WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Navasard Limited v. Alex
Case No. D2017-1995
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Navasard Limited of Limassol, Cyprus, represented by Giorgos Landas LLC, Cyprus.
The Respondent is Alex of Novorossiysk, Russian Federation.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <1xbet.cricket> is registered with PDR Ltd. d/b/a PublicDomainRegistry.com (the "Registrar").
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the "Center") on October 12, 2017. On October 12, 2017, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On October 13, 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 October 17, 2017. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was November 6, 2017. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent's default on November 13, 2017.
The Center appointed Alessandra Ferreri as the sole panelist in this matter on November 14, 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 the owner of European Union ("EU") trademark registrations for 1XBET, used for sports betting. In particular the Complainant owns the EU trademark registration No. 013914254 in classes 35, 41, and 42, registered on July 27, 2015, and the EU trademark registration No. 014227681 in classes 35, 41, and 42, registered on September 21, 2015 (Annexes 2.1 and 2.2 to the Complaint).
The trademark 1XBET was licensed by the Complainant to many affiliated companies which have registered and are operating through several domain names incorporating the trademark, e.g., <1-x-bet.com>, <1x-bet.com>, and <1xbet.com> (Annex 2.3 and 2.4 to the Complaint).
The disputed domain name <1xbet.cricket> was registered on May 15, 2017, and currently leads to a site which includes reference to the mark "1XBET" and appears to offer a Torrent file for download (Annex 3.2 to the Complaint).
5. Parties' Contentions
The Complainant made the following submissions in the Complaint.
The Complainant is Navasard Limited, a company founded in 2015; the Complainant is the owner of the trademarks used for the sport betting brand 1XBET, which is one of the most recognized online sports betting brands in the region of eastern Europe. Before the incorporation of the Complainant, the brand name 1XBET was a common law trademark held by the predecessors of the Complainant.
The Complainant argues that the disputed domain name is identical to the alphanumeric string of the trademark number No. 014227681, before the suffix ".cricket".
The Complainant contends that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name, for the following reasons:
(i) The disputed domain name was not registered by any of the Complainant's affiliated companies or licensees and its use is made without any authorization or consent by the Complainant;
(ii) The site to which the the disputed domain name resolves does not offer any genuine services;
(iii) The Respondent is not operating in the field of online sports betting, but rather appears to be in the business of selling Internet traffic and "pay per click" revenue;
(iv) The Respondent is not making fair use of the disputed domain name.
The Complainant contends that the disputed domain name was registered and is being used by the Respondent in bad faith.
In particular, the Complainant states that, by using the Disputed Domain, the Respondent intentionally attempted to attract for commercial gain, Internet users to the Respondent's website or other online location, by creating a likelihood of confusion with the Complainant's mark as to the source, affiliation, and endorsement of the Respondent's website.
Moreover, the Respondent chose the extension ".cricket", which identicates the popular sport. Therefore, it can be assumed that the Respondent specifically used a combination of the name of a sports discipline and the Complainant's trademark in order to pursue the goal of misleading the potential clients of the Complainant. Furthermore, the Complianant is prevented from registering the disputed domain name corresponding to its mark in the ".cricket" Top-Level Domain.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant's contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
Pursuant to paragraph 4(a) of the Policy, the Complainant must prove each of the following three elements:
(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 respect of the disputed domain name; and
(iii) the disputed domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The Panel finds that the disputed domain name <1xbet.cricket> is identical to the Complainant's trademark 1XBET; the only difference is the adjunction of the suffix ".cricket".
The Panel notes that the generic Top-Level Domain ("gTLD") suffix is disregarded under the confusing similarity text according to other previous UDRP decisions (see WIPO Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions, Third Edition ("WIPO Overview 3.0"), section 1.11).
Therefore, the Panel finds that the Complainant has satisfied the first element of the Policy.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interest
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant's contentions. For that reason, the Panel has taken careful note of the factual assertions that have been made and supported by evidence by the Complainant.
In particular, the Respondent has failed to offer the Panel any of the types of evidence set forth in paragraph 4(c) of the Policy from which the Panel might conclude that the Respondent has rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name, such as:
(i) use or preparation 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 prior to notice of the dispute; or
(ii) being commonly known by the disputed domain name (as an individual, business or other organization) even if the Respondent has not acquired any trademark or service mark rights; or
(iii) making legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the disputed domain name, without intent for commercial gain to misleadingly divert consumers or to tarnish the trademark or service mark at issue.
There is no evidence in the record that the Respondent has any rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name.
There is no evidence of the Respondent's use, or demonstrable preparation to use, the disputed domain name in connection with a bona fide offering of goods.
The Respondent has not been and is not commonly known by the disputed domain name or has acquired any trademark or service mark rights in it. The Respondent's name does not coincide with the disputed domain name.
