WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Singapore Pools (Private) Limited v. Whoisguard Protected, Whoisguard, Inc. / Ilya Kulevich, TESLA WORKS A.G.
Case No. D2018-0048
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Singapore Pools (Private) Limited of Singapore, Singapore, represented by Rajah & Tann Singapore LLP, Singapore.
The Respondent is Whoisguard Protected, Whoisguard, Inc. of Panama, Panama / Ilya Kulevich, TESLA WORKS A.G. of Belize City, Belize.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <singaporepools.online> is registered with NameCheap, Inc. (the “Registrar”).
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on January 10, 2018. On January 10, 2018, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On January 10, 2018, 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 Complainant on January 17, 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 22, 2018.
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 24, 2018. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was February 13, 2018. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on February 14, 2018.
The Center appointed Knud Wallberg as the sole panelist in this matter on March 5, 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
The Complainant was established in 1968 and is the only gaming operator that is legally allowed to offer lotteries and sports betting in Singapore.
The Complainant holds several trademark registrations for SINGAPORE POOLS including Singaporean registered trademark numbers T9308803Z for goods international class 16 and T9308804H for services in international class 41, which were both registered on November 10, 1993.
The Complainant operates its official website at “www.singaporepools.com.sg” (the “Complainant’s Website”). The domain name <singaporepools.com.sg> was registered on March 12, 1998.
The Respondent is Ilya Kulevich, TESLA WORKS A.G. of Belize. The Respondent did not file a Response, and consequently little information is known about the Respondent.
The disputed domain name was registered on October 28, 2017.
At the time of this decision, the disputed domain name did not point to an active website. However, according to screenshots submitted by the Complainant the website associated with the disputed domain name has previously offered online “bitcoin games”.
5. Parties’ Contentions
The Complainant makes the following contentions.
The disputed domain name is confusingly similar to the Complainant’s trademarks since it contains the textual elements of these marks, namely SINGAPORE POOLS, in its entirety, and since the generic
Top-Level Domain (gTLD) “.online” shall be disregarded when considering the confusingly similarity between the disputed domain name and the Complainant´s marks.
The Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. There is no relationship between the Complainant and the Respondent and the Complainant has not licensed or otherwise authorized the Respondent to use the trademark. Further, there is no evidence that the Respondent has used the disputed domain name in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services. On the contrary, the Respondent has used the disputed domain name to provide goods or services that are illegal. It is thus an offence under sections 10 and 11 of the Remote Gambling Act 2014 of Singapore for a person to provide remote gambling services, regardless of whether the services are Singapore-based or are based overseas with a Singapore-customer link.
The Respondent used a privacy service to register the disputed domain name in order to conceal the Respondent’s identity and ensure that it cannot be readily ascertained, as well as to avoid enforcement of the Complainant’s legitimate rights, which indicates bad faith.
Since the Complainant is the only legalized sports betting and lotteries operator in Singapore, and since the Complainant’s mark is well-known to the public at large and have acquired substantial reputation and goodwill, the Respondent was clearly aware of the Complainant when the disputed domain name was registered.
The disputed domain name has resolved to a website that offered illegal gaming services, which constitutes serious bad faith registration and use, and is also against public interest.
Finally, the Complainant sent a cease-and-desist letter to the Respondent drawing the Respondent’s attention to the Complainant’s rights in the trademark and seeking transfer of the disputed domain name to the Complainant. The letter was sent to the Respondent’s registered email address. The Respondent did not reply. The Respondent’s failure to respond to the Complainant’s cease-and-desist letter is a strong indication of bad faith on the part of the Respondent.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
According to paragraph 15(a) of the Rules the Panel shall decide the Complaint in accordance with the Policy, the Rules and any rules and principles of law that it deems applicable.
Paragraph 4(a) of the Policy directs that a complainant must prove each of the following:
(i) that the domain name registered by the respondent is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which the complainant has rights;
(ii) that the respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the domain name; and
(iii) that the domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.
Paragraph 4(a) of the Policy states that the burden of proving that all these elements are present lies with the Complainant. At the same time, in accordance with paragraph 14(b) of the Rules, if a party, in the absence of exceptional circumstances, does not comply with any provision of, or requirement under, the Rules, or any request from the Panel, the Panel shall draw such inferences therefrom as it considers appropriate.
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The Panel finds that the disputed domain name <singaporepools.online> is confusingly similar to the Complainant’s registered device marks SINGAPORE POOLS since it incorporates the textual elements of these marks in full. See section 1.10 of the WIPO Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions, Third Edition (“WIPO Overview 3.0”) and the UDRP decisions that are cited therein.
The Panel finds that the conditions of paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Policy are therefore fulfilled in relation to the disputed domain name.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
It is clear from the facts of the case that the Complainant has not licensed or otherwise permitted the Respondent to use its trademark.
Given the circumstances of this case, and the way that the Respondent has been and is using the disputed domain name, the Panel finds that the Complainant has established that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. In addition, the Respondent has not produced, and there is no other immediate evidence present of the types of circumstances set out in paragraph 4(c) of the Policy that might give rise to rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name on the part of the Respondent in these proceedings.
Consequently, the Panel finds that the conditions in paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy are also fulfilled.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
Paragraph 4(a)(iii) of the Policy requires the Complainant to prove both registration and use of the disputed domain name in bad faith. Paragraph 4(b) of the Policy provides examples of circumstances which shall be evidence of registration and use 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 that Complainant, for valuable consideration in excess of the Respondent’s documented out-of-pocket costs directly related to the domain name; or
(ii) 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) the Respondent has registered the domain name primarily for the purpose of disrupting the business of a competitor; or
(iv) by using the domain name, the Respondent has intentionally attempted to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to its website 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 website or location.
Accordingly, for the Complainant to succeed, the Panel must be satisfied that the disputed domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.
Given the circumstances of the case and in particular the evidence on record of the intensive use of the Complainant’s trademark SINGAPORE POOLS within gambling, and the lack of any explanation from the Respondent as to why it registered the disputed domain name, it is inconceivable to the Panel in the current circumstances that the Respondent registered the disputed domain name without prior knowledge of the Complainant and the Complainant’s marks.
Further, the Panel finds that the content of the then website under the disputed domain name clearly indicates that the Respondent was aware of the fact that, the registration of the disputed domain name in a gTLD that is natural for companies within the area of business of the Complainant to use, could attract Internet users in a manner that is likely to create confusion for such users, see section 1.11.2 of the WIPO Overview 3.0 and the UDRP decisions that are cited therein.
The Panel therefore finds that the disputed domain name was registered in bad faith.
Also, the Respondent has used the disputed domain name actively for a website, which inter alia purported to offer online sports betting services, that is services that is identical to the services offered by the Complainant. The Respondent has thus intentionally attempted to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to its website by creating a likelihood of confusion with the Complainant’s mark as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation, or endorsement of its website.
In addition, since only the Complainant is authorised to offer lotteries and sports betting in Singapore, the Respondent’s illegal activity in this respect as well as the Respondent’s current passive holding of the disputed domain name and the use of a privacy services is further evidence of bad faith use, see in particular Singapore Pools (Private) Limited v. Le Thi Xuan, WIPO Case No. D2017-0518.
Based on the above findings, and considering all the facts and evidence, the Panel therefore finds that the requirements of paragraph 4(a)(iii) and 4(b) of the Policy are also fulfilled in this case.
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 <singaporepools.online> be transferred to the Complainant.
Date: March 19, 2018