WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Skyscanner Limited v. Shawaz Khan
Case No. D2021-0148
1. The Parties
Complainant is Skyscanner Limited, United Kingdom, represented by Keltie LLP, United Kingdom.
Respondent is Shawaz Khan, India.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <skyscanners-flights.online> is registered with PDR Ltd. d/b/a PublicDomainRegistry.com (the “Registrar”).
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on January 19, 2021. On January 20, 2021, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On January 21, 2021, 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 March 2, 2021. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was March 22, 2021. Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified Respondent’s default on March 25, 2021.
The Center appointed Georges Nahitchevansky as the sole panelist in this matter on April 15, 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
Complainant, Skyscanner Limited, operates an online metasearch engine that allows Internet users to research and book travel options for their trips. Complainant owns a number of trademark registrations for the mark SKYSCANNER in connection with its services, including International Trademark Registration Nos. 900393 and 1030086, the earliest of which was registered in March 2006. Both International Trademark Registrations have been extend to the European Union and International Trademark Registration No. 1030086 has been extended, inter alia, to Armenia, Australia, Azerbaijan, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Belarus, Switzerland, China, Japan, Norway, Russian Federation, Singapore, Turkey and the Ukraine. Complainant owns a number of other trademark registrations for the SKYSCANNER mark including a registration in India for SKYSCANNER (Registration No. 1890840) that issued to registration in 2009.
Complainant owns and operates websites at <skyscanner.net> and <skyscanner.com> through which consumers can search for and book travel arrangements. Complainant also offers a SKYSCANNER mobile application through which consumers can likewise search for and make travel arrangements.
Respondent, who appears to be based in India, registered the disputed domain name on December 5, 2020. Respondent has not used the disputed domain name for an active website or page, but as part of a scheme to sell nonexistent flights to unsuspecting consumers. The disputed domain name does not currently resolve to an active website or page.
5. Parties’ Contentions
Complainant contends that it has strong rights in SKYSCANNER by virtue of its longstanding use and registration of the mark in a number of jurisdictions around the world.
Complainant argues that the disputed domain name is identical or confusingly similar to Complainant’s SKYSCANNER mark as it fully incorporates the SKYSCANNER mark with the merely descriptive term “flights,” which specifically relates to Complainant’s business.
Complainant asserts that Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name as Respondent (i) owns no rights in the SKYSCANNER mark, (ii) is not commonly known by the name “Skyscanners-Flights,” (iii) has made no legitimate use of the disputed domain name and has instead attempted to impersonate Complainant as part of scam to sell nonexistent flights to unsuspecting consumers.
Lastly, Complainant contends that Respondent has registered and used the disputed domain name in bad faith as Respondent registered the disputed domain name based on Complainant’s SKYSCANNER mark well after Complainant had established strong rights in the SKYSCANNER mark. Complainant also contends that Respondent’s bad faith is established by Respondent’s use of the disputed domain name to impersonate Complainant to fraudulently sell nonexistent flight tickets to consumers, and given that Respondent may be the same party in a prior UDRP involving the SKYSCANNER mark for a similar scheme, Skyscanner Limited v. Mohan Pillai, WIPO Case No. D2020-3172.
Respondent did not reply to Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
Under paragraph 4(a) of the Policy, to succeed Complainant must satisfy the Panel that:
(i) the disputed domain name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which Complainant has rights;
(ii) 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.
Here, although Respondent has failed to respond to the Complaint, the default does not automatically result in a decision in favor of Complainant, nor is it an admission that Complainant’s claims are true. The burden remains with Complainant to establish the three elements of paragraph 4(a) of the Policy by a preponderance of the evidence. A UDRP panel, however, may draw appropriate inferences from a respondent’s default in light of the particular facts and circumstances of the case, such as regarding factual allegations that are not inherently implausible as being true. See section 4.3 of the WIPO Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions, Third Edition (“WIPO Overview 3.0”); see also The Knot, Inc. v. In Knot We Trust LTD, WIPO Case No. D2006 0340.
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
Complainant has provided evidence that it owns trademarks registrations for the SKYSCANNER mark in multiple jurisdictions around the world, including India. As the disputed domain name fully incorporates Complainant’s SKYSCANNER mark (being recognizable within the disputed domain name) with the descriptive word “flights,” a hyphen and a plural version of the SKYSCANNER mark, the disputed domain name is thus confusingly similar to Complainant’s SKYSCANNER mark. As the threshold for the first element is primarily to establish standing, the Panel concludes that Complainant has satisfied the requirements of paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Policy.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
Under paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy, the complainant must make at least a prima facie showing that the respondent possesses no rights or legitimate interests in a disputed domain name. See Malayan Banking Berhad v. Beauty, Success & Truth International, WIPO Case No. D2008-1393. Once the complainant makes such a prima facie showing, the burden of production shifts to the respondent, though the burden of proof always remains on the complainant. If the respondent fails to come forward with evidence showing rights or legitimate interests, the complainant will have sustained its burden under the second element of the UDRP.
Based on the evidence submitted in this proceeding, none of which is contested by Respondent, it appears that Respondent has registered the disputed domain name for purposes of impersonating Complainant in order to sell nonexistent flights to unsuspecting consumers who assume they are dealing with Complainant. In this regard, Complainant has provided evidence that Respondent has used the disputed domain name for emails that appear to originate from Complainant but which, in fact, are based on the disputed domain name. Complainant has also provided evidence in the form of a fake invoice that purports to originate from Complainant that includes an email address based on the disputed domain name. Simply put, Respondent’s use of the disputed domain name to impersonate another for a deceitful purpose cannot in any sense of the word be seen as being legitimate or evidencing a bona fide right or legitimate interest.
Given that Complainant has established with sufficient evidence that it owns rights in the SKYSCANNER mark, and given Respondent’s above noted actions and failure to appear in this proceeding, the Panel concludes that Respondent does not have rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name and that none of the circumstances of paragraph 4(c) of the Policy are evident in this case.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
Given Respondent’s actions as noted above, and its failure to appear in this proceeding, it is easy to infer that Respondent’s use of the disputed domain name which is based on Complainant’s SKYSCANNER mark for use in an a fraudulent scheme has been done in bad faith. Given that Complainant had established rights in the SKYSCANNER mark prior to when Respondent registered the disputed domain name, it is evident that Respondent opportunistically registered the disputed domain name for purposes of perpetuating a fraud at the expense of Complainant.
Accordingly, the Panel finds that Complainant succeeds under this element 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 <skyscanners-flights.online> be transferred to Complainant.
Date: April 29, 2021