WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
ZipRecruiter Inc. v. Registration Private, Domains By Proxy, LLC / Carolina Rodrigues, Fundacion Comercio Electronico
Case No. D2020-0307
1. The Parties
The Complainant is ZipRecruiter Inc., United States of America (“United States”), represented by SafeNames Ltd., United Kingdom.
The Respondent is Registration Private, Domains By Proxy, LLC, United States / Carolina Rodrigues, Fundacion Comercio Electronico, Panama.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <ziporecruiter.com> 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 February 11, 2020. On February 11, 2020, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On February 12, 2020, 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 February 13, 2020 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 February 13, 2020.
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 February 17, 2020. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was March 8, 2020. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on March 9, 2020.
The Center appointed Gregor Vos as the sole panelist in this matter on March 20, 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
The Complainant is an American online recruitment company. The company was initially founded in 2010 and currently has marketing operations in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom. The Complainant’s web based platform is the foundation of their business. On the platform employers can post jobs and manage the job application process. The platform also allows job seekers to search job posts and receive alerts regarding the latest job posts.
The Complainant is the owner of inter alia the following trademark registrations (the “Trademark”):
- United States Trademark registration No. 3934310 for the word mark ZIPRECRUITER, registered on March 22, 2011;
- European Union Trademark registration No. 015070873 for the word mark ZIPRECRUITER, registered on June 13, 2016;
- Canadian Trademark registration No. TMA979480 for the word mark ZIPRECRUITER, registered on August 28, 2017.
These trademark registrations predate the registration date of the domain name <ziporecruiter.com>.
In addition to these trademark registrations, the Complainant owns the domain name <ziprecruiter.com>, which was registered on February 23, 2010. The Complainant has further registered country code Top-Level Domains (hereafter “ccTLDs”) incorporating its trademarks. A non-exhaustive list of these ccTLDs is identified below:
- <ziprecruiter.co.nz> with registration date May 2015;
- <ziprecruiter.com.au> with registration date June 2015;
- <ziprecruiter.fr> with registration date January 2016;
- <ziprecruiter.co> with registration date May 2013;
- <ziprecruiter.co.uk> with registration date September 2010.
In addition, the Complainant uses the mark ZIPRECRUITER in connection with its Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn pages.
The Respondent registered the disputed domain name on January 31, 2020. The disputed domain name resolves to a pay-per-click (“PPC”) website with links thematically similar to job posting and recruitment. Moreover, some of the links redirect to the websites of the Complainant’s competitors.
5. Parties’ Contentions
The Complainant asserts that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to the ZIPRECRUITER Trademark despite of the Respondent’s addition of the letter “o” in between the terms “zip” and “recruiter”. The Complainant alleges that previous UDRP panels have recognized that the mere misspelling or omission of letters, is insufficient to distinguish a domain name from a complainant’s trademark. In respect of the generic Top-Level Domain (“gTLD”) “.com”, the Complainant requests that this is disregarded, as it is a standard registration requirement.
The Complainant claims that all Trademarks for the name ZIPRECRUITER were registered by the Complainant from 2011, while the Respondent registered the disputed domain name on January 31, 2020.
Furthermore, the Complainant relies on the goodwill and recognition that has been attained under the ZIPRECRUITER Trademark. The Complainant submits three cases where previous UDRP panels have recognized the value of the ZIPRECRUITER Trademark (ZipRecruiter Inc. v. Perfect Privacy, LLC / Jan Everno, The Management Group II, WIPO Case No. D2019-2274; ZipRecruiter Inc. v. Domain Admin, Hush Whois Protection Ltd., on behalf of ziprecruiter.com OWNER, c/o whoisproxy.com / Amir Cohen, Hush Privacy Protection Ltd., WIPO Case No. D2019-2273; ZipRecruiter Inc. v. Grace Philips, WIPO Case No. D2018-0945).
