WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center


Ruby Life Inc. v. Alexander Varkov

Case No. D2017-1895

1. The Parties

Complainant is Ruby Life Inc. of Toronto, Canada, represented by SafeNames Ltd., United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (“UK”).

Respondent is Alexander Varkov of Nikolaev, Ukraine.

2. The Domain Name and Registrar

The disputed domain name <ashleymadison2.com> is registered with Internet Domain Service BS Corp (the “Registrar”).

3. Procedural History

The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on September 28, 2017. On September 28, 2017, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On October 2, 2017, the Registrar transmitted by email to the Center its verification response confirming that 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 October 5, 2017. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was October 25, 2017. Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified Respondent’s default on October 26, 2017.

The Center appointed Lawrence K. Nodine as the sole panelist in this matter on November 16, 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

Complainant offers online dating services under various brands, including ASHLEY MADISON. Complainant operates the website “www.ashleymadison.com” (registered on November 13, 2001), which provides dating services to “unhappy individuals who are looking to have an affair.” Complainant’s website is accessible in the United States of America (“United States”) and in over fifty other countries worldwide, including Ukraine and its neighboring countries Belarus, Russian Federation, Poland, Slovakia, and Hungary. Complainant has registered the mark ASHLEY MADISON in various jurisdictions, including in the United States (registered on February 10, 2004; Reg. No. 2812950) and in the European Union (registered on October 13, 2009; Reg. No. 007047764). The services offered under the ASHLEY MADISON brand have garnered extensive media coverage over the past few years and Complainant’s website has several million members.

Respondent registered the disputed domain name <ashleymadison2.com> on March 30, 2017. At least as of September 25, 2017, the disputed domain name redirected users to a URL (e.g., “www.vjzxo.social-hookup.com”) for a website featuring pornographic content and purporting to be voted the UK’s number one dating site in 2015. The website urged users to register to view additional pornographic content and to “meet hot women ASAP”.

5. Parties’ Contentions

A. Complainant

Complainant asserts that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to the trademark in which it has rights because the disputed domain name incorporates the trademark in its entirety. According to Complainant, Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name because he is not associated with Complainant and has made unauthorized use of Complainant’s mark to redirect users to websites offering pornographic content and profit from the brand value associated with ASHLEY MADISON. Complainant also contends that Respondent registered and used the disputed domain name in bad faith because, considering the worldwide reputation of the ASHLEY MADISON mark, it is reasonable to infer that Respondent chose to adopt the confusingly similar <ashleymadison2.com> to take advantage of the mark’s popularity for the purposes of pornosquatting.

B. Respondent

Respondent did not reply to Complainant’s contentions.

6. Discussion and Findings

A. Identical or Confusingly Similar

The Panel finds that Complainant’s trademark registrations prove that it has rights in the ASHLEY MADISON mark and that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to Complainant’s mark. The disputed domain name incorporates ASHLEY MADISON in its entirety. The addition of the non-distinctive “2” exacerbates the confusion as it suggests that the disputed domain name is another iteration of its services. Complainant satisfies paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Policy.

B. Rights or Legitimate Interests

Complainant has established a prima facie case that Respondent has no rights or legitimate interest in the disputed domain name. Respondent has failed to respond and carry his burden to offer evidence in rebuttal. Respondent’s use of the disputed domain name is not bona fide. The disputed domain name redirects users to a different URL offering pornographic content, evidencing Respondent’s attempt to bait users by taking advantage of the recognition that Complainant’s mark enjoys.

Accordingly, the Panel finds that paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy is satisfied.

C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith

Respondent registered and is using the disputed domain name in bad faith. Considering the famous nature of the mark and the notoriety or the services offered under the ASHLEY MADISON brand, it is reasonable to assume that Respondent was aware of Complainant’s mark and rights. Indeed, Respondent’s wholesale adoption of the mark shows his awareness of Complainant’s mark and evidences his bad faith registration.

Respondent also uses the disputed domain name in bad faith. The disputed domain name redirects users to a pornographic website that urge users to register to access further services, which underscores the commercial nature of the website. Thus, Respondent has engaged in pornosquatting. See Prada S.A. v. Roberto Baggio, WIPO Case No. D2009-1187 (describing pornosquatting as the practice where “confusion with a well-known trademark is used to divert customers to a pornographic website for commercial purposesˮ).

The Panel therefore finds that Complainant has established paragraph 4(a)(iii) of the Policy.

7. Decision

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 <ashleymadison2.com> be transferred to Complainant.

Lawrence K. Nodine
Sole Panelist
Date: November 30, 2017