WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Ryanair DAC v. Registration Private, Domains By Proxy, LLC / Kithnique eSolutions Pvt Ltd
Case No. D2019-0557
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Ryanair DAC of Dublin, Ireland, represented by La Bruyere avocats, France.
The Respondent is Registration Private, Domains By Proxy, LLC of Scottsdale, Arizona, United States of America (“United States”) / Kithnique eSolutions Pvt Ltd of Noida, Uttar Pradesh, India.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <ryanairaccommodation.com> is registered with GoDaddy.com, LLC (the “Registrar”).
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on March 13, 2019. On March 13, 2019, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On March 13, 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 March 14, 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 amendment to the Complaint on March 18, 2019.
The Center verified that the Complaint together with the amendment to 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 the Respondent of the Complaint, and the proceedings commenced on March 19, 2019. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was April 8, 2019. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on April 9, 2019.
The Center appointed Andrew F. Christie as the sole panelist in this matter on April 29, 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, incorporated and registered in Ireland since 1985, is a major airline operator in Europe, with 142 million annual booked passengers, a staff of more than 14,000 and a revenue of EUR 7.15 billion in 2018. It operates one of the world’s largest travel websites at “www.ryanair.com”, with 1 billion unique visitors each year. The Complainant has provided accommodation services, in respect of hotels, B&Bs, apartments and hostels, for more than 10 years, and has provided those services under the name “Ryanair Rooms” since October 1, 2016.
The Complainant owns a number of European Union trademark registrations comprising or containing the word mark RYANAIR, including trademark registration number 004168721 (registered on December 5, 2005) for the word mark RYANAIR, and trademark registration number 000338301 (registered on November 17, 1999) for the figurative mark consisting of RYANAIR with a Celtic harp symbol. The Complainant is also the owner of the domain name <ryanair.com> (registered on July 12, 1996), with which it promotes all its services, and the domain name <ryanairrooms.com> (registered on April 17, 2012), with which it promotes its accommodation services.
The disputed domain name was registered on August 1, 2018. It resolves to a website purporting to be an online booking site for people travelling anywhere in the world, and it invites people who have unused space to “publish it in Ryanair Accommodation” to make money from it.
5. Parties’ Contentions
The Complainant contends that the disputed domain name is identical or confusingly similar to its trademarks because: (i) it resolves to a website providing services that are identical and similar to those offered by the Complainant; (ii) it incorporates the Complainant’s RYANAIR word trademark in its entirety, with the additional descriptive word “accommodation”; (iii) the term “Ryanair”, which is in the first position of the disputed domain name, is the sole distinctive and dominant element in the disputed domain name; and (iv) the Complainant’s RYANAIR trademarks have been registered for a long time before the registration of the disputed domain name.
The Complainant contends that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name because: (i) the Complainant is not affiliated with the Respondent and has never authorized the Respondent to use the word “Ryanair” through a license or a specific permission; (ii) there is no evidence that the Respondent has been commonly known by any name that includes the word “Ryanair”, and the Respondent has not acquired any trademark rights to the term “Ryanair”; (iii) the Respondent makes an illegitimate and illegal commercial use of the disputed domain name for fraudulent and identity theft purposes; (iv) the disputed domain name directs to a website purporting to offer accommodation services at which is reproduced the Complainant’s word mark RYANAIR, the Complainant’s figurative mark RYANAIR with a Celtic harp symbol, and the distinctive blue and yellow colors of the Complainant’s logo and website; (v) the operator of the website to which the disputed domain name resolves contacted a number of partners and prospective partners of the Complainant, pretending to be representing the airline, and obtained money from these partners and prospective partners in return for purportedly marketing their properties; and (vi) the Complainant has received several complaints from prospective partners who paid invoices for non-existent accommodation services presented as services offered by the Complainant under its offer “Ryanair Rooms” or on the website resolving from the disputed domain name.
The Complainant contends that the disputed domain name was registered and is being used in bad faith because: (i) the Respondent has intentionally attempted to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to its website by creating a likelihood of confusion with the Complainant’s trademarks; (ii) the fraudulent brand hijacking and the “phishing” committed using the disputed domain name are evidence of the registration and use of this domain name in bad faith, which results in disruption of the business of the Complainant; (iii) the reproduction on the website resolving from the disputed domain name of the Complainant’s figurative trademark and blue and yellow colors proves that the Respondent was aware of the Complainant’s trademarks and their reputation; (iv) no actual or contemplated bona fide or legitimate use of the disputed domain name could reasonably be claimed given the reputation of the Complainant’s trademarks and the absence of any license or permission from the Complainant; and (v) the Respondent used a proxy registration service via “Domains by Proxy” in order to carry out its illegal activities with impunity.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The disputed domain name incorporates the whole of the Complainant’s registered word trademark RYANAIR and adds the word “accommodation”. The Complainant’s word trademark is clearly recognizable within the disputed domain name. The addition of the descriptive term “accommodation” does not avoid the confusing similarity of the disputed domain name with the Complainant’s word trademark. Accordingly, the Panel finds that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to a trademark in which the Complainant has rights.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
The Respondent is not a licensee of, or otherwise affiliated with, the Complainant, and has not been authorized by the Complainant to use its RYANAIR trademarks. The Respondent has not provided any evidence that it has been commonly known by, or has made a bona fide use of, the disputed domain name, or that it has, for any other reason, rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. The Panel notes that the nature of the disputed domain name consists of the Complainant’s trademark with the addition of the word “accommodation”, which in this case carries a risk of implied affiliation. This is particularly so, given that the Complainant offers accommodation services under its RYANAIR word trademark. See WIPO Overview 3.0, section 2.5.1. The evidence provided by the Complainant shows that the disputed domain name was used to resolve to a website that falsely purported to be the website of the Complainant and at which non-existent accommodation services were offered. According to the present record, therefore, the disputed domain name is not being used in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services, or for a legitimate noncommercial or fair use. Accordingly, the Panel finds that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
The disputed domain name was registered many years after the Complainant first registered its RYANAIR trademarks. The evidence on the record provided by the Complainant with respect to the use of its RYANAIR trademarks, combined with the absence of any evidence provided by the Respondent to the contrary, is sufficient to satisfy the Panel that, at the time of registration of the disputed domain name, the Respondent knew of the Complainant’s trademarks and knew that it had no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. Furthermore, the evidence on the record provided by the Complainant with respect to the Respondent’s use of the disputed domain name indicates that the Respondent has used the disputed domain name to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to a website by creating confusion in the minds of the public as to an association between the website and the Complainant. Accordingly, the Panel finds that 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, and at the request of the Complainant, the Panel orders that the disputed domain name <ryanairaccommodation.com> be cancelled.
Andrew F. Christie
Date: May 13, 2019