WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Travelpro Products, Inc. v. Isaac Goldstein, POSTE RESTANTE
Case No. D2017-0157
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Travelpro Products, Inc. of Boca Raton, Florida, United States of America ("United States"), represented by Akerman LLP, United States.
The Respondent is Isaac Goldstein of London, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland ("United Kingdom").
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <travlpro.com> (the "Domain Name") was registered with Socrates 888, LLC (the "Registrar") on April 21, 2016 in the name of Whois Privacy Shield Services of Irvine, California in the United States.
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the "Center") on January 26, 2017. On January 27, 2017, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the Domain Name. On February 2, 2017, the Registrar transmitted by email to the Center its verification response disclosing the underlying registrant (behind the privacy shield) of the Domain Name as the Respondent and provided contact information as stated in the Complaint. The Center sent an email communication to the Complainant on February 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 February 9, 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 February 13, 2017. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was March 5, 2017. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent's default on March 6, 2017.
The Center appointed William P. Knight as the sole panelist in this matter on March 17, 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 designs and manufactures wheeled luggage for flight crews and frequent travelers worldwide. It offers its products online and through stores in the United States, international retailers, and online retailers. The company was founded in 1987 and is based in Boca Raton, Florida
The Domain Name was registered on April 21, 2016 and does not appear ever to have been used for any purpose other than as a "parking page" with links that redirect those happening upon it to, amongst other things, websites offering products not made or sold by the Complainant.
5. Parties' Contentions
In accordance with paragraph 4(a) of the Policy, the Complainant asserts:
(i) that the Domain Name is identical or confusingly similar to the TRAVELPRO trademarks;
(ii) that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Domain Name;
(iii) that the Domain Name has been registered and used in bad faith.
The Complainant asserts that the TRAVELPRO trademarks are well known as a consequence of three decades of use around the world and that it has the benefit of numerous registered trademarks in many countries, including the United Kingdom, the supposed location of the Respondent. The Complainant's principal website is located at "www.travelpro.com".
The Domain Name differs from the Complainant's TRAVELPRO trademarks only by the omission of the letter "E". According to the Complainant, this has the obvious potential to cause confusion with the TRAVELPRO trademarks and the Complainant's own domain name.
The Complainant says that the Respondent has no genuine business under the name "Travlpro", the use of the Domain Name for a parking page not being sufficient to amount to a genuine business and, as such, the Domain Name is not being used for a legitimate noncommercial or fair use.
The Complainant relies on numerous authorities to argue that the Respondent's use of the Domain Name is in bad faith, in the sense required by the Policy, and points out, further, that the Respondent has a history of findings against him on the bad faith use of domain names identical or substantially similar to trademarks of third-party complainants.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complaint.
6. Discussion and Findings
The onus is on the Complainant to prove each of the three elements set out in paragraph 4(a) of the Policy. The Respondent has had the opportunity to respond to the Complaint, and has failed to do so. The Respondent should not be in a better position by failing to respond than if she had chosen to take advantage of the opportunity afforded to her, expressly, by paragraph 4(c) of the Policy.
Paragraph 15(a) of the Rules instructs the Panel to decide a complaint on the basis of the statements and documents submitted in accordance with the Policy, the Rules and any rules and principles of law that it deems applicable. The onus upon the Complainant will be satisfied if a conclusion which is capable of being drawn from the evidence provided by the Complainant is not contradicted by the Respondent in the absence of any response from the Respondent; see Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc. v. Lauren Raymond, WIPO Case No. D2000-0007; Ronson Plc v. Unimetal Sanayi ve Tic.A.S., WIPO Case No. D2000-0011, among numerous other previous UDRP decisions.
The Panel may also conduct limited factual research with matters of public record that are readily available to it, even when the Complainant has not made the minimal effort required to bring such matters expressly to the attention of the Panel; see WIPO Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions, Second Edition ("WIPO Overview 2.0"), paragraph 4.5.
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The Panel notes that the Complainant, in fact, is not the named registered owner of the trademarks referred to in the Complaint, but rather, the trademarks are registered to Travelpro International Inc. While the Complainant should have evidenced sufficient rights in the trademarks to bring the Complaint, the Panel notes that this corporation and the Complainant are related, the Complainant being the principal trading entity using these trademarks in commerce. Under these circumstances, the Panel finds that this is sufficient to establish the rights of the Complainant under the Policy.
Placed side-by-side, the similarity of the TRAVELPRO trademark and the Domain Name is self-evident. Numerous decisions under the Policy have found that a domain name which has been registered by a respondent because it contains a common or obvious misspelling of a trademark normally (referred to as "typosquatting") will be found to be confusingly similar to such trademark, where the misspelled trademark remains the dominant or principal component of the domain name; see WIPO Overview 2.0, paragraph 1.10.
The Panel therefore finds that the Complainant has sufficient trademark rights and that the Domain Name is confusingly similar, if not nearly identical, to the TRAVELPRO trademark.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
There appears to be no legitimate explanation for the similarity between the Domain Name and the Complainant's TRAVELPRO trademark and the Respondent has chosen not to provide one.
The TRAVELPRO trademarks have been used internationally for 30 years and there can be no doubt that they are distinctive in relation to luggage products and related goods and services. It is well-established under the Policy that, subject to certain exceptions of no application in this case, use of a domain name to post parking and landing pages or PPC links may be permissible in some circumstances, but would not of itself confer rights or legitimate interests arising from a "bona fide offering of goods or services" or from "legitimate noncommercial or fair use" of the domain name, especially where resulting in a connection to goods or services competitive with those of the rights holder; see WIPO Overview 2.0, paragraph 2.6.
