WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
TP-Link International Limited v. Gurdeep Pal Singh
Case No. D2017-0951
1. The Parties
The Complainant is TP-Link International Limited of Los Angeles, California, United States of America (“United States” or “USA”), represented by LTL Attorneys LLP, United States.
The Respondent is Gurdeep Pal Singh of Ropar, Punjab, India.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <tplinkrepeaternet.net> (“the Domain Name”) is registered with GoDaddy.com, LLC (the “Registrar”).
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on May 11, 2017. On May 11, 2017, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the Domain Name. On May 11, 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 formally notified the Respondent of the Complaint, and the proceedings commenced on June 1, 2017. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was June 21, 2017. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on June 22, 2017.
The Center appointed Dawn Osborne as the sole panelist in this matter on July 6, 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 a leading manufacturer and seller of computer network hardware products, network software and related network accessories. The Complainant the owner of the registered trade mark TP-LINK in class 9 in China (trade mark No. 1747624, registered on April 14, 2002) and the USA (trade mark No. 3175495, registered on November 21, 2006), registered first in time in 2002 in relation to computer network interconnection hardware.
The Domain Name, registered in 2016, offers competing computer network related goods and services not connected to the Complainant.
5. Parties’ Contentions
The Complainant’s submissions can be summarised as follows:
The Complainant is the owner of the registered trade mark TP-LINK, registered in China and the United States and used since 1996 in relation to computer network interconnection hardware.
The Respondent is using the Domain Name to present itself as an authorised TP-LINK service provider and attempting to generate revenue for itself by providing technical support services using the Complainant’s TP-LINK mark and the Complainant’s copyrighted images to cause confusion.
The Domain Name, registered in 2016, is confusingly similar to the Complainant’s TP-LINK trade mark incorporating it in its entirety.
The Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the Domain Name because the Respondent has no product or service that relates to the TP-LINK registered trade mark and never has. The Respondent is not commonly known by the Domain Name, nor has it been used for a bona fide offering of services or a legitimate noncommercial or fair use. The Complainant has no relationship with the Respondent and has never authorised the Respondent to use the Domain Name or the TP LINK mark. The services offered at the Domain Name are not authorised by the Complainant.
The Respondent intentionally attempted to attract for commercial gain Internet users to the website attached to the Domain Name by creating a likelihood of confusion with the Complainant’s mark as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation or endorsement of the website or a service on that website. The website attached to the Domain Name prominently features advertisements related to networking products and services designed to appear to be endorsed by the Complainant.
The Respondent did not respond to a cease and desist letter sent by the Complainant.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
A. Identical and/or Confusingly Similar
The Complainant is a provider of computer network hardware and related services and is the owner of the TP-LINK trademark in the United States and China with first registration recorded as 2002.
The Domain Name consists of a name identical to the Complainant’s registered mark TP–LINK, minus the hyphen, plus the generic words “repeater” and “net” and the generic Top Level-Domain (“gTLD”) “.net”. The addition of the generic words “repeater” and “net” does not serve to distinguish the Domain Name from the Complainant’s TP-LINK mark especially bearing in mind that they relate to the business of computer hardware. The gTLD “.net” is typically disregarded for the purposes of assessment of confusing similarity as a TLD is a necessary component of a domain name. The omission of the hyphen is unlikely to be noticed by consumers as mere punctuation.
Accordingly, the Panel finds that the Domain Name is confusingly similar to a mark in which the Complainant has rights for the purpose of the Policy.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
It is clear from the evidence that the Respondent has used the site attached to the Domain Name to promote goods and services in competition with those of the Complainant. It is clear from the content of the site that the Respondent was aware of the significance of the name “TP-LINK” at the time of registration as the site attached to the Domain Name uses the Complainant’s mark and this includes a form very similar to the official logo used and registered as a trade mark by the Complainant. The usage is not fair as the site uses a mark very similar to the Complainant’s logo and does not make it clear that there is no commercial connection with the Complainant. The Panel finds this use confusing. As such it cannot amount to the bona fide offering of goods and services. The Respondent has not answered this Complaint and has not provided any legitimate reason why it should be able to use the Complainant’s name and logo for the same and competing business. As such the Panel finds that the Respondent does not have rights or a legitimate interest in the Domain Name and that the Complainant has satisfied the second limb of the Policy.
C. Registration and Use in Bad Faith
The Complainant alleges that the Respondent’s use of the site is commercial and it is using it to make profit from products and services which compete with the Complainant in a confusing manner. The content of the Respondent’s website makes it clear that it was aware of the Complainant’s rights at the time of registration. It seems clear that the use of a logo highly similar to the Complainant’s logo would cause people to associate the website at the Domain Name with the Complainant and its business and goods (the allegation that the Respondent has used the Complainant’s copyright images is noted, but is not proven on the papers and so has not been taken into account).
Accordingly, the Panel holds that the Respondent has intentionally attempted to attract for commercial gain Internet users to its website by creating likelihood of confusion with the Complainant’s trade marks as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation or endorsement of the website sufficient to satisfy paragraph 4(b)(iv) of the Policy.
As such, the Panel believes that the Complainant has made out its case that the Domain Name was registered and used in bad faith and has satisfied the third limb 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 Domain Name <tplinkrepeaternet.net> be transferred to the Complainant.
Date: July 13, 2017