WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Compagnie des Montres Longines Francillon S.A. v. Super Privacy Service LTD c/o Dynadot / Steve
Case No. D2021-0260
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Compagnie des Montres Longines Francillon S.A., Switzerland, represented internally.
The Respondent is Super Privacy Service LTD c/o Dynadot, United States of America / Steve, United States of America.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <longinesadmin.com> is registered with Dynadot, LLC (the “Registrar”).
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on January 28, 2021. On January 28, 2021, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On January 28, 2021, the Registrar transmitted by email to the Center its verification 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 February 3, 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 February 4, 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 February 8, 2021. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was February 28, 2021. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on March 1, 2021.
The Center appointed Peter Burgstaller as the sole panelist in this matter on March 11, 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 well known watchmaker company and has registered various trademarks containing the mark LONGINES around the world, including the United States of America trademark (Registration No 65109), registered on September 10, 1907; the European Union trademark (Registration No 226233) registered on October 2, 1998; and the International trademark (Registration No 1341298) registered on November 29, 2016, designating many countries all over the world.
Additionally, the Complainant is the registrant of the domain name <longines.com>; it is using this domain name to address its official website and online store.
The disputed domain name was registered on October 26, 2018.
The Respondent used the disputed domain name for resolving in a page where visitors were asked to fill in their login credentials. At the time of this decision, the disputed domain name resolved to an inactive page.
5. Parties’ Contentions
The Complainant was founded in 1832. As early as 1867, the Complainant commenced using the name LONGINES. The Complainant registered the mark LONGINES in 1889 in Switzerland; in 1893 the Complainant filed for an international trademark registration for LONGINES under the Madrid Agreement. The Complainant owns numerous trademark registrations for LONGINES around the world.
The trademark LONGINES is worldwide known and famous especially for horological and chronometric instruments. The Complainant operates a global network of offline and online boutiques, including in the United States of America, East-Asian countries such as China and Japan.
The disputed domain is identical or at least confusingly similar to the Complainant’s trademark LONGINES and the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect to it.
The disputed domain name <longinesadmin.com> has been registered and is being used in bad faith since it is merely used for resolving in a page where visitors were fraudulently asked to fill in their login credentials. The Complainant submits that the Respondent tried to lure visitors into providing their login credentials by filling out the presented login form, for acquiring login credentials of Complainant’s retailers, distributors, suppliers and/or employees and thereby gaining illegal access to Complainant’s computer systems (Phishing).
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
According to paragraph 4(a) of the Policy, the Complainant must prove that
(i) the disputed 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 with respect to the disputed domain name; and
(iii) the disputed domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The disputed domain name is confusingly similar to the Complainant’s registered marks LONGINES since it entirely contains this trademark and only adds the mere dictionary term “admin”.
It has long been established under UDRP decisions that where the relevant trademark is recognizable within the disputed domain name the mere addition of other terms whether descriptive, geographical, pejorative, meaningless, or otherwise will not prevent a finding of confusing similarity under the first element of the Policy (see section 1.8 of the WIPO Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions, Third Edition (“WIPO Overview 3.0”)).
Finally, it has also long been held by UDRP panels that suffixes such as a gTLD cannot typically negate confusing similarity where it otherwise exists, as it does in the present case.
The Panel therefore finds that the Complainant has satisfied paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Policy.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
While the overall burden of proof in UDRP proceedings is on the complainant, panels have recognized that proving a respondent lacks rights or legitimate interests in a domain name may result in the often impossible task of “proving a negative”, requiring information that is often primarily within the knowledge or control of the respondent. As such, where a complainant makes out a prima facie case that the respondent lacks rights or legitimate interests, the burden of production on this element shifts to the respondent to come forward with relevant evidence demonstrating rights or legitimate interests in the domain name. If the respondent fails to come forward with such relevant evidence, the complainant is deemed to have satisfied the second element (see section 2.1 of the WIPO Overview 3.0).
