WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Klarna AB v. Syed Hussain, Domain Management MIC
Case No. D2018-1189
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Klarna AB of Stockholm, Sweden, represented by SILKA Law AB, Sweden.
The Respondent is Syed Hussain, Domain Management MIC of Closter, New Jersey, United States of America (“United States”).
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <klarna.group> is registered with Name.com, Inc. (Name.com LLC) (the “Registrar”).
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on May 29, 2018. On May 30, 2018, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On May 31, 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 June 6, 2018. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was June 26, 2018. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on June 27, 2018.
The Center appointed Miguel B. O’Farrell as the sole panelist in this matter on July 6, 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, Klarna AB, is a Swedish e-commerce company that provides payment services for online storefronts. The company was founded in Stockholm in 2005 and is one of the fastest growing companies in Europe, offering safe and easy-to-use payment solutions to e-stores.
The Complainant claims that Klarna Group has more than 1,400 employees, is active in 18 markets, serves 45 million consumers and works with 65,000 merchants, attracting major international clients such as Spotify, Disney, Samsung and many others.
The Complainant is the proprietor, among others, of Unites States trademark registration No. 4582346 KLARNA, dated August 12, 2014; KLARNA International Registration No. 1217315, dated March 4, 2014; KLARNA International Registration No. 1182130, dated August 1, 2013 and KLARNA International Registration No. 1066079, dated December 21, 2010 covering services related to its business.
The Complainant has registered several domain names under generic Top-Level Domains (“gTLDs”) containing the trademark KLARNA, such as <klarna.com> which it uses to connect to websites through which it informs potential customers about its services.
The Complainant has also a rather significant presence with many subscribers on various social media platforms, such as Facebook, Youtube, Instagram, Google+ and Twitter.
The disputed domain name <klarna.group> was registered on August 12, 2017. It is being offered for sale and currently does not resolve to any active website.
5. Parties’ Contentions
The Complainant claims that the Respondent has no trademark rights in the word “klarna” nor has it become known under that name. Moreover, that the Respondent is not affiliated with the Complainant in any way, nor has the Complainant authorized the Respondent to use and/or register domain names incorporating the KLARNA trademark.
In summary, the Complainant contends that the disputed domain name <klarna.group> is confusingly similar to the Complainant’s trademark KLARMA, that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests with respect to the disputed domain name, and that the disputed domain name was registered and is being used in bad faith.
The Complainant requests transfer of the disputed domain name to the Complainant.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
According to paragraph 4(a) of the Policy, for this Complaint to succeed in relation to the disputed domain name, the Complainant must prove each of the following, namely that:
(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 was registered and is being used in bad faith.
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The Panel is satisfied that the Complainant has established that it has rights in the trademark KLARNA.
The standing test for confusing similarity involves a reasoned but relatively straightforward comparison between the trademark and the disputed domain name to determine whether the domain name is confusingly similar to the trademark. The test involves a side-by-side comparison of the domain name and the textual components of the relevant trademark to assess whether the mark is recognizable within the domain name.
In this case the disputed domain name <klarna.group> contains the Complainant’s trademark, KLARNA, in its entirety. The addition of the word “group” does not avoid a finding of confusing similarity. As set forth in section 1.8 of WIPO Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions, Third Edition (“WIPO Overview 3.0”) “[w]here the relevant trademark is recognizable within the disputed domain name, the addition of other terms (whether descriptive, geographical, pejorative, meaningless, or otherwise) would not prevent a finding of confusing similarity under the first element. The nature of such additional term(s) may however bear on assessment of the second and third elements.” Where the added term is found at the top-level portion of the domain name, the Panel sees no reason not apply the same reasoning. Moreover, as set forth in section 1.11.1 of WIPO Overview 3.0 “[t]he applicable Top Level Domain (“TLD”) in a domain name […] is viewed as a standard registration requirement and as such is disregarded under the first element confusing similarity test.”
