WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
PPG Industries Ohio, Inc. v. Domain Administrator, See PrivacyGuardian.org / Shi Lei
Case No. D2018-1394
1. The Parties
The Complainant is PPG Industries Ohio, Inc. of Cleveland, Ohio, United States of America (“United States” or “US”), represented by Ladas & Parry, United States.
The Respondent is Domain Administrator, See PrivacyGuardian.org of Phoenix, Arizona, United States / Sh Lei of Hangzhou, China.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <ppgcoatingsservice.com> is registered with NameSilo, LLC (the “Registrar”).
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on June 22, 2018. On June 22, 2018, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On June 22, 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 June 26, 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 June 29, 2018.
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 July 2, 2018. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was July 22, 2018. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on July 23, 2018.
The Center appointed Clive Duncan Thorne as the sole panelist in this matter on July 27, 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
According to the Complainant which is registered under the law of the US state of Delaware, it is a leading manufacturer of paints, coatings and specialty materials with operations in nearly 70 countries around the world. It is the Complainant’s goal to be the world’s leading coatings company by delivering high quality innovative and sustainable solutions for customers.
It was founded in 1883 as Pittsburgh Plate Glass. Its headquarters is still located in Pittsburgh, where it now employs nearly 47,000 people across the globe.
The Complainant had net sales of USD 14.3 billion in 2016 and is ranked within the Fortune 500. It has nearly 156 manufacturing facilities across the globe and continues to expand its operations. It first registered trademarks in the United States containing “PPG” in 1947 and has subsequently registered numerous other marks incorporating “PPG” throughout the world, including in the USA, Canada, Germany, Hong Kong, China, Australia and others. In particular, the PPG mark is the subject of registrations and applications in the United States under registration numbers 0836998, 0847608, 0847924, 1735888 and application numbers 87345486, 87191972 and 86949078 in respect of inter alia various types of paints and coatings. In addition, the Complainant owns over 100 active applications and registrations for marks incorporating “PPG” in various countries around the world. Details of registrations from a number of jurisdictions are set out in Annex F to the Complaint.
A significant portion of the Complainant’s key businesses involves the manufacture and sale of coatings for a variety of industries, as indicated at its website which is set out at Annex D to the Complaint. It is the industry leader in protective coating applications, serving over 900 customers throughout the United States and around the world. It has over 50 years of experience in the field and has 41 locations spanning seven countries. It provides environmentally sound and cost effective coating solutions to a wide variety of industries such as agriculture, appliance, automotive, computer, construction equipment, electrical components, furniture, industrial equipment, recreational, truck and bus and alternative energy. The Complainant’s full range of high technology solutions includes electro coating, powder coating, liquid paint, lightweight aluminum coating and other custom coatings.
The disputed domain name <ppgcoatingsservice.com> was created on February 27, 2018, and resolves to a pay-per-click (“PPC”) page featuring links to competing products.
In the absence of a Response the Panel finds the evidence adduced by the Complainant to be true and proceeds to determine the Complaint on the basis of this evidence.
5. Parties’ Contentions
The Complainant contends:
1. The disputed domain name <ppgcoatingsservice.com> is nearly identical to the PPG mark subject to the addition of the generic terms “coatings” and “service”. The disputed domain name is therefore identical or confusingly similar to a trademark in which the Complainant has rights.
2. The Respondent has no rights or legitimate interest in respect of the disputed domain name.
3. The disputed domain name was registered and is being used in bad faith. In particular the Complainant relies upon the fact that the Respondent has registered a domain name confusingly similar to the Complainant’s PPG mark and that the disputed domain name resolves to a page featuring PPC advertising so that the Respondent is attempting to benefit directly from the advertising that appears on the Respondent’s website.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The Panel has found that the Complainant is the owner of trademark rights incorporating the mark PPG. It has also accepted on the evidence that the Complainant is in the business of manufacturing and supplying coatings.
The disputed domain name incorporates “PPG” together with the dictionary terms “coatings” and “service”. It is well established that the addition of dictionary terms to a domain name that otherwise incorporates a mark in its entirety can constitute confusing similarity. The only other element of the domain name is the generic Top-Level Domain “.com” which serves no purpose in distinguishing the disputed domain name from the PPG mark. It is well established on authorities that the use within a domain name of the top level domains such as “.net” or “.com” does not affect the domain name for the purpose of determining whether it is identical or confusingly similar.
Given the evidence of the Complainant’s trademark rights in the mark PPG and the incorporation of the Complainant’s PPG mark in the disputed domain name, the Panel therefore finds that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to the Complainant’s trademark PPG.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
The Complainant points out that there is no evidence that the Respondent has any rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. In particular there is no evidence that the Respondent made any effort to use the domain name in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services. There is no evidence that the Respondent has been commonly known by the domain name. There is no evidence that the Respondent has been making a legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the domain name.
To the contrary it is apparent from the evidence that the Respondent registered the disputed domain name which is confusingly similar to the Complainant’s trademark PPG without the Complainant’s authorization or consent.
Moreover, there is evidence set out in a screenshot annexed at Annex G to the Complaint that the disputed domain name resolves to a page featuring competing PPC advertising on the Respondent’s website. This is sufficient, in the Panel’s view, to show that the Complainant has no rights or legitimate interest in the disputed domain name. This is particularly so when there is no evidence to the contrary from the Respondent.
Accordingly, the Panel finds that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
As set out above the Respondent has registered a domain name confusingly similar to the Complainant’s PPG trademark and which resolves to a page featuring PPC advertising as set out at Annex G to the Complaint.
In the Panel’s view this is evidence that the Respondent is attempting to benefit directly from the advertising that appears on its website. It is well established that this can constitute evidence of bad faith. In the Panel’s view this also constitutes commercial gain on the part of the Respondent.
The Complainant also submits that the fact that the Respondent has registered the disputed domain name to prevent the Complainant from reflecting the PPG mark in a corresponding domain name. In support of this submission and that the Respondent is engaged in a pattern of such conduct the Complainant has set out at Annex H to the Complaint a list that shows the Respondent is associated with over 8,000 domain names incorporating names such as Adidas, Aetna, AGI Health Insurance, and Amazon Prime. The Complainant submits that this demonstrates that the Respondent is a systematic cyber squatter who registered the disputed domain name in bad faith. In the Panel’s view this evidence is sufficient to establish a finding of bad faith, particularly where there is no evidence or submission to the contrary from the Respondent.
Accordingly, the Panel finds that the disputed domain name was registered and is being used by the Respondent 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, <ppgcoatingsservice.com>, be transferred to the Complainant.
Clive Duncan Thorne
Date: August 2, 2018