WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Government Employees Insurance Company v. Private Register / Domain Admin, Domain Service, Inc
Case No. D2018-2639
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Government Employees Insurance Company of Washington, the District of Columbia, United States of America (“United States”), represented by Burns & Levinson LLP, United States.
The Respondent is Private Register of Denver, Colorado, United States / Domain Admin, Domain Service, Inc. of St Louis Park, Minnesota, United States.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <geioc.com> is registered with DropCatch.com 522 LLC (the “Registrar”).
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed concerning two disputed domain names with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on November 16, 2018. On November 19, 2018, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain names. On November 19, 2018, the Registrar transmitted by email to the Center its verification response disclosing registrant and contact information for the disputed domain names 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 registrants 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 November 27, 2018, removing one domain name from the Complaint.
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 November 28, 2018. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was January 17, 2019. On December 7, 2018, the Complainant submitted a suspension request. On December 10, 2018, the Center notified the Parties that the proceeding was suspended until January 9, 2019. On January 8, 2019, the Complainant requested to reinstitute the proceeding. On January 9, 2019, the Center notified the Parties that the proceeding was reinstituted and the current due date for Response was January 17, 2019. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on January 18, 2019.
The Center appointed William F. Hamilton as the sole panelist in this matter on January 22, 2019. 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 well-known company that has provided insurance related services since 1936. The Complainant offers numerous types of insurance services including, among others, automobile, motorcycle, homeowners, rental, condominium, flood, mobile home, personal umbrella, and overseas insurance.
The Complainant’s mark GEICO (the “Mark”) was initially registered on January 14, 1964 with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) (registration number 763,274). The Complainant has subsequently obtained numerous registrations with USPTO for marks for insurance related services that incorporates the original GEICO mark.
The disputed domain name was registered on March 2, 2018 and resolves to a website offering competing goods.
5. Parties’ Contentions
The Complainant contends that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to the Mark because the disputed domain name wholly incorporates the Mark while transposing the last two letters of the Mark. The Complainant asserts that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name as the Complainant has not licensed or authorized the Respondent to use the Mark and there is no evidence that the Respondent is commonly known by or has done bona fide business under the disputed domain name. Finally, the Complainant asserts the disputed domain name was registered and being used in bad faith to attract unsuspecting Internet users to 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 finds the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to the Mark. The disputed domain name incorporates the Mark entirely with the exception of transposing of the last two letters of the Mark “c” and “o”. The disputed domain name is so similar to the Complainant's Mark that confusion is inevitable between them. Sanofi v. Marek Zdanowicz, WIPO Case No. D2016-2545 (transferring <saonfi.com>); AltaVista v. O.F.E.Z. et al., WIPO Case No. D2000-1160 (misspelling or typographical variation of a well-known mark is “confusingly similar”); Encyclopedia Britannica, Inc. v. John Zuccarini and The Cupcake Patrol a/k/a Country Walk a/k/a Cupcake Party, WIPO Case No. D2000-0330 (transferring disputed domain names utilizing the term “brtannica”).
The Complainant has met its burden of proof under paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Policy.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
The Panel finds the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the Mark. There is no evidence that the Respondent is known by or has conducted bona fide business under the disputed domain name. The Respondent has failed to respond to the Complaint, and the Complainant has disavowed providing the Respondent with permission or authorization to use the Mark or the disputed domain name. Marriott International, Inc. v. Thomas, Burstein and Miller, WIPO Case No. D2000-0610 (no legitimate interest where respondent was not commonly known by the disputed domain name); Nu Mark LLC v. Perfect Privacy, LLC / Kyle Messier, Apex Juice, WIPO Case No. D2018-1082; World Natural Bodybuilding Federation, Inc. v. Daniel Jones TheDotCafe, WIPO Case No. D2008-0642.
The Complainant has met its burden of proof under paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
The Panel finds the disputed domain name was registered and used in bad faith. The mere transposition of the last two letters of the Mark in the disputed domain name is evidence of the Respondent’s effort to confuse Internet users. This conclusion is supported by recognition that the Respondent’s website offers insurance related services in competition with the Complainant. It is inconceivable that the Respondent was unaware of the Complainant and the Complainant’s Mark. Telstra Corporation Limited. v. Nuclear Marshmallows, WIPO Case No. D2000-0003 (only feasible explanation for registration of the disputed domain name is intention to cause confusion, mistake and deception); Government Employees Insurance Company v. Contact Privacy Inc. Customer 0139602496. / ICS INC., WIPO Case No. D2017-0617) (transferring <partnergeico.com>); Groupon, Inc. v. Ezriel Duchman / Oneandone Private Registration, WIPO Case No. D2014-1985.
Moreover, typosquatting is evidence of the bad faith registration of a domain name. Longs Drug Stores California, Inc. v. Shep Dog, WIPO Case No. D2004-1069.
Additionally, the Respondent has offered the disputed domain name for sale which fact is evidence of bad faith registration and use. SAP SE v. CarlosBlanco Vazquez, Itnet Consulting Business SL, WIPO Case No. D2016-2623 (offer of for sale evidence of bad faith).
The Complainant has met its burden of proof under paragraph 4(a)(iii) of the Policy.
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 <geioc.com> be transferred to the Complainant.
William F. Hamilton
Date: January 27, 2019