As set forth in section 1.7 of WIPO Overview 3.0 “in cases where a domain name incorporates the entirety of a trademark […] the domain name will normally be considered confusingly similar to that mark.”
The Panel finds that the disputed domain name is confusingly to the trademark KLARNA in which the Complainant has rights and that the requirements of paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Policy therefore are fulfilled.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
Pursuant to paragraph 4(c) of the Policy, a respondent may establish rights to or legitimate interests in a domain name by demonstrating any of the following:
(i) before any notice to it of the dispute, the respondent’s use of, or demonstrable preparations to use, the domain name or a name corresponding to the domain name in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services; or
(ii) the respondent has been commonly known by the domain name, even if it has acquired no trademark or service mark rights; or
(iii) the respondent is making a legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the domain name, without intent for commercial gain, to misleadingly divert consumers.
Although the Policy addresses ways in which a respondent may demonstrate rights or legitimate interests in a disputed domain name, it is well established, as it is put in section 2.1 of WIPO Overview 3.0, that a complainant is required to make out a prima facie case that the respondent lacks rights or legitimate interests in the domain name. Once such prima facie case is made, the burden of production 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 Complainant submits that it has never granted the Respondent with the right to use or register the trademark KLARNA as a domain name or for any other reason.
Previous panels under the Policy have found that a lack of rights or legitimate rights or interests exists where, as here, “Complainant asserts that it has not authorized Respondent to use the mark.” Chicago Pneumatic Tool Company LLC v. Texas International Property Associates- NA NA, WIPO Case No. D2008-0144.
The Complainant also claims that the Respondent has not been commonly known by the disputed domain name. From the record it would seem that the Respondent is known as Syed Hussain, Domain Management MIC.
The Respondent’s current use of the disputed domain name to resolve to a blank page lacking content is not evidence of a bona fide service or offering of goods under the Policy. See Pet Plan Ltd. V. Marc Castonguay, WIPO Case No. D2015-2116. Neither is the fact that it is being offered for sale.
The Panel finds that the Complainant has made out a prima facie case, a case calling for an answer from the Respondent. The Respondent has not responded and the Panel is unable to conceive of any basis upon which the Respondent could sensibly be said to have any rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name.
The Panel finds that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
The registration and use of the Complainant’s trademark KLARNA in several countries predates the registration of the confusingly similar disputed domain name by the Respondent.
The Panel is satisfied that the Respondent knew or should have known of the Complainant´s business and its trademark KLARNA on August 12, 2017 when it registered the disputed domain name.
It is therefore most likely that the Respondent targeted the Complainant’s trademark when registering the disputed domain name for the purpose of benefiting from the prestige of the Complainant and the Complainant’s KLARNA trademark by causing confusion among Internet users as to source or sponsorship of the relevant goods or services, which amounts to bad faith registration.
The fact that there is a clear absence of rights or legitimate interests coupled with no explanation for the Respondent’s choice of the disputed domain name is also a significant factor to consider that the disputed domain name was registered in bad faith (as stated in section 3.2.1 of WIPO Overview 3.0).
On November 27, 2017 the lawyers for the Complainant sent the Respondent a cease and desist letter and on the basis of the Complainant’s United States trademark registration, requested the Respondent to immediately cease the use of the disputed domain name and transfer it to the Complainant. The Respondent failed to answer, which contributes to a finding of bad faith, (see Nike, Inc. v. AzumanoTravel, WIPO Case No.D2000-1598).
The disputed domain name currently resolves to an inactive site and is not being used. However, it is to be noted that, as stated in section 3.3 of WIPO Overview 3.0: “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.
In the circumstances, and in the absence of a plausible reply from the Respondent, the Panel considers that any use of the disputed domain name for an actual website would have to be in bad faith.
Finally, the disputed domain name is being offered for sale which, in the circumstances of this case, is further evidence of bad faith.
Therefore, the Panel finds that the disputed domain name was registered and is used 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 disputed domain name <klarna.group> be transferred to the Complainant.
Miguel B. O’Farrell
Date: July 18, 2018