WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Bruichladdich Distillery Company Limited v. Registration Private, Domains By Proxy, LLC / Simon Coughlin
Case No. D2017-1368
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Bruichladdich Distillery Company Limited of Islay, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (“United Kingdom”), represented by Nameshield, France.
The Respondent is Registration Private, Domains By Proxy, LLC of United States of America (“United States”) / Simon Coughlin of Las Vegas, Nevada, United States.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <brulchladdich.com> 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 July 18, 2017. On July 18, 2017, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On the same day, the Registrar transmitted by email to the Center its verification response disclosing registrant and contact information for the disputed domain name which differed from the named Respondent and contact information in the Complaint. The Center sent an email communication to the Complainant on July 20, 2017 providing the registrant and contact information disclosed by the Registrar, and inviting the Complainant to submit an amendment to the Complaint. The Complainant filed an amended Complaint on July 21, 2017. From this point forward a reference to “the Respondent” will be a reference to the Respondent “Simon Coughlin” only.
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 July 26, 2017. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was August 15, 2017. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on August 16, 2017.
The Center appointed William P. Knight as the sole panelist in this matter on August 24, 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 disputed domain name was registered on June 28, 2017.
The Complainant owns a number of registered trademarks incorporating the word BRUICHLADDICH in the United States and in many other jurisdictions, including international trademark registration number 929602, registered on May 24, 2007,, and has its principal website under the domain name <bruichladdich.com>. The Complainant is known around the world, at least among whisky drinkers, as a distiller of fine single malt whiskies originating in its distillery on the Rhinns of the isle of Islay. Built in 1881, the distillery now belongs to the Rémy Cointreau group.
There is no evidence that the disputed domain name has ever been used to host a website. However, the Complainant has provided evidence, uncontradicted by the Respondent, that on the same day as the registration of the disputed domain name, the Respondent sent an email as “Simon Coughlin” from the address “[redacted]@brulchladdich.com”” to a person in the employ of the Complainant attaching an invoice from a Hong Kong company “S.W FASHION ACCESSORY LIMITED”, which appears to exist, formed in Hong Kong in March 2016, but which had not provided the services specified, for USD 187,500. It is noted that Simon Coughlin was the Chief Executive Officer of the Complainant until January 2017 and is now Chief Executive Officer of the Whisky Business Unit within the Rémy Cointreau group. He was obviously not the sender of this email and invoice.
It should also be noted that, whilst the disputed domain name was registered with what appears to be a real address and other contact details, it defies credibility that the name of the Respondent happens coincidentally to be the same as a senior executive officer of the Complainant and its group. The Respondent’s name is almost certainly a fabrication chosen to further the deceit behind the false invoice shown in evidence.
5. Parties’ Contentions
The Complainant submits that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to its well-known and distinctive trademark BRUICHLADDICH. The Complainant observes that the sole difference between the Complainant’s trademark and the disputed domain name is the substitution of the first letter “i” in the trademark with the letter “l” which does nothing to distinguish the disputed domain name from the Complainant’s trademark and is a typical example of “typosquatting”.
The Complainant further asserts that the Respondent is not affiliated with it or its group and has never shown any legitimate use of the disputed domain name. On the contrary, the only use made of the disputed domain name has been to further a fraudulent scheme.
For the same reasons, and on the same evidence, the Complainant argues that the disputed domain name was registered for the express purpose of a fraudulent scheme, to which use it was immediately put, and this demonstrates the bad faith requirement to be established by the Complainant under the Policy.
The Complainant requests that the disputed domain name be transferred to it.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
For the reasons argued by the Complainant, the Panel accepts that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to the Complainant’s trademark BRUICHLADDICH. The Complainant’s trademark is clearly recognizable in the disputed domain name, the replacement of an “I” with an “l” being insufficient to avoid a finding of confusing similarity. The panel accordingly finds that the Complainant has satisfied the first element.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
Again, on the grounds submitted by the Complainant, the Panel also finds that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. In light of the course of deceit undertaken by whomever is in control of the disputed domain name this conclusion becomes inescapable. Additionally, the Panel notes the Respondent has provided no Response in this matter to rebut the Complainant’s allegations. Accordingly, the Panel finds the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
Under paragraph 4(a)(iii) of the Policy, the Complainant must establish that the disputed domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.
The Complainant refers most germanely to the decision in Tetra Laval Holdings & Finance S.A. v. VistaPrint Technologies Ltd, WIPO Case No. D2014-1387. In this matter, the fact that the disputed domain name was registered in circumstances where the Respondent must be taken to have known of the Complainant’s trademark rights, and the fact that the fraudulent scheme undertaken by the Respondent commenced immediately upon registration, make the conclusion inescapable that the disputed domain name was selected and registered because it would deceive the Complainant to make a large payment to a person not entitled to receive it. Therefore, the Panel is satisfied that the Respondent’s registration and use of the disputed domain name qualifies as bad faith within the meaning of paragraph 4(b)(iv) of the Policy.
For these reasons, the Panel finds that the disputed domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.
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 name <brulchladdich.com> be transferred to the Complainant.
William P. Knight
Date: August 29, 2017