WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Meizu Technology Co., Ltd v. Sun Yatsen, Hyang Young
Case No. D2018-0495
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Meizu Technology Co., Ltd of Zhuhai, Guangdong, China, represented by CSC Digital Brand Services AB, Sweden.
The Respondent is Sun Yatsen of Guangzhou, Guangdong, China; Hyang Young of Seoul, Republic of Korea.
2. The Domain Names and Registrar
The disputed domain names <meizu.co>, <meizu.fm> and <meizu.name> (the “Domain Names”) are registered with 1API GmbH (the “Registrar”).
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on March 5, 2018. On March 5, 2018, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the Domain Names. On March 6, 2018, 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 March 14, 2018. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was April 3, 2018. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on April 4, 2018.
The Center appointed Linda Chang as the sole panelist in this matter on April 16, 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, headquartered in China, designs and produces smartphones. The Complainant is the owner of trademark registrations across various jurisdictions, including trademark registration No. 3356226 in Class 9 registered in China as of February 7, 2004, and international trademark registration No. 903967 in Class 9 as of April 19, 2006.
The Domain Name <meizu.co> was registered on July 20, 2010, the Domain Name <meizu.name> was registered on January 6, 2011, and the Domain Name <meizu.fm> was registered on September 17, 2013.
The Domain Name <meizu.fm> now resolves to a webpage only displaying two simplified Chinese characters “美族” (which is transliterated as “mei zu” in Pinyin). Previously, the Domain Name <meizu.fm> resolved to a website attempting to phish for personal contact and financial information. The Domain Names <meizu.co> and <meizu.name> do not resolve to any active online sites at the moment, while appeared to resolve to news sites back in 2017 and resolve to websites promising iPhone 7 as a reward for playing a game back in 2016.
5. Parties’ Contentions
The Complainant has made the following contentions:
The Complainant is the owner of the MEIZU trademark across various jurisdictions including China and Republic of Korea. The Domain Names contain the Complainant’s MEIZU trademark in its entirety and thus the Domain Names are identical to the MEIZU trademark.
The Respondent is not sponsored by or affiliated with the Complainant in any way, nor has the Complainant given the Respondent permission to use the Complainant’s trademarks in any manner including in domain names.
The Domain Names were registered and are being used in bad faith. The Respondent knew or should have known of the existence of the Complainant’s trademarks at the time of registering the Domain Names. The Respondent has registered and used the Domain Names for purposes of launching a phishing attack. After first creating a strong likelihood of confusion by misappropriating the Complainant’s trademarks in the Domain Names, the Respondent has attempted to “phish” for personal contact and financial information by either promising iPhone 7 as a reward for playing a game on their websites or by offering cheap beauty treatment packages online. The Domain Names <meizu.co> and <meizu.name> currently resolve to inactive websites.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
A. Consolidation of Multiple Respondents
Though the registration information indicates that the Domain Names are registered by two different holders, the Complainant alleges that the registrants of the Domain Names is an alias for a single person and requests to allow a single proceeding under the Policy against multiple respondents. The Respondent did not deny the above allegation. Accordingly, the Panel exercises the general power vested in it to decide the request by the Complainant in accordance with the Policy and the Rules.
In this case, the Complainant has proven to the satisfaction of the Panel that the three Domain Names are registered and being controlled by the same holder since all the three are using an identical contact email address. The Panel therefore concludes that consolidation of multiple respondents in this case is acceptable.
B. Identical or Confusingly Similar
Trademark registrations of the MEIZU mark relevant to this case include, without limitation, the following:
- China Trademark Registration No. 3356226, registered on February 7, 2004;
- International Trademark Registration No. 903967, registered on April 19, 2006.
The Panel is satisfied that the Complainant has registered trademark rights in the MEIZU mark.
When assessing whether a domain name is identical or confusingly similar to the trademark in issue, the Panel agrees that the Top-Level Domain (“TLD”) in a domain name is a standard registration requirement and as such the TLD should be disregarded under the confusing similarity test.
