WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Experian Limited, Experian Information Solutions, Inc. v. WhoisGuard Protected, WhoisGuard, Inc. / Aleksandr Osipov, Private
Case No. D2017-2009
1. The Parties
The Complainants are Experian Limited of Nottingham, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (“United Kingdom”) and Experian Information Solutions, Inc. of Costa Mesa, California, United States of America (“United States”), internally represented.
The Respondent is WhoisGuard Protected, WhoisGuard, Inc. of Panama, Panama / Aleksandr Osipov, Private of Moscow, Russian Federation.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <experian.host> is registered with NameCheap, Inc. (the “Registrar”).
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on October 16, 2017. On October 17, 2017, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On October 17, 2017, the Registrar transmitted by email to the Center its verification response disclosing registrant and contact information for the disputed domain name which differed from the named Respondent and contact information in the Complaint. The Center sent an email communication to the Complainants on October 20, 2017 providing the registrant and contact information disclosed by the Registrar, and inviting the Complainants to submit an amendment to the Complaint. The Complainants filed an amended Complaint on October 23, 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 31, 2017. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was November 20, 2017. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on November 21, 2017.
The Center appointed Sebastian M.W. Hughes as the sole panelist in this matter on November 23, 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 First Complainant, Experian Limited, is a company incorporated in England and Wales, and is the owner of numerous registrations in jurisdictions worldwide for the trade mark EXPERIAN (the “Trade Mark”), including international registration No. 706124, with a registration date of August 10, 1998.
The Second Complainant, Experian Information Solutions, Inc., is a company incorporated in the State of Ohio in the United States, and is the owner of several registrations in the United States for the Trade Mark, including registration number 2,231,322, with a registration date of March 16, 1999.
The Complainants are both part of the Experian group of companies (the “Group”), the ultimate parent of which is Experian PLC, a company quoted on the London Stock Exchange.
The Complainants have been using the Trade Mark since 1996 in connection with a wide range of consumer credit and data analysis services.
The Respondent is apparently an individual resident in the Russian Federation.
C. The Disputed Domain Name
The disputed domain name was registered on October 11, 2017.
D. The Website at the Disputed Domain Name
The disputed domain name is apparently used in respect of pop-up advertisements which ultimately redirect to a spam site (the “Website”).
5. Parties’ Contentions
The Complainants contend that the disputed domain name is identical or confusingly similar to the Trade Mark, 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 Complainants’ contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
6.1 Consolidation of Complainants
Past UDRP decisions suggest that a complaint may be brought by multiple complainants where (i) the complainants have a specific common grievance against the respondent, or the respondent has engaged in common conduct that has affected the complainants in a similar fashion, and (ii) it would be equitable and procedurally efficient to permit the consolidation (see WIPO Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions, Third Edition (“WIPO Overview 3.0”), section 4.11.1).
In the present proceeding, the Complainants are the two main legal entities in the Group owning rights in the Trade Mark, and the Respondent is apparently using the disputed domain name in respect of pop-up advertisements which ultimately redirect to a spam site. The Complainants have common grievances against the Respondent, and the Respondent has engaged in common conduct that has affected the Complainants’ rights in a similar fashion.
In all the circumstances, the Panel determines, under paragraph 10(e) of the Rules, that consolidation of the Complainants is procedurally efficient and equitable to all the Parties, is consistent with the Policy and Rules, and comports with prior relevant UDRP decisions in respect of this issue.
6.2 Substantive Elements of the Policy
The Complainants 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 Complainants have rights in the Trade Mark acquired through use and registration.
The disputed domain name incorporates the entirety of the Trade Mark (see WIPO Overview 3.0, section 1.7). Excluding the generic Top-Level Domain “.host”, the disputed domain name is identical to the Trade Mark.
The Panel therefore finds that the disputed domain name is identical to the Trade Mark.
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 Complainants have not authorised, licensed, or permitted the Respondent to register or use the disputed domain name or to use the Trade Mark. 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 of production thus shifts to 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.
According to the Complainants’ submissions, the disputed domain name has been used to generate pop-up advertisements which ultimately redirect Internet users to a spam site. The Complainants submit that the Complainants’ internal network does not allow access to the Website, with its network security classifying the Website in the category of “spam sites”. The Complainants have not submitted with the Complaint any evidence of the pop-up advertisements or of the Website, but have exhibited a screenshot from the Group’s internal security network indicating that the Website has been blocked on the basis that it falls under the category of “spam sites”.
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 Panel is unable to conclude, on the evidence submitted with the Complaint, that the disputed domain name has in fact been used in respect of pop-up advertisements which ultimately redirect to a spam site (the Website); the Panel does however recognize the Complainants’ evidence of a security network classifying it as a “spam site”.
The Panel notes however that the Trade Mark is an invented word created specifically to be used as a trade mark by the Group. Accordingly, in all the circumstances, including the fact the disputed domain is identical to the Complainants’ original and distinctive Trade Mark, and given the Respondent’s failure to put forward any positive case in answer to the Complaint, the Panel finds that it is inconceivable the Respondent was not aware of the Complainants and of their rights in the Trade Mark when the Respondent registered the disputed domain name.
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 <experian.host> be transferred to the First Complainant, Experian Limited.
Sebastian M.W. Hughes
Dated: December 7, 2017