preparation for such use for the purposes of paragraph 4(c)(i) of the UDRP. Nor is it a legitimate noncommercial or fair use. The Respondent is evidently not commonly known by the Domain Names or any corresponding name and it has not been authorized by the Complainant to register or use them.
There does not appear to be any other basis on which the Respondent could claim any rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Domain Names and the Panel infers from the Respondent’s failure to file a Response that it has no such rights or legitimate interests.
In all the circumstances, the Panel concludes that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Domain Names. The second requirement of the UDRP is satisfied.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
The Panel finds on the evidence that the Domain Names were chosen by the Respondent on account of their near identity to the domain name <linear.it>, used by the Complainant for its very popular website. The Panel further infers that the Respondent caused or allowed the Domain Names to be directed to a page displaying sponsored links to websites related to the Complainant or its area of business in the expectation that this would generate substantial pay-per-click revenue in which the Respondent would share.
In the circumstances, the Panel finds that by so using the Domain Names the Respondent has intentionally attempted to attract Internet users to its web page for commercial gain by creating a likelihood of confusion with the Complainant’s mark as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation or endorsement of the page or of services promoted on it.
In accordance with paragraph 4(b)(iv) of the UDRP this constitutes evidence of registration and use of the Domain Names in bad faith. This presumption is not displaced by any contrary evidence in the file. The Panel accordingly concludes that the Domain Names were registered and are being used in bad faith.
All three substantive requirements of the UDRP are satisfied and it is appropriate to direct transfer of the Domain Names to the Complainant.
For the foregoing reasons, in accordance with paragraphs 4(i) of the Policy and 15 of the Rules, the Panel orders that the Domain Names, <linear-it.com> and <linear-it.net>, be transferred to the Complainant.
Date: August 3, 2016