WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center

ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION

Baidu Online Network Technology (Beijing) Co., Ltd. v. Hong Sheng Zhou, Zhou Hong Sheng

Case No. D2019-2565

1. The Parties

The Complainant is Baidu Online Network Technology (Beijing) Co., Ltd., China, represented by Thomsen Trampedach GmbH, Denmark.

The Respondent is Hong Sheng Zhou, Zhou Hong Sheng, China.

2. The Domain Name and Registrar

The disputed domain name <baiduar.com> is registered with DropCatch.com LLC (the “Registrar”).

3. Procedural History

The Complaint was filed regarding two domain names with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on October 18, 2019. On October 18, 2019, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On October 21 and 22, 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 25, 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 28, 2019, in which the Complainant only kept the disputed domain name <baiduar.com>.

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 November 8, 2019. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was November 28, 2019. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on November 29, 2019.

The Center appointed Dr. Hong Xue as the sole panelist in this matter on December 9, 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 operates an Internet search engine via the domain name <baidu.com>, which is the most popular search engine in China, from 2000. The Complainant has registered numerous “baidu” (hereinafter “BAIDU”) and “Baidu +design element” trademarks in China and the other countries, including but not limited to the Chinese trademark (No. 8675003) BAIDU registered on September 28, 2011 and the Chinese trademark (No. 5916520) BAIDU, registered on March 28, 2010.

The disputed domain name <baiduar.com> was registered by the Respondent on April 29, 2019. According to the Complaint, the disputed domain name does not resolve to any website.

5. Parties’ Contentions

A. Complainant

The Complainant contends that the disputed domain name <baiduar.com> is confusingly similar to its registered trademark BAIDU.

The Complainant contends that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name <baiduar.com>.

The Complainant contends that the disputed domain name <baiduar.com> was registered and is being used in bad faith.

The Complainant requests that the disputed domain name <baiduar.com> be transferred to it.

B. Respondent

The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.

6. Discussion and Findings

A. Identical or Confusingly Similar

Pursuant to the Policy, paragraph 4(a)(i), a complainant must prove that a disputed domain name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which the complainant has rights. In line with such requirement, a complainant must prove its rights in the trademark or service mark and the identity or confusing similarity between the disputed domain name and its trademark or service mark.

The Panel notes that, long before the registration of the disputed domain name <baiduar.com>, the Complainant had registered the word mark BAIDU in China and many other countries, particularly for Internet-related products or services. The Complainant’s trademark rights in BAIDU can be proved.

The disputed domain name is <baiduar.com>. Apart from the generic Top-Level Domain (“gTLD”) suffix “.com”, the disputed domain name consists of “baiduar”. The Complainant contends that “baiduar” in the disputed domain name shall be read as “baidu” and “ar”. Since the Respondent does not rebut such contention, the Panel accepts the Complainant’s submission. The Panel notes that the first part of the disputed domain name “baidu” is completely identical with the Complainant’s registered mark “baidu” and the second part “ar” is commonly used as the acronym referring to the digital technology of “Augmented Reality”. The Complainant manages to prove that it has already implemented the AR technology through its online platform.

On the basis of the evidence submitted, the Panel finds that the disputed domain name <baiduar.com> that incorporates prominently and entirely the Complainant’s mark BAIDU and which merely adds the general acronym “ar” does not prevent the confusing similarity between the disputed domain name and the Complainant’s mark, as the Complainant’s trademark is clearly recognizable in the disputed domain name. See section 1.8 of the WIPO Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions, Third Edition (“WIPO Overview 3.0”). The disputed domain name <baiduar.com>, therefore, is confusingly similar with the Complainant’s mark BAIDU.

Accordingly, the Panel finds that the Complainant has proven paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Policy.

B. Rights or Legitimate Interests

The Complainant asserts, and provides evidence to demonstrate, that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name and, as the Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions as stated above, the Respondent does not provide any information to the Panel asserting any rights or legitimate interests it may have in the disputed domain name <baiduar.com>.

It is apparent from the Complaint that there is no connection between the Respondent and the Complainant or its business. Paragraph 4(c) of the Policy provides a list of circumstances which can demonstrate a respondent’s rights or legitimate interests in a domain name. However, there is no evidence before the Panel that any of the situations described in paragraph 4(c) of the Policy apply here. To the contrary, the lack of any Response leads the Panel to draw a negative inference.

Therefore, and also in light of the Panel’s findings below, the Panel finds that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name <baiduar.com>. Accordingly, the Panel finds that the Complainant has proven paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy.

C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith

The Complainant contends that the Respondent registered and is using the disputed domain name <baiduar.com> in bad faith. The Respondent did not respond to the Complainant’s contention.

According to the registration information of the disputed domain name provided by the Registrar, the Respondent is located in China, where “baidu” is one of the most well-known marks on the Internet. Since the Respondent is not likely to have registered coincidentally an Internet domain name that incorporates the Complainant’s BAIDU mark, its bad faith in the registration of the disputed domain name can be proved.

The disputed domain name does not resolve to an active website. The Panel finds that passive holding of the disputed domain name in the circumstances of this case does not prevent a finding of bad faith use.

Moreover, the Registrar of the disputed domain name provides that “[…]@hotmail.com” is the Respondent’s contact email address. Apart from the disputed domain name, the Complainant proves that the Respondent registered with the email “[…]@hotmail.com” hundreds of domain names, including <baiducloud.cn>, <baidufilm.com>, <baiduglass.com>, <baidupay.cn>, and many others containing “alibaba”, “amazon”, “android”, “apple”, “facebook” and “google”. The Panel finds that the Respondent, by registering a large number of domain names, has engaged in a pattern of conduct to prevent the owners of the reputable trademarks or service marks from reflecting their marks in the corresponding domain names, which constitutes the evidence of the registration and use of the disputed domain name in bad faith, as provided in the Policy, paragraph 4(b)(ii).

Based on the foregoing, the Panel concludes that the Complainant has successfully proven paragraph 4(a)(iii) of 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 name, <baiduar.com>, be transferred to the Complainant.

Dr. Hong Xue
Sole Panelist
Date: December 23, 2019