The Panel accordingly finds that, in the absence of a credible explanation from the Respondent, the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Domain Name.
C. Registration and Use in Bad Faith
WIPO Overview 2.0, paragraph 2.6 further states that, where a domain name has clearly been chosen because of its close connection to a complainant's trademark, such practices have generally been found to be unfair use resulting in misleading diversion, as required by paragraph 4(a)(iii) and exemplified in paragraph 4(b) of the Policy.
The Panel is mindful that the "parking" of a domain name often results in computer programs of the parking service provider automatically generating the links displayed on the page appearing on the parked domain name. In this case, the reference to the TRAVELPRO trademark most likely resulted in links to websites of those offering luggage, including luggage of manufacturers unrelated to the Complainant. However, as WIPO Overview 2.0, paragraph 3.8 states, "a domain name registrant will normally be deemed responsible for content appearing on a website at its domain name, even if such registrant may not be exercising direct control over such content - for example, in the case of advertising links appearing on an "automatically" generated basis. To the extent that the presence of certain advertising or links under such arrangement may constitute evidence of bad faith use of the relevant domain name, such presence would usually be attributed to the registrant unless it can show some good faith attempt toward preventing inclusion of advertising or links which profit from trading on third-party trademarks. It may not be necessary for the registrant itself to have profited directly under such arrangement in order to establish bad faith use under paragraph 4(b)(iv) of the UDRP. It would normally be sufficient to show that profit or "commercial gain" was made by a third party, such as by the operator of an advertising revenue arrangement applicable to the registrant, or a domain name parking service used by the registrant. Reasons may include that a rights holder should be able to rely on the registrant for enforcement purposes, or that such registrant has undertaken not to infringe third party rights in its registration agreement (see paragraph 2 of the UDRP)."
Moreover, it is no coincidence that the Domain Name comprises an obvious misspelling of the Complainant's trademark, suggesting that the Respondent specifically chose the Domain Name with the Complainant's trademark in mind. It is not inapposite that the Respondent is a serial cybersquatter, as demonstrated by a string of decisions under the Policy against him; see, for example, the recent decisions in Comerica Bank v. Isaac Goldstein, WIPO Case No. D2015-1997 (possibly the same Respondent, although in that case said to be of Hong Kong, China) and The American Automobile Assoc., Inc. v. aaaaautoinsurance.com Privacy--Protect.org, aaanetaccess.com Privacy--Protect.org, aaanetacceess.com Privacy--Protect.org, Isaac Goldstein, WIPO Case No. D2011-2069 (this Isaac Goldstein again being from Hong Kong, China). A person identified as Isaac Goldstein of Hong Kong has also been a respondent in numerous other decisions under the Policy: Sharekhan Limited v. Isaac Goldstein, Er Bai Wu, WIPO Case No. D2011-1232; Rocket Publishing Co., Inc. v. Isaac Goldstein, WIPO Case No. D2011-0578; Bayer HealthCare LLC v. Isaac Goldstein, WIPO Case No. D2011-0581; VIRBAC v. PrivacyProtect.org, Mantow Tian, Preventic China Systems, Isaac Goldstein, WIPO Case No. D2011-0026; Scripps Networks, LLC v. Isaac Goldstein, WIPO Case No. DCO2010-0026; L.A. Fitness International, LLC v. Isaac Goldstein, WIPO Case No. DCO2010-0007; General Motors LLC v. Isaac Goldstein, unlisted media, WIPO Case No. D2010-0450; ChemRite CoPac, Inc. v. Isaac Goldstein, WIPO Case No. D2010-0279; Hoffman-La Roche Inc. v. Isaac Goldstein, WIPO Case No. D2012-1682; RE/MAX, LLC v. Privacy--Protect.org / Isaac Goldstein / Hulmiho Ukolen, Shlomo Icik, WIPO Case No. D2013-2036; Thule Sweden AB v. Isaac Goldstein, WIPO Case No. D2013-2152; Compagnie Générale des Etablissements Michelin v. Isaac Goldstein, Hulmiho Ukolen, Poste restante/Domain Admin, Whois protection, this company does not own this domain name s.r.o., WIPO Case No. D2015-1787; Chocoladefabriken Lindt & Sprüngli AG v. Isaac Goldstein, WIPO Case No. D2015-2168; Travelscape, LLC v. Isaac Goldstein, WIPO Case No. D2016-0376 and PN II, Inc. v. Isaac Goldstein, WIPO Case No. D2016-0765. One should be cautious in jumping to a conclusion that the Respondent in these proceedings is the same as the person of the same name in all these other cases. The only added consideration for thinking this to be the case is that the address of the Respondent in these proceedings was allowed by the Registrar to be recorded as "POSTE RESTANTE" at the Aldwych Post Office in London, which would rather suggest that the Respondent is concealing his address elsewhere, perhaps as a consequence of the Comerica decision naming him as a serial cybersquatter.
The Panel readily concludes that the Domain Name was registered and is being used by the Respondent in bad faith.
The Panel orders that the Domain Name, <travlpro.com>, be transferred to the Complainant.
William P. Knight
Date: March 24, 2017