WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Statoil ASA (Statoil) v. Liheng, Just Traffic Supervision Consulting
Case No. D2016-2115
1. The Parties
Complainant is Statoil ASA of Stavanger, Norway, represented by Valea AB, Sweden.
Respondent is Liheng, Just Traffic Supervision Consulting, of Hong Kong, China.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <statoilaviation.biz> is registered with PDR Ltd. d/b/a PublicDomainRegistry.com (the “Registrar”).
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on October 18, 2016. On same day, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On October 20, 2016, the Registrar transmitted by email to the Center its verification response confirming that 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 Respondent of the Complaint, and the proceedings commenced on October 28, 2016. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was November 17, 2016. Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified Respondent’s default on November 21, 2016.
The Center appointed Timothy D. Casey as the sole panelist in this matter on December 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
Complainant is an international energy company with approximately 22,000 employees that has been operating worldwide for over 40 years. Complainant owns rights throughout the world in several hundred trademark registrations, including International Trademark Reg. No. 730092, registered on March 7, 2000 and European Union Trademark Reg. No. 003657871 for STATOIL, registered on May 18, 2005 (the “STATOIL Trademarks”), the earliest of which (now expired) dates back to 1974. Complainant also owns several hundred domain names containing the STATOIL Trademarks.
The disputed domain name was registered on February 16, 2016. The disputed domain name currently resolves to a website that appears to automatically generate advertisements and includes a form through which offers to buy the disputed domain name can be submitted.
5. Parties’ Contentions
Complainant contends the disputed domain name is confusingly similar, visually, phonetically and in overall commercial impression, to the STATOIL Trademarks. The mere addition of the descriptive term “aviation” is not sufficient to differentiate or distinguish the disputed domain name from the STATOIL Trademarks because the word “aviation” merely suggests that the disputed domain name is associated with products intended for use with aviation. Likewise, the generic Top-Level Domain (“gTLD”) “.biz” does not serve to distinguish the disputed domain name from the STATOIL Trademarks.
Complainant further contends that Respondent has no right or legitimate interest in the disputed domain name and that Respondent registered and is using the disputed domain name in bad faith. Respondent is not commonly known by the disputed domain name and has never been authorized by Complainant to use the STATOIL Trademark in any manner. Complainant also argues that Respondent’s use of the disputed domain name for a website that automatically generates advertisements and seeks to sell the disputed domain name is not a bona fide offering of goods and services. Complainant further contends that Respondent has registered other domain names incorporating other well-known trademarks, such as <budlight.biz> and <hasselblad.org>.
As for evidence of bad faith, Complainant alleges the STATOIL Trademarks are well known worldwide, such that they could not have been unknown to Respondent at the time of registration of the disputed domain name. Complainant further alleges that the disputed domain name bears no relationship to Respondent’s apparent name or business and has no meaning outside of the name and trademarks of Complainant. Finally, Complainant notes the unsolicited attempt, by an apparent agent of Respondent, to sell the disputed domain name to Complainant.
Respondent did not reply to Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
In view of Respondent’s failure to reply to Complainant’s contentions, the Panel will treat Complainant’s contentions as true and undisputed unless it is unreasonable or unnecessary to do otherwise.
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
Complainant owns a large number of registrations for the STATOIL Trademarks around the world for goods associated with energy products. Accordingly, the Panel finds that Complainant has trademark rights in the STATOIL Trademarks.
Although not argued by Complainant, the disputed domain name incorporates the entirety of the STATOIL Trademarks. While the disputed domain name incorporates a descriptive term, “aviation”, the additional term does nothing to distinguish the disputed domain name from the STATOIL Trademarks because the incorporated term only serves to associate “statoil” with goods offered by Complainant in association with the STATOIL Trademarks, including aviation-related fuels. As such, the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to the STATOIL Trademarks. The Panel agrees that the gTLD does nothing to further distinguish the disputed domain name from the STATOIL Trademarks.
The Panel finds that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to a trademark in which Complainant has rights.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
The Panel finds that Respondent has no right or legitimate interest in the disputed domain name. Respondent does not appear to be commonly known by the disputed domain name. Complainant has not authorized Respondent to use or register the disputed domain name. Neither the automatically generated advertisements nor the offer to sell the disputed domain name on Respondent’s website creates any legitimate interest in the disputed domain name as it is well established that neither offering serves as a bona fide offering of goods or services.
The Panel finds that Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
Given the timing of Complainant’s registration of the STATOIL Trademarks and use in association with the noted goods, and the timing of Respondent’s subsequent registration of the disputed domain name, using terms that clearly associate the disputed domain name with Complainant’s goods, registration of the disputed domain name was more likely than not in bad faith. Evidence of Respondent’s likely unauthorized registration of other domain names incorporating other well-known trademarks is further evidence of bad faith with respect to registration of the disputed domain name.
While the mere generic offer to sell the disputed domain name on the website does not constitute bad faith, the Panel notes that Respondent’s website cautions against making offers that do not meet the owner’s expectations. As it is unlikely that Respondent is in the business of buying and selling domain names only to sell them for the cost of registration, it appears likely to the Panel that Respondent’s suggestion is that it will deny any offer that is not greater than the cost of registration. The Panel therefore finds Respondent’s combined additional unsolicited offer, along with the generic website offer cautioning against low offers, to constitute evidence of use in bad faith.
The Panel concludes that the disputed domain name was registered and used in bad faith.
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, <statoilaviation.biz>, be transferred to Complainant.
Timothy D. Casey
Date: December 12, 2016