WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
CWI, Inc. v. Craig Goldrich, Tulsa RV
Case No. D2019-0531
1. The Parties
Complainant is CWI, Inc. of Lincolnshire, Illinois, United States of America (“United States”), represented by Neal & McDevitt, LLC, United States.
Respondent is Craig Goldrich, Tulsa RV, of Tulsa, Oklahoma, United States.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <campingworldofoklahoma.com> is registered with FastDomain, Inc. (the “Registrar”).
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on March 8, 2019. On March 11, 2019, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On March 11, 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 13, 2019. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was April 2, 2019. Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified Respondent’s default on April 3, 2019.
The Center appointed Brian J. Winterfeldt 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 CWI, Inc. (“CWI” or “Complainant”) operates the United States’ largest network of recreational vehicle (“RV”) sales, equipment, and service centers. Complainant operates its business under the trademarks CAMPING WORLD and CAMPING WORLD & Design (the “CAMPING WORLD Marks”). Complainant owns valid and subsisting registrations for the CAMPING WORLD Marks, used in commerce in the United States since 1968, including United States Registration Number 930,179 (registered February 29, 1972). Complainant owns and operates its primary website in connection with its national business at the domain name <campingworld.com>, and operates its network through local licensees and dealers under the CAMPING WORLD trademark plus a geographic designator, such as “CAMPING WORLD of Oklahoma City” and “CAMPING WORLD of Tulsa.”
The disputed domain name, <campingworldofoklahoma.com>, was registered on January 1, 2016, and at the time of Complainant’s filing, redirected and resolved to a website located at “tulsarv.net”.
5. Parties’ Contentions
Complainant asserts that the disputed domain name redirects Internet traffic to a competing RV dealership’s website at “www.tulsarv.net” (the “Tulsa RV Website”), providing similar products and services to those sold by Complainant under the CAMPING WORLD Marks. Complainant asserts that the disputed domain name misleads its customers and prospective customers into believing the Tulsa RV Website is affiliated with, sponsored by, or endorsed by Complainant. Complainant further states that this is not the first UDRP complaint against Respondent for domain name abuse (citing CWI, Inc. (“CWI”) v. Craig Goldrich, Tulsa RV, WIPO Case No. D2017-1406, transferring the disputed domain name <campingworldoftulsa.com> to Complainant).
Complainant asserts the disputed domain name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark in which Complainant has rights. Complainant contends the CAMPING WORLD Marks are distinctive and well-known in the realm of RV sales and service, and related products and services. Complainant further asserts rights to the use of “CAMPING WORLD of Oklahoma City” and “CAMPING WORLD of Tulsa”. Complainant asserts the disputed domain name contains the entirety of Complainant’s mark, adding a geographic indicator “of Oklahoma” where Respondent is located, and is nearly identical to Complainant’s use of the mark in connection with stores in Oklahoma City and the Tulsa area. Complainant further asserts the addition of the generic geographic designator does not avoid a finding of confusing similarity.
Complainant asserts Respondent does not have rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. Complainant contends it has used and established enforceable trademark rights since long prior to the disputed domain name’s registration and unauthorized linking of the disputed domain name to a website of Complainant’s competitor, Respondent. Complainant asserts it has never granted Respondent permission to register and/or use the disputed domain name or its CAMPING WORLD Marks for any purposes. Complainant further asserts Respondent is not a licensee of Complainant, nor has established any similar relationship with Complainant.
Complainant asserts the disputed domain name is being used in bad faith. Complainant contends the CAMPING WORLD Marks are well known in the United States in connection with Complainant’s goods and services. Complainant asserts that by registering and using the disputed domain name, Respondent has acted in “opportunistic bad faith” by intentionally attempting to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to the website by establishing a likelihood of confusion. Because Respondent has previously registered a domain name relating to Complainant’s mark where Respondent was ordered to transfer the domain name to Complainant, Complainant asserts Respondent cannot deny knowledge of wrongful doing in this instance. Complainant finally asserts Respondent is actively engaging in deceptive trade practices, trademark infringement, unfair competition, and trademark dilution, among others with the unauthorized use of the disputed domain name.
Respondent did not reply to Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
Under paragraph 4(a) of the Policy, to succeed Complainant must satisfy the Panel that:
(i) the disputed domain name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which Complainant has rights;
(ii) Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name; and
(iii) the disputed domain name was registered and is being used in bad faith.
Section 4.3 of the WIPO Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions, Third Edition (“WIPO Overview 3.0”) states:
“Noting the burden of proof on the complainant, a respondent’s default (i.e., failure to submit a formal response) would not by itself mean that the complainant is deemed to have prevailed: a respondent’s default is not necessarily an admission that the complainant’s claims are true.”
Thus, although in this case Respondent has failed to respond to the Complaint, the burden remains with Complainant to establish the three elements of paragraph 4(a) of the Policy by a preponderance of the evidence. See, e.g., The Knot, Inc. v. In Knot We Trust LTD, WIPO Case No. D2006-0340.
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
Ownership of a trademark registration is generally sufficient evidence that a complainant has the requisite rights in a mark for purposes of paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Policy. See WIPO Overview 3.0, section 1.2.1. Complainant provided evidence of ownership of the CAMPING WORLD Marks, which have been registered since February 29, 1972, well before Respondent registered the disputed domain name. With Complainant’s rights in the CAMPING WORLD Marks established, the remaining question under the first element of the Policy is whether the disputed domain name (typically disregarding the generic Top-Level Domain (“gTLD”) in which it is registered, in this case, “.com”) is identical or confusingly similar to Complainant’s mark. See, e.g., B&H Foto & Electronics Corp. v. Domains by Proxy, Inc. / Joseph Gross, WIPO Case No. D2019-0842.
