WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Viva 5 Corp v. WhoisGuard, Inc. / THOMAS HUTTON, Thomas LLC
Case No. D2020-0319
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Viva 5 Corp, United States of America (“United States”), represented by Bryn Law Group, United States.
The Respondent is WhoisGuard, Inc., Panama / THOMAS HUTTON, Thomas LLC, United States.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <viva5corps.com> is registered with NameCheap, Inc. (the “Registrar”).
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on February 12, 2020. On February 12, 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 14, 2020, providing the registrant and contact information disclosed by the Registrar, and inviting the Complainant to submit an amendment to the Complaint. The Complainant did not submit an amendment to the Complaint.
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 the Respondent of the Complaint, and the proceedings commenced on February 21, 2020. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was March 12, 2020. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on March 13, 2020.
The Center appointed Evan D. Brown 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.
On March 30, 2020, the Panel issued a Procedural Order inviting the Complainant to submit additional evidence relevant to the first element under the Policy. The Complainant timely submitted such additional evidence on April 3, 2020. Though the Procedural Order permitted the Respondent to also submit additional comments in response to the Complainant’s additional filing by April 9, 2020, the Respondent made no such additional filing.
4. Factual Background
The Complainant has been in business since 2006 selling nutritional products. It claims common law rights in the VIVA 5 trademark based on years of use of same in the marketplace. The Respondent registered the disputed domain name on January 22, 2020. It has used the disputed domain name to send email messages to the Complainant’s customers, attempting to impersonate the Complainant and to disrupt the Complainant’s business by causing customers to send payments to the Respondent instead of the Complainant.
5. Parties’ Contentions
The Complainant contends that the disputed domain name is identical or confusingly similar to the Complainant’s trademark; that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name; and that the disputed domain name was registered and is being used in bad faith.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
To succeed, the Complainant must demonstrate that all of the elements listed in paragraph 4(a) of the Policy have been satisfied: (i) the disputed domain name is 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 name; and (iii) the disputed domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The Complainant claims common law trademark rights in its mark VIVA 5. As evidence of these common law rights, the Complainant asserts that: (1) it has continuously engaged in the business of developing nutraceuticals under the mark VIVA 5 for more than 10 years, demonstrated in part by the company’s articles of incorporation in the State of Florida in 2006, (2) the VIVA 5 mark is and has been well recognized among the community of the Complainant’s vendors, development partners, and wholesale distribution customers for at least the past 10 years, (3) the Complainant’s VIVA 5 mark appears on invoices, letters, and other documents and communications sent out by the Complainant to interested parties in the supplement and nutraceuticals market on a daily basis, (4) the Complainant has published its public website at <viva5corp.com> since at least as early as July 10, 2010, and (5) the company and mark have been the subject of attention in various press and media. Based on these assertions, the Panel finds that VIVA 5 is a common law mark in which the Complainant has rights.
The Panel also finds that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to the VIVA 5 mark. The incorporation of a trademark in its entirety may be sufficient to establish that a domain name is identical or confusingly similar to the Complainant’s registered mark. See Britannia Building Society v. Britannia Fraud Prevention, WIPO Case No. D2001-0505. In this case, the disputed domain name contains the Complainant’s trademark VIVA 5 in its entirety. The other elements of the disputed domain name, i.e. “corps” and the Top-Level Domain “.com” do not prevent a finding of confusing similarity.
The Complainant has established this first element under the Policy.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
The Panel evaluates this element of the Policy by first looking to see whether the Complainant has made a prima facie showing that the Respondent lacks rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name. If the Complainant makes that showing, the burden of demonstrating rights or legitimate interests shifts to the Respondent.
The Complainant has made a prima facie showing that the Respondent lacks rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name. By failing to respond to the Complaint and the Complainant’s additional filing, the Respondent did not overcome its burden of demonstrating rights or legitimate interests, and no other facts in the record tip the balance in the Respondent’s favor.
Paragraph 4(c) of the Policy instructs respondents on a number of ways they could demonstrate rights or legitimate interests (“you” and “your” in the following refers to the particular respondent):
(i) before any notice to you 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 (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 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.
In this case, the principal indicator of the lack of rights or legitimate interests comes from the alleged fraudulent nature of the Respondent’s use of the disputed domain name to generate fraudulent email. See Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc. v. Nikki Dockum, Tred, WIPO Case No. D2018-0155; Syngenta Participations AG v. Guillaume Texier, Gobain Ltd, WIPO Case No. D2017-1147 (registrant cannot acquire rights or legitimate interests by the use of a domain name as an email address from which to send phishing emails). Accordingly, the Respondent does not have any rights or legitimate interests in regard to the disputed domain name. The Complainant has established this second element of the Policy.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
The Policy requires the Complainant to establish that the disputed domain name was registered and is being used in bad faith. The Panel finds that the Respondent registered and used the disputed domain name in an effort to send email messages that were intended to deceive recipients of such emails, and to fraudulently induce such recipients to make payment to the Respondent instead of the Complainant. This sort of conduct is a strong example of bad faith under the Policy. Based on the available record, the Panel finds that the Respondent registered and is using the disputed domain name in bad faith. Accordingly, the Complainant has satisfied this third element 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 <viva5corps.com> be transferred to the Complainant.
Evan D. Brown
Date: April 14, 2020