WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Tinder, Inc. v. Brooks La Fontaine
Case No. D2016-1213
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Tinder, Inc. of Dallas, Texas, United States of America (“United States”), represented by Locke Lord LLP, United States.
The Respondent is Brooks La Fontaine of Paris, France.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <gotinder.org> (the “Domain Name”) is registered with eNom, Inc. (the “Registrar”).
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on June 15, 2016. On the same date, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the Domain Name. On June 16, 2016, the Registrar transmitted by email to the Center its verification response confirming that the Respondent is listed as the registrant and providing the Respondent’s 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 June 17, 2016. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was July 7, 2016. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on July 8, 2016.
The Center appointed Ian Lowe as the sole panelist in this matter on July 15, 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 has since 2012 operated an online dating website at “www.gotinder.com”. The website allows users, among other things, to download the Complainant’s mobile application, the Tinder App. The Tinder App provides the bulk of the Complainant’s dating services as it allows users to discover potential candidates within a certain distance of the Tinder App user. The Tinder App has been downloaded 100 million times and had an estimated 50 million users as of March 2, 2015, with 60 percent of them coming from outside North America.
The Complainant spends substantial sums each year to advertise and promote its online dating services and the Tinder App and as a result has developed substantial rights and goodwill in the TINDER mark. In addition, the Complainant is the registered proprietor of United States Trademark number 4,479,131 TINDER registered on February 4, 2014, first used in commerce on February 2, 2012.
The Domain Name was registered on July 16, 2013. The Domain Name resolves to a website (the “Website”) that purports to enable users to join Tinder. The Website features a large graphic composed of the TINDER mark and the phrases “Tinder is the fun way to connect with new and interesting people around you” and “Join Tinder Now!”. However, when a user clicks the “Join Tinder Now!” button, the user is redirected to an “AdultFriendFinder.com” website that is not affiliated with the Complainant in any way and has not been authorised to use the TINDER mark.
5. Parties’ Contentions
The Complainant contends that the Domain Name is identical or confusingly similar to its TINDER trademark, that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Domain Name and that the Respondent registered and is using the Domain Name in bad faith within the meaning of paragraph 4(b)(iv) of the Policy.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
According to paragraph 4(a) of the Policy, for this Complaint to succeed in relation to the Domain Name the Complainant must prove that:
(i) the 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 Domain Name; and
(iii) the Domain Name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The Complainant has undoubted, uncontested rights in the trademark TINDER both by virtue of its United States registered trademark and as acquired through widespread use for a number of years by millions of Internet users. Leaving aside the generic Top-Level Domain (“gTLD”) “.org”, the Domain Name comprises the entirety of the Complainants’ trademark together with the prefix “go”. In the Panel’s view this does not detract from the distinctiveness of the TINDER mark. Indeed, in view of the use by the Complainant of the <gotinder.com> domain name, the additional word adds to the likelihood of confusion with the Complainant. Accordingly, the Panel finds that the Domain Name is confusingly similar to a mark in which the Complainant has rights.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
The Complainant has made out a strong prima facie case that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the Domain Name. It is clear that the Respondent has chosen the Domain Name because it will deceive Internet users into believing that it is operated or authorised by the Complainant, with a view to diverting users to a competing website. In the Panel’s view, such use cannot possibly give rise to rights or legitimate interests on the part of the Respondent. In view of the notoriety of the Complainant’s trademark it is quite clear that the Domain Name can only refer to the Complainant. The Respondent has chosen not to respond to the Complaint and has done nothing to dispel the strong prima facie case raised by the Complainant. Accordingly, the Panel finds that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Domain Name.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
On the same basis, the Panel is in no doubt that the Respondent must have had the Complainant and its rights in the TINDER mark in mind when, subsequent to the Complainant’s first use of its mark, it registered the Domain Name. Furthermore, the Panel cannot conceive of any legitimate reason for the Respondent to register the Domain Name or of any legitimate purpose to which the Respondent could put the Domain Name. The Respondent’s use of the Domain Name for a website that redirects users to a competing website that has no affiliation with the Complainant, presumably for commercial gain amounts to paradigm bad faith and use for the purposes of paragraph 4(b)(iv) of the Policy. Accordingly, the Panel finds that the Respondent registered and is using the 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 Domain Name <gotinder.org> be transferred to the Complainant.
Date: July 27, 2016