WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center

ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION

Credit Karma, Inc. v. M&K NZ / MK NZ

Case No. D2017-0910

1. The Parties

The Complainant is Credit Karma, Inc. of San Francisco, California, United States of America ("United States" or "U.S."), represented by Reed Smith LLP, United States.

The Respondent is M&K NZ / MK NZ of Glenside, Wellington, New Zealand.

2. The Disputed Domain Names and Registrar

The disputed domain names <annualcreditkarma.com>, <carmacredit.com>, <creditkarmar.com>, <creditscorekarma.com>, <freecreditscorekarma.com>, <kreditcarma.com>, <kreditkarma.org> and <kreditkharma.com> (the "Disputed Domain Names") are registered with Dynadot, LLC (the "Registrar").

3. Procedural History

The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the "Center") on May 5, 2017. On May 5, 2017, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the Disputed Domain Names. On May 8, 2017, the Registrar transmitted by email to the Center its verification response disclosing registrant and contact information for the Disputed Domain Names which differed from the named Respondent and contact information in the Complaint. The Center sent an email communication to the Complainant on May 9, 2017 providing the registrant and contact information disclosed by the Registrar, and inviting the Complainant to submit an amended Complaint. The Complainant filed an amended Complaint on May 15, 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 May 24, 2017. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was June 13, 2017. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent's default on June 14, 2017.

The Center appointed Michael D. Cover as the sole panelist in this matter on June 21, 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 has over 500 employees and more than 60 million consumer members in the U.S. and Canada and has a reported valuation of USD 3.5 billion, with operating revenues of USD 350 million.

The Complainant is the proprietor of various registered trademarks in the United States consisting of or incorporating the words "Credit Karma", for example, U.S. trademark registration no. 4014356, registered on August 23, 2011. The Panel will refer to these as the CREDIT KARMA trademarks in this Decision.

The Complainant also is the proprietor of a large number of domain names which comprise the name "Credit Karma" or close variations of that name.

Since 2007, the Complainant has used the CREDIT KARMA trademarks in connection with a free credit and financial management platform giving consumers in the United States and Canada access to various credit‑related services.

The Disputed Domain Names were registered between August, 2009 and May, 2012.

5. Parties' Contentions

A. Complainant

Confusingly Similarity

The Complainant submits that its CREDIT KARMA trademarks are famous and enjoy wide-reaching reputation in connection with high quality personal finance products and services.

The Complainant submits that the Disputed Domain Names are identical or confusingly similar to the Complainant's CREDIT KARMA trademarks. The Complainant notes that the only difference between the Disputed Domain Names and the Complainant's CREDIT KARMA trademarks is the addition and/or the substitution of one or two letters in the words "Credit" and "Karma" or the addition of the generic descriptors "free", "score" or "annual". The Complainant submits that these changes and additions are insufficient to distinguish the Disputed Domain Names from the Complainant's CREDIT KARMA trademarks. The Complainant notes that, on numerous occasions, UDRP panels have held that misspellings and the addition of generic or descriptive matter does not serve to distinguish a disputed domain name from a complainant's trademark and cites various decisions in support.

Rights or Legitimate Interests

The Complainant submits that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Disputed Domain Names. In particular, the Respondent has not at any time been commonly known by the Disputed Domain Names, has not used or made demonstrable preparations to use the Disputed Domain Names and is not making a legitimate noncommercial of fair use of the Disputed Domain Names. The Complainant also notes that the Complainant has not licensed the Respondent to use the CREDIT KARMA trademarks and that the Respondent is not otherwise authorized to act on the Complainant's behalf.

The Complainant concludes that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Disputed Domain Names.

Registered and Used in Bad Faith

The Complainant submits that the Disputed Domain Names have been registered and are being used in bad faith. The Complainant notes that any use of the Disputed Domain Names would constitute an infringement of its CREDIT KARMA trademarks. The Complainant notes that the Disputed Domain Names are being used solely to divert consumers to a website at <creditify.com> and to a third party search page that contains pay-per-click advertisements and links to competitors of the Complainant.

The Complainant concludes that the Disputed Domain Names have been registered and are being used in bad faith.

