WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Bytedance Ltd. v. WhoisGuard Protected / Ali Raza
Case No. D2020-3544
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Bytedance Ltd., Cayman Islands, United Kingdom, represented by CSC Digital Brand Services Group AB, Sweden.
The Respondent is WhoisGuard, Inc., WhoisGuard Protected, Panama / Ali Raza, Pakistan.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <moretiktokfans.com> 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 30, 2020. On December 30, 2020, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On December 30, 2020, the Registrar transmitted by email to the Center its verification response disclosing registrant and contact information for the disputed domain name which differed from the named Respondent and contact information in the Complaint. The Center sent an email communication to the Complainant on January 4, 2021 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 January 5, 2021.
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 January 7, 2021. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was January 27, 2021. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on February 9, 2021.
The Center appointed William F. Hamilton as the sole panelist in this matter on February 17, 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 offers and operates an Internet platform and mobile application for video sharing social networking services. The Complainant’s application is available in more than 150 markets in 75 languages. The application has been downloaded by more than 500 million users in Google Play and is ranked as “#1 in Entertainment” in the Apple Store and “#3 in Social” on Amazon.
The Complainant’s official website is located at the domain name <tiktok.com>.
The Complainant is the owner of the following trademark registrations for TIK TOK (the “Mark”):
- registration No. 6064328, registered in Japan on July 20, 2018, for goods and services in International Classes 25, 35, 41, 42, and 45;
- registration No. 5653614, registered in the United States on January 15, 2019, for goods and services in International Classes 9 (with a first use in commerce on May 31, 2017), 38, 41, and 42 (with a first use in commerce on August 2, 2018); and
- registration No. 1949117, registered in Australia on April 24, 2019, for goods and services in International Classes 9, 38, and 41.
The disputed domain name was registered on January 9, 2019. At the time of filing of the Complaint, the disputed domain name resolved to a website purportedly offering promotional services to increase “fans” for user of Complainant’s Internet platform and mobile application. Currently, the disputed domain name resolves to a website with pay-per-click links.
The disputed domain name registration expired during this proceeding. The registration was renewed by the Complainant.
5. Parties’ Contentions
The Complainant asserts the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to the Mark because the disputed domain name is composed by bracketing the Mark with the dictionary words “more” and “fans.” Moreover, the Complainant contends that bracketing dictionary words “more” and “fans” relate to the services offered by the Complainant thus enhancing the likelihood of confusion. The Complainant asserts that the Complainant never authorized the Respondent to use the Mark, that the Respondent is not known by the Mark, and that the Respondent has never engaged in any bona fide commercial activity in connection with the Mark. The Complainant also asserts the Respondent has registered and used the disputed domain name in bad faith to lure unsuspecting Internet users to the Respondent’s website for commercial gain.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
Under paragraph 4(a) of the Policy, to succeed the Complainant must satisfy the Panel that:
(i) the disputed domain name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which the Complainant has rights;
(ii) the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name; and
(iii) the disputed domain name was registered and is being used in bad faith.
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The Panel finds that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to the Complainant’s Mark.
The disputed domain name is composed by bracketing the Mark with the dictionary words “more” and “fans.” A domain name which wholly incorporates a complainant’s (here, distinctive and registered) mark is generally sufficient to establish confusing similarity for the purposes of the Policy (moreover in this case the Panel notes that the added terms relate to the Complainant’s service offering). WIPO Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions, Third Edition (“WIPO Overview 3.0”), section 1.7. Bytedance Ltd. V Registration Private, Domains by Proxy, LLC / Fotios Tsiouklas, Kickspan, WIPO Case No. D2020-2439 (transferring <growtiktok.com>, <tiktokcharts.com>, <tiktokexposure.com>, <tiktokplanet.com>, and <tiktoks.com>). The generic Top-Level Domain (“gTLD”), in this case “.com”, may be disregarded for the purposes of assessment under the first element, as it is viewed as a standard registration requirement. See WIPO Overview 3.0, section 1.11.1.
The Complainant has met its burden under paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Policy.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
The Panel finds that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name.
The Complainant has specifically disavowed providing the Respondent with permission to use the disputed domain name or the Mark. There is no evidence that the Respondent has conducted any bona fide business under the disputed domain name or is commonly known by the disputed domain name. The Respondent has failed to come forth with any evidence showing any rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. The Respondent did not respond to the Complaint and the content on the related page has changed and the registration let to lapse.
The Complainant has met its burden under paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
The Panel finds the disputed domain name was registered and used in bad faith.
The Respondent intentionally attempted to falsely lure and attract Internet users to the Respondent’s website for commercial gain. At the time of this Complaint, the disputed domain name resolved to a website purportedly offering services increasing the fan base and the popularity of users of the Complainant’s platform. The Respondent’s website falsely appeared to be endorsed, sponsored, or operated by the Complainant. The Respondent was obviously aware of the Complainant’s website, application, and service offering and attempted to trade on the Complainant’s Mark.
Indeed, given the Complainant’s distinctive and well-known Mark it is difficult to conceive of any use that the Respondent might make of the disputed domain name without the Complainant’s consent that would not involve bad faith.
It is abundantly clear that the Respondent registered the disputed domain name in bad faith and used the disputed domain name to trade on the Complainant’s Mark. Bytedance, Ltd. v. Stanley Billy, Natasha Selly, WIPO Case No. D202001749 (transferring <tiktokbet.biz> and <tiktokbet.org>); Bytedance Ltd. v. Domain Administrator, See PrivacyGuardian.org / Nguyen Daong, WIPO Case No. D2020-2843 (transferring <businesstiktok.org>, <businesstiktoks.com>, <businesstiktoks.net>, and <businesstiktoks.org>). Even under the current use the Respondent is not acting in good faith under the terms of the Policy.
The Complainant has met its burden under 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 <moretiktokfans.com> be transferred to the Complainant.
William F. Hamilton
Date: March 3, 2021