WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Singapore Telecommunications Limited v. NA NA
Case No. D2016-1251
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Singapore Telecommunications Limited of Singapore, represented by Allen & Gledhill LLP, Singapore.
The Respondent is NA NA of Viet Nam.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <singtelgroup.com> (the "Domain Name") is registered with 1&1 Internet SG (the "Registrar").
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the "Center") on June 21, 2016. On June 21, 2016, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the Domain Name. On June 22, 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 June 28, 2016. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was July 18, 2016. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent's default on July 20, 2016.
The Center appointed Nicholas Smith as the sole panelist in this matter on August 1, 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 public company incorporated in 1992 and listed on the Singapore Stock Exchange. The Complainant and its subsidiaries are involved in providing telephony services throughout the world, including fixed and mobile lines, data, Internet, TV and digital solutions. The Complainant and its subsidiaries operate out of 46 offices in 21 countries worldwide and have a customer base of over 600 million mobile customers in 25 countries across Asia Pacific, Europe, the Middle East and the United States of America.
The Complainant is the owner of a number of trade marks that feature the word "singtel" including the word mark SINGTEL (the "SINGTEL Mark") which is registered in Singapore, Australia, the United States of America and various countries in Europe. The SINGTEL Mark has been registered in Singapore since at least June 25, 2003, in the case of Singaporean Trade Mark TO219549J. The Complainant has also registered the domain name <singtel.com> which resolves to the Complainant's website.
The Domain Name <singtelgroup.com> was created on April 12, 2016. It is currently inactive but prior to the commencement of the proceeding resolved to a site (the "Respondent's Website") at "www.doahnhantimes.com", which provided some bare contact details for the owner of that website. On May 24, 2016, and June 17, 2016, the Respondent sent an email to the Complainant advertising the Domain Name for sale and listing reasons why the Complainant should purchase the Domain Name.
5. Parties' Contentions
The Complainant makes the following contentions:
(i) that the Domain Name is identical or confusingly similar to the Complainant's SINGTEL Mark;
(ii) that the Respondent has no rights nor any legitimate interests in respect of the Domain Name; and
(iii) that the Domain Name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.
The Complainant is the owner of the SINGTEL Mark having registered numerous marks containing "singtel" and having developed substantial reputation in the SINGTEL Mark.
The Domain Name consists of the SINGTEL Mark in its entirety with the addition of the word "group", which does not prevent a finding of confusing similarity.
There are no rights or legitimate interests held by the Respondent in respect of the Domain Name. The Complainant has not granted any license or authorization for the Respondent to use its marks. The Respondent is not commonly known by the Domain Name, nor does it appear to be making a legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the Domain Name. The Respondent does not use the Domain Name for a bona fide purpose. Rather, prior to the commencement of the proceeding, the Respondent redirected the Domain Name to a site that provided contact details only and has sent emails to the Complainant advertising the Domain Name for sale. Such use does not grant the Respondent rights or legitimate interests in the Domain Name.
The Domain Name was registered and is being used in bad faith. The SINGTEL Mark is well known and the Respondent has registered the Domain Name either to sell it or to improperly benefit from the well-known nature of the Complainant and its SINGTEL Mark.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant's contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
To prove this element the Complainant must have trade mark or service mark rights and the Domain Name must be identical or confusingly similar to the Complainant's trade mark or service mark.
The Complainant is the owner of the SINGTEL Mark, having registrations for SINGTEL as a trade mark in Singapore and various countries and jurisdictions around the world.
The Domain Name consists of the SINGTEL Mark with the addition of the word "group". The Panel finds that the addition of the descriptive term "group" does not prevent a finding of confusing similarity between the SINGTEL Mark and the Domain Name. Moreover, an individual viewing the Domain Name may be confused into thinking that the Domain Name would refer to a site run by the Complainant as the Domain Name directly refers to the entity that operates the Singtel business as a whole and is capitalized on the Singapore Stock Exchange, namely the Singtel Group. The Panel finds that the Domain Name is confusingly similar to the Complainant's SINGTEL Mark. Consequently, the requirement of paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Policy is satisfied.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
To succeed on this element, a complainant must make out a prima facie case that the respondent lacks rights or legitimate interests in the domain name. If such a prima facie case is made out, then the burden of production shifts to the respondent to demonstrate rights or legitimate interests in the domain name.
