WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center

ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION

LeoVegas Gaming Ltd. v. Whoisguard Protected, Whoisguard, Inc. / Michael Shneier, Mshneier LLC

Case No. D2016-1298

1. The Parties

Complainant is LeoVegas Gaming Ltd. of Sliema, Malta, represented by Baker & McKenzie Advokatbyrå KB, Sweden.

Respondent is Whoisguard Protected, Whoisguard, Inc. of Panama / Michael Shneier, Mshneier LLC of Rose Bay, Australia.

2. The Domain Name and Registrar

The disputed domain name <leovegasweb.com> 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 27, 2016. On June 28, 2016, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On the same day, the Registrar transmitted by email to the Center its verification response disclosing registrant and contact information for the disputed domain name which differed from the named Respondent and contact information in the Complaint. The Center sent an email communication to Complainant on June 30, 2016 providing the registrant and contact information disclosed by the Registrar, and inviting Complainant to submit an amendment to the Complaint. Complainant filed an amended Complaint on July 1, 2016.

The Center verified that the Complaint together with the amended 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 Respondent of the Complaint, and the proceedings commenced on July 7, 2016. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was July 27, 2016. Respondent did not submit any response but sent a blank communication on July 7, 2016. Accordingly, the Center notified Respondent’s default on July 28, 2016.

The Center appointed M. Scott Donahey as the sole panelist in this matter on August 4, 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

Complainant is a Maltese company which operates online gambling and casino services at “www.leovegas.com“. Complainant is licensed by the British Gambling Commission and operates pursuant to that license. The gambling website was launched in January 2012 and offers 350 different games and gaming types and has won several awards for its operations. Complaint, Annex 4.

Complainant is the holder of trademarks registered with the European Union Intellectual Property Office (“EUIPO”) for the mark LEOVEGAS, the earliest of which issued July 23, 2013, and is also the registrant of the domain names <leovegas.com>, <leovegas.se>, and <leovegas.nu>, all of which were registered in 2011. Complaint, Annex 5.

Respondent registered the disputed domain name on June 3, 2016. Complaint, Annex 1. The disputed domain name resolves to a website at which the comedy group “Lars Vegas Trio” is promoted. In fact, the website to which the disputed domain name resolves appears to be a duplicate of the website to which the domain name <larsvegastrio.com> resolves. Internal references on the website to which the disputed domain name resolves date back to 2012, even though the disputed domain name was not created and registered until 2016. Complainant, Annex 6.

Two months ago the same entity registered and used the domain name <leovegasonline.com> to resolve to the identical website promoting the “Lars Vegas Trio” band. A UDRP proceeding was commenced which resulted in an award of the disputed domain name in that case to Complainant. LeoVegas Gaming Ltd. v. Whoisguard, Inc., Whoisguard Protected / Michael Shneier, Mshneier LLC, WIPO Case No. D2016-0732 (Complaint, Annex 7).

Moreover, if a user enters “leovegasweb.com/top/index/html”, the user is taken to a website which duplicates Complainant’s website, but which redirects the user to the website of one of Complainant’s competitors. Complaint Annex 8.

Finally, a Google search on Respondent turns up other duplicates of other websites from which the user is redirected to websites unconnected with the websites which have been duplicated. Complaint, Annex 9.

5. Parties’ Contentions

A. Complainant

Complainant contends that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to Complainant’s LEOVEGAS mark, that Complainant is unconnected with and has not authorized Respondent to use its mark in any way, and that Respondent is using the disputed domain name to resolve to a duplicate of Complainant’s website which then redirects the user to the website of one of Complainant’s competitors.

B. Respondent

Respondent did not reply to Complainant’s contentions.

6. Discussion and Findings

Paragraph 15(a) of the Rules instructs the Panel as to the principles the Panel is to use in determining the dispute: “A Panel shall decide a complaint on the basis of the statements and documents submitted and in accordance with the Policy, these Rules and any rules and principles of law that it deems applicable.”

Paragraph 4(a) of the Policy directs that the complainant must prove each of the following:

(1) that the domain name registered by the respondent is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which the complainant has rights; and

(2) that the respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the domain name; and

(3) that the domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.

A. Identical or Confusingly Similar

The disputed domain name consists of Complainant’s LEOVEGAS mark to which the descriptive word “web” has been appended and suggests that it is connected with Complainant’s online gambling and casino business.

The Panel finds that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to Complainant’s mark.

B. Rights or Legitimate Interests

The consensus view of WIPO panelists concerning the burden of establishing no rights or legitimate interests in respect of a disputed domain name is as follows:

“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 an initial prima facie case that the respondent lacks rights or legitimate interests. Once such prima facie case is made, respondent carries the burden of 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.”

WIPO Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions, Second Edition (“WIPO Overview, 2.0”), Section 2.1.

In the present case Complainant alleges that Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name and Respondent has failed to assert any such rights.

Accordingly, the Panel finds that Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name.

C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith

Respondent is using the disputed domain name to resolve to a website which mimics the website of a comedy group called the “Lars Vegas Trio”. Respondent is also using the disputed domain name to resolve to a website which mimics Complainant’s gambling website and then redirects the user to a website operated by one of Complainant’s competitors. Accordingly, the Panel finds that this constitutes bad faith registration and use for the purposes of the Policy.

7. Decision

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 <leovegasweb.com> be transferred to Complainant.

M. Scott Donahey
Sole Panelist
Date: August 4, 2016