WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Coinbase, Inc. v. Information Privacy Protection Services Limited / liqian
Case No. D2018-0815
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Coinbase, Inc. of San Francisco, California, United States of America (“United States”), represented by Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe, LLP, United States.
The Respondent is Information Privacy Protection Services Limited of Hong Kong, China / liqian of Changsha, Hunan, China.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <coinbae.com> is registered with 22net, Inc. (the “Registrar”).
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed in English with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on April 12, 2018. On April 12, 2018, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On April 13, 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 April 23, 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 April 27, 2018.
On April 23, 2018, the Center sent a communication to the Parties, in English and Chinese, regarding the language of the proceeding. On April 26, 2018, the Complainant confirmed its request that English be the language of the proceeding.
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 April 30, 2018. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was May 20, 2018. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on May 23, 2018.
The Center appointed Douglas Clark as the sole panelist in this matter on May 31, 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 is the provider of a secure online platform for buying, selling, transferring, and storing digital currency. It has its headquarters in San Francisco, California. The Complainant began using the mark COINBASE in 2012. Since this date, the Complainant’s services have been used by more than 10 million individuals to trade more than USD 50 billion in financial assets. The Complainant uses the domain name <coinbase.com>.
The Complainant owns numerous trademark registrations for COINBASE in classes 9, 36 and 42, including Hong Kong, China, registration no. 304139262 (registered on May 15, 2017) and United States registration no. 45467877, 4567878, 4567879 (all registered on July 15, 2014) in CLASS 9, 36 and 42 respectively.
The Respondent is an individual based in China. The registrant of the domain name was, previously, a privacy service based in Hong Kong, China. After filing of the Complaint, the Registrar disclosed the name of the registrant, being the Respondent.
The disputed domain name was registered on May 9, 2013. It currently redirects Internet users to another website “www.nbitcoin.com” that provides information on cryptocurrencies. In March 2018 it redirected to a different website “www.binance.com” that also provided information on cryptocurrencies.
5. Parties’ Contentions
The Complainant contends as follows:
Identical or Confusingly Similar
The Complainant contends that the disputed domain name <coinbae.com> and the trademark COINBASE are confusingly similar. The disputed domain name incorporates the Complainant’s COINBASE mark in its entirety with the omission of the letter “s” which is a simple typographic error an Internet user could make.
No rights of legitimate interests
The Respondent has no connection with the Complainant or any of its affiliates and has never sought or obtained any trademark registrations for COINBASE. It, therefore, has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name.
Registered and used in bad faith
The Complainant submits that there is no doubt that before registration of the disputed domain name the Respondent knew of the Complainant’s rights in the COINBASE trademark given its worldwide reputation and the Respondent acquired the disputed domain name so that Internet users would be directed to other sights if they make a typo when typing the Complainant’s name.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
The Language of the Registration Agreement is in Chinese.
The Complainant requests that the language of proceedings be English on the grounds the disputed domain name redirected to websites that were in English and that the Complainant does not understand or speak Chinese language. The obligation to translate all case relevant documents would require additional expense and cause unnecessary delay and would be an unfair disadvantage to the Complainant.
The Respondent did not respond to this request.
Paragraph 11(a) of the Rules provides that:
“Unless otherwise agreed by the Parties, or specified otherwise in the Registration Agreement, the language of the administrative proceeding shall be the language of the Registration Agreement, subject to the authority of the Panel to determine otherwise, having regard to the circumstances of the administrative proceeding.”
The Center made a preliminary determination to:
1) accept the Complaint as filed in English;
2) accept a Response in either English or Chinese;
3) appoint a Panel familiar with both languages mentioned above, if available.
The final determination of the language of the proceedings lies with this Panel.
The Respondent did not respond to the Center’s preliminary determination. This Panel decided in Zappos.com, Inc. v. Zufu aka Huahaotrade, WIPO Case No. D2008-1191, that a respondent’s failure to respond to a preliminary determination by the Center as to the language of the proceedings “should, in general, be a strong factor to allow the Panel to decide to proceed in favour of the language of the Complaint”.
As set out below, the Panel considers the merits of the case to be strongly in favour of the Complainant. The disputed domain name redirects to websites in English. Translating the Complaint would cause unnecessary delays and expense. The Panel therefore determines to follow the Center’s preliminary determination. As the only pleading before the Panel is in English, the Panel will render its decision in English.
B. Substantive Issues
To succeed, the Complainant must demonstrate that all of the elements listed in paragraph 4(a) of the Policy have been satisfied:
(i) the disputed domain name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which the Complainant has rights;
(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 disputed domain name <coinbae.com> is confusingly similar to the Complainant’s trademark. The disputed domain name incorporates the Complainant’s COINBASE mark in full with a minor typo which is the omission of the letter “s”.
The disputed domain name is therefore confusingly similar to the Complainant’s registered trademark.
The Panel notes that the Complainant does not rely on any registered trademarks for COINBASE in China where the Respondent is located, although when filing the Complaint it did rely on a Hong Kong, China trademark, the location of the privacy service. The ownership of a trademark is generally considered to be a threshold standing issue. The location of the trademark, its date of registration (or first use) and the goods and/or services for which it is registered, are all irrelevant for the purpose of finding rights in a trademark under the first element of the UDRP. These factors may however bear on a panel’s further substantive determination under the second and third elements. (See section 1.1.2 of WIPO Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions, Third Edition (“WIPO Overview 3.0”)).
The first element of paragraph 4(a) of the Policy is therefore satisfied.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
“While the overall burden of proof in UDRP proceedings is on the complainant, panels have recognized that proving a respondent lacks rights or legitimate interests in a domain name may result in the often impossible task of ‘proving a negative’, requiring information that is often primarily within the knowledge or control of the respondent. As such, where a complainant makes out a prima facie case that the respondent lacks rights or legitimate interests, the burden of production on this element shifts to the respondent to come forward with relevant evidence demonstrating rights or legitimate interests in the domain name. If the respondent fails to come forward with such relevant evidence, the complainant is deemed to have satisfied the second element.”
The Respondent has no business or any other kind of relationship with the Complainant.
The Complainant has made out a prima facie case that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name.
Considering the absence of a response by the Respondent and the fact that the Respondent was granted neither a license nor an authorization to make any use of the Complainant’s trademark, the Panel finds the Respondent has failed to demonstrate any rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name.
The second element of paragraph 4(a) of the Policy is therefore satisfied.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
The Panel finds that the disputed domain name <coinbae.com> was registered in bad faith and is being used in bad faith.
The Respondent clearly knew of the Complainant when it registered the disputed domain name, as it comprises of not only the Complainant’s mark in full, with a minor typo, that omitted the letter “s”, which suggests “typo squatting”, the websites to which the disputed domain name have been redirected are of a similar nature of the Complainant’s website. This serves as strong evidence of the Respondent’s knowledge of the Complainant.
The current webpage redirects users to another website “www.nbitcoin.com” that provides information on cryptocurrencies.
This case clearly falls with paragraph 4(b)(iv) of the Policy which provides that a registrant has registered and is using a domain name in bad faith where:
“by using the domain name, you have intentionally attempted to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to your website or other on-line location, by creating a likelihood of confusion with the complainant’s mark as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation, or endorsement of your website or location or of a product or service on your website or location.”
The use of “coinbae” as part of the disputed domain name is clearly designed to attract consumers to the website.
The third part of the paragraph 4(a) of the Policy is therefore 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 <coinbae.com> be transferred to the Complainant.
Date: June 18, 2018