WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Credit Karma, Inc. v. Super Privacy Service c/o Dynadot
Case No. D2017-1030
1. The Parties
Complainant is Credit Karma, Inc. of San Francisco, California, United States of America (“United States”), represented by Reed Smith LLP, United States.
Respondent is Super Privacy Service c/o Dynadot of San Mateo, California, United States.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <credikarmar.com> is registered with Dynadot, LLC (the “Registrar”).
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on May 26, 2017. On May 26, 2017, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On May 28, 2017, the Registrar transmitted by email to the Center its verification response confirming that 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 Respondent of the Complaint, and the proceedings commenced on June 15, 2017. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was July 5, 2017. Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified Respondent’s default on July 7, 2017.
The Center appointed Lorelei Ritchie as the sole panelist in this matter on July 18, 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
Complainant is a company based in San Francisco, California, United States, that provides free credit and financial management services to consumers. Complainant holds several marks for the term CREDIT KARMA and CREDIT KARMA, and design, in the United States, where Respondent lists its address of record, including United States Registration No. 4,014,356 (Registered 2011) and United States Registration No. 5,057,486 (Registered 2016). In accordance with these use-based registrations, Complainant has provided, among other services, consumer credit monitoring services, since at least 2008.
In addition to its trademark registrations, Complainant also owns registrations for domain names incorporating the CREDIT KARMA mark. These include <creditkarma.com> (registered August 30, 2005), and <creditkarma.net> (registered August 16, 2007), and <creditkarma123.com> (registered February 23, 2012). Complainant also owns registrations for various misspellings of domain names that incorporate the CREDIT KARMA mark, including <creditcarma.com> (registered December 6, 2006). The aforementioned all predate the registration of the disputed domain name by Respondent.
The disputed domain name <credikarmar.com> was registered on October 26, 2014. Respondent has no affiliation with Complainant. Respondent has a parked web page at the URL with sponsored links attached thereto, including links to competing information and websites. Complainant has not authorized these activities by Respondent, nor any use of its trademarks thereby.
5. Parties’ Contentions
Complainant contends that (i) the disputed domain name <credikarmar.com> is identical or confusingly similar to Complainant’s trademarks; (ii) Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name; and (iii) Respondent registered and is using the disputed domain name in bad faith.
In particular, Complainant contends that <credikarmar.com> is a deliberate misspelling of what it deems its “famous” mark, CREDIT KARMA. In this regard, Complainant claims to have received equity funding of at least USD 365 million, and that it is currently valued at USD 3.5 billion. Meanwhile, Complainant has over five hundred employees, with expanding locations, and over sixty million members seeking its services.
Complainant has registered domain names with various versions of the mark, CREDIT KARMA, and has even registered domain names containing misspellings thereof. Complainant further asserts that Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name, but that it is using the disputed domain name in bad faith to attract consumers to its parked web page, from which they are directed to sponsored links, including to competing information and websites.
Respondent did not file a reply to Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
This Panel must first determine whether the disputed domain name <credikarmar.com> is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which Complainants have rights in accordance with paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Policy. The Panel finds that it is.
The disputed domain name <credikarmar.com> is virtually identical, and is confusingly similar, to Complainant’s mark, CREDIT KARMA, with the deletion of a letter in the middle and the addition of one at the end. This indicates a practice commonly known as “typosquatting”, where a domain name registrant deliberately registers common misspellings of a well-known mark in order to divert consumer traffic. Other UDRP panels have routinely found typosquatted domain names like this one to be “confusingly similar” for purposes of a finding under the UDRP. See Edmonds.com, Inc. v. Yingkun Guo, WIPO Case No. D2006-0694 (<edunds.com>); Disney Enterprises, Inc. v. John Zuccarini, Cupcake City and Cupcake Patrol, WIPO Case No. D2001-0489 (<disneychanel.com>, <disneywolrd.com>, <walddisney.com>); see also Credit Karma, Inc. v. Domain Admin, WhoIs Privacy Corp., WIPO Case No. D2017-0194 (<credidkarma.com>).
The Panel therefore finds that Complainant has satisfied the first requirement under paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Policy.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
The Policy provides some guidance to respondents on how to demonstrate rights or legitimate interests in the domain name at issue in a UDRP dispute. For example, paragraph 4(c) of the Policy gives examples that might show rights or legitimate interests in a domain name. These examples include: (i) use of the domain name “in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services”; (ii) demonstration that respondent has been “commonly known by the domain name”; or (iii) “legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the domain name, without intent for commercial gain to misleadingly divert consumers or to tarnish the trademark or service mark at issue”.
Respondent did not submit a reply to the Complaint, however and no evidence has been presented to this Panel that might support a claim of Respondent’s rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. Rather, as mentioned in Section 4 of this Panel’s decision, Respondent has used the disputed domain name to divert Internet users via sponsored links.
Therefore, this Panel finds that Complainant has provided sufficient evidence of Respondent’s lack of rights or legitimate interests in accordance with paragraph (4)(a)(ii) of the Policy which Respondent has not rebutted.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
There are several ways that a complainant can demonstrate that a domain name was registered and used in bad faith. For example, paragraph 4(b)(iv) of the Policy states that bad faith can be shown where “by using the domain name [respondent has] intentionally attempted to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to [respondent’s] web site or other on-line location, by creating a likelihood of confusion with the complainant’s mark as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation, or endorsement of [respondent’s] website or location or of a product or service on [the] web site or location”. As noted in Section 4 of this Panel’s decision, Respondent has a parked webpage at the URL associated with the disputed domain name, with sponsored links to other websites, including links to competing information and websites. Hence, Respondent is trading on the goodwill of Complainant’s trademarks to attract Internet users, presumably for Respondent’s own commercial gain. Moreover, even if one considers a parked webpage with sponsored links as passive holding or non-use of a domain name, this would not shield a respondent from a finding of bad faith. See WIPO Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions, Third Edition (“WIPO Overview 3.0”) section 3.3, (“While panelists will look at the totality of the circumstances in each case, factors that have been considered relevant in applying the passive holding doctrine include: (i) the degree of distinctiveness or reputation of the complainant’s mark, (ii) the failure of the respondent to submit a response or to provide any evidence of actual or contemplated good-faith use, (iii) the respondent’s concealing its identity or use of false contact details (noted to be in breach of its registration agreement), and (iv) the implausibility of any good faith use to which the domain name may be put.”) Rather, a panel must examine “all of the circumstances” including, for example, whether complainant has a well-known trademark, and whether respondent conceals his/her identity and/or replies to the complaint. Respondent here did not respond to the Complaint, and appears to have taken steps to maintain a cloaked identity, even from the Registrar. Meanwhile, the Panel finds it hard to believe that Respondent was not aware of Complainant when registering the disputed domain name.
Therefore, this Panel finds that Respondent registered and used the disputed domain name in bad faith in accordance with paragraph 4(a)(iii) 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 <credikarmar.com> be transferred to Complainant.
Dated: July 24, 2017