WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
U K Insurance Limited v. Domains By Proxy LLC / domain admin, dcw group investments
Case No. D2016-1776
1. The Parties
The Complainant is U K Insurance Limited of Leeds, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (“United Kingdom”), represented by Sipara, United Kingdom.
The Respondent is Domains By Proxy LLC of Scottsdale, Arizona, United States of America (“United States”) / domain admin, dcw group investments of San Francisco, California, United States.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <directine.com> (the “Disputed Domain Name”) is registered with GoDaddy.com, LLC (the “Registrar”).
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on August 30, 2016. On August 31, 2016, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the Disputed Domain Name. On August 31, 2016, 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 the Complainant on September 5, 2016 providing the registrant and contact information disclosed by the Registrar, and inviting the Complainant to submit an amendment to the Complaint. The Complainant filed an amended Complaint on September 8, 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 the Respondent of the Complaint, and the proceedings commenced on September 12, 2016. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was October 2, 2016. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on October 3, 2016.
The Center appointed John Swinson as the sole panelist in this matter on October 17, 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 U K Insurance Limited, an insurance company based in the United Kingdom. According to the Complaint, it is the fifth-largest general insurer and the number one private and domestic motor insurer in the United Kingdom.
One of the insurance brands operated by the Complainant is Direct Line. The Complainant has used this brand since 1985, when it started trading. It is recognised as a “superbrand” in Consumer Superbrands 2016.
The Complainant owns a number of registered trade marks relating to this brand, including:
- United Kingdom registered trade mark number 2200272 for DIRECTLINE.COM, filed on June 15, 1999 and registered on December 10, 1999; and
- United Kingdom registered trade mark number 1392349 for DIRECT LINE, filed on July 24, 1989 and registered on March 18, 1994, (the “Trade Mark”).
The Complainant also owns a domain name which incorporates the Trade Mark, being <directline.com>. It registered this domain name on June 1, 1997. The Complainant operates its primary website for insurance sold under the Trade Mark via this website.
The Respondent is domain admin, dcw group investments of the United States. The Respondent did not file a Response, and consequently little information is known about the Respondent.
The Respondent registered the Disputed Domain Name on January 28, 2012.
The website at the Disputed Domain Name features pay-per-click (“PPC”) advertising links relating to insurance.
5. Parties’ Contentions
The Complainant makes the following submissions.
Identical or Confusingly Similar
The Disputed Domain Name is highly similar to the Trade Mark DIRECTLINE.COM, in that it differs by one letter. It is also similar to the Trade Mark DIRECT LINE. The Trade Mark is used primarily for insurance services, and the website at the Disputed Domain Name is being used to direct Internet users to competing insurance websites.
The Disputed Domain Name is an attempt at typosquatting. It has generally been found that such domain names are confusingly similar to a trade mark where the misspelling is part of the relevant trade mark or common law right.
Rights or Legitimate Interests
The Complainant has not granted the Respondent any license, permission or authorization to own or use any domain name which is confusingly similar to the Trade Mark.
The website at the Disputed Domain Name is currently a landing page for third-party advertisers. This website is being used for financial gain via PPC revenue. Links to unrelated third-party websites cannot be considered a bona fide offering of goods or services or a noncommercial or fair use of the Disputed Domain Name. The services offered by the third parties to which the links redirect are in direct competition with the Complainant.
It is likely the Disputed Domain Name was registered with the hope of attracting Internet traffic from users searching for the Complainant.
Registration and Use in Bad Faith
The Respondent registered the Disputed Domain Name using a privacy service. It has been established that this can be an indicator of bad faith.
The Disputed Domain Name is being used to redirect Internet users looking for the Complainant’s website to third-party websites. The Respondent is receiving financial gain through advertising revenue. This constitutes bad faith under paragraph 4(b)(iv) of the Policy.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
To succeed, the Complainant must demonstrate that all of the elements enumerated in paragraph 4(a) of the Policy have been satisfied, namely:
(i) the Disputed Domain Name is identical or confusingly similar to a trade mark or service mark in which the Complainant has rights; and
(ii) the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Disputed Domain Name; and
(iii) the Disputed Domain Name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.
The onus of proving these elements remains on the Complainant even though the Respondent has not filed a Response.
A. Procedural Issues
The Respondent’s failure to file a response does not automatically result in a decision in favor of the Complainant (see, e.g., Airbus SAS, Airbus Operations GmbH v. Alesini Pablo Hernan / PrivacyProtect.org, WIPO Case No. D2013-2059). However, the Panel may draw appropriate inferences from the Respondent’s default.
B. Identical or Confusingly Similar
Paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Policy provides that the Complainant must establish that the Disputed Domain Name is identical or confusingly similar to the Trade Mark.
As the Complainant submitted, the Disputed Domain Name is a misspelling of the Trade Mark. It differs from the Trade Mark only by the omission of the letter “l” in “line”.
