WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Littlethings, Inc. v. Milen Radumilo
Case No. D2017-0745
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Littlethings, Inc. of New York, New York, United States of America ("United States"), represented by Klein Moynihan Turco LLP, United States.
The Respondent is Milen Radumilo of Bucharest, Romania.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <litlethings.com> (the "Domain Name") is registered with Tucows Inc. (the "Registrar").
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the "Center") on April 13, 2017. That day the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the Domain Name. On April 13, 2017, 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 employed reasonably available means calculated to achieve actual notice to the Respondent of the Complaint, and the proceedings commenced on April 27, 2017. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was May 17, 2017. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent's default on May 22, 2017.
The Center appointed Alan L. Limbury as the sole panelist in this matter on May 31, 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.
The language of the proceedings is English, being the language of the Registration Agreement.
4. Factual Background
The Complainant is the registrant of United States trademarks Nos. 4,842,393 LITTLETHINGS registered on October 27, 2015 and 4,998,319 LITTLETHINGS.COM registered on July 12, 2016, both in connection with media publishing and website-related services. It operates a website at "www.littlethings.com" which has over 50 million monthly visitors. The Complainant and its marks are well-known and have been the subject of substantial media attention.
The Domain Name was registered by the Respondent on December 29, 2016, using a privacy service. It leads to a website at "litlethings.com" which, when accessed by Internet users mistyping the Complainant's website address into their browser, caused the computer screen to be filled with pop-up windows stating that the computer had been hacked, infected or otherwise compromised and instructing the user to call a toll-free number for "technical support services" to repair the purported computer problem. Pop-ups of this kind are typically designed so that consumers are unable to close or navigate around them, rendering consumers' web browsers unusable. An employee of the Complainant who found himself in this situation, having mistyped the Complainant's website address, managed to restore normality by using the Control Alt Delete keys.
5. Parties' Contentions
The Domain Name is confusingly similar to the Complainant's marks and the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests with respect to the Domain Name, which was registered and is being used in bad faith.
As to legitimacy, the Complainant says the Respondent has made no use of the Domain Name in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services, such as in connection with its generic or descriptive meaning. Instead, the Respondent has traded off the Complainant's rights in the marks, registering and using the Domain Name in conjunction with the Respondent's website to deceive and defraud the Complainant's customers for commercial gain, misleadingly diverting consumers from the Complainant's website.
As to bad faith, the Complainant says it is obvious that the aim of the Respondent's registration of the Domain Name was to disrupt the business of the Complainant and take advantage of the confusion between the Domain Name and the Complainant's marks. Upon information and belief, users that called the toll-free number actually reached telemarketers, who subjected the Respondent's victims to deceptive and high-pressure sales tactics to collect payments for purported "repairs" that were unnecessary or even harmful to the users' computers. Upon information and belief, the Respondent generated revenue through the Domain Name and website by defrauding the Complainant's customers into paying for phony "tech support" services. This practice is known as "browser hijacking". See complaint, FTC v. Global Access Technical Support LLC, No. 16-cv-1556 (E.D. Mo. Oct. 3, 2016), athttp://bit.ly/FTCbrowserhijacking.
In addition, with respect to this same Respondent, the administrative panel has held that a finding of bad-faith use and registration "is supported by the fact that the Respondent has already been involved in many UDRP proceedings where bad faith was found." Immochan v. Milen Radumilo, WIPO Case No. D2017-0113 (March 7, 2017).
On March 28, 2017, the Complainant notified the Registrar of the Respondent's activities in connection with the Domain Name. In response, the Registrar cancelled the Respondent's WhoIs privacy service and revealed the Respondent's true identity and contact information.
