WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Government Employees Insurance Company v. Domains By Proxy, LLC / Fundacion Comercio Electronico
Case No. D2019-1595
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 Domains By Proxy, LLC, United States / Fundacion Comercio Electronico, Panama.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <giecocommercial.com> (the “Domain Name”) 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 July 8, 2019. On July 8, 2019, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the Domain Name. On July 8, 2019, the Registrar transmitted by email to the Center its verification response disclosing registrant and contact information for the Domain Name which differed from the named Respondent and contact information in the Complaint. The Center sent an email communication to the Complainant on July 9, 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 amended Complaint on July 15, 2019.
The Center verified that the Complaint together with the amended 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 22, 2019. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was August 11, 2019. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on August 12, 2019.
The Center appointed Ian Lowe as the sole panelist in this matter on August 16, 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 Domain Name was registered on September 10, 2018 by the Respondent. It currently resolves to a website at “www.textifier.net”. At the time of filing of the Complaint it resolved to a website at “www.btczeit.com” and had previously resolved to other third party websites offering a variety of goods and services. The Panel notes that one of the domain names that was the subject of the successful complaint in Government Employees Insurance Company v. Fundacion Privacy Services LTD, WIPO Case No. D2019-1534 also resolved at the time of filing that complaint to the website at “www.btczeit.com”.
5. Parties’ Contentions
The Complainant contends that the Domain Name is confusingly similar to the GEICO Mark, that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Domain Name and that the Respondent registered and is using the Domain Name 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 Domain Name, the Complainant must prove that:
(i) the Domain Name is 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 Domain Name; and
(iii) the Domain Name has been registered and is 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”, the Domain Name comprises a minor misspelling of the GEICO Mark together with the word “commercial”. In the view of the Panel, these differences do not detract from the confusing similarity between the Domain Name and the GEICO Mark. Accordingly, the Panel finds that the Domain Name 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 Domain Name. The Respondent has used the Domain Name not in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services, but, directly or indirectly, for redirections to third party websites offering a variety of goods and services. There is no suggestion that the Respondent has ever been known by the Domain Name. The nature of the Domain Name suggests that it has 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 Domain Name.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
In light of the use to which the Domain Name has been put, and since the Domain Name comprises what the Panel considers clearly to be misspelt versions of the GEICO Mark, the Panel is in little doubt that the Respondent had the Complainant and its rights in the GEICO Mark in mind when it registered the Domain Name. The Respondent has used the Domain Name for 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 the Domain Name resolves by creating a likelihood of confusion with the GEICO Mark and as to the affiliation or endorsement of those webpages. Accordingly, the Panel considers that this amounts to paradigm bad faith registration and use for the purposes of the Policy, paragraph 4(b)(iv).
For the foregoing reasons, in accordance with paragraphs 4(i) of the Policy and 15 of the Rules, the Panel orders that the Domain Name <giecocommercial.com> be transferred to the Complainant.
Date: August 26, 2019