WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Navasard Limited v. Konstantin Anel, IP Anel
Case No. D2017-1178
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Navasard Limited of Limassol, Cyprus, represented by Giorgos Landas LLC, Cyprus.
The Respondent is Konstantin Anel, IP Anel of Cheboksary, the Russian Federation.
2. The Domain Names and Registrar
The disputed domain names <1xbet.football>, <1xbet.hockey> and <1xbet.tennis> are registered with Tucows Inc. (the "Registrar").
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the "Center") on June 16, 2017. On June 16, 2017, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain names. On the same day, 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 20, 2017. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was July 10, 2017. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent's default on July 11, 2017.
The Center appointed Edoardo Fano as the sole panelist in this matter on July 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.
The Panel has not received any requests from the Complainant or the Respondent regarding further submissions, waivers or extensions of deadlines, and the Panel has not found it necessary to request any further information from the Parties.
Having reviewed the communication records in the case file provided by the Center, the Panel finds that the Center has discharged its responsibility under the Rules, paragraph 2(a), "to employ reasonably available means calculated to achieve actual notice to Respondent". Therefore, the Panel shall issue its Decision based upon the Complaint, the Policy, the Rules and the Supplemental Rules and without the benefit of a response from the Respondent.
The language of the proceeding is English, being the language of the Registration Agreement, as per paragraph 11(a) of the Rules.
4. Factual Background
The Complainant is Navasard Limited, one of the most recognized online sports betting companies in Eastern Europe, owning the following trademark registrations in the European Union for 1XBET:
- European Union Trade Mark Registration No. 013914254 1XBET and logo, registered on July 27, 2015;
- European Union Trade Mark Registration No. 014227681 1XBET, registered on September 21, 2015.
The Complainant is operating on the Internet through affiliated companies and licensees using several domain names, among them <1xbet.com>, <1-x-bet.com> and <1x-bet.com>.
The Complainant provided evidence in support of the above.
The disputed domain names <1xbet.football>, <1xbet.hockey> and <1xbet.tennis> were registered on June 20, 2016. At the time of filing the Complaint, the disputed domain names did not resolve to an active webpage.
The Complainant was informed of the registration of the disputed domain names by the Trademark Clearinghouse service and sent two cease-and-desist letters by mail to the Respondent on June 23 and 28, 2016; the Respondent did not reply.
5. Parties' Contentions
The Complainant states that the disputed domain names <1xbet.football>, <1xbet.hockey> and <1xbet.tennis> are confusingly similar to its trademark 1XBET.
Moreover, the Complainant asserts that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain names since it has not been authorized by the Complainant to register the disputed domain names or to use its trademark within the disputed domain names, nor is the Respondent commonly known by the disputed domain names.
The Complainant submits that the Respondent has registered and is using the disputed domain names in bad faith, regardless of the fact the disputed domain names are not actually used, since the Respondent used as extensions popular sports for betting, misleading the potential Complainant's clients and preventing the Complainant from using the disputed domain names in the future.
The Respondent has made no reply to the Complainant's contentions and is in default. In reference to paragraphs 5(e) and 14 of the Rules, no exceptional circumstances explaining the default have been put forward or are apparent from the record.
A respondent is not obliged to participate in a proceeding under the Policy, but if it fails to do so, reasonable facts asserted by a complainant may be taken as true, and appropriate inferences, in accordance with paragraph 14(b) of the Rules, may be drawn (see, e.g., Reuters Limited v. Global Net 2000, Inc, WIPO Case No. D2000-0441; Microsoft Corporation v. Freak Films Oy, WIPO Case No. D2003-0109; SSL INTERNATIONAL PLC v. MARK FREEMAN, WIPO Case No. D2000-1080; ALTAVISTA COMPANY v. GRANDTOTAL FINANCES LIMITED et. al., WIPO Case No. D2000-0848; Confédération Nationale du Crédit Mutuel, Caisse Fédérale du Crédit Mutuel Nord Europe v. Marketing Total S.A., WIPO Case No. D2007-0288).
6. Discussion and Findings
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The Panel finds that the Complainant is the owner of the trademark 1XBET both by registration and acquired reputation and that the disputed domain names <1xbet.football>, <1xbet.hockey> and <1xbet.tennis> are confusingly similar to the trademark 1XBET.
It is also well accepted that a Top-Level Domain ("TLD"), in this case ".football", ".hockey" and ".tennis", may be ignored when assessing the similarity between a trademark and a domain name (see, e.g., VAT Holding AG v. Vat.com, WIPO Case No. D2000-0607). The disputed domain names incorporate the Complainant's 1XBET trademark in its entirety without alteration or addition.
The Panel finds that the Complainant has therefore met its burden of proving that the disputed domain names are confusingly similar to the Complainant's trademark, pursuant to the Policy, paragraph 4(a)(i).
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
The Respondent has failed to file a response in accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5.
The Complainant in its Complaint and as set out above has established a prima facie case that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain names. It asserts that the Respondent is not using the disputed domain names for a legitimate noncommercial or fair use or in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services.
The prima facie case presented by the Complainant is enough to shift the burden of production to the Respondent to demonstrate that it has rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain names. However, the Respondent has not presented any evidence of any rights or legitimate interests it may have in the disputed domain names, and the Panel is unable to establish any such interests on the basis of the evidence in front of it.
The Panel therefore finds that paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy has been satisfied.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
Paragraph 4(b) of the Policy provides that "for the purposes of paragraph 4(a)(iii) of the Policy, the following circumstances, in particular but without limitation, if found by the Panel to be present, shall be evidence of the registration and use of a domain name in bad faith:
(i) circumstances indicating that [the respondent has] registered or has acquired the domain name primarily for the purpose of selling, renting, or otherwise transferring the domain name registration to the complainant who is the owner of the trademark or service mark or to a competitor of the complainant, for valuable consideration in excess of its documented out-of-pocket costs directly related to the domain name; or
(ii) that [the respondent has] registered the domain name in order to prevent the owner of the trademark or service mark from reflecting the mark in a corresponding domain name, provided that [the respondent has] engaged in a pattern of such conduct; or
(iii) that [the respondent has] registered the domain name primarily for the purpose of disrupting the business of a competitor; or
(iv) that by using the domain name, [the respondent has] intentionally attempted to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to [the respondent's] website or other online location, by creating a likelihood of confusion with the complainant's mark as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation, or endorsement of [the respondent's] website or location or of a product or service on [the respondent's] website or location."
Regarding the registration in bad faith of the disputed domain names, the notoriety of the Complainant's trademark 1XBET in the field of sport betting is clearly established, and the Panel finds that the Respondent knew that the disputed domain names <1xbet.football>, <1xbet.hockey> and <1xbet.tennis> were confusingly similar to the Complainant's trademark at the time of registration. This is also confirmed by the fact that the TLDs under which the Respondent registered the disputed domain names correspond to very popular sports.
As regards to the use in bad faith, the Panel considers that bad faith may exist even if the Respondent has done nothing but to register the disputed domain names (so-called "passive holding", as set forth in the landmark decision Telstra Corporation Limited v. Nuclear Marshmallows, WIPO Case No. D2000-0003). Considering the circumstances of the case, the notoriety of the Complainant's trademark and the lack of any response from the Respondent both in this proceeding and to the Complainant's cease-and-desist letters, the Panel finds that the disputed domain names have also been used in bad faith.
The Panel therefore finds that paragraph 4(a)(iii) of the Policy has been satisfied.
For all 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 <1xbet.football>, <1xbet.hockey> and <1xbet.tennis> be transferred to the Complainant.
Date: July 26, 2017