WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Al Nisr Publishing L.L.C. v. Whois Privacy Protection Service Inc. / Shakeel Aslam
Case No. D2017-0002
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Al Nisr Publishing L.L.C. of Dubai, United Arab Emirates ("UAE"), represented by Shashank Sharma, UAE.
The Respondent is Whois Privacy Protection Service Inc. of Kirkland, Washington, United States of America ("US") / Shakeel Aslam of Dubai, UAE.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <gulfnews-classifieds.com> is registered with eNom, Inc. (the "Registrar").
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the "Center") on January 3, 2017. On January 3, 2017, 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 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 January 6, 2017, 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 January 10, 2017.
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 January 13, 2017. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was February 2, 2017. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent's default on February 3, 2017.
The Center appointed Nasser A. Khasawneh as the sole panelist in this matter on February 16, 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 is the owner of various trademarks registered in the UAE. The trademark GN GULF NEWS was registered for class 16 on June 11, 2012 under registration number 159563. The same trademark was also registered for class 35 on February 1, 2012 under registration number 159564, class 38 on June 11, 2012 under registration number 159565, class 41 on February 1, 2012 under registration number 1595666, and class 42 on June 11, 2012 under registration number 159567. The figurative trademark GULF NEWS was registered for class 16 on November 27, 2004 under registration number 060042. The trademark GNCLASSIFIEDS4U was registered for class 9 on May 19, 2010.
In addition to the above-mentioned trademarks, the Complainant owns other registered trademarks using the words "Gulf" and "news", or the letters "GN", and "GNClassifieds4U".
The Complainant also owns and operates the websites "www.gulfnews.com", "www.gnclassifieds.com", "www.gncareers.com" and "www.gnproperty.com".
The disputed domain name <gulfnews-classifieds.com> was registered on June 4, 2010, and resolves to a website with advertisement for various goods and services. The Center provided the Complainant with the Respondent's full name, Shakeel Aslam, as this information was not available on the publically available WhoIs database.
5. Parties' Contentions
The Complainant is Al Nisr Publishing L.L.C. The Complainant describes itself as the well-known publisher of the "Gulf News" daily English language newspaper in the UAE. The Complainant states that the newspaper was first launched in 1978 by the prominent Emirati businessman Abdul Wahab Galadari before being taken over in 1984 by the Complainant and relaunched on December 10, 1985.
The Complainant states that the average daily circulation of the Gulf News newspaper in print is 109,905, and online the newspaper reports 1,300,000 unique visits to the website on a monthly basis.
The Complainant argues that the disputed domain name <gulfnews-classifieds.com> is confusingly similar to the Complainant's various registered trademarks. The disputed domain name contains the words "Gulf News" and "Classifieds", all making part of registered trademarks of the Complainant. The Complainant argues that due to the similarities between the disputed domain name and the Complainant's trademarks, Internet users would be confused and consider that the disputed domain name belongs to or is associated with or endorsed by the Complainant.
The Complainant also argues that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. The Respondent is not known as Gulf News-Classifieds, and is not associated with the trademark GULF NEWS.
The Complainant finally argues that the disputed domain name is registered and is being used in bad faith. The Respondent is based in Dubai, and would have been aware of the reputation and use of the GULF NEWS trademark. In registering the disputed domain name, the Respondent intentionally attempted to attract Internet users for commercial gain by creating a likelihood of confusion with the Complainant's registered trademark.
In light of the foregoing, the Complainant requests that the disputed domain name is transferred to the Complainant.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant's contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
The Panel must render its Decision on the basis of the statements and documents submitted and in accordance with the Policy, the Rules and any rules and principles of law that it deems applicable. Rules, paragraph 15(a). The Complainant must establish each element of paragraph 4(a) of the Policy, namely:
(i) the disputed domain name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which the Complainant has rights;
(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 Complainant must establish these elements even if the Respondent does not submit a Response. E.g., The Vanguard Group, Inc. v. Lorna Kang, WIPO Case No. D2002-1064. In the absence of a Response, the Panel may also accept as true the reasonable factual allegations in the Complaint. E.g., ThyssenKrupp USA, Inc. v. Richard Giardini, WIPO Case No. D2001-1425 (citing Talk City, Inc. v. Michael Robertson, WIPO Case No. D2000 0009).
The Panel finds that the three elements of paragraph 4(a) of the Policy have been established, for the reasons set out below.
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The Panel concludes that the first element of paragraph 4(a) of the Policy is fulfilled.
The disputed domain name uses the dominant element of several of the Complainant's registered trademarks, GULF NEWS, combined with the word "Classifieds", which also forms part of another of the Complainant's registered trademarks GNCCLASSIFIEDS4U. The Panel finds that that the disputed domain name is, if not identical, confusingly similar to the Complainant's registered trademarks.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
The Complainant must show a prima facie case that the Respondent lacks rights or legitimate interests. See e.g., Croatia Airlines d.d. v. Modern Empire Internet Ltd., WIPO Case No. D2003-0455. The absence of rights or legitimate interests is shown if a respondent does not rebut the complainant's prima facie case. Paragraph 4(c) of the Policy lists circumstances that may demonstrate when a respondent has rights or legitimate interests in a domain name, including (1) the use of the domain name in connection with a bona fide offering of goods and services; (2) being commonly known by the domain name; or (3) the making of a legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the domain name, without intent for commercial gain to misleadingly divert consumers.
The Complainant states that the Respondent is not known by the disputed domain name, and is not affiliated with the same.
In addition, the Respondent's website displays advertisement similar to those published on the Complainant's website. Without any need for further inquiry, the Panel finds that the Respondent's use of the disputed domain name which incorporates the Complainant's trademarks, without authorization and in a manner that creates confusion with the Complainant's business, demonstrates that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name.
In light of the above, the Panel concludes that Policy paragraph 4(a)(ii) is established.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
The Panel finds that the third element of paragraph 4(a) of the Policy, bad faith registration and bad faith use, is also established.
Using a domain name to intentionally attract Internet users, for commercial gain, by creating a likelihood of confusion, may be evidence of bad faith. See Policy, paragraph 4(b)(iv). UDRP panels may draw inferences about bad faith in light of the circumstances, including failure to respond to a Complaint and other circumstances. Telstra Corporation Limited v. Nuclear Marshmallows, WIPO Case No. D2000-0003.
The website to which users were routed provides for advertising services, which the Complainant offers on its website "www.gnclassifieds.com". It is apparent that the Respondent registered the disputed domain name in the anticipation that users would search for the Complainant's classifieds website online, and be attracted to the disputed domain name. The Panel infers that the Respondent deliberately attempted to attract Internet users to its website for commercial gain, by creating a likelihood of confusion with the Complainant's mark.
The Panel concludes that the disputed domain name was registered and is being used in bad faith under paragraph 4(b)(iv) 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 <gulfnews-classifieds.com> be transferred to the Complainant.
Nasser A. Khasawneh
Date: March 2, 2017