WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Coöperatieve Rabobank U.A. v. Saeed Hassan
Case No. D2020-0551
1. The Parties
Complainant is Coöperatieve Rabobank U.A., Netherlands, represented by Novagraaf Nederland B.V., Netherlands.
Respondent is Saeed Hassan, Pakistan.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <rabo.online> (the “Domain Name”) is registered with Uniregistrar Corp (the “Registrar”).
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on March 5, 2020. On March 6, 2020, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the Domain Name. On March 9, 2020, 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 March 16, 2020. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was April 5, 2020. Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified Respondent’s default on April 6, 2020. On April 7, 2020, the Center received an email communication from Respondent.
The Center appointed Robert A. Badgley as the sole panelist in this matter on April 17, 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 April 30, 2020, the Panel issued Procedural Order No. 1. On May 4, 2020, Complainant sent an email communication to the Center in answer to Procedural Order No. 1.
4. Factual Background
Complainant is a Netherlands-based bank and financial services provider. Since 1980, Complainant has used the mark RABO in connection with its banking and financial services. Complainant operates in 40 countries around the world, and has trademark registrations for the mark RABO in numerous jurisdictions, including Brazilian trademark No. 827782594 (registered January 15, 2008), European Union trademark No. 010944296 (registered January 3, 2013), and United States of America registration 3,254,438 (registered June 26, 2007).
Complainant also has an online presence for its banking and financial services, and owns numerous domain names (including “www.rabobank.nl” and “www.rabobank.com”) to host its commercial website.
The Domain Name was registered on April 22, 2019. The Domain Name resolves to a parking page containing several hyperlinks such as “Rabo Bank,” “Tagesgeld,” and “Internetbankieren.” The parking page also states that the Domain Name is for sale. The asking price is listed as USD 29,888.
Complainant alleges that Respondent is a serial cybersquatter, and has annexed to the Complaint a list of hundreds of Domain Names purportedly held by Respondent. Some of these domain names include the names of (or represent a close misspelling of) some clearly recognizable brands, such as ADIDAS, CISCO, CITIGROUP, CLINIQUE, and AMAZON.
5. Parties’ Contentions
Complainant contends that it has satisfied all three elements required under the Policy for a cancellation of the Domain Name.
Respondent did not formally reply to Complainant’s contentions. In an email, Respondent stated as follows.
“Kindly try to understand the matter. RABOBANK is trademark of RABOBANK not ‘RABO’ if my domain name was RABOBANK.ONLINE then RABOBANK can claim for this. For Example SKYSCANNER is the trade mark of ‘SKYSCANNER’ SKYSCANNER company can not claim for ‘SKY’ or ‘SCANNER’ individually. In way RABOBANK can not claim for ‘RABO’ or ‘BANK’ domain names. Yesterday all domain names with the name BANK.com Bank.net BANK.ORG ‘RABO BANK’ will claim for these name.
Rabobank is not the owner of domain name rabo.com rabo.org rabo.info and many many other domain extensions then how raboBANK is claiming for rabo.online. Kindly search in google> site:rabo.* -rabo.nl -rabo.coop. You will there are hundreds of websites which are not belongs to RABOBANK.
Kindly do not any INJUSTICE with me. There is no any JUSTIFICATION of claim rabo.online buy raboBANK.”
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 RABO through registration and use demonstrated in the record. The Panel also finds that the Domain Name is identical to that mark.
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 to explain its bona fides with respect to the Domain Name. All Respondent has said is set forth verbatim above. Respondent’s somewhat incoherent comments do not even attempt to explain or justify Respondent’s motivations vis-à-vis the Domain Name. Further, the Panel notes Complainant’s statement that the term “rabo” has no common meaning in English or Dutch, which renders it less likely that the Domain Name was registered for some legitimate purpose, especially noting the use for a parking page with hyperlinks to banking services.
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 within the meaning of the above-quoted Policy paragraph 4(b)(ii). The Panel finds on this record that Respondent more likely than not had Complainant’s RABO trademark in mind when registering the Domain Name. “Rabo” does not, to the Panel’s knowledge, correspond to a common word or place in English or Dutch, and RABO was a registered trademark in many jurisdictions around the world at the time the Domain Name was registered. The hyperlinks at Respondent’s parking page, most of which refer to banking, are further indicia that Respondent was aware of the RABO mark when registering the Domain Name.
With respect to bad faith use, as noted above, Respondent did not assert any purportedly legitimate reason for registering the Domain Name. Nor has Respondent disputed that he is the owner of numerous other domain names, including several that appear to reflect well-known trademarks held by other companies. Accordingly, the Panel concludes, on this undisputed record, that Respondent made a preclusive registration of the Domain Name, and has engaged in a pattern of such conduct within the meaning of Policy paragraph 4(b)(ii).
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 <rabo.online> be cancelled.
Robert A. Badgley
Date: May 5, 2020