WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
West Interactive Services Corporation v. ICS Inc.
Case No. D2016-2480
1. The Parties
The Complainant is West Interactive Services Corporation of Omaha, Nebraska, United States of America (“United States”) represented by Husch Blackwell LLP, United States.
The Respondent is ICS Inc. of Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands, Overseas Territory of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <schoolmessanger.com> is registered with Tucows Inc. (the “Registrar”).
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on December 7, 2016. On December 8, 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 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 December 15, 2016. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was January 4, 2017. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on January 5, 2017.
The Center appointed Knud Wallberg as the sole panelist in this matter on January 13, 2017. 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, West Interactive Services Corporation, has since 1999 offered computer software that provides for various forms for communications between schools, students and their parents using the mark SCHOOLMESSENGER. The Complainant has since January 31, 2006 been the holder of a trademark registration of SCHOOLMESSENGER in the United States of America, for various goods in class 9 covering inter alia computer software.
The Complainant has also registered the domain name <schoolmessenger.com> that is used for a website promoting the SCHOOLMESSENGER software.
According to publicly available records, the disputed domain name <schoolmessanger.com> was registered on December 13, 2011.
5. Parties’ Contentions
The Complainant contends that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to the mark in which the Complainant has rights since it comprises a misspelling of the Complainant’s trademark by replacing one “e” in SCHOOLMESSENGER with an “a”.
The Complainant further states that the Respondent has no rights in respect of the disputed domain name, nor is the Respondent commonly known by 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 was registered in 2011which is after the Complainant registered and started using its mark, and it is currently used for a parking page with listed sponsored and related links.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.
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 <schoolmessanger.com> is confusingly similar (in the sense of the Policy) to the Complainant’s registered trademark SCHOOLMESSENGER since the only difference is that one “e” in the Complainant’s mark is substituted with an “a”. The generic Top-Level Domain “.com” does not dispel a finding of confusing similarity.
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.
Given the circumstances of this case, and in particular the way that the Respondent has been and is using the disputed domain name the Panel finds that the Complainant has established that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name.
Consequently, 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 longstanding use of the Complainant’s trademark, it is inconceivable to the Panel in the current circumstances that the Respondent registered the disputed domain name without prior knowledge of the Complainant and the Complainant’s mark. 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 inter alia to what appears to be competitors of the Complainant. Further, on the current setup of the website the disputed domain name is advertised as being for sale. 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 and by putting it up for sale.
Noting that the disputed domain name incorporates a registered and distinctive trademark, that there appears to be no conceivable good faith use that could be made by the Respondent of the disputed domain name, that the disputed domain name is offered for sale 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 <schoolmessanger.com> be transferred to the Complainant.
Date: February 2, 2017