After removing the TLDs, each of the Domain Names consists of the exact term “meizu”, which is identical to the Complainant’s MEIZU trademark. The Panel accordingly finds the Complainant has satisfied the requirements of paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Policy and the Domain Names are confusingly similar to the Complainant’s MEIZU trademark.
C. Rights or Legitimate Interests
It is well-established by UDRP precedent that a complainant needs to establish a prima facie case showing that a respondent lacks rights or legitimate interests in a domain name. Once such prima facie case is established, the burden shifts to the respondent to prove its rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. See International Hospitality Management – IHM S.p.A. v. Enrico Callegari Ecostudio, WIPO Case No. D2002-0683.
In the present case, the Complainant has asserted trademark registrations and its use of the trademarks long before the registration of the Domain Names. The Complainant further confirmed that it has not given any permission to the Respondent to use the Complainant’s trademark in any manner, including in domain names.
The Respondent however did not respond. There is no evidence before the Panel to suggest that the Respondent has any rights or legitimate interests in the Domain Names, or that the Respondent is commonly known by the Domain Names. There is also no indication that the Respondent is using the Domain Names in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services.
For these reasons, the Panel is satisfied that the Respondent does not have rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Domain Names under paragraph 4(c) of the Policy.
D. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
To pass this test, a complainant must demonstrate that a disputed domain name was registered and being used in bad faith. To establish bad-faith registration, a complainant must show that the respondent knew or at least should have known of the existence of the complainant and its marks, and that the respondent was targeting the complainant when registering the disputed domain name.
The Domain Name <meizu.fm> was registered on September 17, 2013, which long after the Complainant registered and used the MEIZU trademark. As shown in the historical registration records submitted by the Complainant, the Respondent acquired from the prior registrant the Domain Names <meizu.name> and <meizu.co> respectively in the year of 2012 and 2014, which is the date the Panel will consider in assessing bad faith registration of these two Domain Names. In any event, had the Panel considered the earlier registration dates (i.e., 2011 and 2010), this would not have changed the outcome of this case.
In view of the fame of the Complainant’s MEIZU trademark and the identity of the Domain Names with the MEIZU trademark, the Panel finds that the Respondent was more likely than not aware of the Complainant’s trademark at the time of registering and/or acquiring the Domain Names.
The Respondent is currently displaying two simplified Chinese characters “美族” on the website associated with the Domain Name <meizu.fm>. “美族” is transliterated as “mei zu” in Pinyin, but there is no evidence before the Panel demonstrating how the Respondent is using or preparing to use the Domain Names in connection with the name “美族” for bona fide offering of goods or services thereby the Panel is more convinced that the use of the Domain Names amounts to bad faith since the Respondent has intentionally attempted to attract Internet users to its websites by causing a likelihood of confusion with the Complainant’s trademark as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation or endorsement of the Respondent’s website. The Domain Names <meizu.co> and <meizu.name> currently resolve to inactive websites and previous UDRP decisions have established that the passive holding of a domain name does not prevent a finding of bad faith. The Panel finds that the previous use of the Domain Names as described under the Factual Background and the Complainant’s Contentions is also evidence of registration and use in bad faith.
The Respondent has chosen not to respond to the several cease-and-desist letters of the Complainant, and this Complaint. The omissions in the Respondent’s answer to the cease-and-desist letter and this Complaint constitutes an implied admission that it has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Domain Names. The Panel finds it fair and appropriate to infer that the Respondent has no evidence to rebut the bad faith allegations of the Complainant.
In light of the above, the Panel determines, on the balance of probabilities, that the Complainant has satisfied this element and the Respondent registered and is using the Domain Names 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 Domain Names <meizu.co>, <meizu.fm> and <meizu.name> be transferred to the Complainant.
Date: April 30, 2018