Here, the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to Complainant’s CAMPING WORLD Marks, because the CAMPING WORLD mark is fully incorporated into the disputed domain name at the second level, and the addition of the geographically descriptive terms “of Oklahoma” appended to the mark does not prevent a finding of confusing similarity. The Panel therefore finds that Complainant has satisfied the requirements of paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Policy in establishing its right in CAMPING WORLD and the CAMPING WORLD Marks, and in showing that the disputed domain name is identical or confusingly similar to this mark.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
Under paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy, Complainant must make at least a prima facie showing that Respondent possesses no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. See, e.g., Malayan Banking Berhad v. Beauty, Success & Truth International, WIPO Case No. D2008-1393. Once Complainant makes such a prima facie showing, the burden of production shifts to Respondent, though the burden of proof always remains on Complainant. If Respondent fails to come forward with evidence showing rights or legitimate interests, Complainant will have sustained its burden under the second element of the UDRP.
From the record in this case, it is evident that Respondent was, and is, aware of Complainant and the CAMPING WORLD Marks, and does not have any rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. Respondent is not an authorized seller or licensee of Complainant’s goods or services. Respondent has not used the disputed domain name in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services or a legitimate noncommercial or fair use. Rather, the evidence demonstrates that Respondent used the disputed domain name to associate itself with Complainant, offer directly competing services, and contact or attempt to contact Complainant’s customers or prospective customers by re-directing such Internet users to Respondent’s own website. See WIPO Overview 3.0, sections 2.5.3 ([A] respondent’s use of a complainant’s mark to redirect users (e.g., to a competing site) would not support a claim to rights or legitimate interests); see, e.g., Yusef A. Alghanim & Sons W.L.L. v. Anees Salah Salameh, WIPO Case No. D2018-1231 (stating “[t]he evidence on record shows that Respondent has used the disputed domain name to redirect users to a competitor's website. This use of the disputed domain name is not a legitimate use and cannot support a claim to rights or legitimate interests.”).
Respondent failed to submit any evidence demonstrating rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name, and therefore this Panel finds Complainant has met its burden of establishing that Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
The Panel finds that Respondent registered and used the disputed domain name in bad faith.
Paragraph 4(b) of the Policy provides a non-exhaustive list of circumstances indicating bad faith registration and use on the part of a domain name registrant, namely:
“(i) circumstances indicating that you have registered or you have acquired the domain name primarily for the purpose of selling, renting, or otherwise transferring the domain name registration to the complainant who is the owner of the trademark or service mark or to a competitor of that complainant, for valuable consideration in excess of your documented out of pocket costs directly related to the domain name; or
(ii) you have registered the domain name in order to prevent the owner of the trademark or service mark from reflecting the mark in a corresponding domain name, provided that you have engaged in a pattern of such conduct; or
(iii) you have registered the domain name primarily for the purpose of disrupting the business of a competitor; or
(iv) by using the domain name, you have intentionally attempted to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to your web site or other online location, by creating a likelihood of confusion with the complainant’s mark as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation, or endorsement of your website or location or of a product or service on your website or location.”
In this proceeding, the record reflects that Respondent was aware of Complainant’s trademark rights when it registered the disputed domain name, given that Complainant filed a similar Complaint against Respondent for the domain name <campingworldoftulsa.com>, and the Panel ordered Respondent to transfer the domain name to Complainant. See CWI, Inc. (“CWI”) v. Craig Goldrich, Tulsa RV, WIPO Case No. D2017-1406. This suggests that Respondent had specifically targeted Complainant in its registration of that domain name and the disputed domain name here, indicating that Respondent was aware of Complainant and its business when registering these domain names. Given that Respondent is also a competitor of Complainant in the RV business, Respondent was likely well aware of Complainant when it registered these domain names.
Furthermore, although not specifically asserted by Complainant, the disputed domain name redirects to Respondent’s website, <tulsarv.net>, offering competing goods and services, which suggests Respondent registered the disputed domain name primarily for the purpose of disrupting the business of a competitor, Complainant, within the meaning of Policy paragraph 4(b)(iii). See, e.g., Travellers Exchange Corporation Limited v. Travelex Forex Money Changer, WIPO Case No. D2011-1364.
This Panel also finds Respondent obtained the disputed domain name to intentionally attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to its website by creating a likelihood of confusion with Complainant’s mark as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation, or endorsement of the website or of a product or service on the website, within the meaning of Policy paragraph 4(b)(iv). See, e.g., “Doc Martins” International Trading GmbH and “Dr. Maertens” Marketing GmbH v. Godaddy.com, Inc., WIPO Case No. D2017-0246. Respondent is clearly attempting to garner additional business for its competing RV related goods and services company by creating a false association between itself and Complainant in order to confuse consumers and redirect customers away from Complainant and to Respondent, for commercial gain.
Accordingly, the Panel finds that Respondent registered and used the disputed domain name in bad faith and Complainant succeeds under the third element of paragraph 4(b) 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 <campingworldofoklahoma.com> be transferred to Complainant.
Brian J. Winterfeldt
Date: May 3, 2019