WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
ZipRecruiter Inc. v. On behalf of wwwziprecruiter.com Owner, c/o whoisproxy.com, / Amir Cohen, Hush Privacy Protection Ltd.
Case No. D2020-0455
1. The Parties
Complainant is ZipRecruiter Inc., United States of America (“United States”), represented by Safenames Ltd., United Kingdom.
Respondent is On behalf of wwwziprecruiter.com Owner, c/o whoisproxy.com, United States / Amir Cohen, Hush Privacy Protection Ltd., Seychelles.1
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <wwwziprecruiter.com> is registered with Key-Systems GmbH (the “Registrar”).
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on February 26, 2020. On February 26, 2020, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On February 27, 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 Complainant on February 28, 2020 providing the registrant and contact information disclosed by the Registrar, and inviting Complainant to submit an amendment to the Complaint. Complainant filed an amended Complaint on March 3, 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 Respondent of the Complaint, and the proceedings commenced on March 6, 2020. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was March 26, 2020. Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified Respondent’s default on April 1, 2020.
The Center appointed Stephanie G. Hartung as the sole panelist in this matter on April 8, 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 is a company organized under the laws of the United States that is active in the online recruitment business.
Complainant has provided evidence that it is the owner of various registered trademarks relating to its company name and brand “ZipRecruiter”, inter alia, the following:
- Word mark ZIPRECRUITER, United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”), registration number: 3,934,310, registration date: March 22, 2011, status: active;
- Word mark ZIPRECRUITER, European Union Intellectual Property Office (“EUIPO”), registration number: 015070873, registration date: June 13, 2016, status: active.
Moreover, Complainant has demonstrated to own the domain name <ziprecruiter.com>, which resolves to Complainant’s official website at “www.ziprecruiter.com” where Complainant promotes and offers its online recruitment services.
Respondent, according to the WhoIs information for the disputed domain name, registered the disputed domain name on December 31, 2012, which resolves to a typical pay-per-click (“PPC”) website with hyperlinks redirecting to active third parties’ websites, including some of Complainant’s direct competitors in the online recruitment industry, and which also offers the disputed domain name for sale.
Complainant requests that the disputed domain name be transferred to Complainant.
5. Parties’ Contentions
Complainant contends to be a well-known United States online recruitment company, attracting over seven million active jobseekers, over 40 million job alert email subscribers and over 10,000 new companies every month.
Complainant submits that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to Complainant’s ZIPRECRUITER trademark; due to the addition of the letters “www” it consists of an intentional misspelling of said trademark which is still recognizable therein. Moreover, Complainant asserts that Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name since: (1) Respondent has not received any license from Complainant to use its ZIPRECRUITER trademark as a domain name or in any other way, and Respondent does not seem to hold any registered or unregistered rights in the term “ziprecruiter” whatsoever; (2) there is no plausible reason for the registration and use of the disputed domain name, other than to take advantage of the goodwill and valuable reputation attached to Complainant’s ZIPRECUITER brand; (3) by hosting PPC links on the disputed domain name which comprise of terms in relation to Complainant’s services, Respondent is generating monetary revenue through misleadingly diverting online users. Finally, Complainant argues that Respondent registered and is using the disputed domain name in bad faith since: (1) Complainant’s earliest ZIPRECRUITER trademark registration predates the creation of the disputed domain name by at least one year; (2) Respondent kept silent on each of Complainant’s pre-procedural correspondence of January/February 2020; (3) the disputed domain name consists of an intentional misspelling/typosquatting of Complainant’s ZIPRECRUITER trademark; (4) Respondent not only uses the disputed domain name to redirect to a PPC page, but also offers it for online sale; and (5) Respondent has been involved in several UDRP proceedings in the past, a vast majority of which has ruled in favor of the concerned complainants, thus Respondent is engaged in a pattern of bad faith conduct.
Respondent did not reply to Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
Under paragraph 4(a) of the Policy, Complainant carries the burden of proving:
(i) that the disputed domain name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which Complainant has rights; and
(ii) that Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name; and
(iii) that the disputed domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.
Respondent's default in the case at hand does not automatically result in a decision in favor of Complainant, however, paragraph 5(f) of the Rules provides that if Respondent does not submit a response, in the absence of exceptional circumstances, the Panel shall decide the dispute solely based upon the Complaint. Further, according to paragraph 14(b) of the Rules, the Panel may draw such inferences from Respondent's failure to submit a Response as it considers appropriate.
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The Panel concludes that the disputed domain name <wwwziprecruiter.com> is confusingly similar to the ZIPRECRUITER trademark in which Complainant has rights.
