WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center

ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION

Trustpilot A/S v. WhoisGuard Protected / WhoisGuard, Inc. / Trust Pilot Support

Case No. D2020-3421

1. The Parties

The Complainant is Trustpilot A/S, Denmark, represented by Keltie LLP, United Kingdom.

The Respondent is WhoisGuard Protected / WhoisGuard, Inc., Panama / Trust Pilot Support, Turkey.

2. The Domain Name and Registrar

The disputed domain name <trustpilotsupport.com> (the “Domain Name”) is registered with NameCheap, Inc. (the “Registrar”).

3. Procedural History

The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on December 15, 2020. On December 16, 2020, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the Domain Name. On December 16, 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 December 18, 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 amendment to the Complaint on December 18, 2020.

The Center verified that the Complaint together with the amendment to 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 the Respondent of the Complaint, and the proceedings commenced on December 21, 2020. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was January 10, 2021. The Respondent did not submit any response however, the Center received emails from the Respondent and a third party on December 22, 2020. Accordingly, the Center notified the Parties of the Commencement of Panel Appointment on January 11, 2021.

The Center appointed Olga Zalomiy as the sole panelist in this matter on January 21, 2021. 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 global consumer review website founded in Denmark, with offices in several countries across the world. The Complainant is the owner of the TRUSTPILOT trademarks worldwide, such as:

- Australian Trademark Registration No. 1650470 for TRUSTPILOT, registered on October 10, 2014;
- Australian Trademark Registration No. 1926050 for TRUSTPILOT logo, registered on May 10, 2018;
- European Union (“EU”) Trade Mark Registration No. 9937624 for TRUSTPILOT, registered on December 8, 2011;
- EU Trade Mark Registration No. 17898455 for TRUSTPILOT logo, registered on September 5, 2018;
- United States Trademark Registration No. 5,956,496 for TRUSTPILOT logo, registered on January 7, 2020;
- United States Trademark Registration No. 4,240,324 for TRUSTPILOT, registered on November 13, 2012.

The Respondent registered the Domain Name <trustpilotsupport.com> on November 2, 2020. The Domain Name resolves to a website that appears to sell fake consumer reviews to the Complainant’s customers, designed to artificially inflate the reputation of those customers that are listed on the Complainant’s website. The Respondent purports to be the Complainant’s support department.

5. Parties’ Contentions

A. Complainant

The Complainant claims that the Domain Name is confusingly similar to the Complainant’s TRUSTPILOT trademark because the Domain Name incorporates the TRUSTPILOT mark in its entirety. The Complainant submits that generic Top-Level Domains (“gTLD”), such as “.com” are irrelevant to confusing similarity analysis. The Complainant submits that the addition of the descriptive term “support” does not detract from confusing similarity.

The Complainant claims that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the Domain Name for several reasons:

(i) the Respondent is not and has not been commonly known by the Domain Name;

(ii) the Complainant did not authorize the Respondent to use the Complainant’s TRUSTPILOT mark; and

(iii) the Respondent’s registration and use of the Domain Name for a commercial website offering of fake consumer reviews to Complainant’s customers does not constitute a bona fide offering of goods or services nor a legitimate noncommercial or fair use under the UDRP.

The Complainant states that the Respondent’s registration and use of the Domain Name constitutes bad faith because the Respondent has used the Domain Name to intentionally attract, for commercial gain, Internet users by creating a likelihood of confusion with the Complainant’s TRUSTPILOT mark as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation, and/or endorsement of the Domain Name and the Respondent’s website. The Complainant contends that the Respondent registered the Domain Name with the knowledge of the Complainant’s trademark rights and the Complainant, because the Respondent’s website connected to the Domain Name replicates the Complainant’s official branding. The Complainant asserts that the Respondent is trying to capitalize on its reputation by offering its customers to purchase fake reviews.

B. Respondent

The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.

6. Discussion and Findings

Pursuant to paragraph 4(a) of the UDRP, to succeed in this proceeding, the Complainant must prove each of the following elements with respect to the Domain Name:

(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 Respondent has registered and is using the Domain Name in bad faith.

A. Identical or Confusingly Similar

Pursuant to paragraph 4(a)(i) of the UDRP, the Complainant must prove that the Domain Name is identical or confusingly similar to the trademark or service mark in which the Complainant has rights.

The submitted evidence shows that the Complainant owns several trademark registrations for the TRUSTPILOT trademark. Pursuant to section 1.2.1 of the WIPO Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions, Third Edition (“WIPO Overview 3.0”), this satisfies the threshold requirement of having trademark rights for purposes of standing to file a UDRP case.

