WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Checksmart Financial Company v. Micheal Ard
Case No. D2020-0262
1. The Parties
Complainant is Checksmart Financial Company, United States of America, represented by Peterson Conners LLP, United States of America.
Respondent is Micheal Ard, United States of America.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <checksmartcashloans.com> (the “Domain Name”) is registered with Name.com, Inc. (Name.com LLC) (the “Registrar”).
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on February 3, 2020. On February 4, 2020, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the Domain Name. On the same day, the Registrar transmitted by email to the Center its verification response confirming that 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 Respondent of the Complaint, and the proceedings commenced on February 10, 2020. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was March 1, 2020. Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified Respondent’s default on March 3, 2020.
The Center appointed Robert A. Badgley as the sole panelist in this matter on March 11, 2020. 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
Complainant has been in the business of providing consumer loans since 1996. Complainant holds various trademark registrations, including United States Patent and Trademark Office Reg. No. 3,339,074 for CHECKSMART, registered on November 20, 2007, in connection with “Retail store services featuring check cashing services, electronic fund transfer services, stored value cards, money wire services, automated teller machine services, loan financing services, money order services, bill payment services, telephone calling cards and postage stamps,” and “Check cashing, electronic funds transfer, issuing stored value cards, money wire services, automated teller machine services, loan financing, money order services, bill payment services and telephone calling card services”.
Complainant registered the domain name <checksmart.com> on November 9, 1998, and operates a website via that domain name. Complainant offers loans online and at hundreds of physical retail locations.
Respondent registered the Domain Name on May 16, 2017. The Domain Name resolves to a website at which Respondent offers payday cash loans.
5. Parties’ Contentions
Complainant contends that it has satisfied all three elements required under the Policy for a transfer of the Domain Name.
Respondent did not reply to Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
Paragraph 4(a) of the Policy lists the three elements which Complainant must satisfy with respect to the Domain Name:
(i) the Domain Name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which Complainant has rights; and
(ii) 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 Panel concludes that Complainant has rights in the mark CHECKSMART through registration and use demonstrated in the record. The Panel also finds that the Domain Name is confusingly similar to that mark. The Domain Name fully incorporates the CHECKSMART mark and adds the dictionary words “cash loans”. Complainant’s CHECKSMART mark is closely associated with cash loans. These additional words do not avoid a finding of confusing similarity between the CHECKSMART mark and the Domain Name.
Complainant has established Policy paragraph 4(a)(i).
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
Pursuant to paragraph 4(c) of the Policy, Respondent may establish its rights or legitimate interests in the Domain Name, among other circumstances, by showing any of the following elements:
(i) before any notice to you [Respondent] of the dispute, your use of, or demonstrable preparations to use, the Domain Name or a name corresponding to the Domain Name in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services; or
(ii) you [Respondent] (as an individual, business, or other organization) have been commonly known by the Domain Name, even if you have acquired no trademark or service mark rights; or
(iii) you [Respondent] are making a legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the Domain Name, without intent for commercial gain to misleadingly divert consumers or to tarnish the trademark or service mark at issue.
The Panel concludes that Respondent lacks rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Domain Name. Respondent has not come forward in this proceeding to advance any legitimate basis for registering the Domain Name. It is undisputed that Complainant’s CHECKSMART mark has been used in commerce for more than 20 years, and that Respondent was not authorized to use that mark in a Domain Name or otherwise. The undisputed record also reflects that Respondent has constructed a website that seeks to offer services identical to some of the services offered by Complainant. This use of Complainant’s established trademark in the Domain Name is not a legitimate use under the Policy.
Complainant has established Policy paragraph 4(a)(ii).
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
Paragraph 4(b) of the Policy provides that the following circumstances, “in particular but without limitation”, are evidence of the registration and use of the Domain Name in “bad faith”:
(i) circumstances indicating that Respondent has registered or has acquired the Domain Name primarily for the purpose of selling, renting, or otherwise transferring the Domain Name registration to Complainant who is the owner of the trademark or service mark or to a competitor of that Complainant, for valuable consideration in excess of its documented out of pocket costs directly related to the Domain Name; or
(ii) that Respondent has registered the Domain Name in order to prevent the owner of the trademark or service mark from reflecting the mark in a corresponding domain name, provided that Respondent has engaged in a pattern of such conduct; or
(iii) that Respondent has registered the Domain Name primarily for the purpose of disrupting the business of a competitor; or
(iv) that by using the Domain Name, Respondent has intentionally attempted to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to Respondent’s website or other online location, by creating a likelihood of confusion with Complainant’s mark as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation, or endorsement of Respondent’s website or location or of a product or service on Respondent’s website or location.
The Panel concludes that Respondent registered and used the Domain Name in bad faith. The Domain Name completely incorporates Complainant’s established CHECKSMART trademark and Respondent offers at his website loan services identical to, and in competition with, those offered by Complainant. Respondent has not denied Complainant’s allegation that he has sought to divert Internet traffic, for commercial gain, from Complainant’s website to his own website by means of consumer confusion engendered by the Domain Name. The Panel finds Respondent in bad faith under the above-quoted Policy paragraphs 4(b)(iii) and 4(b)(iv).
Complainant has established Policy paragraph 4(a)(iii).
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 <checksmartcashloans.com> be transferred to Complainant.
Robert A. Badgley
Date: March 25, 2020