Remedy Requested

The Complainant requests that the Panel decide that the Disputed Domain Names be transferred to the Complainant.

B. Respondent

The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant's contentions.

6. Discussion and Findings

6.1. Consolidation – Multiple Domain Names

The Complainant has submitted that while one of the Disputed Domain Names does not include the ampersand symbol in its name, all of the Disputed Domain Names are commonly controlled by the same registrant, because they are registered with the same registrar, Dynadot LLC, and that the WhoIs records for the Disputed Domain Names all list the same street, city, postal code, country, telephone number and email address for the registrant, administrative, technical and billing contacts. The Complainant also notes that all but one of the Disputed Domain Names resolve to the same website at the domain name <creditify.com> and submits that the Disputed Domain Names should be dealt with in the same proceeding.

Paragraph 3(c) of the Rules provides that the complaint may relate to more than one domain name, provided that the domain names are registered by the same domain name holder. That is the case in this proceeding, so it is perfectly in order for the Panel to deal with all the Disputed Domain Names in one Decision resulting from one Complaint.

6.2. The Substantive Issues

The Complainant must demonstrate on the balance of probabilities that the Disputed Domain Names are identical or confusingly similar to a trademark in which the Complainant has rights, that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Disputed Domain Names and that the Disputed Domain Names have been registered and are being used in bad faith.

A. Identical or Confusingly Similar

The Panel accepts that the Complainant has established both registered and common law rights in its CREDIT KARMA trademarks. The Complainant owns a number of registered trademarks in the United States and uses a large number of domain names in connection with its business, those domain names all having the common element of the words "Credit Karma" or close variations of these words. The Complainant has developed substantial revenue under the CREDIT KARMA trademarks and these trademarks have become well known as a result.

The Panel will refer to the Disputed Domain Names as such in this Decision and not distinguish between them. They may be slightly different but they all contain the elements "creditkarma", in some cases slightly misspelt, and, in one case, reversed.

The Panel also accepts the Complainant's submission that the Disputed Domain Names are confusingly similar to the Complainant's trademark CREDIT KARMA. It is well established that slight misspellings or the addition of a Top-Level Domain ("gTLD") or other non-distinctive element is not sufficient to avoid confusing similarity.

The Panel accordingly finds that the Disputed Domain Names are confusingly similar to the Complainant's CREDIT KARMA trademark and that paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Policy is satisfied.

B. Rights or Legitimate Interests

The Panel accepts that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the Disputed Domain Names. The Panel notes that the Complainant has not authorized or licensed the Respondent to use the CREDIT KARMA trademarks and that the Respondent is not affiliated to the Complainant.

It is a reasonable inference that the Respondent was aware of the Complainant's well-known CREDIT KARMA trademarks when it registered the Disputed Domain Names. There is no evidence that the Respondent has used or prepared to use the Disputed Domain Names for a bona fide offerings of goods and services or for legitimate noncommercial purposes, and nor is there any evidence that the Respondent was commonly known by the Disputed Domain Names, so those avenues are not available to the Respondent.

The Panel accordingly finds that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the Disputed Domain Names and that paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy has been met.

C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith

The Panel accepts the submissions of the Complainant on this head and finds that the Disputed Domain Names have been registered and are being used in bad faith. The Disputed Domain Names resolve to a website at the domain name <creditify.com> and to a third party search page that contains pay-per-click advertisements and links to competitors of the Complainant. Accordingly, it is unlikely that the Respondent was not aware of the Complainant's CREDIT KARMA trademark at the time of the registration; and the Respondent apparently attempts to attract Internet users to its websites at the Disputed Domain Names by creating a likelihood of confusion with the Complainant's CREDIT KARMA trademark for the purpose of commercial gain.

The Panel accordingly finds that the Disputed Domain Names have been registered and are being used in bad faith and that paragraph 4(a)(iii) of the Policy has been satisfied.

7. Decision

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 Names, <annualcreditkarma.com>, <carmacredit.com>, <creditkarmar.com>, <creditscorekarma.com>, <freecreditscorekarma.com>, <kreditcarma.com>, <kreditkarma.org> and <kreditkharma.com>, be transferred to the Complainant.

Michael D. Cover
Sole Panelist
Date: July 5, 2017