According to the Complainant, the Respondent lacks rights and legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. The Complainant has not found that the Respondent has any registered trademarks corresponding to the disputed domain name, there is no evidence that the Respondent holds any unregistered rights to the name Ziprecruiter, the Respondent is not commonly known by the name Ziprecruiter, and the Respondent has not received any license from the Complainant to use a domain name which features the ZIPRECRUITER Trademark. Also, the Complainant states that the Respondent does not use the disputed domain name in connection with a bona fide offering of goods and services. Instead, the disputed domain name resolved to a PPC parking page with links related to job posting and recruitment. Some of these links redirect to the websites of the Complainant’s competitors. The Complainant states that the Respondent’s use of the disputed domain name cannot be considered a legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the domain name. The Respondent is misleadingly diverting online users to the disputed domain name which resolves to a PPC website thereby generating monetary revenue.
Finally, the Complainant asserts that the disputed domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith. The Complainant states that the earliest ZIPRECRUITER Trademark registration predates the creation date of the disputed domain name. Additionally, the Complainant claims to have accrued substantial goodwill and recognition since the Complainant’s establishment in 2010. The Complainant furthermore submits that the ZIPRECRUITER trademark can be found by anyone who has access to the Internet, as the Complainant’s registrations are visible in the public trademark databases. The Complainant further asserts that the Respondent’s bad faith is also evidenced by the fact that the Respondent offered to sell the disputed domain name on the domain aftermarket website “www.afternic.com”. According to the Complainant, the disputed domain name was registered in view of profiting from the disputed domain name in excess of the Respondent’s out of pocket costs. Furthermore, the Respondent would have engaged in a pattern of conduct of registering domain names that include third party trademarks. Also, the Complainant states that Respondent’s use of the disputed domain name to a PPC page is an indication of bad faith. Particularly so where the Respondent presumably attracts commercial gain by redirecting traffic to third party websites. By creating a likelihood of confusion with the Complainant’s well-known Trademark, a clear attempt to generate commercial gain is created. Lastly, the disputed domain name consists of an intentional misspelling of the Complainant’s Trademark and according to the Complainant, typosquatting in itself constitutes registration and use in bad faith.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
In view of the lack of a response filed by the Respondent as required under paragraph 5 of the Rules, this proceeding has proceeded by way of default. Hence, under paragraphs 5(f), 14(a) and 15(a) of the Rules, the Panel is directed to decide this administrative proceeding on the basis of the Complainant’s undisputed factual presentations.
For the Complainant to succeed, it must prove, within the meaning of paragraph 4(a) of the Policy and on the balance of probabilities that:
(i) the disputed domain name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or a service mark in which the Complainant has rights; and
(ii) the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name; and
(iii) the disputed domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.
Only if all three elements have been fulfilled, the Panel is able to grant the remedy requested by the Complainant. The Panel will deal with each of the requirements in turn.
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
Paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Policy requires the Complainant to show that the disputed domain name is (i) identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark, (ii) in which the Complainant has rights.
With respect to having rights pursuant to paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Policy, it is noted that the Complainant is registered as the owner of the Trademarks, as can be seen from the submitted copies of the registrations of the Trademarks (Annex 4 to the Complaint). Consequently, the Panel finds that the Complainant has proven that it has right in the Trademarks.
With regard to the assessment of identity or confusing similarity of the disputed domain name with the Trademarks, it is generally accepted that this test involves a reasoned but relatively straightforward comparison between a complainant’s trademark and the disputed domain name (see section 1.7 of the WIPO Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions, Third Edition (“WIPO Overview 3.0”)).
For the purpose of assessing confusing similarity under the Policy, the gTLD suffixes (in the present case “.com”) are generally ignored in the comparison between the disputed domain name and the Trademarks (see Bialetti Industrie S.p.A. v. Onno Brantjes, Stichting Taxaceace, WIPO Case No. D2016-1450; Canyon Bicycles GmbH v. Domains by Proxy, LLC / Rob van Eck, WIPO Case No. D2014-0206; Zions Bancorporation v. Mohammed Akik Miah, WIPO Case No. D2014-0269). This case does not contain any indications to the contrary.
