WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center

ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION

Credit Karma, Inc. v. Domain Administrator, See PrivacyGuardian.org / gogobar, hua shen and zhangcunshuo, Zhang Cun Shuo

Case No. D2019-2415

1. The Parties

The Complainant is Credit Karma, Inc., United States of America (“United States”), represented by Reed Smith LLP, United States.

The Respondents are Domain Administrator, See PrivacyGuardian.org, United States / gogobar, hua shen, Philippines, and zhangcunshuo, Zhang Cun Shuo, China.

2. The Domain Names and Registrars

The disputed domain names <creditakrma.com>, <creditlkarma.com> and <creidkarma.com> are registered with Alibaba Cloud Computing (Beijing) Co., Ltd.

The disputed domain name <credetcarma.com> is registered with Dynadot, LLC.

The disputed domain names <ceditkama.com>, <ceditkrama.com>, <ceridtkarma.com>, <crditkarm.com>, <crditkrama.com>, <creditkarem.com>, <creditkrame.com>, <creitkarm.com> and <creitkrama.com> are registered with NameSilo, LLC (collectively, the “Registrars”).

3. Procedural History

The Complaint in English was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on October 3, 2019. On October 4, 2019, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrars a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain names. On October 4, 7, and 8, 2019, the Registrars transmitted by email to the Center their verification responses disclosing registrants and contact information for the disputed domain names which differed from the named Respondents and contact information in the Complaint. The Center sent an email communication to the Complainant on October 23, 2019, providing the registrants and contact information disclosed by the Registrars, and inviting the Complainant to submit an amendment to the Complaint. The Complainant filed an amended Complaint in English on October 28, 2019. On November 4, 2019, the Center sent an email to the Complainant requesting for clarification on the consolidation of the Respondents. On November 9, 2019, the Center received the Complainant’s further request for consolidation.

On October 23, 2019, the Center sent a communication to the Parties, in English and Chinese, regarding the language of the proceeding. On October 24, 2019, the Complainant confirmed its request that English be the language of the proceeding. The Respondents did not comment on the language of the proceeding.

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 Respondents, in English and Chinese, of the Complaint, and the proceedings commenced on November 18, 2019. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was December 8, 2019. The Respondents did not submit any response by the specified due date. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s on December 17, 2019. On December 17, 2019, the Center received an unsolicited email communication from the Respondent gogobar, hua shen, of which the Center acknowledged receipt.

The Center appointed Deanna Wong Wai Man as the sole panelist in this matter on December 23, 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 in this proceeding is Credit Karma, Inc. The Complainant is a company founded in the United States in 2007, active in the financial services sector, and provides a free online credit and financial management platform. The platform gives the Complainant’s customers access to credit data and reports; credit monitoring services; credit and calculator tools and personalized recommendations based on a credit profile. In addition, the Complainant’s platform provides its customers with access to information and reviews for a wide range of financial products, including credit cards, mortgages and personal loans. The Complainant states that it has more than 1,100 employees and more than 100 million members throughout the United States, United Kingdom and Canada.

The Complainant owns a portfolio of trademark registrations (word and device marks) for CREDIT KARMA, consisting of United States trademark registration number 4,014,356, registered on August 23, 2011 and United States trademark registration number 5,057,486, registered on October 11, 2016. The disputed domain names were all registered between February 21, 2015 and April 14, 2015, except for <creditakrma.com>, which was registered on March 26, 2016. According to evidence provided by the Complainant, the disputed domain names are all linked to active websites, whereby: (A) <credetcarma.com> displays what are presumed to be pay-per-click hyperlinks in English to third party service providers of, amongst other services, credit card providers and credit rating services, which include competitors of the Complainant; (B) <creditakrma.com> redirects to dynamic websites, some of which are commercial in nature, <creditlkarma.com> and <creidkarma.com> redirect to the same website in English, which is a competitor of the Complainant; and (C) <ceditkama.com>, <ceditkrama.com>, <ceridtkarma.com>, <crditkarm.com>, <crditkrama.com>, <creditkarem.com>, <creditkrame.com>, <creitkarm.com> and <creitkrama.com> direct to a website in Chinese which mainly offers gambling and betting services.

5. Parties’ Contentions

A. Complainant

The Complainant essentially contends that the disputed domain names are confusingly similar to its trademarks for CREDIT KARMA, that the Respondents have no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain names, and that the disputed domain names were registered, and are being used in bad faith.

The Complainant claims that its trademarks are famous and well regarded in the financial sector, and provides evidence of its marketing materials and several industry awards it has won. Moreover, the Complainant provides evidence that the disputed domain names are linked to active websites which it claims are taking unfair advantage of its trademarks. The Complainant essentially contends that such use does not confer any rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain names and constitutes use in bad faith.

The Complainant requests the transfer of the disputed domain names.

