WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
ZB, N.A., a national banking association, dba Zions First National Bank v. Sharon White
Case No. D2017-1769
1. The Parties
Complainant is ZB, N.A., a national banking association, dba Zions First National Bank of Salt Lake City, Utah, United States of America ("United States"), represented by TechLaw Ventures, PLLC, United States.
Respondent is Sharon White of Salt Lake City, Utah, United States.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <zions-bank.org> is registered with eNom, Inc. (the "Registrar").
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the "Center") on September 13, 2017. On September 14, 2017, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On September 15, 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 Respondent of the Complaint, and the proceedings commenced on September 19, 2017. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was October 9, 2017. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent's default on October 10, 2017.
The Center appointed Lorelei Ritchie as the sole panelist in this matter on October 19, 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 banking group based in Salt Lake City, Utah, United States of America. The Complainant is the owner of various marks in the United States, where the Respondent lists its address of record, including U.S. Registration No. 2,381,006 for ZIONS BANK (Registered 2000), U.S. Registration No. 2,531,436 for ZIONSBANK.COM (Registered 2002), and U.S. Registration No. 2,380,325 for ZIONS (Registered 2000). In accordance with these use-based registrations, the Complainant has provided, among other services, financial services, including banking, mortgage lending, and security brokerage services, among others.
In addition to its trademark registrations, the Complainant or its affiliates also owns a registrations for the domain name incorporating the ZIONS BANK mark. In particular, the Complainant owns the domain name registration for <zionsbank.com> (registered July 5, 1995). The aforementioned predates the registration of the disputed domain name by Respondent.
The disputed domain name <zions-bank.org> was registered on July 23, 2017. The Respondent has no affiliation with Complainant. Respondent appears to have an inactive web page at the URL. Complainant has not authorized any use of its trademarks by Respondent.
5. Parties' Contentions
The Complainant contends that (i) <zions-bank.org> 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, the Complainant contends that <zions-bank.org> incorporates its marks and includes just a hyphen, in a type of "typosquatting." The Complainant further asserts that Respondent has no legitimate rights or interest to the term, but that prior to Complainant's filing of the Complaint, the Respondent was using the URL associated with the disputed domain name in bad faith to attract consumers to its parked web page, from which they were directed to sponsored links, including to competing information and websites.
The 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 <zions-bank.org> is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which the Complainants have rights in accordance with paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Policy. The Panel finds that it is.
The domain name <zions-bank.org> incorporates in full Complainant's ZIONSBANK mark with the minor addition of a hyphen. The Panel finds that the hyphen is not source identifying. Furthermore, to the extent it could be, this would fall under the rubric of what is 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; Disney Enterprises, Inc. v. John Zuccarini, Cupcake City and Cupcake Patrol, WIPO Case No. D2001-0489; See also Credit Karma, Inc. v. Domain Admin, WhoIs Privacy Corp., WIPO Case No. D2017-0194.
The Panel therefore finds that the 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 the 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".
The 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 domain name. Rather, as mentioned in Section 4 of this Panel's decision, the Respondent has used the disputed domain name to divert Internet users via sponsored links.
Therefore, this Panel finds that the 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 the 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] 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 [respondent's] website or location or of a product or service on [the] website or location". As noted in Section 4 of this Panel's decision, the Respondent has a parked webpage at the URL associated with the disputed domain name. Although the web page is currently inactive, the Complainant asserts that the page formerly had sponsored links to other websites, including links to competing information and websites. Hence, the Respondent may be considered to be trading on the goodwill of Complainant's trademarks to attract Internet users, presumably for Respondent's own commercial gain. Even having a passive website does 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, consensus view ("From the inception of the UDRP, panelists have found that the non-use of a domain name (including a blank or "coming soon" page) would not prevent a finding of bad faith under the doctrine of passive holding.").
Rather, a panel must examine "the totality of the circumstances," including, for example, whether Complainant has a well-known trademark, the plausibility of good faith, and/or whether Respondent replies to the complaint. Respondent here did not respond to the Complaint. Meanwhile, the Panel finds it hard to believe that the Respondent, which lists an address of record in the same city where the Complainant is located, was not aware of Complainant when registering the disputed domain name. The Panel notes in this regard that prior UDRP decisions have referred to the Complainant's marks as being "widely known." See ZB, N.A., a national banking association, dba Zions First National Bank v. Pan Simon, WIPO Case No. D2016-0754; See also ZB, N.A., a national banking association, dba Zions First National Bank v. Private Registration, Private, WIPO Case No. D2017-0714. In the latter case, the panel found, in a similar situation, that "it is clear that the Respondent sought to take commercial advantage of Complainant's Trademarks, therefore also using the Domain Name in bad faith."
Therefore, this Panel finds that the 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 <zions-bank.org> be transferred to the Complainant.
Dated: October 30, 2017