WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Educational Testing Service v. Hery Atman / Domain Admin, Privacy Protect LLC (PrivacyProtect.org)
Case No. D2018-0999
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Educational Testing Service of Princeton, New Jersey, United States of America (“United States”), represented by Setiawan Yosua Sabungan, Indonesia.
The Respondent is Hery Atman of Indonesia / Domain Admin, Privacy Protect LLC (PrivacyProtect.org) of Burlington, Massachusetts, United States.
2. The Domain Names and Registrars
The disputed domain names <toeflindonesia.net> and <toefl600.com> are registered with PT Ardh Global Indonesia. The disputed domain name <toeflindonesia.com> is registered with PDR Ltd. d/b/a PublicDomainRegistry.com. Both together hereinafter referred to as the “Registrars”.
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on May 7, 2018. On May 7, 2018, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrars a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain names. On May 8, 2018, the Registrar PublicDomainRegistry.com transmitted by email to the Center its verification response confirming that the Respondent is listed as the registrant and provided the contact details. On May 9, 2018, the Registrar PT Ardh Global Indonesia transmitted by email to the Center its verification response confirming that the Respondent is listed as the registrant and provided 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 May 17, 2018. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was June 6, 2018. On May 18, 2018, the Respondent sent an email to the Center. Taking into account the Respondent’s email on May 18, 2018 the Center sent an email to the Parties inviting the Complainant to request the suspension of the proceeding for the purposes of exploring settlement options between the Parties. As no suspension request was submitted by the Complainant and no formal Response was submitted by the Respondent, the Center informed the Parties that it will proceed to Panel appointment.
The Center appointed Christian Gassauer-Fleissner as the sole panelist in this matter on June 21, 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 following factual background is set out in the Complaint. The Complainant is one of the largest private not-for-profit educational research and measurement institutions in the world. The Complainant has been a leader in developing and administering tests for measuring skills, academic aptitude and achievement, and occupational and professional competency for Americans and citizens of other countries seeking college and graduate school admission; licenses for technical and paraprofessional occupations; and teacher certification, among other services since its formation in 1947.
The Complainant develops, administers and scores more than 50 million tests per year, in more than 180 countries and 9,000 locations. The many well-known tests developed and administered by the Complainant or its related companies include the TOEFL test.
In addition to its headquarters in Princeton, New Jersey, the Complainant has regional offices in California, Florida, Texas, Washington D.C., and Puerto Rico, as well as subsidiaries in the Netherlands and other countries.
Since 1964, the TOEFL Test has been used to evaluate the English proficiency of people whose native language is not English. Colleges and universities in the United States and Indonesia, among many other countries worldwide, rely on TOEFL test scores from their international applicants to assist in determining the admission of foreign students. Academic institutions in other countries, as well as certain independent organizations, agencies and governments also rely on TOEFL test scores to evaluate their employees’ English-language proficiency.
The TOEFL tests are made available worldwide by the Complainant and administered by authorized institutions under contract with the Complainant. Since 1964, more than 30 million students have taken the TOEFL test in more than 180 countries, and over 9,000 institutions worldwide use scores from the test. Globally, the TOEFL test is available at more than 4,500 testing centers in 165 countries. The Complainant has developed numerous TOEFL and TOEFL iBT test preparation products and services, including but not limited to, print publications, compact disks, computer software and online writing exercises.
The Complainant owns various trademark registrations incorporating TOEFL in the United States, and around the world in Classes 9, 16, 35, 38, 41, and 42.
In Indonesia, the Complainant owns several registrations for the TOEFL trademark, including: Registration No. IDM000354662 for TOEFL, registered on May 3, 2012, for the Class 16; Registration No. IDM000159745 for TOEFL, registered on April 22, 2008, for the Class 9; Registration No. IDM000159744 for TOEFL, registered on April 22, 2008, for the Class 35; Registration No. IDM000159746 for TOEFL, registered on April 22, 2008, for the Class 41; and Registration No. IDM000509620 for TOEFL, registered on November 10, 2015 for the Classes 9, 16 and 41.
The Complainant also owns registrations for multiple domain names that incorporate the TOEFL mark, the earliest of which is <toefl.org> dating back to October 24, 1994. In addition, the Complainant owns the domain names <toefl.com> and <toefl.net> (which redirect to <ets.org/toefl>) as well as <toeflgoanywhere.org> and <toeflgoanywhere.com>, and it currently promotes goods and services under the TOEFL mark on the websites located at “www.ets.org/toefl” and “www.toeflgoanywhere.org”.
