WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Bridgepoint Education Inc. v. Kevin Royal / Bridgepoint Edu Group
Case No. D2017-1854
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Bridgepoint Education Inc. of San Diego, California, United States of America ("United States"), represented by Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton, United States.
The Respondent is Kevin Royal / Bridgepoint Edu Group of Ikeja, Nigeria.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <bridgepointeducationinc.com> is registered with 1&1 Internet AG (the "Registrar").
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the "Center") on September 22, 2017. On September 25, 2017, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On September 27, 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 sent an email to the Complainant on September 27, 2017, providing the registrant and address information disclosed by the Registrar, and inviting the Complainant to submit an amendment to the Complaint indicating to which of the Mutual Jurisdictions the Complainant would submit. The Complainant opted for the Mutual Jurisdiction to be the location of the principal office of the concerned Registrar, by email sent to the Center on September 28, 2017.
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 proceeding commenced on October 2, 2017. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was October 22, 2017. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent's default on October 25, 2017.
The Center appointed Sebastian M.W. Hughes 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 is a company incorporated in the State of Delaware in the United States, and is the owner of United States trademark registration number 2961509, for the trademark BRIDGEPOINT, with a registration date of June 7, 2005; and number 4276753, for the trademark BRIDGEPOINT EDUCATION, with a registration date of January 15, 2013 (the "Trade Marks"). The Complainant has been using the Trade Marks since March 2004 and February 2012, respectively, in connection with a wide range of education services. The Complainant has also been the owner of the domain name <bridgepointeducation.com> since January 7, 2004.
The Respondent is apparently an individual resident in Nigeria.
C. The Disputed Domain Name
The disputed domain name was registered on August 22, 2017.
D. The Website at the Disputed Domain Name
The disputed domain name is resolved to a website which provides sponsored links to websites related to company incorporation, education services and stock trading (the "Website").
5. Parties' Contentions
The Complainant contends that the disputed domain name is identical or confusingly similar to the Trade Marks, the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name, and the disputed domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant's contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
The Complainant must prove each of the three elements in paragraph 4(a) of the Policy in order to prevail.
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The Panel finds that the Complainant has rights in the Trade Marks acquired through use and registration.
The disputed domain name also, incidentally, incorporates the entirety of the Domain Name, and the entirety of the Complainant's name.
The Panel therefore finds that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to the Trade Marks.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
Paragraph 4(c) of the Policy provides a list of non-exhaustive circumstances any of which is sufficient to demonstrate that a respondent has rights or legitimate interests in a disputed domain name:
(i) before any notice to the respondent of the dispute, the respondent's use of, or demonstrable preparations to use, the disputed domain name or a name corresponding to the disputed domain name in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services; or
(ii) the respondent (as an individual, business, or other organization) has been commonly known by the disputed domain name even if the respondent has acquired no trade mark or service mark rights; or
(iii) the respondent is making a legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the disputed domain name, without intent for commercial gain to misleadingly divert consumers or to tarnish the trade mark or service mark at issue.
The Complainant has not authorised, licensed, or permitted the Respondent to register or use the disputed domain name or to use the Trade Marks. The Panel finds on the record that there is therefore a prima facie case that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name, and the burden is thus on the Respondent to produce evidence to rebut this presumption.
The Respondent has failed to show that it has acquired any trade mark rights in respect of the disputed domain name or that the disputed domain name has been used in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services. To the contrary, the disputed domain name has been used in respect of the Website, which, without the Complainant's authorisation, makes use of the Trade Marks to provide sponsored links to third party websites, including in particular websites relating to education services (the services provided by the Complainant under the Trade Marks).
There has been no evidence adduced to show that the Respondent has been commonly known by the disputed domain name; and there has been no evidence adduced to show that the Respondent is making a legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the disputed domain name.
The Panel finds that the Respondent has failed to produce any evidence to rebut the Complainant's prima facie case that the Respondent lacks rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
The evidence on record indicates that the Respondent sought to take advantage of the Trade Marks when registering the disputed domain name.
In light of the evidence of the Respondent's use of the Website in the manner described above, the Panel finds the requisite element of bad faith has been satisfied, under paragraph 4(b)(iv) of the Policy.
For all the foregoing reasons, the Panel concludes that the disputed domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.
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 <bridgepointeducationinc.com> be transferred to the Complainant.
Sebastian M.W. Hughes
Dated: November 15, 2017