“Where the relevant trademark is recognizable within the disputed domain name, the addition of other terms (whether descriptive, geographical, pejorative, meaningless, or otherwise) would not prevent a finding of confusing similarity under the first element.” 1 It is well-established, that the applicable gTLD should be disregarded under the confusingly similarity test as a standard registration requirement2 .

Here, the Domain Name consists of the Complainant’s TRUSTPILOT trademark, a descriptive term “support” and the gTLD “.com”. Because the Complainant’s TRUSTPILOT trademark is recognizable within the Domain Name, the inclusion of the descriptive term “support” or the gTLD “.com” does not prevent confusing similarity. Thus, the Domain Name is confusingly similar to the Complainant’s TRUSTPILOT trademark.

The Panel finds that the Complainant has satisfied the first element of the UDRP.

B. Rights or Legitimate Interests

To satisfy the second UDRP element, a complainant must make a prima facie case in respect of the lack of rights or legitimate interests of the respondent3 .

Any of the following circumstances, in particular but without limitation, if found by the Panel to be proved based on the evidence, shall demonstrate a respondent’s rights or legitimate interests to a domain name for purposes of paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the UDRP:

(i) before any notice of the dispute, the respondent’s 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) the respondent (as an individual, business, or other organization) has been commonly known by the domain name, even if the respondent has acquired no trademark or service mark rights; or

(iii) the respondent is 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 evidence on file shows that the Complainant has not licensed or permitted the Respondent to use the Complainant’s TRUSTPILOT trademark in domain names, or for any other purpose. The Respondent has not been commonly known by the Domain Name. There is no evidence that the Respondent is making a legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the Domain Name.

There is no evidence of that the Respondent has made demonstrable preparations to use the Domain Name, nor is there any evidence that the Respondent is using the domain name in connection with a bona fide offering of goods and services or fair, noncommercial use of the domain name.

The Domain Name resolves to a website replicating the Complainant’s branding that appears to sell fake consumer reviews to the Complainant’s customers, designed to artificially inflate the reputation of those customers that are listed on the Complainant’s website. The Respondent appears to pose as Complainant’s official “Support” department, thus, trying to capitalize on the Complainant’s reputation.

For the reasons stated, the Panel finds that the Complainant has made out the prima facie case in respect of the lack of rights or legitimate interests of the Respondent in the Domain Name. Once a complainant makes a prima facie case, the burden of production shifts to the respondent to come forward with appropriate allegations or evidence demonstrating rights or legitimate interests in the domain name. The Respondent has failed to do so.

Thus, the Panel concludes that the Complainant has satisfied the second element of the UDRP.

C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith

Pursuant to paragraph 4(a)(iii) of the Policy, the Complainant must prove that the Domain Name was registered and is being used in bad faith.

The UDRP establishes that, for purposes of paragraph 4(a)(iii), bad faith registration and use of a domain name can be established by a showing of circumstances indicating that the respondent is using the domain name to intentionally attempt to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to the respondent’s website or other online location, by creating a likelihood of confusion with the complainant’s mark as to source, sponsorship, affiliation or endorsement of the respondent’s website or location, or of a product or service on the respondent’s website or location. See, Policy, paragraph 4(b)(iv).

Prior UDRP panels have found “the following types of evidence to support a finding that a respondent has registered a domain name to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to its website by creating a likelihood of confusion with the complainant’s mark: [ ] (ii) seeking to cause confusion (including by technical means beyond the domain name itself) for the respondent’s commercial benefit, even if unsuccessful, (iii) the lack of a respondent’s own rights to or legitimate interests in a domain name”.4

It is inconceivable that the Respondent registered the Domain Name in the absence of any knowledge of the Complainant. The evidence demonstrates both a knowledge of the Complainant’s rights and a willingness to benefit financially from them.

The Domain Name resolves to a website replicating the Complainant’s branding to pose as Complainant’s official “Support” department. The Respondent is trying to capitalize on the Complainant’s reputation by offering for sale fake consumer reviews to the Complainant’s customers.

The Panel concludes, on the evidence submitted by the Complainant, that the Respondent has registered and is using the Domain Name in bad faith.

7. Decision

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, <trustpilotsupport.com> be transferred to the Complainant.

Olga Zalomiy
Sole Panelist
Date: January 25, 2021


1 Section 1.8, WIPO Overview 3.0.