WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center


Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. v. Domains by Proxy, LLC / Management Group, Nanci Nette

Case No. D2018-1453

1. The Parties

Complainant is Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. of San Francisco, California, United States of America, internally represented.

Respondent is Domains by Proxy, LLC of Scottsdale, Arizona, United States of America / Management Group, Nanci Nette of Los Angeles California, United States of America.

2. The Domain Name and Registrar

The disputed domain name <wikiepedia.com> (the “Domain Name”) is registered with GoDaddy.com, LLC (the “Registrar”).

3. Procedural History

The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on June 29, 2018. On July 2, 2018, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the Domain Name. On July 3, 2018, the Registrar transmitted by email to the Center its verification response disclosing registrant and contact information for the Domain Name which differed from the named Respondent and contact information in the Complaint. The Center sent an email communication to Complainant on July 4, 2018 providing the registrant and contact information disclosed by the Registrar, and inviting Complainant to submit an amendment to the Complaint. Complainant filed an amendment to the Complaint on July 6, 2018.

The Center verified that the Complaint together with the amendment to 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 July 6, 2018. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was July 26, 2018. Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified Respondent’s default on July 30, 2018.

The Center appointed Robert A. Badgley as the sole panelist in this matter on August 10, 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

Complainant describes itself as “a nonprofit charitable organization dedicated to encouraging the growth, development, and distribution of free, multilingual, educational content.” Complainant was founded in 2003 and, according to the Complaint, currently maintains 13 “free knowledge products built and maintained by a community of over 77,000 active volunteers.”

Chief among Complainant’s operations is Wikipedia, “a free, online encyclopedia compiled, edited, and maintained by over 70,000 active contributors.” The Wikipedia online encyclopedia is accessible via the domain name <wikipedia.org>.

Complainant holds numerous registered trademarks for WIKIPEDIA, including United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) Registration No. 3,040,722 registered January 10, 2006. This USPTO registration, in Class 41 for “providing information in the field of general encyclopedic knowledge via the Internet,” indicates a date of first use in commerce of January 13, 2001.

Several panels in prior decisions under the Policy have found that Complainant’s WIKIPEDIA mark is wellknown.

The Domain Name was registered on May 11, 2004. The Domain Name has been redirected to websites offering downloads or containing advertisements.

On March 6 and 23, 2018, Complainant sent cease-and-desist emails to Respondent (via the email address furnished by Domains By Proxy). Complainant received no response to these emails.

5. Parties’ Contentions

A. Complainant

Complainant asserts that it has established the three elements required under the Policy for a transfer of the Domain Name.

B. Respondent

Respondent did not reply to Complainant’s contentions.

6. Discussion and Findings

Paragraph 4(a) of the Policy lists the three elements which Complainant must satisfy with respect to the Domain Name:

(i) the Domain Name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which Complainant has rights; and

(ii) Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Domain Name; and

(iii) the Domain Name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.

A. Identical or Confusingly Similar

The Panel concludes that Complainant has rights in the mark WIKIPEDIA through registration and use. The Panel finds that the Domain Name is confusingly similar to the distinctive WIKIPEDIA mark. The Domain Name merely inserts the letter “e” in the middle of the mark.

Complainant has established Policy, paragraph 4(a)(i).

B. Rights or Legitimate Interests

Pursuant to paragraph 4(c) of the Policy, Respondent may establish its rights or legitimate interests in the Domain Name, among other circumstances, by showing any of the following elements:

(i) before any notice to you [Respondent] of the dispute, your 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) you [Respondent] (as an individual, business, or other organization) have been commonly known by the Domain Name, even if you have acquired no trademark or service mark rights; or

(iii) you [Respondent] are making a 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.

The Panel concludes that Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Domain Name. Respondent has not come forward to articulate or defend its motives in registering the Domain Name. It is undisputed that Respondent is unaffiliated with Complainant, has not been authorized by Complainant to use the WIKIPEDIA mark, and has done nothing with the Domain Name other than redirect it to third party sites where downloads are offered or advertisements are featured.

Complainant has established Policy paragraph 4(a)(ii).

C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith

Paragraph 4(b) of the Policy provides that the following circumstances, “in particular but without limitation,” are evidence of the registration and use of the Domain Name in “bad faith”:

(i) circumstances indicating that Respondent has registered or has acquired the Domain Name primarily for the purpose of selling, renting, or otherwise transferring the Domain Name registration to Complainant who is the owner of the trademark or service mark or to a competitor of that Complainant, for valuable consideration in excess of its documented out of pocket costs directly related to the Domain Name; or

(ii) that Respondent has registered the Domain Name in order to prevent the owner of the trademark or service mark from reflecting the mark in a corresponding domain name, provided that Respondent has engaged in a pattern of such conduct; or

(iii) that Respondent has registered the Domain Name primarily for the purpose of disrupting the business of a competitor; or

(iv) that by using the Domain Name, Respondent has intentionally attempted to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to Respondent’s website or other online location, by creating a likelihood of confusion with Complainant’s mark as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation, or endorsement of Respondent’s website or location or of a product or service on Respondent’s website or location.

The Panel concludes that Respondent has registered and used the Domain Name in bad faith. The Panel finds it more likely than not that Respondent had Complainant’s well-known WIKIPEDIA mark in mind when registering the Domain Name. The Domain Name merely inserts the letter “e” – which does nothing to alter the sound of the mark – into the mark. This appears to be a clear case of typosquatting.

The Panel also concludes that Respondent has used the Domain Name in bad faith. The redirection of the Domain Name to sites offering downloads or featuring advertisements is probably intended to generate per-click revenues for Respondent. A similar inference has been adopted by panels in similar cases decided under the Policy. See, e.g., Pfizer Inc. v. lipidor.com DNS Services, WIPO Case No. D2003-1099 (panel assumes that Respondent’s redirection of domain name was intended to generate fees). Respondent has not disputed this allegation in the Complaint, an allegation which the Panel otherwise finds to be plausible in the circumstances of this case.

Complainant has established Policy paragraph 4(a)(iii).

7. Decision

For the foregoing reasons, in accordance with paragraphs 4(i) of the Policy and 15 of the Rules, the Panel orders that the Domain Name <wikiepedia.com> be transferred to Complainant.

Robert A. Badgley
Sole Panelist
Date: August 15, 2018