WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Government Employees Insurance Company v. Fundacion Privacy Services LTD
Case No. D2019-1534
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Government Employees Insurance Company, United States of America (“United States”), represented by Burns & Levinson LLP, United States.
The Respondent is Fundacion Privacy Services LTD, Panama.
2. The Domain Names and Registrar
The disputed domain names <geixco.com>, <geoico.com>, and <giceo.com> are registered with Media Elite Holdings Limited dba Register Matrix (the “Registrar”).
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on July 1, 2019. On July 2, 2019, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain names. On July 3, 2019, the Registrar transmitted by email to the Center its verification response confirming that the 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 the Respondent of the Complaint, and the proceedings commenced on July 4, 2019. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was July 24, 2019. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on July 26, 2019.
The Center appointed Ian Lowe as the sole panelist in this matter on August 6, 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 based in Maryland, United States providing a number of types of insurance services, including automobile, motorcycle, homeowners and overseas insurance, amongst others. It has been trading under the trademark GEICO (the “GEICO Mark”) for almost 80 years. The Complainant is also the proprietor of a number of registered trademarks in respect of the GEICO Mark including United States trademarks numbers 763,274 registered on January 14, 1964 and 2,601,179 registered on July 30, 2002. It operates a website promoting and selling its insurance services at “www.geico.com”.
The Complainant has over 17 million insurance policies and insures more than 28 million vehicles.
The disputed domain names were registered on the following dates:
<geixco.com> July 18, 2005
<geoico.com> September 11, 2005
<giceo.com> November 16, 2002.
No information is available as to the underlying registrant of the disputed domain names if other than the privacy service in whose name they are registered.
The disputed domain name <geixco.com> resolves to a webpage indicating that the domain name may be for sale. The webpage also features insurance related links to webpages that in turn have hyperlinks to sponsored advertisements for insurance related third party websites. At the time of filing of the Complaint the disputed domain name resolved to the Complainant’s website at “www.geico.com”.
The disputed domain name <geoico.com> resolves to a website at “ww1.onlinecarinsurance.com” that comprises a number of links to third party insurance related comparison websites and insurance company websites.
The disputed domain name <giceo.com> does not now resolve to any active website. At the time of filing of the Complaint, it resolved to third party websites, including websites with links to hyperlinks to the websites of competitors of the Complainant.
The WhoIs records for the disputed domain names accessed by the Complainant through “whois.domaintools.com” all indicated that each of the disputed domain names was for sale.
5. Parties’ Contentions
The Complainant contends that the each of the disputed domain names is confusingly similar to the GEICO Mark, that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain names and that the Respondent registered and is using the disputed domain names in bad faith within the meaning of paragraph 4(b)(iv) of the Policy.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
For this Complaint to succeed in relation to the disputed domain names, the Complainant must prove that:
(i) the disputed domain names are identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which the Complainant has rights; and
(ii) the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain names; and
(iii) the disputed domain names have been registered and are being used in bad faith.
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The Complainant has uncontested rights in the GEICO Mark, both by virtue of its trademark registrations and as a result of the goodwill and reputation acquired through its use of the GEICO Mark over very many years. Ignoring the generic Top-Level Domain (“gTLD”) “.com”, each of the disputed domain names comprises slightly misspelt versions of the GEICO Mark – either with an extra single letter or with the letters “i” and “e” reversed. In the view of the Panel, these differences do not detract from the confusing similarity between the disputed domain names and the GEICO Mark. Accordingly, the Panel finds that each of the disputed domain names is confusingly similar to a trademark in which the Complainant has rights.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
The Complainant has made out a strong prima facie case that the Respondent could have no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain names. The Respondent has used the disputed domain names not in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services, but, directly or indirectly, for webpages featuring pay-per-click links to third party websites offering insurance services similar to those sold by the Complainant. There is no suggestion that the Respondent has ever been known by the disputed domain names. The nature of the disputed domain names suggests that they have each been registered for the purposes of what is commonly known as typosquatting. The Respondent has chosen not to respond to the Complaint or to take any steps to counter the prima facie case established by the Complainant. In the circumstances, the Panel finds that the Respondent does not have any rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain names.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
In light of the use to which the disputed domain names have been put, and since each of the disputed domain names comprises what the Panel considers clearly to be misspelt versions of the GEICO Mark, the Panel is in no doubt that the Respondent had the Complainant and its rights in the GEICO Mark in mind when it registered the disputed domain names. The Respondent has used the disputed domain names for pay-per-click links to third party websites. In the Panel’s view, the legitimate inference is that the Respondent undertook such activity with a view to commercial gain, intending to attract Internet users mistyping “geico” to the webpages to which each of the disputed domain names resolves by creating a likelihood of confusion with the GEICO Mark and as to the affiliation or endorsement of that webpage. Accordingly, the Panel considers that this amounts to paradigm bad faith registration and use for the purposes 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 names <geixco.com>, <geoico.com>, and <giceo.com> be transferred to the Complainant.
Date: August 14, 2019