WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center

ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION

Seminole Tribe of Florida v. Debra Teel

Case No. D2018-0008

1. The Parties

Complainant is Seminole Tribe of Florida, of Hollywood, Florida, United States of America (“United States”), represented by Richter Trademarks, United States.

Respondent is Debra Teel of Overland Park, Missouri, United States.

2. The Domain Name and Registrar

The disputed domain name <seminoleclassicecasino.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 January 3, 2018. On January 4, 2018, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On January 5, 2018, 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 January 12, 2018. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was February 1, 2018. Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified Respondent’s default on February 2, 2018.

The Center appointed Lynda J. Zadra-Symes as the sole panelist in this matter on February 13, 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.

4. Factual Background

Complainant is the owner of the trademark SEMINOLE CASINO in the United States, used in connection with casinos. Complainant claims first use of the mark since at least as early as 1980. Complainant has multiple casino locations, including one in Hollywood, Florida known as the “Seminole Classic Casino”.

In December 2012, Complainant rebranded its original casino as the “Seminole Classic” casino. Complainant is the owner of the following United States trademark registrations:

No. 3501804, SEMINOLE CASINO and design, registered on September 16, 2008

No. 4146847, SEMINOLE CASINO, registered on May 22, 2012; and

No. 4395357, SEMINOLE CASINO CLASSIC HOLLYWOOD and design, registered September 3, 2013.

Complainant, either directly or through its licensees, controls the domain names <seminoleclassiccasino.com>, <theseminolecasino.com> and <theseminolecasinos.com>, among others.

The disputed domain name was registered on November 9, 2017, and resolves to the website “www.222.mobileslotsites.co.uk”, which purports to offer online gambling and casino services to visitors.

5. Parties’ Contentions

A. Complainant

Complainant contends that the disputed domain name is identical to or confusingly similar to Complainant’s trademarks, that Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name and that the disputed domain name was registered and is being used in bad faith.

B. Respondent

Respondent did not reply to Complainant’s contentions.

6. Discussion and Findings

Complainant has the burden of proving each of the following three elements under paragraph 4(a) of the Policy in order to be entitled to a transfer of the disputed domain name:

(i) That the disputed domain name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which Complainant has rights; and

(ii) That Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name; and

(iii) That the disputed domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.

A. Identical or Confusingly Similar

Complainant has established registered trademark rights in the marks SEMINOLE CASINO and SEMINOLE CASINO CLASSIC HOLLYWOOD. The disputed domain name incorporates the mark SEMINOLE CASINO in its entirety and adds the word “classic” which is also contained in Complainant’s SEMINOLE CASINO CLASSIC HOLLYWOOD mark. The mere addition of the letter “e” after the word “classic” in the disputed domain name does not add any distinguishing feature.

The Panel finds that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to a trademark in which Complainant has rights.

B. Rights or Legitimate Interests

Based on previous UDRP decisions, a complainant is required to make out “a prima facie case that the respondent lacks rights or legitimate interests”. Once such a prima facie case is made, the burden of production shifts to the respondent to come forward with appropriate allegations or evidence demonstrating rights or legitimate interests in the domain name. If the respondent fails to come forward with such appropriate allegations or evidence, the complainant is generally deemed to have satisfied paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the UDRP. See WIPO Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions, Third Edition (“WIPO Overview 3.0”), section 2.1.

Complainant’s allegations in the Complaint and evidence submitted on this issue are sufficient to make out a prima facie case that Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name.

Respondent has not made use of the disputed domain name in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services. Rather, Respondent appears to take advantage of the goodwill associated with Complainant’s trademark to redirect Internet users to a competing website. Respondent has not been commonly known by the disputed domain name and has not made any legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the disputed domain name.

Respondent has not submitted any evidence during the course of this proceeding to rebut Complainant’s contentions.

The Panel finds on the basis of the evidence in front of it that Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name.

C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith

Respondent first registered the disputed domain name on or about November 9, 2017. The disputed domain name redirects to the website “www.222.mobileslotsites.co.uk” which purports to offer online gambling and casino services to visitors. Complainant has attempted to call the telephone number listed and emailed the listed address shown on the website and has received no response. By registering and using the disputed domain name, Respondent is intentionally attempting to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to Respondent’s website by creating a likelihood of confusion with the Complainant’s mark as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation or endorsement of Respondent’s website.

The Panel finds that the disputed domain name was registered and is being used in bad faith.

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, <seminoleclassicecasino.com>, be transferred to Complainant.

Lynda J. Zadra-Symes
Sole Panelist
Date: March 12, 2018