B. Respondent

On December 17, 2019, the Center received an unsolicited email communication in Chinese from the Respondent gogobar, hua shen. In its email communication, the Respondent essentially contends that it did not register the disputed domain names in bad faith, and that it uses its disputed domain names to host websites for Chinese gambling games, which, it contends, is not related to the Complainant’s business, i.e., credit cards.

6. Discussion and Findings

6.1 First Preliminary Issue: Consolidation of the Respondents

The Complainant requests consolidation in regard to the Respondents, as the disputed domain names are currently owned by multiple registrants. In this regard, the WIPO Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions, Third Edition (the “WIPO Overview 3.0”) states in section 4.11.2: “where a complaint is filed against multiple Respondents, panels look at whether (i) the domain names or corresponding websites are subject to common control, and (ii) the consolidation would be fair and equitable to all parties. Procedural efficiency would also underpin panel consideration of such a consolidation scenario.”

The Panel has carefully reviewed all elements of this case, giving particular weight to the following elements: (A) the evidence submitted by the Complainant showing that the WhoIs records for the disputed domain names previously all listed the same name, city, country, postal code, and email address for the registrant, administrative, technical and billing contacts; (B) search results submitted by the Complainant, obtained from “www.ViewDNS.info”, from which it also appears that the disputed domain names are all connected with “[…]@gmail.com”, which is also listed in the WhoIs records for disputed domain name <credetcarma.com>; (C) the fact that all but one of the disputed domain names were registered between February 21, 2015 and April 14, 2015; (D) the fact that each of the disputed domain names consists of an intentional misspelling (“typo”) of the Complainant’s trademarks, thereby exposing a pattern; (E) the fact that all disputed domain names target the same trademarks of the Complainant; and (F) the Respondent zhangcunshuo, zhangcun shuo was also involved in a previous similar UDRP proceeding filed by the Complainant (Credit Karma, Inc. v. Majiaai (“the First Respondent”) / zhangcunshuo, zhangcun shuo, 张存硕 (“the Second Respondent”), WIPO Case No. D2017-0909). The Panel notes that the Respondents did not submit any arguments in this regard, and did not contest the request for consolidation.

In view of these elements, the Panel rules that on the balance of probabilities the disputed domain names are under common control, that in this case consolidation would be fair and equitable to all parties involved and would safeguard procedural efficiency. The Panel also notes that the fact that the disputed domain names were created by different registrars does not alter this finding, as it does not exclude common control (see in this regard also Mou Limited v. Whois Agent, Domain Whois Privacy Protection Service, Domain Admin Privacy Protect, LLC (PrivacyProtect.org) / Luo Yuandong, Laoyuandong, Song Li Hong, Sun YanQi, WIPO Case No. D2018-1891). Accordingly, the Panel will hereinafter refer to “the Respondent”.

6.2. Second Preliminary Issue: Language of the proceeding

Pursuant to paragraph 11(a) of the Rules, the language of the administrative proceeding shall be the language of the Registration Agreement. However, the Panel is given the authority to determine a language of the proceeding other than the language of the Registration Agreement, taking into account the circumstances of every individual case.

The Complainant states, and the Registrar confirms that the Registration Agreements for the Registrars Dynadot, LLC (governing the disputed domain name <credetcarma.com>), and NameSilo, LLC (governing the disputed domain names <ceditkama.com>, <ceditkrama.com>, <ceridtkarma.com>, <crditkarm.com>, <crditkrama.com>, <creditkarem.com>, <creditkrame.com>, <creitkarm.com> and <creitkrama.com>) are in English, and that the Registration Agreements for the Registrar Alibaba Cloud Computing (Beijing) Co., Ltd. (governing the disputed domain names <creditakrma.com>, <creditlkarma.com> and <creidkarma.com>) are in Chinese. Nevertheless, the Complainant filed its Complaint in English, and requests that the language of the proceeding be English.

In considering the Complainant’s request that the language of the proceeding be English, the Panel has carefully considered all elements of this case, in particular, the Complainant’s request that the language of the proceeding be English; the lack of comments on the language of the proceeding by the Respondent (the Panel notes that the Respondent had the opportunity to put forward arguments in either English or Chinese); the fact that for the majority of the disputed domain names, the Registration Agreements are in English; the fact that several of the disputed domain names resolve to active webpages, which only contain text in English (and contain no text in Chinese), e.g., this is the case for disputed domain names <credetcarma.com>, <creditakrma.com>, <creidkarma.com> and <creditlkarma.com>, so that the Panel concludes that the Respondent is able to understand and communicate in English; and the fact that Chinese as the language of the proceeding could lead to unwarranted costs and delays for the Complainant. In view of all these elements, the Panel rules that the language of the proceeding shall be English.

6.3. Discussion and Findings on the Merits

The Policy requires the Complainant to prove three elements:

(i) the disputed domain names are identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which the Complainant has rights;

(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.

Based on the evidence and arguments submitted, the Panel’s findings are as follows:

A. Identical or Confusingly Similar

The Panel finds that the Complainant has shown that it has valid rights in the mark CREDIT KARMA based on its intensive use and registration of the same as a trademark.

