WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Singapore Pools (Private) Limited v. Bill F. Swartz
Case No. D2016-2004
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Singapore Pools (Private) Limited of Singapore, Singapore, represented by Rajah & Tann Singapore LLP, Singapore.
The Respondent is Bill F. Swartz of Rochester, New York, United States of America.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <singaporepools-sg.com> (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 October 4, 2016. On October 4, 2016, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On October 4, 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 17, 2016. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was November 6, 2016. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent's default on November 7, 2016.
The Center appointed Dawn Osborne as the sole panelist in this matter on November 22, 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 1968 under its present corporate name and is the only gaming operator that is legally allowed to offer lotteries and sports betting in Singapore. It is the owner of the Domain Name <singaporepools.com.sg> where it operates its official site.
The Complainant is the owner of a number of registered trade marks in Singapore which include SINGAPORE POOLS and a logo for betting related services.
The Domain Name was registered in 2015 and has been attached to a site that mimicked the official site of the Complainant. After the Complainant sent a cease-and-desist letter to the Respondent, the account was suspended.
5. Parties' Contentions
The Complainant's submissions can be summarized as follows:
The Complainant was established in 1968 under its present corporate name and is the only gaming operator that is legally allowed to offer lotteries and sports betting in Singapore. It is the owner of the Domain Name <singaporepools.com.sg> where it operates its official site and <singaporepools.org> among others.
The Complainant is the owner of a number of registered trade marks in Singapore which include SINGAPORE POOLS and a logo for betting related services. SINGAPORE POOLS is a well-known mark in Singapore in which the Complainant owns substantial reputation and goodwill.
The Domain Name is confusingly similar and/or identical to the complainant's SINGAPORE POOLS trade mark in that it contains SINGAPORE POOLS in its entirety. The generic Top-Level Domain ("gTLD") ".com" is disregarded when making the comparison between the Domain Name and the Complainant's trade mark under the Policy. The generic letters "sg" are insufficient to distinguish between the Domain Name and the Complainant's SINGAPORE POOLS mark as "sg" is a common abbreviation of the word "Singapore". The logo in the Complainant's trade mark need not be considered when making the relevant comparison as graphic elements are not reproducible in a domain name.
The Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Domain Name. There is no relation between the Complainant and the Respondent here, no license or authorization. There is no legitimate reason for the Respondent to use the Domain Name. No products or services have been offered on the Domain Name and the content is meaningless and devoid of legitimate purpose. The Respondent has reproduced and adapted without consent of the Complainant the Complainant's website as well as its disclaimer except it has replaced the Complainant's name with "SingaporePools-sg.com" which is a fictitious entity. All the other links on the website attached to the Domain Name are broken and lead to a "404 Not Found" page. There is no bona fide offering of goods or services.
There is clear evidence the Respondent is well aware of the Complainant and its trade mark in that the Respondent has used the Complainant's logo on its web site, has reproduced contents from the Complainant's web site and is passing itself off as the Complainant. The Domain Name and the web site attached to it are likely to cause confusion and damage to the Complainant.
The Domain Name was registered in 2014, long after the Complainant was established in 1968, the Complainant's trade marks were registered in 1993 and 1996 and the Complainant's website was established in 1996.
The Complainant did not receive a reply from the Respondent to a cease-and-desist letter.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant's contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
Identical and/or Confusingly Similar
The Complainant, established in 1968, runs a well-known betting related service in Singapore and is the owner of registered trademarks there for SINGAPORE POOLS (plus logo) for its services.
The Domain Name consists of a name identical to the word elements of the Complainant's registered mark SINGAPORE POOLS, plus a hyphen, the generic abbreviation "sg" commonly used to indicate Singapore, the country where the Complainant is based, and the gTLD ".com". ".com" is typically not taken into account for the purposes of a comparison of the Domain Name and the Complainant's trade mark under the Policy. The Panelist agrees with the Complainant that the addition of the silent hyphen punctuation mark and the generic indication "sg" commonly interpreted to mean "Singapore" the country where the Complainant is based does not serve to distinguish the Domain Name from the Complainant's SINGAPORE POOLS mark and the Panellist finds that the Domain Name is confusingly similar to a trade mark in which the Complainant has rights for the purpose of the Policy, the graphical elements of that mark not being reproducible in a domain name.
Rights or Legitimate Interests
It is clear from the evidence that the Respondent has used the site attached to the Domain Name to mimic the Complainant's official web site in an apparent attempt at passing off. It is, therefore, clear from the content of the site that the Respondent was aware of the significance of the name "SINGAPORE POOLS" at the time of registration due to the site contents, and in particular the use of the Complainant's trade marks including its logo. This usage is not fair as it does not make it clear that there is no commercial connection with the Complainant and the Panel finds this use confusing. As such it cannot amount to the bona fide offering of goods and services. The Respondent has not answered this Complaint and has not provided any legitimate reason why it should be able to use the Complainant's trade marks and logo. As such the Panelist finds that the Respondent does not have rights or legitimate interests in the Domain Name and that the Complainant has satisfied the second limb of the Policy.
Registration and Use in Bad Faith
The content of the Respondent's web site being a copy of the official site of the Complainant makes it clear that he was aware of the Complainant's rights at the time of registration. It seems clear that the use of the Complainant's logo would cause people to associate the website which was attached to the Domain Name with the Complainant and its business and services. Accordingly, the Panel holds that the Respondent has intentionally attempted to attract for commercial gain Internet users to his website by creating likelihood of confusion with the Complainant's trade marks as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation or endorsement of his web site.
As such, the Panelist believes that the Complainant has made out its case that the Domain Name was registered and used in bad faith and has satisfied the third limb 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, <singaporepools-sg.com> be transferred to the Complainant.
Date: December 6, 2016