WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Virgin Enterprises Limited v. Whoisguard Protected, WhoisGuard, Inc. / Jack Raymond
Case No. D2017-2438
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Virgin Enterprises Limited of London, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (“United Kingdom”), represented by Stobbs IP Limited, United Kingdom.
The Respondent is Whoisguard Protected, WhoisGuard, Inc. of Panama / Jack Raymond of Portland, Oregon, United States of America (“United States”).
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <virginpettransport.com> is registered with NameCheap, Inc. (the “Registrar”).
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed regarding the domain names <virginpettransport.com> and <virginpetsrelocators.com> with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on December 11, 2017. On December 11, 2017, the Center transmitted by email to the registrars NameCheap, Inc. and eNom, LLC a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain names. On December 11, 2017, eNom, LLC transmitted by email to the Center its verification response indicating that the domain name <virginpetsrelocators.com> is in pending delete status and confirmed that it’s no longer available to renew on December 27, 2017. On December 12, 2017, NameCheap, Inc. transmitted by email to the Center its verification response disclosing registrant and contact information for the disputed domain name <virginpettransport.com> which differed from the named Respondent and contact information in the Complaint. The Center sent an email communication to the Complainant on January 9, 2018 providing the registrant and contact information disclosed by the Registrar, and inviting the Complainant to submit an amendment to the Complaint. The Complainant filed an amended Complaint on January 12, 2018, in which the domain name <virginpetsrelocators.com> was removed.
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 proceedings commenced on January 17, 2018. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was February 6, 2018. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on February 7, 2018.
The Center appointed Edoardo Fano as the sole panelist in this matter on February 25, 2018. 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.
Having reviewed the communication records in the case file provided by the Center, the Panel finds that the Center has discharged its responsibility under the Rules, paragraph 2(a), “to employ reasonably available means calculated to achieve actual notice to Respondent”. Therefore, the Panel shall issue its Decision based upon the Complaint, the Policy, the Rules and the Supplemental Rules and without the benefit of a response from the Respondent.
The language of the proceeding is English, being the language of the Registration Agreement, as per paragraph 11(a) of the Rules.
4. Factual Background
The Complainant is Virgin Enterprises Limited, a Group of more than 200 Companies operating since 1970 in a wide variety of businesses and owning several registrations for the trademark VIRGIN including a European Union trademark No. 217182, registered on September 4, 1998.
The Complainant provided evidence in support of the above.
The disputed domain name <virginpettransport.com> was registered on August 11, 2017. The website at the disputed domain name shows a pet transportation company and reproduces the logo of the Complainant’s trademark.
5. Parties’ Contentions
The Complainant states that the disputed domain name <virginpettransport.com> is confusingly similar to its trademark VIRGIN.
Moreover, the Complainant asserts that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name since it is not commonly known by the disputed domain name, nor is the Respondent making neither a bona fide offering of goods or services nor a legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the disputed domain name.
The Complainant submits that the Respondent has registered and is using the disputed domain name in bad faith because it resolves to a website where the Complainant’s logo is reproduced with the evident attempt to gain commercially by creating confusion amongst internet users.
The Respondent has made no reply to the Complainant’s contentions and is in default. In reference to paragraphs 5(e) and 14 of the Rules, no exceptional circumstances explaining the default have been put forward or are apparent from the record.
A respondent is not obliged to participate in a proceeding under the Policy, but if it fails to do so, reasonable facts asserted by a complainant may be taken as true, and appropriate inferences, in accordance with paragraph 14(b) of the Rules, may be drawn (see, e.g., Reuters Limited v. Global Net 2000, Inc, WIPO Case No. D2000-0441; Microsoft Corporation v. Freak Films Oy, WIPO Case No. D2003-0109; SSL INTERNATIONAL PLC v. MARK FREEMAN, WIPO Case No. D2000-1080; ALTAVISTA COMPANY v. GRANDTOTAL FINANCES LIMITED et. al., WIPO Case No. D2000-0848; Confédération Nationale du Crédit Mutuel, Caisse Fédérale du Crédit Mutuel Nord Europe v. Marketing Total S.A., WIPO Case No. D2007-0288.)
6. Discussion and Findings
Paragraph 4(a) of the Policy lists three elements, which the Complainant must satisfy in order to succeed:
(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 Complainant is the owner of the trademark VIRGIN, both by registration and acquired reputation and that the disputed domain name <virginpettransport.com> is confusingly similar to the trademarks VIRGIN, as the addition of the words “pet” and “transport” is not sufficient to distinguish the disputed domain name from the Complainant’s trademark.
It is also well accepted that a generic Top-Level Domain (“gTLD”) suffix, in this case “.com”, may be ignored when assessing the similarity between a trademark and a domain name (see, e.g., VAT Holding AG v. Vat.com, WIPO Case No. D2000-0607).
The Panel finds that the Complainant has therefore met its burden of proving that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to the Complainant’s trademark, pursuant to the Policy, paragraph 4(a)(i).
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
The Respondent has failed to file a response in accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5.
The Complainant in its Complaint and as set out above has established a prima facie case that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. It asserts that the Respondent is not using the disputed domain name for a legitimate non-commercial or fair use or in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services.
The prima facie case presented by the Complainant is enough to shift the burden of production to the Respondent to demonstrate that it has rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. However, the Respondent has not presented any evidence of any rights or legitimate interests it may have in the disputed domain name, and the Panel is unable to establish any such rights or legitimate interests on the basis of the evidence in front of it.
The Panel therefore finds that paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy has been satisfied.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
Paragraph 4(b) of the Policy provides that “for the purposes of paragraph 4(a)(iii) of the Policy, the following circumstances, in particular but without limitation, if found by the Panel to be present, shall be evidence of the registration and use of a domain name in bad faith:
(i) circumstances indicating that [the respondent has] registered or has acquired the domain name primarily for the purpose of selling, renting, or otherwise transferring the domain name registration to the complainant who is the owner of the trademark or service mark or to a competitor of the complainant, for valuable consideration in excess of its documented out-of-pocket costs directly related to the domain name; or
(ii) that [the respondent has] registered the domain name in order to prevent the owner of the trademark or service mark from reflecting the mark in a corresponding domain name, provided that [the respondent has] engaged in a pattern of such conduct; or
(iii) that [the respondent has] registered the domain name primarily for the purpose of disrupting the business of a competitor; or
(iv) that by using the domain name, [the respondent has] intentionally attempted to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to [the respondent’s] web site or other online location, by creating a likelihood of confusion with the complainant’s mark as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation, or endorsement of [the respondent’s] website or location or of a product or service on [the respondent’s] web site or location.”
As regards to the registration in bad faith of the disputed domain name, the existence of the Complainant’s trademark VIRGIN was certainly known by the Respondent since in the website to which the disputed domain name resolves the Complainant’s trademark logo, typography and color are reproduced.
The Panel further notes that, the disputed domain name is also used in bad faith since in the relevant website there is an offer of a transportation service for pets under the Complainant’s trademark and the Respondent is therefore knowingly taking advantage from user confusion.
The above suggests to the Panel that the Respondent intentionally registered and is using the disputed domain name in order to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to its website in accordance with paragraph 4(b)(iv) of the Policy.
The Panel finds that the Complainant has presented evidence to satisfy its burden of proof with respect to the issue of whether the Respondent has registered and is using the disputed domain name in bad faith.
The Panel therefore finds that paragraph 4(a)(iii) of the Policy has been satisfied.
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 <virginpettransport.com> be transferred to the Complainant.
Date: March 4, 2018