WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Linfre Education AB v. Shanshan Huang
Case No. D2017-1767
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Linfre Education AB of Gothenburg, Sweden, represented by Ports Group AB, Sweden.
The Respondent is Shanshan Huang of Xuzhou, Jiangsu, China.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <lineducation.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 September 13, 2017. On September 13, 2017, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On September 14, 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 September 22, 2017. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was October 12, 2017. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent's default on October 13, 2017.
The Center appointed Marilena Comanescu as the sole panelist in this matter on November 2, 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 Linfre Education AB is a Swedish tech company who provides digital tools, apps, content and platforms for education, pedagogy and learning. The Complainant submits it offers a unique solution in form of digital learning for businesses, organizations and public activities. The Complainant started its activity in 2007 and currently has over 100 employees and 250,000 users, being present on all the markets in the Nordic countries.
The Complainant holds trademark registrations for the mark LIN EDUCATION, such as:
- Swedish registration no. 517144 filed on September 2, 2013, and registered on February 7, 2014, for goods and services in International Class (IC) 9, 35, 39, 41; and
- The European Union Trademark Registration no.013719802 filed on September 2, 2015, and registered on June 5, 2015, for goods and services in IC 9, 35, 39, 41.
The Complainant promotes itself on the website "www.lineducation.se" registered on December 27, 2007.
Prior to commencing this proceeding, on May 24, 2017, the Complainant sent to the Respondent a
cease-and-desist letter followed by two reminders requesting the transfer of the disputed domain name to the Complainant. The Respondent did not respond.
The disputed domain name was registered on February 10, 2015, and at the time of filing the Complaint it was used for a farm webpage with links related to the Complainant's activity, such as "school", "student", "college".
According to the evidence provided as exhibit 5 to the Complaint, at the time of filing the Complaint, the disputed domain name was offered for public sale for the amount of USD 7,500.
The Respondent has been involved in at least two earlier UDRP proceedings on the respondent side. See Actelion Pharmaceuticals Ltd. v. Shanshan Huang, This domain name is for sale, WIPO Case No. D2017-1276 for the domain name <idorsiapharma.com>; and Güde GmbH & Co. KG v. Shanshan Huang, WIPO Case No. D2017-0562 for the domain name <wolpertech>, both cases having similarities with the present case (e.g., the websites under the domain names were used as parking pages and the domain names had been offered for sale for amounts far exceeding the out-of-pockets costs).
5. Parties' Contentions
The Complainant contends that the disputed domain name is identical to its trademark LIN EDUCATION, the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name, and the Respondent registered and is using the disputed domain name in bad faith.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant's contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
In view of the Respondent's default, the discussion and findings will be based upon the contentions in the Complaint and any reasonable position that can be attributable to the Respondent. Under paragraph 4(a) of the Policy, a complainant can only succeed in an administrative proceeding under the Policy if the following circumstances are met:
(i) the disputed domain name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which the complainant has rights; and
(ii) the respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name; and
(iii) the disputed domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.
The Panel will further analyze the potential concurrence of the above circumstances.
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The Complainant has established rights in the LIN EDUCATION trademark.
The disputed domain name <lineducation.com> incorporates the Complainant's trademark LIN EDUCATION in its entirety and with correct spelling.
Further, it is well established in decisions under the UDRP that the generic Top-Level Domain (e.g., ".com", ".info", ".net", ".org") may typically be disregarded for the purposes of consideration of confusing similarity between a trademark and a domain name.
Given the above, the Panel finds that the disputed domain name <lineducation.com> is virtually identical to the Complainant's trademark LIN EDUCATION, pursuant to the Policy, paragraph 4(a)(i).
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
The Complainant asserts that it has given no license or other right to use or register its trademark to the Respondent, that the Respondent is not commonly known by the disputed domain name and that the Respondent has not used the disputed domain name in connection with a legitimate noncommercial or fair use or a bona fide offering of goods and services.
Under the Policy, "where a complainant makes out a prima facie case that the respondent lacks rights or legitimate interests, the burden of production on this element shifts to the respondent to come forward with relevant evidence demonstrating rights or legitimate interests in the domain name. If the respondent fails to come forward with such relevant evidence, the complainant is deemed to have satisfied the second element". See section 2.1 of the WIPO Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions, Third Edition ("WIPO Overview 3.0").
The Respondent has not replied to the Complainant's contentions and has not come forward with relevant evidence to rebut the Complainant's prima facie case.
There is nothing in the record suggesting that the Respondent has ever been commonly known by the disputed domain name.
Furthermore, at the time the Complaint was filed, the Respondent was using the disputed domain name in connection with a website offering sponsored links related to education, inter alia,products and services of the Complainant's competitors. The pay-per-click (PPC) website would not normally fall within the bona fide use principles where such websites seek to take unfair advantage of the value of a trademark (See also Shon Harris v. www.shonharris.com c/o Whois Identity Shield, WIPO Case No. D2007-0997 and Bayerische Motoren Werke AG v. (This Domain is For Sale) Joshuathan Investments, Inc., WIPO Case No. D2002-0787).
Consequently, the Panel finds that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name, pursuant to the Policy, paragraph 4(a)(ii).
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
The trademark LIN EDUCATION has been registered and used by the Complainant since at least year 2014.
The disputed domain name was registered in 2015 and reproduces the LIN EDUCATION trademark in its entirety.
Paragraph 4(b) of the Policy sets out a nonexclusive list of circumstances that evidence bad faith registration and use of a domain name. The Respondent's actions fall under at least two of them.
The Respondent was a part, or "a named respondent", in several past UDRP disputes incorporating third parties trademarks, all decided in favor of the complainants, as listed under Section 4 above. Paragraph 4(b)(ii) of the Policy lists as a bad faith attitude the situation when the respondent has registered the disputed domain name in order to prevent the owner of the trademark from reflecting the mark in a corresponding domain name, provided that the respondent has engaged in a pattern of such conduct. Section 3.1.2 of the WIPO Overview 3.0 explains that a pattern of conduct involves multiple UDRP cases with similar fact situations, where the respondent registered trademark-abusive domain names, even where directed at the same brand owner or corresponding to the distinct marks of individual brand owners. Here, the Respondent has been involved in at least other two similar UDRP cases involving third-party trademarks, domain names parked and offered for sale for an amount far exceeding the out-of-pocket costs.
Further, paragraph 4(b)(iv) of the Policy provides that the use of a domain name to intentionally attempt "to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to [the respondent's] website 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 [the respondent's] website or location or of a product or service on [the respondent's] website or location" is evidence of registration and use in bad faith.
Given that the disputed domain name incorporates the Complainant's trademark and the website operated under the disputed domain name contains words related to the Complainant's activity and trademark indeed in this Panel's view, the Respondent intended to attract Internet users accessing the website corresponding to the disputed domain name who may be confused and believe that such website is held, controlled by, or somehow affiliated or related to the Complainant, for its commercial gain. In this way, the Respondent is obtaining commercial gain by diverting Internet users searching for the Complainant and, in the same time, is disrupting the business of the Complainant by diverting its potential consumers to websites of its competitors.
The Respondent chose not to participate in this proceeding, did not respond to the Complainant's cease-and-desist letter and the contact details provided in the WhoIs were inaccurate. Given the other circumstances of the case, such behavior may be considered as further evidence of bad faith in registering and using the disputed domain name.
For all the above reasons, the Panel finds that the Respondent registered and is using the disputed domain name <lineducation.com> in bad faith, pursuant to the Policy, paragraph 4(a)(iii).
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 <lineducation.com> be transferred to the Complainant.
Date: November 14, 2017