The disputed domain name incorporates the ZIPRECRUITER trademark in its entirety. Numerous UDRP panels have recognized that incorporating a trademark in its entirety can be sufficient to establish that the disputed domain name is at least confusingly similar to a registered trademark (see e.g., PepsiCo, Inc. v. PEPSI, SRL (a/k/a P.E.P.S.I.) and EMS Computer Industry (a/k/a EMS), WIPO Case No. D2003-0696). Moreover, it has been held in many UDRP decisions and has become a consensus view among UDRP panels that the addition of other terms (whether descriptive or otherwise) to a trademark in a domain name would not prevent a finding of confusing similarity under the first element of the UDRP (see WIPO Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions, Third Edition (“WIPO Overview 3.0”), section 1.8), and that a domain name which consists of a common, obvious or intentional misspelling of the complainant’s trademark (i.e. a typosquatting) is still considered to be confusingly similar to the relevant trademark for purposes of the first element under the UDRP (see WIPO Overview 3.0, section 1.9). Accordingly, the Panel finds that the mere addition of the prefix “www” (for “World Wide Web”) is not at all capable to dispel the confusing similarity arising from the incorporation of Complainant’s entire ZIPRECRUITER trademark into the disputed domain name, especially given the fact that such addition obviously aims at constituting a common typosquatted domain name.
Therefore, Complainant has established the first element under the Policy as set forth by paragraph 4(a)(i).
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
The Panel is further convinced on the basis of Complainant’s undisputed contentions that Respondent has not made use of the disputed domain name in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services, nor has Respondent been commonly known by the disputed domain name, nor can it be found that Respondent has made a legitimate noncommercial or fair use thereof without intent for commercial gain.
Respondent has not been authorized to use Complainant’s ZIPRECRUITER trademark, either as a domain name or in any other way. Also, there is no reason to believe that Respondent’s name somehow corresponds with the disputed domain name and Respondent does not appear to have any trademark rights associated with the term “Ziprecruiter” or any variation thereof on its own. Finally, Respondent obviously has neither used the disputed domain name for a bona fide offering of goods or services nor for a legitimate noncommercial or fair purpose. On the contrary, the disputed domain name resolves to typical PPC website showing a variety of hyperlinks to third parties’ websites, including direct competitors of Complainant in the online recruitment industry, for the obvious purpose of generating PPC revenues. UDRP panels agree that using a domain name to host a PPC website does not present a bona fide offering where such links compete with or capitalize on the reputation and goodwill of the complainant’s trademark or otherwise mislead Internet users (see WIPO Overview 3.0, section 2.9).
Accordingly, Complainant has established a prima facie case that Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. Now, the burden of production shifts to Respondent to come forward with appropriate evidence demonstrating to the contrary (see WIPO Overview 3.0, section 2.1). Given that Respondent has defaulted, Respondent has not met that burden.
Therefore, the Panel finds that Complainant has also satisfied paragraph 4(a)(ii) and, thus, the second element of the Policy.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
The Panel finally holds that the disputed domain name was registered and is being used by Respondent in bad faith.
Resolving the disputed domain name, which is confusingly similar to Complainant’s ZIPRECRUITER trademark, to a typical PPC website showing a variety of hyperlinks to active third parties’ websites, which include even some of Complainant’s direct competitors in the online recruitment industry, for the obvious purpose of generating PPC revenues, is a clear indication that Respondent intentionally attempted to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to its own website by creating a likelihood of confusion with Complainant’s ZIPRECRUITER trademark as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation or endorsement of this website. Such circumstances are evidence of registration and use of the disputed domain name in bad faith within the meaning of paragraph 4(b)(iv) of the Policy.
In connection with this finding, it not only carries weight in the eyes of the Panel that Respondent has been a party to many other UDRP proceedings which found against Respondent, and that it kept silent on Complainant’s pre-procedural correspondence of January/February 2020, but also that Respondent made use of a WhoIs privacy service in order to conceal its true identity, and in addition provided false or incomplete contact information in the WhoIs register for the disputed domain name since, according to the email correspondence between the Center and the postal courier DHL, the Written Notice on the Notification of Complaint dated March 6, 2020, could not be delivered. All of these facts taken together throw a light on Respondent’s behavior, which strongly supports the Panel’s bad faith finding.
As general comment, the Panel has still noted that Respondent registered the disputed domain name already back in December 2012; however, at this point of time Complainant enjoyed registered rights in its ZIPRECRUITER trademark already for more than 20 months. Accordingly, with respect to the timing of the registration of Complainant’s ZIPRECRUITER trademark and Respondent’s disputed domain name, there is no reason for this Panel not to find that Respondent acted in bad faith.
Therefore, Complainant has also satisfied the third element under the Policy as set forth by 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 disputed domain name <wwwziprecruiter.com> be transferred to Complainant.
Stephanie G. Hartung
Date: April 22, 2020
1 It is evident from the case file that On behalf of wwwziprecruiter.com Owner, c/o whoisproxy.com, United States, is a privacy protection service and that Amir Cohen, Hush Privacy Protection Ltd., Seychelles is the underlying registrant of the disputed domain name. Therefore, unless otherwise indicated, the term “Respondent” is used by the Panel in the case at hand to refer to the latter underlying registrant only.