The Respondent registered <toeflindonesia.com> on July 16, 2009, <toeflindonesia.net> on July 24, 2012, and <toefl600.com> on March 24, 2013.
It results from the Complainant’s documented and undisputed allegations that the Respondent used the disputed domain names <toeflindonesia.com> and <toeflindonesia.net> to direct web traffic to the website “englishcourseindonesia.com”. The Respondent previously used the disputed domain names to offer English training courses.
5. Parties’ Contentions
(a) Identical or Confusingly Similar
The Complainant claims that the disputed domain names incorporate the TOEFL marks in their entirety. It has been well-established by previous UDRP decisions that a domain name incorporating a distinctive trademark in its entirety creates sufficient similarity between the mark and the disputed domain names so as to render it confusingly similar, regardless of the presence of other terms in the domain name.
(b) Rights or Legitimate Interests
The Complainant further contends that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain names. In particular, the Respondent is not a licensee of or otherwise affiliated with the Complainant. Moreover, the Respondent is not commonly known by the disputed domain names, has not made any preparations to use the disputed domain names or a name corresponding to the disputed domain names in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services, and has not used the disputed domain names for any legitimate noncommercial or fair use purpose. Rather, the Respondent registered and operated the disputed domain names in an attempt to mislead Internet users onto the website of the Respondent believing that they were visiting the official website of the Complainant.
(c) Registered and Used in Bad Faith
Finally, the Complainant contends that the Respondent registered and uses the disputed domain names in bad faith. In particular, the Complainant alleges that the Respondent registered, used, and is holding the disputed domain names willfully, in bad faith, and in complete disregard of the Complainant’s exclusive right to use the TOEFL mark. In the Complainant’s view, the Respondent clearly knew of the Complainant’s rights in the TOEFL mark at the time it registered and used the disputed domain names as evidenced by the Respondent’s display of the Complainant’s TOEFL mark on the corresponding website prior to a cease and desist letter sent by the Complainant. Furthermore, the Respondent has registered the disputed domain names using inaccurate contact information. Finally, the Complainant takes the Respondent’s registration and use of the disputed domain names as clearly designed to misdirect consumers in search of the Complainant’s official website.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions, except to say inter alia “I have received your email, but sorry I haven't read all the attachment yet. I just want to say, as I told ETS lawyer previously, that I agree to inactivate 3 domain name; toeflindonesia.com, toeflindonesia.net, and toefl600.com. websites of that three domain are already deleted. and i already told the domain hosting/ registrar company, that I wont renew those domain name”.
6. Discussion and Findings
Paragraph 4(a) of the Policy requires the Complainant to prove each of the following three elements in order to obtain an order that the disputed domain names be transferred or cancelled:
(i) The disputed domain name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which the Complainant has rights; and
(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.
The Panel will therefore proceed to analyze whether the three elements of paragraph 4(a) of the Policy are satisfied.
A. Delay in bringing the Complaint
The time between the creation of the disputed domain names (2009, 2012, and 2013) and the filing of the Complaint in 2018 is noted. However, UDRP panels have widely recognized that mere delay between the registration of a domain name and the filing of a complaint neither bars a complainant from filing such case, nor from potentially prevailing on the merits (Chocolaterie Guylian, Naamloze Vennootschap (N.V.) v. Zeugma, WIPO Case No. D2010-2256; Billards Toulet v. Damon Nelson - Manager, Quantec LLC/Novo Point, LLC, WIPO Case No. D2016-2502; see also WIPO Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions, Third Edition (“WIPO Overview 3.0”), section 4.17). In the present case the Panel, especially as the Respondent has not shown that it was specifically harmed from such delay, sees no reason to draw a negative inference from the delay in the filing of the Complaint.
B. Identical or Confusingly Similar
It results from the evidence provided that the Complainant is the registered owner of trademark registrations consisting of the term TOEFL (e.g., United States Reg. No. 1,103,427 and Indonesian trademark No. IDM000354662). The aforementioned marks also predate the creation date of the disputed domain names.
It is well established that a domain name is confusingly similar to a Complainant’s trademark where the domain name incorporates the complainant’s trademark in its entirety (e.g., Facebook, Inc. v. Mirza Azim, WIPO Case No. D2016-0950; Compagnie Générale des Etablissements Michelin v. Christian Viola, WIPO Case No. D2012-2102; Volkswagen AG v. Nowack Auto und Sport - Oliver Nowack, WIPO Case No. D2015-0070; The Chancellor, Masters and Scholars of the University of Oxford v. Oxford College for PhD Studies, WIPO Case No. D2015-0812; Deutsche Lufthansa AG v. Mustermann Max, Muster AG, WIPO Case No. D2015-1320; KOC Holding A.S. v. VistaPrint Technologies Ltd, WIPO Case No. D2015-1910). This is the case in the present proceedings where several of the Complainant’s registered trademarks are fully included in the disputed domain names.
