WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Open Society Institute v. Total Care Pharma
Case No. D2020-2396
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Open Society Institute, United States of America (“United States”), represented by Morrison & Foerster, LLP, United States.
The Respondent is Total Care Pharma, Cameroon.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <openssocietyfoundations.org> (the “Domain Name”) is registered with New Dream Network, LLC dba DreamHost.com (the “Registrar”).
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on September 15, 2020. On September 16, 2020, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the Domain Name. On September 17, 2020, the Registrar transmitted by email to the Center its verification response disclosing registrant and contact information for the Domain Name which differed from the named Respondent and contact information in the Complaint. The Center sent an email communication to the Complainant on September 29, 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 October 1, 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 October 6, 2020. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was October 26, 2020. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on October 30, 2020.
The Center appointed Ian Lowe as the sole panelist in this matter on November 13, 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 philanthropic organization that works to build vibrant and tolerant societies whose governments are accountable and open to the participation of all people. It funds a range of programs around the world, from public health to education to business development. The Complainant provides its services under a number of OPEN SOCIETY marks, including OPEN SOCIETY FOUNDATIONS, OPEN SOCIETY INSTITUTE and OPEN SOCIETY POLICY CENTER. Since at least April 2010, the Complainant has operated a website at “www.opensocietyfoundations.org” (the “Complainant’s Website”).
The Complainant is the registered proprietor of United States trademark number 4,248,358 OPEN SOCIETY FOUNDATIONS registered on November 27, 2012.
The Domain Name was registered on August 30, 2020. It does not currently resolve to an active website. However, at the time of preparation of the Complaint, it resolved to a website that was a clone of the Complainant’s Website. On September 29, 2020, the Respondent sent an email to the Center stating “I have amended the complaint [sic] and taken down the site”.
5. Parties’ Contentions
The Complainant contends that the Domain Name is confusingly similar to its OPEN SOCIETY FOUNDATIONS trademark (the “Mark”), that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Domain Name, and that the Respondent registered and is using the Domain Name in bad faith within the meaning of paragraph 4(b)(iv) of the Policy.
Save for the informal communication referred to above, the Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
According to paragraph 4(a) of the Policy, for this Complaint to succeed in relation to the Domain Name the Complainant must prove that:
(i) the 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 Domain Name; and
(iii) the Domain Name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The Complainant has uncontested rights in the Mark, both by virtue of its trademark registration and as a result of the goodwill and reputation acquired through its use of the Mark for a number of years. Ignoring the generic Top-Level Domain (“gTLD”) “.org”, the Domain Name is identical to the Mark save for the addition of the letter “s”. In the Panel’s view, this difference, adding a letter “s” next to the first letter of the word “society”, does not detract from the confusing similarity between the Domain Name and the Mark. Accordingly, the Panel finds that the Domain Name is confusingly similar to a mark in which the Complainant has rights.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
The Complainant has submitted strong prima facie evidence that the Respondent can have no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Domain Name. In the Panel’s view, the Domain Name is a typical example of typosquatting, whereby a domain name is registered with a minor variation of a well-known name with a view to taking advantage of typographical errors or mistaken perception by Internet users. Such a registration cannot possibly, on the face of it, give rise to rights or legitimate interests on the part of the registrant of a domain name. Furthermore, the Respondent has not made any use of the Domain Name that might give rise to such rights or interests. On the contrary, it has used to the Domain Name to resolve to a website that is a clone of the Complainant’s Website.
The Respondent has chosen not to respond to the Complaint (save to state that it has taken down the website at the Domain Name) and has accordingly failed to counter the prima facie case established by the Complainant. In the circumstances, the Panel finds that the Respondent does not have any rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Domain Name.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
The Panel considers that there is no doubt that given the nature of the Mark and of the Domain Name, the Respondent had the Complainant in mind when it registered the Domain Name and that it did so with the intention of using the Domain Name to deceive Internet users into believing that it was registered by or associated with the Complainant. The Panel cannot conceive of a legitimate use to which the Respondent could put the Domain Name. Although there is no evidence of actual deceit, the natural inference is that the Respondent used the Domain Name to resolve to a cloned copy of the Complainant’s Website with a view to phishing for personal data. In any event, typosquatting amounts to paradigm bad faith registration and use for the purposes of paragraph 4(a) of the Policy. In the circumstances, the Panel finds that the Domain Name was registered and is being used in bad faith.
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, <openssocietyfoundations.org> be transferred to the Complainant.
Date: November 27, 2020