The disputed domain name is confusingly similar to the ZIPRECRUITER Trademark. The only difference between the disputed domain name and the Trademark result from a minor misspelling, namely the addition of the letter “o”. Such insignificant modifications to a trademark are commonly referred to as “typosquatting”, as such conduct seeks to wrongfully take advantage of errors by users in typing domain names into their web browser’s location bar. UDRP panels have previously decided that “Domain names which constitute typosquatting are confusingly similar by definition; it is this similarity which makes them attractive.” (See Dell Computer Corp. v. Clinical Evaluations, WIPO Case No. D2002-0423).
Consequently, the Panel finds that the requirement under paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Policy has been satisfied.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
The second requirement the Complainant must prove is that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. The onus of proving this requirement, like each element, falls on the Complainant. Given the difficulty in proving a negative, however, it is usually sufficient for a complainant to make out a prima facie case that the respondent lacks rights or legitimate interests. If the complainant does establish a prima facie case, the burden of production shifts to the respondent. See, e.g.,WIPO Overview 3.0, section 2.1.
Paragraph 4(c) of the Policy gives non-exclusive examples of instances in which the Respondent may establish rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name, by demonstrating any of the following:
(i) before any notice of the dispute, the respondent’s 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) the respondent (as an individual, business, or other organization) has been commonly known by the domain name, even if the respondent has acquired no trademark or service mark rights; or
(iii) the respondent is 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 Complainant has substantiated that none of the circumstances apply in this case. By defaulting, the Respondent has failed to address the prima facie case thus established by the Complainant. Furthermore, based on the record before it, the Panel does not see an indication that any of the circumstances of paragraph 4(c) of the Policy is present.
Accordingly, the Panel finds that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name, and therefore the requirement under paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy is fulfilled.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
Under paragraph 4(iii) of the Policy, a complainant must show that the disputed domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith. Paragraph 4(b) of the Policy lists four non-limitative circumstances which may be considered as evidence of registration and use in bad faith of a domain name.
The trademark ZIPRECRUITER is registered by the Complainant in several jurisdictions and has been used for many years. The Complainant’s trademark rights predate the registration date of the disputed domain name (see Section 4 above). Also, the Complainant registered its trademarks in various ccTLDs. The Complainant’s ZIPRECRUITER Trademark is distinctive and has a strong online visibility. The website platform operated by the Complainant at “www.ziprecruiter.com” is its main business tool.
Based on the above information, the Panel finds that it is not conceivable that the Respondent would not have been aware of the Complainant’s trademark rights at the time of the registration of the disputed domain name. Also, the registration of a domain name that is confusingly similar to a trademark by an entity that has no relationship to that mark can be evidence of opportunistic bad faith (see Ebay Inc. v. Wangming, WIPO Case No. D2006-1107). Furthermore, typosquatting – intentionally adding or deleting a letter or two, or transposing letters in a valid mark of another in one’s domain name – is presumptive evidence of bad faith in registration and use of a disputed domain name (see TPI Holdings, Inc. v. LaPorte Holdings, WIPO Case No. D2006-0235).
The Panel finds, on these facts, that the Respondent targeted the Complainant and its ZIPRECRUITER Trademark when it registered the disputed domain name. These facts show bad faith registration of the disputed domain name.
The Complainant has further submitted a list of UDRP decisions in which the Respondent was involved (as the Respondent). The list shows 20 proceedings that were ruled in favor of the complainant. UDRP panels have held that establishing a pattern of bad faith conduct requires more than one, but as few as two instances of abusive domain name registration. Therefore, the Panel finds that a pattern of bad faith conduct has been established here. See WIPO Overview 3.0, section 3.1.2.
In addition, the Complainant has shown that the Respondent has used the disputed domain name to direct Internet users to a parking page displaying PPC links which redirect to the websites of the Complainant’s competitors. Therefore, the disputed domain name is being used for a commercial purpose that involves redirecting Internet users (in particular those seeking the Complainant) to competitors of the Complainant.
Accordingly, the Panel finds that the disputed domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith and the requirement of paragraph 4(a)(iii) of the Policy is fulfilled.
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 <ziporecruiter.com> be transferred to the Complainant.
Date: April 2, 2020