WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Covestro Deutschland AG v. Ketsaree Wongwittaya
Case No. D2019-0430
1. The Parties
Complainant is Covestro Deutschland AG of Leverkusen, Germany, represented by BPM Legal, Germany.
Respondent is Ketsaree Wongwittaya of Bangkok, Thailand.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <covesrto.com> is registered with Marcaria.com International, Inc. (the “Registrar”).
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on February 23, 2019. On February 25, 2019, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On February 27, 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 March 5, 2019. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was March 25, 2019. Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified Respondent’s default on March 26, 2019.
The Center appointed Lawrence K. Nodine as the sole panelist in this matter on April 9, 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
Complainant is a large German polymers corporation that arose from Bayer AG, a well-known chemicals and pharmaceuticals company. In 2015, Complainant spun off as a separate legal entity - a move which received considerable press coverage worldwide. Complainant has a global presence, with a subsidiary in Thailand and around thirty production sites in Europe, Asia, and the United States. Complainant also operates several regional facilities around the world. Complainant owns several trademark registrations for its COVESTRO mark, including International Registration No. 1,272,950, registered on July 28, 2015, for classes 01, 02, 17, 19, 25, 40, 42 and European Union Trademark No. 13,701,412, registered on May 15, 2015, for classes 01, 02, 17, 19, 25, 40, 42.
Respondent registered the disputed domain name on February 4, 2019. Respondent’s website consists of a single webpage with a few graphics and lines of text relating to automation.
5. Parties’ Contentions
Complainant asserts that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to its mark, which is an invented portmanteau of the words “collaboration,” “invest,” and “strong.” In Complainant’s belief, the disputed domain name consists of a common, obvious, and intentional misspelling of the COVESTRO mark.
Complainant contends that Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the COVESTRO mark. Respondent has not been licensed by Complainant to use its mark and is not commonly known by the disputed domain name. Complainant asserts that Respondent is not using the disputed domain name in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services. Respondent also has not made a legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the disputed domain name, according to Complainant.
Regarding bad faith, Complainant asserts that Respondent’s website is merely a placeholder and is being passively held. Because the COVESTRO mark is unique and invented by Complainant, Complainant contends that Respondent could not have legitimately chosen the disputed domain name. Thus, Respondent must have registered the disputed domain name with the intention of creating an impression of an association with Complainant. Complainant asserts that all of these facts demonstrate Respondent’s bad faith.
Respondent did not reply to Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
Complainant has established rights in the COVESTRO mark through its European Union and international trademark registrations. The disputed domain name consists of a misspelling of the COVESTRO mark. A domain name which consists of an intentionally misspelling of a trademark is considered confusingly similar to the trademark. WIPO Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions, Third Edition (“WIPO Overview 3.0”), section 1.9. Given Complainant’s fame, it is more likely than not that Respondent intentionally misspelled the COVESTRO mark in the disputed domain name. Thus, the Panel finds that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to Complainant’s mark.
Complainant has satisfied paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Policy.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
Complainant has presented a prima facie case for Respondent’s lack of rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name, which Respondent has failed to rebut. Complainant has not licensed or otherwise permitted Respondent’s use of Complainant’s mark. Further, Respondent is not using the disputed domain name in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services.
Complainant has satisfied paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
The Panel finds that Respondent registered and is using the disputed domain name in bad faith. Because the COVESTRO mark is a term invented by Complainant, the mark is highly distinctive. The mark’s distinctiveness makes it unlikely that Respondent registered the disputed domain name without knowledge of Complainant’s COVESTRO mark. Further, the fact that Respondent registered a domain name comprising a typo of Complainant’s mark is evidence of bad faith registration. Admiral Group Plc and EUI Limited v. Cimpress Schweiz, Cimpress Schweiz GmbH, WIPO Case No. DCO2017-0043.
Additionally, the content of Respondent’s website supports an inference of bad faith use. The website consists of a single webpage with minimal information. Respondent appears to be using the website as a placeholder to create the illusion of legitimate use. This evidences bad faith. See Edgewell Personal Care Brands, LLC v. Frans Noordermeer, WIPO Case No. D2016-2440; Verizon Trademark Services LLC v. Mohd Daoud, WIPO Case No. D2016-1380.
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 <covesrto.com> be transferred to Complainant.
Lawrence K. Nodine
Date: April 23, 2019