WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Gripple Limited v. Bhargav Chovatiya and M/s Gripple Fastners
Case No. D2020-2125
1. The Parties
Complainant is Gripple Limited, United Kingdom, represented by Orionis Legal, India.
Respondent is Bhargav Chovatiya and M/s Gripple Fastners, India.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <gripplefastners.com> (the “Domain Name”) is registered with BigRock Solutions Pvt Ltd. (the “Registrar”).
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on August 12, 2020. On August 12, 2020, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the Domain Name. On August 13, 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 September 3, 2020. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was September 23, 2020. Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified Respondent’s default on October 10, 2020.
The Center appointed Robert A. Badgley as the sole panelist in this matter on October 19, 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
Since 1984, Complainant has been a manufacturer of a device to join two wires together. In 1988, Complainant started to use the trademark GRIPPLE (a combination of “grip” and “pull”) to identify this product. Complainant has used the GRIPPLE trademark in commerce in India (Respondent’s country) since 2006, and Complainant holds several registered trademarks in India for GRIPPLE, including Reg. No. 1414293 for “connectors and fastening devices, all for joining and securing wires, ropes and cables…” Complainant has also registered the GRIPPLE trademark in various countries in North America, South America, and Europe.
Complainant has owned the domain name <gripple.com> since 1996, and uses that domain name to host a commercial website selling its GRIPPLE fastener products.
The Domain Name was registered on February 15, 2020. The Domain Name currently does not resolve to an active website. For a time, however, the Domain Name resolved to a commercial website that sold hex bolts, nuts, washers, spring washers, machine screws, security fasteners, and similar items. The website featured the GRIPPLE mark.
Complainant asserts that Respondent has never had a relationship with Complainant, and that Complainant has never authorized Respondent to use the GRIPPLE trademark in a domain name or otherwise.
5. Parties’ Contentions
Complainant contends that it has satisfied each of the elements required under the Policy for a transfer of the Domain Name.
Respondent did not reply to Complainant’s contentions.
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 trademark GRIPPLE through registration and use demonstrated in the record. The Panel also concludes that the Domain Name is confusingly similar to that mark. The dominant portion of the mark – GRIPPLE – is clearly recognizable within the Domain Name. The additional word “fastner” (a slight misspelling of the word “fastener” – which describes the product Complainant sells under the GRIPPLE mark) does not diminish the confusing similarity between the mark and the Domain Name.
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 in this proceeding to articulate or prove his bona fides vis-à-vis the Domain Name. On the record before the Panel, it is undisputed that Complainant has had no relationship with Respondent, and has never authorized Respondent to use its GRIPPLE trademark in a domain name or otherwise. Respondent, for a time, was using the Domain Name to sell small widgets under the false impression that these items were manufactured by Complainant.
Complainant has established Policy paragraph 4(a)(ii).
C. Registered or 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. On the undisputed record before the Panel, it is rather clear that Respondent had Complainant’s GRIPPLE trademark in mind when he registered the Domain Name. This is evident from the fact that the GRIPPLE mark is distinctive, and the wares that were sold at Respondent’s website were the type of items that might normally be associated with Complainant’s trademark.
As respects bad faith use, the above-quoted Policy, paragraph 4(b)(iv), applies here. The website to which the Domain Name resolves offered for sale various items purportedly, but falsely, manufactured by Complainant.
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 <gripplefastners.com> be transferred to Complainant.
Robert A. Badgley
Date: November 2, 2020