The Complainant states that the Respondent is not linked to the Complainant in any way, through a business or legal relationship or authorized by the Complainant to register the disputed domain name <1xbet.cricket>.
Furthermore, the use of the disputed domain name cannot be considered a bona fide offering of goods or services. As a matter of fact, by registering the disputed domain name the Respondent clearly intended to profit from the use of a domain name which is confusingly similar to the Complainant's trademark 1XBET, diverting Internet users to a website where unrelated links exist and presumably generate income for the Respondent.
Finally, given the circumstance of this case, the Panel finds that the Respondent's lack of rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name may also be inferred by the fact that no response was filed by the Respondent. According to earlier UDRP decisions "non-response is indicative of a lack of interests inconsistent with an attitude of ownership and a belief in the lawfulness of one's own rights" (see Pomellato S.p.A. v. Richard Tonetti, WIPO Case No. D2000-0493; GA Modefine S.A. and Giorgio Armani S.p.A. v. Yoon-Min Yang, WIPO Case No. D2005-0090).
Therefore, based on the evidence, the Panel is satisfied that the second element of the Policy is met.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
The Panel finds that the disputed domain name was registered and is being used in bad faith.
Under paragraph 4(b) of the Policy, evidence of bad faith registration and use include:
(i) circumstances indicating the domain name was registered or acquired primarily for the purpose of selling, renting, or otherwise transferring the domain name registration to the owner of a trademark or to a competitor of the trademark owner, for valuable consideration in excess of the documented out-of-pocket costs directly related to the domain name; or
(ii) circumstances indicating that the domain name was registered in order to prevent the owner of a trademark from reflecting the mark in a corresponding domain name, provided that the respondent has engaged in a pattern of such conduct; or
(iii) circumstances indicating that the domain name was registered primarily for the purpose of disrupting the business of a competitor; or
(iv) circumstances indicating that the domain name has intentionally been used in an attempted to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to a website or other online location, by creating a likelihood of confusion with a trademark as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation, or endorsement of the website or location or of a product or service on a website or location.
In light of the evidence submitted by the Complainant, the Complainant's registered 1XBET trademark predate the registration of the disputed domain name <1xbet.cricket> and in the Panel's belief, the Respondent must have known about the Complainant's existence and rights at the time of the registration of the disputed domain name. And indeed, the Respondent's awareness of the Complainant's activity and rights may be inferred by the fact that the Respondent registered the disputed domain names incorporating the Complainant's trademark in its entirety, with the gTLD ".cricket", that, as already mentioned, is closely related to the Complainant's business activity.
The Respondent's website references the trademark 1XBET and offers links through which the consumers can download a torrent file. The Respondent does not provide, nor is it apparent to the Panel, any reason why the disputed domain name was registered or acquired other than by reference to the Complainant. The registration of the disputed domain name in awareness of the Complainant's activities and rights, in the absence of rights or legitimate interests, amounts to registration in bad faith.
Concerning the use of the disputed domain name, the Complainant has proven that it leads to a website offering downloads to the consumers.
In the Panel's opinion, the Respondent, by such use, intentionally attempted to attract Internet users, expecting to reach the website corresponding to the Complainant's services and to obtain information about the Complainant's activity to its own website, by creating a likelihood of confusion with the Complainant's trademark as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation, or endorsement of the website or of a product or service on a website.
Such exploitation of the reputation of trademarks to obtain click-through commissions or other commercial benefits from the diversion of Internet users is an indication of use in bad faith, according to numerous previous decisions (see Philip Morris Incorporated v. Alex Tsypkin, WIPO Case No. D2002-0946; Credit Industriel et Commercial S.A v. Maison Tropicale SA, WIPO Case No. D2007-0955; MasterCard International Incorporated v. Abadaba S.A., Administrador de dominios, WIPO Case No. D2008-0325; and Giorgio Armani S.p.A. v. Daulet Tussunbayev, WIPO Case No. D2011-2082).
Finally, as referred to by the Complainant, the Respondent did not reply to the Complainant's cease-and-desist letter of June 12, 2017. In accordance with previous UDRP decisions, this Panel also finds that "the failure of the Respondent to respond to the letter of demand from the Complainant further supports an inference of bad faith", (besides RRI Financial, Inc., v. Ray Chen, WIPO Case No. D2001-1242 cited by the Complainant, see also Bayerische Motoren Werke AG v. (This Domain is For Sale) Joshuathan Investments, Inc., WIPO Case No. D2002-0787; News Group Newspapers Limited and News Network Limited v. Momm Amed Ia, WIPO Case No. D2000-1623; Nike, Inc. v. Azumano Travel, WIPO Case No. D2000-1598).
In light of all the above circumstances, the Panel is satisfied that the third element is met and that the disputed domain name <1xbet.cricket> was 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 <1xbet.cricket> be transferred to the Complainant.
Date: November 28, 2017