The Respondent is a repeat offender who regularly registers and uses in bad faith domain names that are confusingly similar to the trademarks and service marks of others, as the administrative panel has found on no fewer than eighteen occasions. See, e.g., Immochan v. Milen Radumilo, WIPO Case No. D2017-0113 (March 7, 2017); Intesa Sanpaolo S.p.A. v. Milen Radumilo, WIPO Case No. D2016-2648 (Feb. 22, 2017); Intesa Sanpaolo S.p.A. v. Milen Radumilo, WIPO Case No. D2016-2618 (Feb. 16, 2017); Compagnie Générale des Etablissements Michelin v. Milen Radumilo, WIPO Case No. D2016-2636 (February 7, 2017); Natixis v. Milen Radumilo, WIPO Case No. D2016-2277 (December 15, 2016); Valero Energy Corporation and Valero Marketing and Supply Company v. Perfect Privacy LLC / Milen Radumilo, WIPO Case No. D2016-2173 (December 9, 2016); Andrey Ternovskiy dba Chatroulette v. Milen Radumilo, WIPO Case No. D2016-1926 (November 7, 2016); BASF SE v. Perfect Privacy LLC / Milen Radumilo, WIPO Case No. D2016-1851 (November 7, 2016); Cereria Terenzi Evelino S.r.l. v. Perfect Privacy, LLC / Milen Radumilo, WIPO Case No. D2016-1755 (October 7, 2016); Intesa Sanpaolo S.p.A. v. Milen Radumilo, WIPO Case No. D2016-1561 (September 30, 2016); Swatch AG v. Perfect Privacy, LLC / Milen Radumilo, WIPO Case No. D2016-1370 (August 28, 2016); Accenture Global Services Limited v. Milen Radumilo, WIPO Case No. D2016-1219 (August 4, 2016); Banco Davivienda S.A. v. Milen Radumilo, WIPO Case No. D2016-0912 (July 4, 2016); Fenix Outdoor AB v. Milen Radumilo, WIPO Case No. D2016-0333 (April 12, 2016); Celgene Corporation v. Milen Radumilo, WIPO Case No. D2016-0018 (February 22, 2016); Intesa Sanpaolo S.p.A. v. Privacy Protection Service, Communigal Communication Ltd / Milen Radumilo, WIPO Case No. D2015-2290 (February 17, 2016); Carrefour v. Milen Radumilo / United Privacy Corp, WIPO Case No. D2015-1851 (December 22, 2015); and Bharti Airtel Limited v. Milen Radumilo, WIPO Case No. D2015-1948 (December 7, 2015).
The Complainant seeks the transfer to it of the Domain Name.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant's contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
In accordance with paragraph 4(a) of the Policy, to obtain transfer of the Domain Name, the Complainant must prove the following three elements: (i) the Respondent's 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 the Domain Name; and (iii) the Respondent has registered the Domain Name and is using it in bad faith.
Under paragraph 15(a) of the Rules, "A Panel shall decide a complaint on the basis of the statements and documents submitted and in accordance with the Policy, these Rules and any rules and principles of law that it deems applicable".
A respondent is not obliged to participate in a proceeding under the Policy, but if it fails to do so, asserted facts may be taken as true and reasonable inferences may be drawn from the information provided by the complainant. See Reuters Limited v. Global Net 2000, Inc, WIPO Case No. D2000-0441.
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The Domain Name is an obvious misspelling of each the Complainant's registered trademarks LITTLETHINGS and LITTLETHINGS.COM and is confusingly similar to them.
The Complainant has established this element.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
The Complainant has provided evidence that the LITTLETHINGS and LITTLETHINGS.COM marks are distinctive and widely known. The Complainant's assertions are sufficient to constitute a prima facie showing of absence of rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Domain Name on the part of the Respondent. The evidentiary burden therefore shifts to the Respondent to show that it does have rights or legitimate interests in the Domain Name. See Cassava Enterprises Limited, Cassava Enterprises (Gibraltar) Limited v. Victor Chandler International Limited, WIPO Case No. D2004-0753. The Respondent has made no attempt to do so.
Accordingly, the Panel finds that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Domain Name.
The Complainant has established this element.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
Based on the sworn evidence of the Complainant's employee as to his experience of inadvertently visiting the Respondent's website; the failure of the Respondent to respond to the Complaint and the Respondent's history of bad faith registration and use of domain names; the Panel finds this to be a case of typosquatting in that, by using the Domain Name, the Respondent has intentionally attempted to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to its website, by creating a likelihood of confusion with the Complainant's mark as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation, or endorsement of the Respondent's website. These circumstances are evidence of both bad faith registration and bad faith use, as set out in the Policy, paragraph 4(b).
The Complainant has established this element.
For the foregoing reasons, in accordance with paragraphs 4(i) of the Policy and 15 of the Rules, the Panel orders that the Domain Name, <litlethings.com>, be transferred to the Complainant.
Alan L. Limbury
Date: June 5, 2017