WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center


Government Employees Insurance Company v. Above.com Domain Privacy / Transure Enterprise Ltd

Case No. D2018-1698

1. The Parties

Complainant is Government Employees Insurance Company of Washington, United States of America ("United States") represented by Burns & Levinson LLP, United States.

Respondent is Above.com Domain Privacy of Beaumaris, Australia and Transure Enterprise Ltd of Wilmington, United States.

2. The Domain Name and Registrar

The disputed domain name <geicoddd.com> (the "Domain Name") is registered with Above.com, Inc. (the "Registrar").

3. Procedural History

The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the "Center") on July 26, 2018. On July 26, 2018, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On July 27, 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 30, 2018 providing the registrant and contact information disclosed by the Registrar, and inviting Complainant to submit an amendment to the Complaint. Complainant filed an amended Complaint on July 31, 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 Respondent of the Complaint, and the proceedings commenced on August 2, 2018. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was August 22, 2018. Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent's default on August 23, 2018.

The Center appointed Ingrīda Kariņa-Bērziņa as the sole panelist in this matter on August 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

Complainant owns numerous registrations of trade and service marks that wholly incorporate the term "Geico", among them the following federal registrations for word marks in the United States:

- GEICO – Registration No. 763,274, registered January 14, 1964

- GEICO – Registration No. 2,601,179, registered July 30, 2002

- GEICO DIRECT – Registration No. 1,442,076, registered June 9, 1987

- GEICO DIRECT – Registration No. 2,071,336, registered June 17, 1997

In connection with its insurance products and services, Complainant has established a website located at "www.geico.com", which Complainant uses to promote and sell its motor vehicle insurance services.

The disputed Domain Name <geicoddd.com> was created on January 17, 2016. The Domain Name resolves to a number of rotating third-party websites including those of automobile sellers and resellers, and a pay-per-click website showing sponsored links for different automobile insurers.

5. Parties' Contentions

A. Complainant

Complainant's contentions can be summarized as follows:

Complainant is a well-known insurance company that has provided insurance services in the United States since 1936. Complainant has used the trademark GEICO for nearly 80 years in connection with its insurance business, and today has 16 million policies insuring more than 27 million vehicles. Complainant has over 39,000 employees and is one of the fastest-growing auto insurers in the United States.

Complainant's trademark has been extensively used and promoted through television, print media, and the Internet. As a result of such efforts and significant investment, Complainant's trademark has become a recognizable symbol of Complainant's goodwill and reputation.

Complainant owns and operates a website located at "www.geico.com", which Complainant uses to promote and sell its motor vehicle insurance services. The "www.geico.com" website enables computer users to access information regarding Complainant's insurance services, manage their policies and claims, learn more about Complainant and obtain insurance quotes.

Complainant contends that the Domain Name is confusingly similar Complainant's trademark, since the Domain Name is comprised entirely of Complainant's trademark, adding only the letters "ddd" and a generic top-level domain. Complainant has not authorized Respondent to use its trademark in the Domain Name.

The Domain Name resolves, via redirection, to numerous third-party websites that are not affiliated with Complainant, including Google search results featuring hyperlinks of Complainants' competitors and others, including Edmunds.com, Volvo.com, AliExpress.com, and MyBestmv.com, which states the Domain Name is "used by the RevenueHit Ad Network for ad serving."

Complainant submits that Respondent registered the Domain Name in bad faith as it must have had actual or constructive knowledge of Complainant's well-publicized trademark rights, and the fact that the Domain Name resolves to sites including a Google search demonstrating links to Complainant's competitors is probative of bad faith.

After becoming aware of the Domain Name, Complainant contacted Respondent to request that Respondent cease its infringing use of the GEICO Mark and transfer the Domain Name to Complainant. Respondent responded by suggesting that it may sell the Domain Name to Complainant for USD 100. Complainant states that a party using the same address as Respondent has previously offered domains for sale to trademark owners, demonstrating that Respondent is engaged in a pattern of behavior demonstrative of bad faith, and providing case references, e.g., to LEGO Juris A/S v. Transure Enterprise Ltd, WIPO Case No. D2009-1347.

Complainant believes Respondent has adopted and is using the Domain Name to intentionally attempt to attract Internet users seeking Complainant's services for commercial gain. Such use harms Complainant by tarnishing and infringing its trademarks, reputation and goodwill.