The Panel has therefore no doubt that paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Policy is satisfied.
C. Rights or Legitimate Interests
It is well established through numerous UDRP decisions that it is sufficient that the Complainant makes a prima facie case that the Respondent lacks rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain names in order to shift the burden of production to the Respondent. If the Respondent fails to demonstrate rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain names in accordance with paragraph 4(c) of the Policy or on any other basis, the Complainant is deemed to have satisfied paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy (see Malayan Banking Berhad v. Beauty, Success & Truth International, WIPO Case No. D2008-1393; Accor v. Eren Atesmen, WIPO Case No. D2009-0701; Carlos Alberto Vives Restrepo v. WSJ Trade / Wilman Villegas, WIPO Case No. D2015-0919).
In the case at hand, the Panel finds that the Complainant has made a prima facie case and that the Respondent has failed to prove any of the circumstances that could demonstrate, pursuant to paragraph 4(c) of the Policy, rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain names.
The Panel notes that based on the record of the case, there is no relation between the Respondent and the Complainant, the Respondent is not a licensee of the Complainant, nor has the Respondent otherwise obtained an authorization to use the Complainant’s TOEFL trademark or to register the disputed domain names.
In addition, there is also no indication before the Panel that the Respondent might be commonly known by the disputed domain names or have used or made preparations to use the disputed domain names in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services, or with a legitimate, noncommercial or fair use.
The Panel further holds that using the disputed domain names to redirect users to a site offering competing services does not constitute a bona fide offering of goods or services or a legitimate noncommercial or fair use (Richemont International SA v. Turvill Consultants WIPO Case No. D2014-0862; Carlos Alberto Vives Restrepo v. WSJ Trade / Wilman Villegas, WIPO Case No. D2015-0919).
The Panel therefore finds that the Complainant has proven that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain names according to paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy.
D. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
The Panel notes that the Complainant’s TOEFL marks have been deemed well-known and highly distinctive marks by previous UDRP Panels (Educational Testing Service v. Int’l Names Ltd., WIPO Case No. D2007-0449; Educational Testing Service v. Park Jeong Foreign Language Institute, WIPO Case No. D2001-1064; Educational Testing Service v. Ahmed Hasan Ali, Dr. Haider, WIPO Case No. D2017-0689). The Panel joins the view of these previous panels. Therefore, it is the view of the Panel that the Respondent knew or should have known that the disputed domain names included trademarks of the Complainant when he registered the disputed domain names. Registration of the disputed domain names in awareness of the reputed TOEFL marks and in the absence of rights or legitimate interests in this case amounts to registration in bad faith (see, e.g., KOC Holding A.S. v. VistaPrint Technologies Ltd, WIPO Case No. DIR2016-0031; The Chancellor, Masters and Scholars of the University of Oxford v. Oxford College for PhD Studies, WIPO Case No. D2015-0812; The Chancellor, Masters and Scholars of the University of Oxford v. Almutasem Alshaikhissa, WIPO Case No. D2014-2100; Educational Testing Service v. Ahmed Hasan Ali, Dr. Haider, WIPO Case No. D2017-0689).
Furthermore, the disputed domain names redirected to a website on which the Respondent offered English courses similar to the services of the Complainant. Prior to a cease and desist letter sent by the Complainant the Respondent displayed the TOEFL mark also on this website and on his own English course materials. The Panel therefore concludes that the Respondent used the disputed domain names to consciously mislead potential customers into thinking that the Respondent offered the original products and services of the Complainant. Such a per se illegitimate activity, akin to the sale of counterfeit goods, is clear evidence of bad faith (see WIPO Overview 3.0, section 3.1.4 with further references).
Further evidence of the bad faith of the Respondent is the fact that the Respondent has registered the disputed domain names using inaccurate contact information (see Greenigans Lawn Care Inc. v. AAA Graphics, WIPO Case No. D2004-0247; Lincoln Property Company v. LPC, WIPO Case No. D2001-0238; eBay Inc. v. SGR Enterprises and Joyce Ayers, WIPO Case No. D2001-0259).
In the light of the above, the Panel finds that the disputed domain names have been registered and are being used in bad faith pursuant to paragraph 4(a)(iii) of the Policy.
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 names, <toeflindonesia.com>, <toeflindonesia.net>, and <toefl600.com> be transferred to the Complainant.
Date: July 5, 2018