WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Balanced Health Botanicals LLC v. Sona Disongo, Steriod
Case No. D2019-2414
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Balanced Health Botanicals LLC, United States of America, represented by VDB Legal Group, United States of America.
The Respondent is Sona Disongo, Steriod, Cameroon.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <cbdistilleryshop.com> is registered with OpenTLD B.V. (the “Registrar”).
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on October 4, 2019. On the same date the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On October 7, 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 October 8, 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 October 9, 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 October 14, 2019. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was November 3, 2019. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on November 4, 2019.
The Center appointed Tobias Zuberbühler as the sole panelist in this matter on November 15, 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 retailer of hemp-derived goods.
The Complainant owns the CBDISTILLERY trademark registered with the European Union Intellectual Property Office (“EUIPO”) (EUIPO registration No. 017912596, registered on September 25, 2018).
The disputed domain name was first registered on January 25, 2019. According to the information provided by the Registrar, the disputed domain name is currently held by Sona Disongo, Steroid.
The disputed domain name previously resolved to a website offering cannabidiol and CBD oil products and which mimicked aspects of the Complainant’s website. The disputed domain name has stopped resolving to an active website.
On July 23, 2019, the Complainant requested that the Respondent cease infringing the Complainant’s trademark. The Respondent has not replied to the Complainant’s request.
5. Parties’ Contentions
The Complainant alleges that it has satisfied all elements of the Policy, paragraph 4.
The Respondent did not formally reply to the Complainant’s contentions. In its email to the Center on October 8, 2019, the Respondent merely inquired more information about the UDRP procedure; the Center replied on October 8, 2019 with such information.
6. Discussion and Findings
On the basis of the facts and evidence introduced by the Complainant, and with regard to paragraphs 4(a), (b) and (c) of the Policy, the Panel concludes as follows:
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The Complainant has submitted sufficient evidence to demonstrate its registered right in the trademark CBDISTILLERY.
The CBDISTILLERY trademark is reproduced in the disputed domain dame <cbdistilleryshop.com>. The disputed domain name differs from the trademark only by the addition of the descriptive term “shop”.
It is the view of previous UDRP panels that the addition of descriptive terms does not prevent a finding of confusing similarity under the first element of the Policy (see WIPO Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions, Third Edition (“WIPO Overview 3.0”), sections 1.7 and 1.8).
The Complainant has thus fulfilled the requirements of paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Policy.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
There are no indications before the Panel of any rights or legitimate interests of the Respondent in respect of the disputed domain name. The Complainant contends that the Respondent is neither affiliated with the Complainant nor making any bona fide use of the disputed domain name.
The Respondent used the disputed domain name to host a website that mimicked the look and feel of the Complainant’s website, even copying (without authority) the Complainant’s layout, texts and contact information. This cannot be considered as a bona fide offering of goods or services or a noncommercial use (Credit Industriel et Commercial S.A. v. Perfect Privacy, LLC / Zakaria Benouda, WIPO Case No. D2017-0066).
Based on the Complainant’s credible contentions and evidence, the Panel finds that the Complainant, having made out a prima facie case which remains unrebutted by the Respondent, has fulfilled the requirements of paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
Under the circumstances of this case, it can be inferred that the Respondent was aware of the Complainant’s trademark when registering the disputed domain name.
The Respondent’s copying of the Complainant’s texts, layouts, and the use of the Complainant’s contact information supports the finding that the Respondent is engaged in an intentional attempt to pass itself off as the Complainant and to attract Internet users to its website for its own commercial benefit. The Respondent therefore registered and used the disputed domain name in bad faith (Claudie Pierlot v. Yinglong Ma, WIPO Case No. D2018-2466).
Accordingly, the Complainant has also fulfilled 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 <cbdistilleryshop.com> be transferred to the Complainant.
Date: November 29, 2019