WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Government Employees Insurance Company v. Above.com Domain Privacy / Protection Domain
Case No. D2018-2884
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Government Employees Insurance Company of Chevy Chase, United States of America (“United States or US”) represented by Burns & Levinson LLP, United States.
The Respondent is Above.com Domain Privacy of Beaumaris, Australia / Protection Domain of Panama City, Panama.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <geicoinsurancequote.com> 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 December 18, 2018. On December 19, 2018, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On January 7, 2019, 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 January 11, 2019 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 amended Complaint on January 11, 2019.
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 January 14, 2019. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was February 3, 2019. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on February 4, 2019.
The Center appointed Mario Soerensen Garcia as the sole panelist in this matter on February 8, 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 insurance company that has provided insurance services since 1936, offering several types of insurance services including automobile, rental, condominium, mobile home etc.
GEICO has over 16 million policies and insurances in more than 27 million vehicles, in addition to over 40,000 employees and is one of the fast-growing auto insurers in the United States.
The Complainant uses the website “www.geico.com” to promote and sell its motor vehicle insurance services.
The Complainant owns different trademark registrations that wholly incorporate the GEICO mark, including the US trademark registrations for GEICO in class 36 nos. 763,274, registered on January 14, 1964 and 2,601,179, registered on July 30, 2002.
The disputed domain name was registered on August 27, 2013 and resolved, via redirection, to a number of third-party websites that are not affiliated with the Complainant. The website is currently inactive and, according to the Complainant, the respondent has listed it for sale.
5. Parties’ Contentions
The Complainant states that it owns various trademark registrations including GEICO, and that the disputed domain name incorporates its trademark.
According to the Complainant, the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to its trademarks and the inclusion of the terms “insurance” and “quote” even increases the possibility of confusion by the consumers, since it suggests one may receive insurance quotes from Complainant through accessing the disputed domain name.
The Complainant argues that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name, is not commonly known by the disputed domain name and it has not received any license or consent to use the GEICO mark in a domain name or in any other manner.
The Complainant also says that the Respondent registered the disputed domain name in bad faith as it is inconceivable that the Respondent was unaware of GEICO’s rights, due to extensive advertising featuring its name and mark.
In addition, the Complainant mentions that the disputed domain name was used to trade on the goodwill associated with its GEICO mark by leading consumers to believe that the Respondent or its website was associated with Complainant. The Complainant alleges that the Respondent’s intention in registering the disputed domain name was for commercial gain and in bad faith, since it is advertised for sale.
Finally, the Complainant requests the transfer of the disputed domain name.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
As per paragraph 4(a) of the Policy, the Complainant must prove that:
(i) the disputed domain name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which the Complainant has rights;
(ii) the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name; and
(iii) the disputed domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The evidence presented demonstrates that the Complainant is the owner of some trademark registrations for GEICO in the US. Also, the Complainant has been using its website <www.geico.com> to promote and sell its services for many years. The Panel finds that the Complainant has trademark rights for purposes of the Policy.
The disputed domain name comprises the Complainant’s trademark GEICO in its entirety. The addition of the terms “insurance” and “quote” does not avoid confusing similarity between the disputed domain name and the Complainant’s trademarks. See WIPO Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions, Third Edition (“WIPO Overview 3.0”), section 1.8.
The Panel finds that paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Policy has been proved by the Complainant, i.e., the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to the Complainant’s trademarks.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
The Respondent has not submitted a response to the Complaint.
There is no evidence that the Respondent has any authorization to use the Complainant’s trademarks or to register domain names containing the trademark GEICO.
There is no evidence that the Respondent is commonly known by the disputed domain name.
There is no evidence that the Respondent is making a legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the disputed domain name or that before any notice of the dispute the Respondent has made use of, or demonstrable preparations to use the disputed domain name or a name corresponding to the disputed domain name in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services. Instead, there is evidence that the Respondent has used the disputed domain name for commercial gain, creating a likelihood of confusion with the Complainant.
Based on the evidence in the Complaint, the Panel finds that the use of the disputed domain name, which incorporates the Complainant’s trademarks, does not correspond to a bona fide use of domain names under the Policy.
For the above reasons, the Panel finds that the condition of paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy has been satisfied, i.e., the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
The trademark GEICO is registered by the Complainant and has been used for over 80 years.
The disputed domain name totally incorporates the GEICO trademark in addition to other descriptive words and the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. Moreover, the addition of such terms enhances confusion, since the Complainant does business in the insurance field and it is a very well-known company.
There is evidence in the Complaint that the disputed domain name was used with the intent to deceive Internet users to believe they were negotiating with the Complainant and that the Respondent’s objective was to make a profit with the registration.
Therefore, this Panel finds that the Respondent obviously knew of the Complainant’s mark when it registered the disputed domain name and has intentionally attempted to attract Internet users to its website for commercial gain by creating a likelihood of confusion with the Complainant’s trademarks and misleading Internet users to believe that its website belongs to or is associated with the Complainant.
This Panel finds that the Respondent’s intention of taking undue advantage of the trademark GEICO as described in paragraph 4(b)(iv) of the Policy has been demonstrated.
For the above reasons, the Panel finds that the condition of paragraph 4(a)(iii) of the Policy has been satisfied, i.e., the disputed 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 disputed domain name <geicoinsurancequote.com> be transferred to the Complainant.
Mario Soerensen Garcia
Date: February 20, 2019