WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Wesco Aircraft Hardware Corp. v. Philip Smith
Case No. D2019-0285
1. The Parties
Complainant is Wesco Aircraft Hardware Corp. of Valencia, California, United States of America (“United States” or “U.S.”), represented by Umberg Zipser LLP, United States.
Respondent is Philip Smith of Hunters Lane, Ohio, United States.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <wescoalr.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 February 5, 2019. On February 6, 2019, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On February 7, 2019, the Registrar transmitted by email to the Center its verification response confirming that 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 Respondent of the Complaint, and the proceedings commenced on February 14, 2019. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was March 6, 2019. Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified Respondent’s default on March 7, 2019.
The Center appointed Michael A. Albert as the sole panelist in this matter on March 18, 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
Wesco Aircraft was founded in 1953 and has been using the WESCO AIRCRAFT mark since that time. Complainant is well known in the aerospace industry, and is one of the world’s leading independent distributors and providers of comprehensive supply chain management services to the global aerospace industry. Complainant operates in 56 locations in 17 countries. Complainant is the owner of U.S. Trademark Registration No. 4,795,365 for WESCO AIR, registered on August 18, 2015. Complainant also owns U.S. Trademark Registration Nos. 2,521,481(registered on December 25, 2001); 3,924,965 (registered on March 1, 2011); and 5,111,216 (registered on December 27, 2016), for WESCO AIRCRAFT, and U.S. Trademark Registration No. 4,372,149 (registered on July 23, 2013) for WA WESCO AIRCRAFT + design. The domain name <wescoair.com> was registered by Complainant on May 13, 1996. Respondent registered the disputed domain name on May 16, 2018. The disputed domain name does not resolve to any active website.
5. Parties’ Contentions
Complainant alleges that through its continuous use of the WESCO AIRCRAFT mark since the launch of its brand over 60 years ago, it has acquired goodwill in the mark in the aerospace industry. The disputed domain name is confusingly similar to Complainant’s mark. Respondent has never been authorized to use or register Complainant’s mark, has no legitimate rights or interests in doing so, and has acted in bad faith by registering and using the disputed domain name. Complainant alleges that Respondent has engaged in a pattern of registering common misspellings of third party marks, with no evidence of rights to those marks, further evidencing registration and use in bad faith.
Respondent did not reply to Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The disputed domain name is identical to Complainant’s registered WESCO AIR mark except that the disputed domain name replaces the letter “i” with the letter “l” and adds the generic Top-Level Domain (“gTLD”) suffix “.com.”. It is well established that the addition of a gTLD does not prevent a finding of confusing similarity between a mark and a domain name. See F. Hoffmann-La Roche AG v. Macalve e-dominios S.A., WIPO Case No. D2006-0451. The letter “l” is commonly used in error in place of the letter “i,” particularly given that the two are visually similar (and also because a lowercase “l” looks much like, if not indistinguishable from, a capital “I” in several fonts). Numerous panels have found domain names that are a misspelling or typographical variation of a well-known mark to be confusingly similar. See, e.g., AltaVista Co. v. Grandtotal Finances Ltd. et al., WIPO Case No. D2000-0848; Reuters Ltd. v. Global Net 2000, Inc., WIPO Case No. D2000-0441; Encyclopaedia Britannica, Inc. v. John Zuccarini et al., WIPO Case No. D2000-0330. The Panel finds that the disputed domain name was chosen to take advantage of Internet users typing an incorrect address when seeking to access Complainant’s website, and that Respondent is engaged in typosquatting.
Respondent’s domain name is therefore confusingly similar to Complainant’s mark under Policy paragraph 4(a)(i).
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
Complainant has alleged that Respondent has not been and is not commonly known by the disputed domain name, that Respondent has not used the disputed domain name in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or a legitimate noncommercial use, and that Respondent is not sponsored by or affiliated with Complainant. Respondent has not responded to the Complaint, thus failing to point to any evidence demonstrating otherwise. Advance Magazine Publishers Inc. v. Arena International Inc., WIPO Case No. D2011-0203 (holding that once a complainant has made a prima facie case that the respondent lacks rights or legitimate interests through allegations or evidence, the respondent’s failure to respond is generally considered a failure to meet its burden of production).
Furthermore, the disputed domain name does not resolve to a website. The lack of an active website or other identifiable use of the disputed domain name tends to further support a finding of a lack of rights or legitimate interests in the dispute domain name. Respondent lacks any bona fide offering of goods or services or any legitimate noncommercial or fair purpose for the disputed domain name. Nor is there evidence of Respondent’s use of, or demonstrable preparations to use, the disputed domain name in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services.
The Panel finds that Complainant has satisfied paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
Complainant has shown long-standing and extensive use of the WESCO AIRCRAFT and WESCO AIR marks in the aerospace industry. The Panel finds that is highly implausible that Respondent registered the disputed domain name unaware of Complainant’s rights and reputation. The similarity between the disputed domain name and Complainant’s well-known marks makes it unlikely that Respondent’s registration of a confusingly similar domain name was anything other than an intentional effort to capitalize on, or otherwise take advantage of, the likely confusion with Complainant’s trademark rights.
On May 25, 2018, Complainant, through counsel, sent a letter to Respondent by email and U.S. Mail at the email address and mailing address listed in the WhoIs details for the disputed domain name, advising Respondent of Complainant’s rights in its WESCO AIR mark and demanding that Respondent cease and desist from all use of Complainant’s WESCO AIR mark and immediately transfer the disputed domain name to Complainant. Respondent did not respond to Complainant’s letter. In fact, the physical letter was returned with the stamp “No Such Street” indicating that the disputed domain name was registered with inaccurate contact information. Complainant did not receive any indication that its emails were not received. The fact that Respondent failed to respond to the cease and desist demand and/or provided false registration information provides further support suggesting that the disputed domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith. See America Online, Inc. v. Viper, WIPO Case No. D2000-1198; America Online, Inc. v. Antonio R. Diaz, WIPO Case No. D2000-1460.
The Panel finds that Complainant has satisfied 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 <wescoalr.com> be transferred to Complainant.
Michael A. Albert
Date: April 1, 2019