WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
IG Group Limited v. John Newman
Case No. D2018-2628
1. The Parties
The Complainant is IG Group Limited of London, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (“United Kingdom”), represented by The GigaLaw Firm, Douglas M. Isenberg, Attorney at Law, LLC, United States of America (“United States” or “US”).
The Respondent is John Newman of London, United Kingdom.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <ig-investing.com> is registered with PDR Ltd. d/b/a PublicDomainRegistry.com (the “Registrar”).
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on November 16, 2018. On November 16, 2018, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On November 17, 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 November 20, 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 amendment to the Complaint on November 21, 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 November 23, 2018. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was December 13, 2018. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on December 14, 2018.
The Center appointed Clive Duncan Thorne as the sole panelist in this matter on December 20, 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 was established in 1974 as the world’s first spread-betting company and is currently a leading provider of CFDs, which are derivative contracts enabling clients to benefit from changes in asset prices, and also financial spread betting.
It is listed on the UK FTSE 250. It provides trading and investment services worldwide and has offices in Africa, Asia-Pacific, Europe, and the Middle East with a head office in London. It has more than 195,000 clients worldwide.
Further evidence of its history and activities is set out in Annexes 4 and 5 to the Complaint.
The Complainant has been operating on the Internet since 1998 when it launched its first online dealing platform. It has operated under the domain names <igindex.co.uk>, <igmarkets.co.uk>, <iggroup.com>, and <ig.com>.
The Complainant is the owner of at least 46 trade mark registrations consisting of or containing the mark IG. These include European Union registrations 001895069, 012103578 and 001907260 registered on March 24, 2003, January 22, 2014 and June 10, 2005 respectively and US registration 4,745,533 registered on June 2, 2015.
Copies of the certificates of registration are set out at Annex 11 to the Complaint.
The Respondent registered the disputed domain name on November 3, 2017. It is using it in connection with a website that appears to be the Complainant’s website including copying the Complainant’s own text referring to online trading and having been established in 1974. This is set out at Annex 7 to the Complaint. The website also includes a logo which appears to be a flagrant imitation of the Complainant’s logo. This can be seen at Annexes 7 and 8 to the Complaint.
In the absence of a Response and evidence to the contrary, the Panel finds the evidence adduced by the Complainant as true and proceed to determine the Complaint on the basis of that evidence.
5. Parties’ Contentions
The Complainant contends;
1. That it is the owner of trade mark rights in the mark IG and that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to the mark IG.
2. The Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. The Respondent has never used the disputed domain name in connection with bona fide trade. The Respondent has never commonly been known by the disputed domain name.
3. On the evidence the disputed domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
On the evidence set out in section 4 above, the Panel finds that the Complainant owns rights in the trade mark IG. The Panel is supported in this view by previous Panel decisions referred to by the Complainant.
In the Panel’s view, the initials “ig” are clearly recognizable in the disputed domain name. The remaining part of the disputed domain name consists of the word “investing”, which is descriptive of the Complainant’s trading activity. It is well-established, as the Complainant points out, that the generic Top-Level Domain (“gTLD”) “.com” should be disregarded for this purpose.
The Complainant relies upon previous Panel decisions including, for example, Virgin Enterprises Ltd v.Daniel Stracey, Imagination ph, WIPO Case No. D2016-2009, which held that, as here, a disputed domain name containing a complainant’s trade mark plus the word “investing” is confusingly similar to the trade mark.
Moreover, the Complainant rightly submits that the “overall impression of the designation” of the disputed domain name is one of “being connected to the trademark of the Complainant”. Additionally, the broader case context here, such as the website content at the disputed domain name, supports a finding of confusing similarity. See section 1.7 of the WIPO Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions, Third Edition (“WIPO Overview 3.0”).
The Panel therefore finds that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to the trade mark IG in which the Complainant owns rights.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
Pursuant to paragraph 4 (a)(ii) 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 Complainant has ever assigned, granted, licensed, sold, transferred, or in any way authorized the Respondent to register or use the mark IG. In summary, there is no evidence of any commercial relationship between the parties.
The Panel takes into account that, as shown by Annex 7 to the Complaint, the Respondent is using the disputed domain name in connection with a website that purports to offer financial services in direct competition with the Complainant. Moreover, the Respondent appears to be misrepresenting that it is trading as the Complainant.
To the Complainant’s knowledge the Respondent has never been commonly known by the disputed domain name nor acquired trade mark rights in “IG “ or “ig”. According to the WhoIs database the registrant of the disputed domain name is “John Newman”.
In the absence of a Response and evidence to the contrary the Panel finds for the Complainant in respect of this element of the Policy.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
The Complainant submits that the factual and legal issues in this Complaint are the same as in previous proceedings under the Policy brought by the Complainant. In particular, it relies upon IG Group Ltd v Michael Smith/Domain Privacy Service FBO Registrant, WIPO Case No. D2016-0127, in which the panel found bad faith where one of the disputed domain names was used in connection with a website “for financial services including verbatim text from the Complainant’s website and displaying a logo similar to the Complainant’s trade mark, giving appearance of false association with the Complainant”.
That is the position upon the evidence (set out in section 4 above) in this Complaint. The Respondent’s intention appears to be to disrupt the Complainant’s business. This is evidence to justify a finding of registration and use in bad faith within paragraphs 4(b)(iii) and (iv) of the Policy.
The Panel finds, as shown by Annex 7 to the Complaint, that the Respondent is using the disputed domain name without the Complainant’s consent in connection with a website that offers financial services in competition with the Complainant and a logo similar to the Complainant’s logo. This clearly constitutes a disruption of the Complainant’s business. Customers would undoubtedly be confused as to the source of the website.
The Panel also takes into account the failure of the Respondent to reply to three demand letter emails. It is long-established that this conduct may constitute further evidence of bad faith.
On the evidence and in the absence of a Response the Panel finds that the disputed domain name was registered and has been used in bad faith.
For the foregoing reasons, in accordance with paragraph 4(i) of the Policy and 15 of the Rules, the Panel orders that the disputed domain name <ig-investing.com> be transferred to the Complainant.
Clive Duncan Thorne
Date: January 3, 2019