WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center

ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION

Fareportal Inc. v. Registration Private, Domains By Proxy, LLC / Paarvez Kumar

Case No. D2020-0435

1. The Parties

The Complainant is Fareportal Inc., United States of America (“U.S.”), represented by Mitchell, Silberberg & Knupp, LLP, U.S.

The Respondent is Registration Private, Domains By Proxy, LLC, U.S. / Paarvez Kumar, India.

2. The Domain Name and Registrar

The disputed domain name <flightsfareportal.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 25, 2020. On February 25, 2020, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On February 25, 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 26, 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 March 2, 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 March 4, 2020. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was March 24, 2020. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on March 25, 2020.

The Center appointed Fabrizio Bedarida as the sole panelist in this matter on April 16, 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 a technology company that develops computer software used to run travel-related websites. Over the past decade, the Complainant has provided its travel-related services to the public using trademarks such as FAREPORTAL. The Complainant maintains a high-traffic, travel-related website at “www.fareportal.com”.

The Complainant has proven to be the owner of U.S. trademark FAREPORTAL No. 4,356,358, registered on June 25, 2013.

The disputed domain name <flightsfareportal.com> was registered on October 28, 2019.

At the time of the decision, the website at the disputed domain name appears to be suspended.

However, in accordance with the evidence submitted with the Complaint, the disputed domain name previously resolved to a website offering travel-related services competing with those offered by the Complainant.

The Complainant’s trademark registration predates the registration of the disputed domain name.

5. Parties’ Contentions

A. Complainant

The Complainant claims that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to the Complainant’s registered trademark; that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests whatsoever with respect to the disputed domain name; and that the Respondent registered and is using the disputed domain name in bad faith.

B. Respondent

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

6. Discussion and Findings

In order for the Complainant to obtain a transfer of the disputed domain name, paragraphs 4(a)(i) – (iii) of the Policy require that the Complainant must demonstrate to the Panel that:

(i) The disputed domain name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or 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.

A. Identical or Confusingly Similar

The Complainant has established rights in the FAREPORTAL trademark.

The disputed domain name <flightsfareportal.com> consists of the FAREPORTAL trademark in its entirety with the addition of the dictionary term “flights”.

This Panel agrees with previous UDRP decisions, namely that confusing similarity is generally established when the domain name incorporates the Complainant’s trademark in its entirety, and the addition of prefixes and suffixes (whether descriptive, geographical, pejorative, meaningless, or otherwise) does not avoid confusing similarity. See section 1.8 of the WIPO Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions, Third Edition (“WIPO Overview 3.0”).

Indeed, this Panel agrees with the Complainant’s assertion that the addition of the term “flights” in the disputed domain name is irrelevant in countering the confusing similarity between the Complainant’s FAREPORTAL trademark and the disputed domain name. Indeed, the addition of the term “flights” here actually affirms the confusingly similar nature of the disputed domain name as it describes the Complainant’s services offered under the FAREPORTAL mark. Therefore, it does not prevent a finding of confusing similarity.

The addition in the disputed domain name of the generic Top-Level Domain (“gTLD”) “.com” is a technical requirement and is not relevant to the assessment process, and in any case is not sufficient to avoid confusing similarity with the Complainant’s trademark in the present case.

Consequently, the Panel finds the disputed domain name to be confusingly similar to the FAREPORTAL trademark in which the Complainant has rights.

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

B. Rights or Legitimate Interests

This Panel finds that the Complainant has made a prima facie case that the Respondent does not have rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. The Respondent does not appear to be commonly known by the name “Flights Fareportal” or by any similar name. The Respondent has no connection to or affiliation with the Complainant, and the Complainant has not licensed or otherwise authorized the Respondent to use or register any domain name incorporating the Complainant’s trademarks. The Respondent does not appear to make any legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the disputed domain name, nor does the Respondent appear to make any use in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services. In fact it appears, from the documents available, that the disputed domain name, at present unavailable, was used for a certain period for a competing website, i.e., offering travel-related services directly competing with those of the Complainant. Finally, the Respondent has not replied to the Complainant’s contentions, claiming any rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name.

The Panel finds that the Complainant has satisfied paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy.

C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith

The Panel, on the basis of the evidence presented, accepts and agrees with the Complainant’s contentions that the disputed domain name was registered in bad faith and that it has been used in bad faith.

Indeed, the Complainant gives several sound bases for its contention that the disputed domain name was registered and has been used in bad faith.

The Panel finds that the Respondent was presumably aware of the FAREPORTAL trademark and of the existence of the Complainant and its activity.

In fact this Panel believes that, on the balance of probabilities, the use of a domain name incorporating the Complainant’s trademark in its entirety for a website directly competing with the Complainant’s official website at “www.fareportal.com” cannot be a coincidence, and thus indicates the Respondent’s knowledge of the Complainant’s trademark and activity when registering the disputed domain name.

The Respondent’s use of the disputed domain name to resolve to a website offering competing services is also inference of bad faith use pursuant to the Policy.

In fact, this Panel agrees with the Complainant’s assertion that featuring another party’s trademarks to offer services identical to those offered by the Complainant — and using the Complainant’s marks to suggest a connection between the disputed domain name and the Complainant — is evidence of bad faith. Such use disrupts the Complainant’s business.

Further inference of bad faith registration and use of the disputed domain name is given by the fact that the Respondent deliberately chose to conceal his identity by means of a privacy protection service. It also appears that the Respondent’s postal address is, at the least, incorrect. While the use of a privacy service does not in and of itself constitute bad faith under the Policy, the manner in which such service is used in the present case is deemed to contribute to a finding of bad faith.

Finally, it is relevant to note that, if the Respondent did have legitimate purposes in registering and using the disputed domain name, he could have responded to the allegations made by the Complainant in this proceeding.

Accordingly, the Panel finds, on the basis of the evidence presented, that the Respondent registered and is using the disputed domain name in bad faith.

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 <flightsfareportal.com> be transferred to the Complainant.

Fabrizio Bedarida
Sole Panelist
Date: April 21, 2020