WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
HTC Corporation v. Carlos Henrique Barbosa Alves
Case No. D2018-2492
1. The Parties
The Complainant is HTC Corporation of Seattle, Washington, United States of America (“United States”), represented by Bracewell L.L.P., United States.
The Respondent is Carlos Henrique Barbosa Alves of Sao Paulo, Brazil.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <multhtc.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 November 1, 2018. On November 1, 2018, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the Domain Name. On November 2, 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 November 7, 2018. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was November 27, 2018. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on November 29, 2018.
The Center appointed Ian Lowe as the sole panelist in this matter on December 11, 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 is a company founded in 1997 whose shares are listed in Taiwan, Province of China. It is a market-leading, global electronics manufacturer producing in particular award-winning smartphones.
The Complainant is the proprietor of numerous registered trademarks comprising HTC and HTC (stylized), including United States trademarks number 3919900 HTC registered on February 15, 2011 and number 3631364 HTC (stylized) registered on June 9, 2009, and Brazil trademark number 828399514 registered on April 15, 2008 in respect of the following device mark (the “HTC device mark”):
Although the Complaint provides limited information, the Panel sees from a brief review of the Complainant’s website at “www.htc.com” that the Complainant has sold products under the HTC mark since at least 1998.
The Domain Name was registered on April 19, 2017. It resolves to a website (the “Website”) whose home page prominently features at its head the HTC device mark. The Website offers for sale what purport to be a substantial number of HTC products. The About Us page of the Website is headed “HTC EXPORT COMPANY” and states that “Multhtc Company” is “Exporter of the best brands in the international market”. It speaks of its “strong relationships with leading manufacturers”. The Website solicits resellers of its products.
5. Parties’ Contentions
The Complainant contends that the Domain Name is confusingly similar to its HTC trademark, that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Domain Name and that the Respondent registered and is using the Domain Name in bad faith within the meaning of paragraph 4(b)(iv) of the Policy.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
For this Complaint to succeed in relation to the Domain Name the Complainant must prove that:
(i) the 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 Domain Name; and
(iii) the Domain Name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The Complainant has uncontested rights in the HTC trademark (the “Mark”), both by virtue of its trademark registrations and as a result of the goodwill and reputation acquired through its use of the Mark over many years. Ignoring the generic Top-Level Domain (“gTLD”) “.com”, the Domain Name comprises the entirety of the Mark, together with the prefix “mult”. Although the word “mult” has no obvious meaning, in the view of the Panel it hints at “multinational”, but the addition of this term does not detract from the confusing similarity of the Domain Name to the Mark. Accordingly, the Panel finds that the Domain Name is confusingly similar to a trademark in which the Complainant has rights.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
The Complainant has made out a strong prima facie case that the Respondent could have no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Domain Name. The Respondent is not authorized by the Complainant to use its Mark or to market its products. The Respondent has used the Domain Name not in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services, but for a commercial website that prominently displays the Complainant’s trademarks and in particular the HTC device mark and in the view of the Panel gives the impression that it is an official HTC website. The Website offers what purport to be the Complainant’s products but also appears to solicit resellers not only of HTC products but many others. The Complainant has not authorized the Respondent to appoint resellers of HTC products. The Respondent has chosen not to respond to the Complaint or to take any steps to counter the prima facie case established by the Complainant. In the circumstances, the Panel finds that the Respondent does not have any rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Domain Name.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
Since the Respondent has used the Domain Name for a website selling what purport to be the Complainant’s goods, the Panel is in no doubt that the Respondent had the Complainant and its rights in the HTC mark in mind when it registered the Domain Name. The home page of the Website incorporates the HTC device mark and numerous photographs of the Complainant’s products. In addition, the Website claims that it is involved in the sale of a large number of well-known international brands and seeks resellers of its wide range of products.
The Panel is therefore in no doubt that the Respondent is using the Domain Name in a manner that takes unfair advantage of the Complainant’s well-known trademarks by attracting Internet users to the Website by creating a likelihood of confusion as to the affiliation or endorsement of the Website and of the products and services promoted at the Website. In the Panel’s view, the use of a domain name for such activity, clearly with a view to commercial gain, amounts to paradigm bad faith registration and use for the purposes of the Policy.
Accordingly, the Panel finds that the Domain Name has been registered and is being 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 Domain Name <multhtc.com> be transferred to the Complainant.
Date: December 20, 2018