WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Heaven Hill Distilleries, Inc. v. Contact Privacy Inc. Customer 1246820087 / Henry Ramirez
Case No. D2020-0889
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Heaven Hill Distilleries, Inc., United States of America (“United States”), represented by Wyatt, Tarrant & Combs, United States.
The Respondent is Contact Privacy Inc. Customer 1246820087, Canada / Henry Ramirez, United States.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <heavenhlll.com> is registered with Google LLC (the “Registrar”).
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on April 9, 2020. On April 14, 2020, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On April 15, 2020, the Registrar transmitted by email to the Center its verification response disclosing registrant and contact information for the disputed domain name that differed from the named Respondent and contact information in the Complaint. The Center sent an email communication to the Complainant on April 20, 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 April 20, 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 April 21, 2020. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was May 11, 2020. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on May 12, 2020.
The Center appointed Nicolas Ulmer as the sole panelist in this matter on May 25, 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 well-known distiller of Bourbon whiskey and other spirits, based in Kentucky, United States. The Complainant submits a chart and annexes demonstrating that it holds seven United States trademarks for HEAVEN HILL in various forms and iterations, including a trademark for the words HEAVEN HILL granted on March 1, 1960, under registration no. 693986. The Complainant has also trademarked HEAVEN HILL in the European Union, Japan, Mexico, and other jurisdictions. The Complainant registered the domain name <heaven-hill.com> in October 1999 and has since registered numerous other domain names containing the words “heaven hill” or possible “typosquatting” variations of it.
The disputed domain name was registered on April 1, 2020. Little is known of the Respondent, who has been concealed behind a privacy screen.
5. Parties’ Contentions
The Complainant asserts that the disputed domain name is an example of bad faith typosquatting and that it is confusingly similar to the Complainant’s trademarks. The Complainant further confirms that it has no knowledge of any rights or legitimate interests of the Respondent in the disputed domain name. Finally, the Respondent’s bad faith registration and use of the disputed domain name is evident and further demonstrated by its deliberate typosquatting and attempt at “phishing” by using the disputed domain name fraudulently to imitate one of the Complainant’s employees in order to obtain a payment on the very day of its registration.
The Complainant requests that the disputed domain name be transferred to it.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The disputed domain name begins with and contains the entirety of the Complainant’s long-registered and well-known trademark with the substitution of an “l” for the “i”, i.e. “Heavenhlll” in lieu of “Heavenhill”. It is long established in UDRP case law that a slight misspelling or additional letter resulting in a confusingly similar approximation of a trademark can readily be found to be confusingly similar within the meaning of the Policy. See, e.g., Fuji Photo Film U.S.A., Inc. v. LaPorte Holdings, WIPO Case No. D2004-0971; Estée Lauder Inc. v. estelauder.com, estelauder.net and Jeff Hanna, WIPO Case No. D2000-0869. In the instant case the substitution of an “l” results in a disputed domain name that is almost visually identical to the trademarked name and is of confusing similarity to the Complainant’s trademark.
Paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Policy is accordingly proven by the Complainant.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
The Complainant has affirmed that it has no knowledge of any right of the Respondent to use its trademark in the disputed domain name or otherwise. There is, moreover, no reason to believe that the Respondent is known by the name “Heavenhlll” or some variation thereof. Furthermore, far from making any legitimate use of the disputed domain name, the Complainant submits that the Respondent is making use of it for possible criminal conduct.
It is in any event clear in UDRP jurisprudence that a complainant needs to establish at least a prima facie case that the respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name. See section 2.1 of WIPO Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions, Third Edition; Croatia Airlines d.d. v. Modern Empire Internet Ltd., WIPO Case No. D2003-0455. Where such a prima facie case is made, the burden shifts to the respondent to demonstrate its rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. If the respondent fails to do so, the complainant is generally deemed to have satisfied paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy. See also, Meizu Technology Co., Ltd. v. “osama bin laden”, WIPO Case No. DCO2014-0002; H & M Hennes & Mauritz AB v. Simon Maufe, Akinsaya Odunayo Emmanuel and Nelson Rivaldo, WIPO Case No. D2014-0225.
The Complainant has here established such a prima facie case, and the Respondent has failed to answer the Complaint. Further, there is nothing in the case file that would rebut or contradict the Complainant’s assertions as to the Respondent’s absence of any rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. It can therefore be affirmed that the Complainant has met its burden under paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
As a threshold point, the choice of the disputed domain name by the Respondent cannot reasonably be considered to be serendipitous or arbitrary; the name contains a typo that results in a deliberate confusing similarity to the Complainant’s trademarks and name, and can only logically be assumed to have been registered with a bad faith intent to exploit that similarity.
The Complainant submits that: “a mere act of typo-squatting a famous mark presents ample evidence of bad faith.” See Six Continents Hotels, Inc. v. null John Zuccarini d/b/a Country Walk, WIPO Case No. D2003-0161; see also ESPN, Inc. v. XC2, WIPO Case No. D2005-0444 (“It is well-settled that the practice of typosquatting, of itself, is evidence of the bad faith registration of a domain name.”) (citing Longs Drug Stores California,, Inc. v. Shep Dog, WIPO Case No. D2004-1069 (finding typosquatting to be evidence of bad faith domain name registration)). On the facts here, the Panel concurs.
Bad faith use is here further demonstrated by a documented attempt – on the day the disputed domain name was registered – to use the disputed domain name, and its confusing similarity to the Complainant’s trademark, as a tool for dishonest phishing. The Respondent’s apparent concealment of its identity behind a privacy screen and failure to answer the Complaint is consistent with the above findings of bad faith.
The Complainant has, accordingly, proved bad faith registration and use within the meaning of paragraph 4(a)(iii) 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 <heavenhlll.com> be transferred to the Complainant.
Date: June 1, 2020