Paragraph 4(c) of the Policy enumerates several ways in which a respondent may demonstrate rights or legitimate interests in a domain name:
"Any of the following circumstances, in particular but without limitation, if found by the panel to be proved based on its evaluation of all evidence presented, shall demonstrate your rights or legitimate interests to the domain name for purposes of paragraph 4(a)(ii):
(i) before any notice to you of the dispute, your use of, or demonstrable preparations to use, the domain name or a name corresponding to the domain name in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services; or
(ii) you (as an individual, business, or other organization) have been commonly known by the domain name, even if you have acquired no trademark or service mark rights; or
(iii) you are making legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the domain name, without intent for commercial gain to misleadingly divert consumers or to tarnish the trademark or service mark at issue."
The Respondent is not affiliated with the Complainant in any way. It has not been authorized by the Complainant to register or use the Domain Name or to seek the registration of any domain name incorporating the SINGTEL Mark or a mark similar to the SINGTEL Mark. There is no evidence that the Respondent is commonly known by the Domain Name or any similar name. There is no evidence that the Respondent has used or made demonstrable preparations to use the Domain Name in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services or for a legitimate noncommercial or fair use. Rather it appears from the evidence submitted by the Complainant that the Respondent has simply redirected the Domain Name to a holding website while sending emails to the Complainant advertising the Domain Name as being for sale. Such conduct is not a bona fide offering of goods or services, in the circumstances of the present case.
The Complainant has established a prima facie case that the Respondent lacks rights or legitimate interests in the Domain Name. The Respondent has had an opportunity to rebut the presumption that it lacks rights or legitimate interests but has chosen not to do so. The Panel finds that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Domain Name under paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
For the purposes of paragraph 4(a)(iii), the following circumstances, in particular but without limitation, if found by the Panel to be present, shall be evidence of the registration and use of a domain name in bad faith:
(i) Circumstances indicating that the respondent has registered or has acquired the domain name primarily for the purpose of selling, renting, or otherwise transferring the domain name's registration to the complainant who is the owner of the trade mark or service mark or to a competitor of the complainant, for valuable consideration in excess of its documented out-of-pocket costs directly related to the domain name; or
(ii) The respondent has registered the domain name in order to prevent the owner of the trade mark or service mark from reflecting the mark in a corresponding domain name, provided that the respondent has engaged in a pattern of such conduct; or
(iii) The respondent has registered the domain name primarily for the purpose of disrupting the business of a competitor; or
(iv) By using the domain name, the respondent has intentionally attempted to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to its website or other on-line location, by creating a likelihood of confusion with the complainant's mark as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation, or endorsement of the respondent's website or location or of a product or service on the respondent's website or location. (Policy, paragraph 4(b))
The Panel finds that it is likely that the Respondent was aware of the Complainant at the time the Domain Name was registered. Within five weeks of the registration of the Domain Name, the Respondent sent an email to the Complainant offering the Domain Name for sale. The Respondent does not provide, nor is it apparent to the Panel, any reason why the Domain Name was registered other than by reference to the Complainant. The registration of the Domain Name in awareness of the Complainant and any rights it had at the time in the SINGTEL Mark and in the absence of rights or legitimate interests amounts to registration in bad faith.
The Respondent does not appear to have used the Domain Name for any purpose other than to send emails to the Complainant offering the Domain Name for sale. The Panel finds that there are circumstances indicating that the Respondent has registered or has acquired the Domain Name primarily for the purpose of selling the Domain Name registration to the Complainant for valuable consideration in excess of its documented out-of-pocket costs directly related to the Domain Name. Hence the Respondent is using the Domain Name in bad faith under paragraph 4(b)(i) of the Policy.
Accordingly, the Panel finds that the Respondent has registered and is using the Domain Name in bad faith 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 Domain Name <singtelgroup.com> be transferred to the Complainant.
Date: August 3, 2016