Moreover, as to confusing similarity, the WIPO Overview 3.0, section 1.9, states: “A domain name which consists of a common, obvious, or intentional misspelling of a trademark is considered by panels to be confusingly similar to the relevant mark for purposes of the first element”. In this case, the Panel considers that all of the disputed domain names are clearly selected by intentionally misspelling the Complainant’s trademark for CREDIT KARMA, each time incorporating such trademark in its entirety, except that a one or two characters of the trademark are misspelled, omitted or added. According to the Panel, this is a clear case of intentional misspelling of the Complainant’s trademark, or “typosquatting”. Accordingly, the Panel rules that the disputed domain names are confusingly similar to the Complainant’s trademark and the first element required by the Policy is fulfilled.

B. Rights or Legitimate Interests

The Complainant has demonstrated that the Respondent is not authorized reseller, service provider, licensee or distributor, and is not making legitimate noncommercial use or fair use of the Complainant’s trademark. To the contrary, the Respondent has linked each of the disputed domain names to active webpages, used for a variety of commercial purposes, and diverts Internet users to the disputed domain names by taking unfair advantage of the goodwill and reputation of the Complainant’s trademarks. The Panel therefore considers that none of the circumstances of rights or legitimate interests envisaged by paragraph 4(c) of the Policy apply. Furthermore, the Respondent is not commonly known by the disputed domain names, and the nature of the disputed domain names carries a risk of implied affiliation with the Complainant (see WIPO Overview 3.0, section 2.5.1). The Panel also notes that no evidence has been submitted by the Respondent in reply. The Panel therefore rules that the Complainant has satisfied the requirements for the second element under the Policy.

C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith

The registration of the disputed domain names, which incorporate the Complainant’s trademark in its entirety, except for the intentional misspelling, omission or addition of one or two characters in each of the disputed domain names, is clearly intended to mislead and divert consumers away from the Complainant’s official websites, to the websites linked to the disputed domain names. Given the reputation and fame of the Complainant’s trademark, and the clearly intentional typosquatting, the Panel holds that the registration of the disputed domain names was obtained in bad faith. Moreover, even a cursory Internet search at the time of registration of the disputed domain names would have made it clear to the Respondent that the Complainant owned a registered trademark in CREDIT KARMA and uses it extensively. The Panel further notes the nature of the disputed domain names, which carries a risk of implied affiliation or association with the Complainant. In the Panel’s view, the preceding elements clearly indicate the bad faith of the Respondent, and the Panel therefore rules that it has been demonstrated that the Respondent registered the disputed domain names in bad faith.

As to use of the disputed domain names in bad faith, the disputed domain names are currently all linked to active websites, whereby: (A) <credetcarma.com> displays what are presumed to be pay-per-click hyperlinks in English to third party service providers of, amongst other services, credit card providers and credit rating services, which include competitors of the Complainant; (B) <creditakrma.com> redirects to dynamic websites, some of which are commercial in nature, <creditlkarma.com> and <creidkarma.com> redirect to the same website in English, which is a competitor of the Complainant; and (C) <ceditkama.com>, <ceditkrama.com>, <ceridtkarma.com>, <crditkarm.com>, <crditkrama.com>, <creditkarem.com>, <creditkrame.com>, <creitkarm.com> and <creitkrama.com> direct to a website in Chinese which offers gambling and betting services. The Panel concludes that the Respondent is using intentionally misspelled versions of the Complainant’s trademarks in the disputed domain names to deliberately attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to the Respondent’s websites linked to those disputed domain names. The Panel holds that the Respondent’s argument, raised in its email communication of December 17, 2019, that the betting services that it offers on websites linked to some of the disputed domain names are unrelated to the Complainant’s core business in the financial sector, is irrelevant, as the betting websites it refers to also clearly take unfair advantage of the Complainant’s typosquatted trademarks to attract Internet traffic. Moreover, the Complainant also provides evidence that the Respondent has registered a large amount of domain names, many of which incorporate, or are similar to famous trademarks, from which the Panel deducts that the Respondent has engaged in a pattern of trademark-abusive domain name registrations. These elements lead the Panel to conclude that the Respondent is using the disputed domain names in bad faith, to take unfair advantage of the Complainant’s trademarks. The Panel therefore rules that it has been demonstrated that the Respondent is using the disputed domain names in bad faith.

Finally, the Respondent has failed to provide any formal response or evidence to establish good faith or absence of bad faith. The Panel therefore rules that the Complainant has satisfied the requirements of the third element under the Policy.

7. Decision

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 <ceditkama.com>, <ceditkrama.com>, <ceridtkarma.com>, <crditkarm.com>, <crditkrama.com>, <creditkarem.com>, <creditkrame.com>, <creitkarm.com>, <creitkrama.com>, <creditakrma.com>, <creditlkarma.com>, <creidkarma.com> and <credetcarma.com> be transferred to the Complainant.

Deanna Wong Wai Man
Sole Panelist
Date: January 6, 2020