WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
SCOR SE v. Julius Thomas Jr, FreePlay Athletic Training
Case No. D2016-1977
1. The Parties
The Complainant is SCOR SE of Paris, France, represented by Cabinet Beau de Lomenie, France.
The Respondent is Julius Thomas Jr, FreePlay Athletic Training of Columbia, South Carolina, United States of America ("US").
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <scoreinsurance.com> 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 September 29, 2016. On September 29, 2016, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On September 30, 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 October 5, 2016. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was October 25, 2016. An email communication to the Center was sent by the Respondent on October 25, 2016. The Center acknowledged receipt of the email on October 27, 2016, and furthermore invited the Parties to suspend the proceedings in order to discuss settlement. The Complainant was given three additional days to respond to the invitation. The Complainant did not request suspension. Accordingly, the Center sent an email on November 2, 2016, informing the Parties that it will proceed to Panel appointment.
The Center appointed Knud Wallberg as the sole panelist in this matter on November 11, 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 was established in 1970 and became the world's fifth largest reinsurance company in 2007. The Complainant holds several registrations of the trademark SCOR for insurance and reinsurance services around the world including in the US, the earliest registration dating back to 1989.
According to publicly available records, the disputed domain name <scoreinsurance.com> was registered on April 20, 2016.
5. Parties' Contentions
The Complainant contends that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to marks in which the Complainant has rights since it comprises the Complainant's trademark SCOR with the addition of the letter "e" and of the common generic term "insurance".
The Complainant further states that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name. The Respondent has thus not been licensed or has received any other authorization from the Complainant to register the disputed domain name, nor has the Respondent any independent trademark rights or other rights to the denomination SCOR. Also, since the Respondent appears to be active within the fitness sector the Respondent cannot possibly have legitimate interests in the disputed domain name.
Finally, the Complainant contends that the disputed domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith. The disputed domain name is used for a parking page with listed sponsored and related links, inter alia, for competitors to the Complainant.
The Respondent filed the following reply to the Complainant's contentions in its email communication of October 26, 2016:
"To whom this may concern,
I am writing this email as a response to the claim concerning the validity of ownership to domain www.scoreinsurance.com. I am the rightful owner, I purchased this site from godaddy.com and intend to remain the owner of this site until further notice. If the party filing this complaint wishes to obtain ownership of my web domain, I will entertain monetary offers."
6. Discussion and Findings
According to paragraph 15(a) of the Rules the Panel shall decide the Complaint in accordance with the Policy, the Rules and any rules and principles of law that it deems applicable.
Paragraph 4(a) of the Policy directs that a complainant must prove each of the following:
(i) 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;
(ii) that the respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the domain name; and
(iii) that the domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.
Paragraph 4(a) of the Policy states that the burden of proving that all these elements are present lies with the Complainant. At the same time, in accordance with paragraph 14(b) of the Rules, if a party, in the absence of exceptional circumstances, does not comply with any provision of, or requirement under, the Rules, or any request from the Panel, the Panel shall draw such inferences therefrom as it considers appropriate.
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The Panel finds that the disputed domain name <scoreinsurance.com> is confusingly similar to the Complainant's registered trademark SCOR. The disputed domain name thus contains the mark in its entirety with the addition of the generic term "insurance". Neither the insertion of the letter "e" between the mark and the generic term nor the generic Top-Level Domain ".com" dispel a finding of confusing similarity in the present case.
The Panel finds that the conditions in paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Policy are therefore fulfilled in relation to the disputed domain name.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
It is clear from the facts of the case that the Complainant has not licensed or otherwise permitted the Respondent to use its trademark and given the circumstances of this case, in particular the fact that the Respondent seems to be active in an area of business that is unrelated to insurance namely fitness, the Panel is of the opinion that the Complainant has established a prima facie case that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name.
The Respondent did not explain why it chose the disputed domain name or assert any possible rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name in its response, and the Respondent did thus not refute this allegation. Therefore, since the way that the Respondent is using the disputed domain name does not support a finding of rights or legitimate interests, the Panel finds that the conditions in paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy are also fulfilled.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
Paragraph 4(a)(iii) of the Policy requires the Complainant to prove both registration and use of the disputed domain name in bad faith. Paragraph 4(b) of the Policy provides an example of circumstances which shall be evidence of registration and use 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 registration to the Complainant who is the owner of the trademark or service mark or to a competitor of that Complainant, for valuable consideration in excess of the Respondent's 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 trademark 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 web site or other online location, by creating a likelihood of confusion with the Complainant's mark as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation, or endorsement of the Respondent's web site or location or of a product or service on the Respondent's web site or location.
Accordingly, for the Complainant to succeed, the Panel must be satisfied that the disputed domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.
Given the circumstances of the case and in particular the evidence on record of the extent of use of the Complainant's trademark, including in the country of the Respondent the US, and the distinctive nature of the mark, it is inconceivable to the Panel in the current circumstances that the Respondent registered the disputed domain name without the knowledge of the Complainant and the Complainant's mark. This is evident in the Respondent's choice of the disputed domain name, which incorporates the Complainant's mark (albeit misspelled) with the term "insurance", reflective of the Complainant's area of business. Further, the Panel finds that the Respondent could not have been unaware of the fact that it chose a domain name which could attract Internet users in a manner that is likely to create confusion for such users.
The Panel therefore finds that the disputed domain name was registered in bad faith.
Also, the Respondent is using the disputed domain name actively for a standardized parking page that contains links and pay-per-click advertisements, inter alia,for competitors of the Complainant. It is thus obvious to the Panel that the Respondent is using the disputed domain name in bad faith by intentionally attempting to attract, for commercial gain, web users to its website by creating a likelihood of confusion with the Complainant's mark as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation, or endorsement of its website.
Noting that the disputed domain name incorporates a registered and well established trademark, that on the present record there appears to be no conceivable good faith use that could be made by the Respondent of the disputed domain name and considering all the facts and evidence, the Panel therefore finds that the requirements of paragraph 4(a)(iii) and 4(b) of the Policy are also fulfilled in this case.
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 <scoreinsurance.com> be transferred to the Complainant.
Date: November 24, 2016