In the present case the Respondent failed to submit a Response. Considering all of the evidence in the Complaint (especially with regard to the Annexes presented by the Complainant) and the Complainant’s contentions that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name, that the Respondent has no connection or affiliation with the Complainant, and the Respondent has not received any license or consent, express or implied, to use the Complainant’s trademarks LONGINES in a domain name or in any other manner lead the Panel to the conclusion that the Complainant has made out an undisputed prima facie case so that the conditions set out in paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy have been met by the Complainant.
UDRP panels moreover have categorically held that the use of a domain name for illegal activity (e.g., the sale of counterfeit goods or illegal pharmaceuticals, phishing, distributing malware, unauthorized account access/hacking, impersonation/passing off, or other types of fraud) can never confer rights or legitimate interests on a respondent (see section 2.13 of the WIPO Overview 3.0). In the present case the Complainant put forward evidence (Annex G1 to the Complaint) showing that the Respondent fraudulently used the disputed domain name by addressing a webpage where visitors were asked to provide their login credentials by filling out the presented login form; the Panel considers this is a clear case of phishing. The Respondent has not objected Complainant’s submissions.
The Panel therefore finds that the Complainant has satisfied paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
As stated in many decisions rendered under the Policy (e.g. Robert Ellenbogen v. Mike Pearson, WIPO Case No. D2000-0001) both conditions, registration and used in bad faith, must be demonstrated; consequently, the Complainant must show that:
- the disputed domain name was registered by the Respondent in bad faith, and
- the disputed domain name is being used by the Respondent in bad faith.
(a) The disputed domain name is confusingly similar with the trademark LONGINES in which the Complainant has rights; the mark LONGINES is non-descriptive; unique and well-known around the world. UDRP panels have consistently found that the mere registration of a domain name that is identical or confusingly similar (particularly domain names incorporating the mark plus a descriptive term) to a famous or widely-known trademark by an unaffiliated entity can by itself create a presumption of bad faith (see section 3.1.4 fo the WIPO Overview 3.0).
The disputed domain name was registered on October 26, 2018 by the Respondent. The Complainant has registered trademark rights in the mark LONGINES since 1907 onwards; the mark LONGINES has been used since the nineteenth century.
It is inconceivable that the Respondent has registered the disputed domain name without knowledge of the Complainant’s rights; this is especially supported by the fact that the trademark LONGINES is distinctive and well -known.
Furthermore, noting registrant obligations under UDRP paragraph 2, panels have found that respondents who (deliberately) fail to search and/or screen registrations against available online databases would be responsible for any resulting abusive registrations under the concept of willful blindness; this concept has been applied irrespective of whether the registrant is a professional domainer or not (see section 3.2.3 of the WIPO Overview 3.0).
The Panel is therefore convinced that the disputed domain name was registered with full knowledge of the Complainant’s rights and as such in bad faith by the Respondent.
(b) UDRP panels have held that the use of a domain name for purposes other than to host a website may constitute bad faith as well; such purposes include sending email, phishing or identity theft. Many such cases involve the respondent’s use of the domain name to obtain sensitive information or data, such as usernames, passwords and login credentials details or other sensitive details, by impersonating oneself as a trustworthy entity in a digital communication (=phishing); this applies to the present case (see section 3.4 of the WIPO Overview 3.0).
Following the evidence put forward by the Complainant, the Respondent used the disputed domain name merely for addressing a webpage where visitors fraudulently were asked to fill out the presented login form with their login credentials, which clearly constitutes a phishing attempt. This fraudulent scheme represents bad faith use of the disputed domain name.
The evidence and documents produced and put forward by the Complainant together with the fact that the Respondent has failed to present any evidence of any good faith registration and use with regard to the disputed domain name make this case a clear cybersquatting case: The disputed domain name was registered and is being used by the Respondent with fraudulent intent and therefore in bad faith 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 <longinesadmin.com> be transferred to the Complainant.
Date: March 19, 2021