WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Koppers, Inc., Koppers Delaware, Inc. v. Aston Bruce, High Solution
Case No. D2018-0863
1. The Parties
Complainants are Koppers, Inc. of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States of America (“United States” or “U.S.”) and Koppers Delaware, Inc. of Wilmington, Delaware, United States, represented by Metz Lewis Brodman Must O’Keefe LLC, United States.
Respondent is Aston Bruce, High Solution of Houston, Texas, United States.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <kooppers.com> is registered with PDR Ltd. d/b/a PublicDomainRegistry.com (the “Registrar”).
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on April 17, 2018. On April 18, 2018, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On April 20, 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 April 24, 2018. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was May 14, 2018. Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on May 15, 2018.
The Center appointed Lorelei Ritchie as the sole panelist in this matter on May 23, 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
Complainants are the owners of numerous trademark registrations for goods including fuel, chemicals, wood and wood preservatives, among others. These registrations include U.S. Trademark Registration No. 1,919,197 (Registered 1995), U.S. Trademark Registration Nos. 1,902,735 (Registered 1995), 1,940,412 (Registered 1995), and 3,156,761 (Registered 2006) for KOPPERS; and U.S. Trademark Registration Nos. 3,085,821 (Registered 2006), and 4,409,596 (Registered 2013) for KOPPERS and design.
The disputed domain name <kooppers.com> was registered on April 12, 2018. The disputed domain name does not appear to be linked to an active website. Respondent has no affiliation with Complainants, nor any license to use their marks.
5. Parties’ Contentions
Complainants contend that (i) the disputed domain name <kooppers.com> is identical or confusingly similar to Complainants’ trademarks, (ii) Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name, and (iii) Respondent registered and is using the disputed domain name in bad faith.
Specifically, Complainants contend that they own the mark KOPPERS. Complainants contend that Respondent has created the disputed domain name by simply misspelling the KOPPERS mark. Complainants contend that Respondent lacks rights or legitimate interest in the disputed domain name, and rather has registered and is using it in bad faith.
Respondent did not reply to Complainants’ contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
Complainants are related companies. Specifically, Complainant Koppers, Inc. is the parent company of which Complainant Koppers Delaware, Inc. is a subsidiary (collectively, the “Complainants”). Prior UDRP panels have found under such circumstances that it is appropriate for companies to bring a joint complaint against a single respondent where:
(i) the complainants either have a specific common grievance against the respondent, or the respondent has engaged in common conduct that has affected the complainants’ individual rights in a similar fashion; (ii) it would be equitable and procedurally efficient to permit the consolidation.
See paragraph 4.11.1 of WIPO Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions, Third Edition (“WIPO Overview 3.0”) (discussing when it is appropriate for multiple companies to serve as joint complainants against a single respondent). The Panel finds that these criteria are satisfied and it is appropriate to have joint Complainants in this proceeding. See also eBay Inc., PayPal Inc. v. Rene Rene/Wuxi Yilian LLC, WIPO Case No. D2015-0010 and Altria Group, Inc. and Philip Morris USA Inc. v. Leonard Di Bari, WIPO Case No. D2014-0181, finding consolidation appropriate for a parent and wholly-owned subsidiaries.
B. Identical or Confusingly Similar
This Panel must first determine whether the disputed domain name <kooppers.com>, is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which Complainants have rights in accordance with paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Policy. The Panel finds that it is.
The disputed domain name contains an obvious misspelling of Complainants’ KOPPERS mark. This indicates a practice commonly known as “typosquatting,” where a domain name registrant deliberately registers common misspellings of a well-known mark in order to divert consumer traffic. Other UDRP panels have routinely found typosquatted domain names like this to be “confusingly similar” for purposes of a finding under the UDRP. See Edmonds.com, Inc. v. Yingkun Guo, dba This domain name is 4 sale, WIPO Case No. D2006-0694 (<edunds.com>); Disney Enterprises, Inc. v. John Zuccarini, Cupcake City and Cupcake Patrol, WIPO Case No. D2001-0489 (<disneychanel.com>, <disneywolrd.com>, <walddisney.com>). Seealso Credit Karma, Inc. v. Domain Admin, WhoIs Privacy Corp., WIPO Case No. D2017-0194 (<credidkarma.com>).
The Panel therefore finds that the disputed domain name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark in which Complainants have rights in accordance with paragraph (4)(a)(i) of the Policy.
C. Rights or Legitimate Interests
The Panel next considers whether Complainants have shown that Respondent has no rights or legitimate interest as must be proven to succeed in a UDRP dispute. Paragraph 4(c) of the Policy gives examples that might show rights or legitimate interests in a domain name. These examples include: (i) use of the domain name “in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services”; (ii) demonstration that respondent has been “commonly known by the domain name”; or (iii) “legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the domain name, without intent for commercial gain to misleadingly divert consumers or to tarnish the trademark or service mark at issue”.
No evidence has been presented to this Panel that might support a claim of Respondent’s rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name, and Respondent has no license from, or other affiliation with, Complainants.
Therefore, this Panel finds that Complainants have provided sufficient evidence of Respondent’s lack of rights or legitimate interests in accordance with paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy which Respondent has not rebutted.
D. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
There are several ways that a complainant can demonstrate that a domain name was registered and used in bad faith. For example, paragraph 4(b)(iv) of the Policy states that bad faith can be shown where “by using the domain name [respondent has] intentionally attempted to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to [respondent’s] web site 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 [respondent’s] website or location or of a product or service on [the] website or location”. As noted in Section 4 of this Panel’s decision, Respondent has a parked webpage at the URL associated with the disputed domain name.
UDRP Panels have noted that passive holding of a domain name does not shield a respondent from a finding of bad faith. See WIPO Panel Overview of Cases 3.0, section 3.3, which states:
From the inception of the UDRP, panelists have found that the non-use of a domain name (including a blank or “coming soon” page) would not prevent a finding of bad faith under the doctrine of passive holding.
Rather, a panel must examine the “totality of the circumstances,” including, for example, whether a complainant has a distinctive trademark, and whether the respondent replied to the complaint. The Panel finds that Complainants have established a distinctive mark, with long-standing registrations in the United States, the country where Respondent lists his address of record, and that Respondent registered a typo-squatted variation of Complainant’s mark and has not responded to the allegations of the Complaint.
Therefore, this Panel finds for purposes of this proceeding that Respondent registered and used the disputed domain name in bad faith in accordance with paragraph 4(a)(iii) of the Policy.
For all 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 <kooppers.com> be transferred to Complainant Koppers, Inc.
Date: June 6, 2018