It is well established that “typosquatting” can constitute confusing similarity (Deutsche Bank Aktiengesellschaft v. New York TV Tickets Inc., WIPO Case No. D2001-1314, DaimlerChrysler Corporation v. Worshiping, Chrisler, and Chr, aka Dream Media and aka Peter Conover, WIPO Case No. D2000-1272 and Playboy Enterprises v. Movie Name Company, WIPO Case No. D2001-1201). The Panel considers this to be a clear case of typosquatting.
As such, the Panel finds that the Disputed Domain Name is confusingly similar to the Trade Mark. The Complainant succeeds on the first element of the Policy.
C. Rights or Legitimate Interests
Paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy provides that the Complainant must establish that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Disputed Domain Name. The Complainant is required to make out a prima facie case showing that the Respondent lacks rights or legitimate interests.
The Panel finds that the Complainant has made out a prima facie case. This finding is based upon the following:
- The Respondent has not used, or made demonstrable preparations to use, the Disputed Domain Name in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services. The website at the Disputed Domain Name features a PPC link page. These links relate to the insurance industry, and direct Internet users to the Complainant’s competitors. This is not a bona fide use of the Disputed Domain Name under the Policy.
- The Panel accepts the Complainant’s submission that the Complainant has not authorized or otherwise given the Respondent permission to use the Disputed Domain Name.
- There is no evidence that the Respondent has been commonly known by the Disputed Domain Name, or has registered or common law trade mark rights in relation to this name.
- The Respondent has not been making a legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the Disputed Domain Name without intent for commercial gain. As submitted by the Complainant, it is likely that the Respondent is profiting from the PPC advertising on the website at the Disputed Domain Name. In the absence of any evidence from the Respondent to the contrary, the Panel is of the view that this does not amount to a bona fide use for the purposes of the Policy.
- In this case, typosquatting does not constitute a legitimate use of the Trade Mark (see, e.g., Edmunds.com, Inc. v. Yingkun Guo, dba This domain is 4 sale, WIPO Case No. D2006-0694; Barnes & Noble College Bookstores, Inc. v. Oleg Techino, WIPO Case No. D2006-1537).
The Respondent had the opportunity to demonstrate its rights or legitimate interests, but did not do so. As such, the prima facie case established by the Complainant has not been rebutted and the Complainant succeeds on the second element of the Policy.
D. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
Paragraph 4(a)(iii) of the Policy provides that the Complainant must establish that the Respondent registered and subsequently used the Disputed Domain Name in bad faith.
The Complainant has been operating for over 30 years, and has had registered rights in the Trade Mark for almost the same amount of time. The Trade Mark is a well-known, respected and established brand. The Disputed Domain Name was registered on January 28, 2012.
Previous UDRP panels have found that where the reputation of a complainant in a given mark is significant and the mark has strong similarities to the relevant domain name, the likelihood of confusion is such that bad faith may be inferred (see e.g. Verner Panton Design v. Fontana di Luce Corp, WIPO Case No. D2012-1909 and cases cited therein). Given that the Disputed Domain Name is a misspelling of the Trade Mark, and that the PPC advertising links on the website at the Disputed Domain Name direct Internet users to various websites from which Internet users can purchase competing insurance products, the Panel finds it inconceivable that the Respondent was not aware of the Trade Mark at the time the Disputed Domain Name was registered.
Further, previous UDRP panels have found that if a respondent has engaged in typosquatting, that may be sufficient to establish registration and use in bad faith (Barnes & Noble College Bookstores, Inc. v. Oleg Techino, WIPO Case No. D2006-1537; Edmunds.com, Inc. v. Yingkun Guo, dba This domain is 4 sale, WIPO Case No. D2006-0694; Sephora v. WhoisGuard, WIPO Case No. D2006-0845).
As previously mentioned, this is a case of typosquatting, where the Disputed Domain Name is identical to the Trade Mark save for the omission of one letter. The Respondent has registered a common misspelling of the Trade Mark to divert traffic from the Complainant’s website to the Respondent’s websites. The Panel finds that this constitutes bad faith registration and use under paragraph 4(b)(iv) of the Policy.
Finally, the Panel has identified a number of previous panel decisions which have made adverse findings against the Respondent. The Panel considers that the Respondent has engaged in a pattern of conduct of registering domain names to prevent owners of trade marks from reflecting their trade marks in those domain names, which is a further indicator of bad faith registration and use under paragraph 4(b)(ii) of the Policy.
In these circumstances, the Respondent’s use of a privacy service also supports a finding of bad faith (see, e.g., The Uder Company Pty Ltd and Stay In Bed Milk & Bread Pty Ltd (trading as Aussie Farmers Direct) v. PrivacyProtect.org, Domain Admin, ID # 10760, WIPO Case No. D2012-0924 and cases cited therein).
In light of the above, and in the absence of a Response and any evidence rebutting bad faith registration and use, the Panel finds that the Complainant has succeeded on the third element 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 Disputed Domain Name, <directine.com>, be transferred to the Complainant.
Date: October 28, 2016