Complainant requests that the Domain Name be transferred to it.

B. Respondent

Respondent did not reply to Complainant's contentions.

6. Discussion and Findings

Paragraphs 4(a) of the UDRP requires Complainant to make out three elements:

(i) The Domain Name is identical or confusingly similar to a trade mark 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) Respondent has registered and is using the Domain Name in bad faith.

A. Identical or Confusingly Similar

The Panel finds that Complainant had rights in the GEICO trademark based on sustained use and registrations in the United States, and concurs with previous panels in finding the GEICO trademark is a strong and distinctive mark (see, e.g., Government Employees Insurance Company ("GEICO") v. Hildegard Gruener, WIPO Case No. D2015-1410).

The Panel further finds that the Domain Name is confusingly similar to Complainant's trademark. Respondent has added the letters "ddd" to the word GEICO. The addition of repeated letters to a sufficiently recognizable aspect of the relevant mark amounts to typosquatting, whereby the disputed Domain Name is a slight misspelling of a registered trademark to divert Internet traffic (see, e.g., Edmunds.com, Inc. v. Digi Real Estate Foundation, WIPO Case No. D2006-1043). The additional letters lack any meaning of their own. The Domain Name is dominated by Complainant's trademark and the differences are insufficient to avoid a finding of confusing similarity.

The Panel therefore finds that Complainant has established the first element of paragraph 4(a) of the Policy in relation to the Domain Name.

B. Rights or Legitimate Interests

The Panel finds that the evidence submitted by Complainant establishes a prima facie case that Respondent lacks rights or legitimate interests in the Domain Name. The Panel finds that the materials in the case indicate that Complainant has not granted any permission for Respondent to make use of its trademark or to register a domain name containing a textual element that is confusingly similar to its trademark. Respondent has failed to assert any such rights.

Based on the evidence, Respondent is not affiliated or related to Complainant, and is not using the Domain Name in connection with any bona fide offering of goods or services. It is the consensus view of the Panels that the use of the Domain Name to redirect users to third-party sites for commercial gain cannot be legitimate use (WIPO Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions, Third Edition ("WIPO Overview"), section 2.9). The addition of the meaningless letters "ddd" to Complainant's trademark does not indicate that Respondent is engaged in any legitimate business using this trademark, but rather indicates that Respondent is deliberately attempting to improperly attract consumers using a domain comprised primarily of Complainant's trademark.

Further, Respondent's use of the Domain Name for participation in an ad-server network cannot establish a legitimate interest in the Domain Name.

Accordingly, the Panel finds that Complainant has established the second element of paragraph 4(a) of the Policy.

C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith

The evidence submitted by Complainant supports a finding of bad faith. In particular, the similarity between the Domain Name and Complainant's trademark and the content of the websites indicate that Respondent has deliberately attempted to attract Internet users by typosquatting and thereby capitalizing on Complainant's trademark rights.

The Panel concludes that Respondent was well aware of Complainant's trademark, which is and has been long publicized, and is known to the public. Further, the fact that the Domain Name resolves to websites that offer services that directly compete with Complainant or that offer paid links to related services demonstrates a lack of good faith. The Panel is convinced that Respondent deliberately selected the Domain Name for the purpose of improperly securing commercial gains through attracting users to third-party sites, including those that operate on a "pay-per-click" basis. Further, the previous cases referenced by Complainant indicate that Respondent is engaged in a pattern of bad faith behavior consisting of registering domain names confusingly similar to established trademarks, using the domains for commercial gain through redirecting to "pay-per-click" sites and/or offering the domains for sale to the trademark holders. Finally, Respondent failed to respond to the Complaint. Such behavior cannot demonstrate actions in good faith.

On the basis of all the undisputed facts, the Panel holds that Respondent registered and is using the Domain Name intentionally for the purpose of attracting Internet users to particular websites and securing commercial gains from deliberate confusion with Complainant's trademark. The Panel finds that the Domain Name was registered and is being used in bad faith within the meaning of paragraph 4(a)(iii) of the Policy.

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 <geicoddd.com> be transferred to Complainant.

Ingrīda Kariņa-Bērziņa
Sole Panelist
Date: September 10, 2018