WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Corning Incorporated v. Song Lan
Case No. D2021-0367
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Corning Incorporated, United States of America (“United States” or “USA”), represented by Gowling WLG (Canada) LLP, Canada.
The Respondent is Song Lan, China.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <cirning.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 February 5, 2021. On February 5, 2021, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On February 6, 2021, 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 February 8, 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 11, 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 16, 2021. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was March 8, 2021. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on March 9, 2021.
The Center appointed Clive Duncan Thorne 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 publicly traded company on the New York stock exchange. It is one of the world’s leading innovators in materials sciences with a record of making life-changing inventions for over more than 165 years. It has unparalleled expertise in glass science, ceramic science, and optical physics along with its deep manufacturing and engineering capabilities to develop category-defining products that transform industries and enhance people’s lives.
It has enjoyed considerable success. In 2018, it generated USD 11.29 billion in revenue and over USD 30 billion between 2016 and 2018. This is shown by the accounts exhibited as Exhibit 1 to the Complaint. Exhibited at Exhibit 2 are printouts from its website at “www.corning.com” setting out details of the Complaint’s activities and products.
The Complainant is the owner of over 325 trade marks worldwide for CORNING. A schedule of these registrations is exhibited at Exhibit 3 to the Complaint. Also exhibited are copies of trade mark registration certificates for the mark CORNING in USA, Canada, European Union, China, Australia, and Saudi Arabia. A table of sample registrations for CORNING in those jurisdictions is set out in the body of the Complaint.
In particular, the Complainant relies upon its registrations for CORNING in Saudi Arabia which is where the Respondent is indicated as being located. These marks are;
CORNING No. 1435018875 registered December 17, 2014
CORNING No. 1435018876 registered December 17, 2014
The Complainant points out that the trade marks CORNING enjoy widespread recognition, have generated significant goodwill, and have become famous as a result of widespread use throughout the world.
The disputed domain name was registered by the Respondent on December 31, 2020, which is after the date of registration of any of the trade marks for CORNING relied upon by the Complainant. At the time of filing the Complaint, the disputed domain name redirected to various pages, which will be discussed in more detail in sections 6B and 6C.
In the absence of a Response, the Panel finds the above evidence to be true.
5. Parties’ Contentions
The Complainant submits;
i. it owns registered rights in the mark CORNING and the disputed domain name is identical or confusingly similar with the mark CORNING;
ii. on the evidence the Respondent has demonstrated that it has no rights or legitimate interest in the disputed domain name;
iii. on the evidence the registration and use of the disputed domain name constitutes “typosquatting” and is fraudulent so that the domain name was registered and is being used in bad faith.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The Complainant submits that the dominant part of the disputed domain name <cirning.com> is the word “cirning”. This differs from “corning” by the substitution of the letter “i” in place of the letter “o”. The Complainant submits that this supports a finding of confusion and that the word “cirning” is therefore virtually identical to the mark CORNING.
This view is supported by the evidence of the Respondent’s “typosquatting” activities, which constitute prima facie evidence of confusion as it demonstrates an intent on the part of the Respondent to deceive and confuse the public.
The Complainant submits that the addition of a generic Top-Level Domain (“gTLD”), in this case “.com”, is not relevant for the purpose of determining similarity.
In the absence of a Response, the Panel agrees with these submissions and finds that the disputed domain name <cirning.com> is confusingly similar to the mark CORNING in which the Complainant has registered rights, within paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Policy.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
The Complainant submits that the Respondent has been using the disputed domain name as an instrument of fraud.
The evidence that it relies upon and contained in the body of the Complaint is that the domain name was initially made to resolve to a website impersonating the online news website, the Toronto Star. A snapshot from the website is exhibited at paragraph 23 to the Complaint which features the Toronto Star logo, together with other news-related logos including those of the Calgary Herald and the Globe and Mail .
Further evidence demonstrates that the website also resolves to a webpage featuring a “Bonus Offer”. The user is then taken to a website offering end users a chance to “Earn millions from bitcoin” and invites the user to “Join today and see how much you can make”. Finally, the end user reaches a website inviting end users to deposit funds into an online account and provide sensitive financial information.
The Complainant submits Respondent’s use of “cirning” constitutes “typosquatting” as the Respondent has substituted the letter “o” in “Corning” with the letter “i”, two letters that are beside each other on the keyboard.
The Complainant points out that it is well-settled by previous authority that engaging in “typo-squatting” activity undermines a claim of legitimate interest or rights. An example of this, amongst other decisions cited by the Complainant, is MouseSavers, Inc v.Tsung, WIPO Case No. D2004-1034.
“Panels 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.”
The Panel agrees with the Complainant that the evidence of the Respondent’s use of the domain name constitutes use of the domain name as an instrument of fraud and accordingly cannot confer rights or legitimate interests on a respondent. There is no contrary evidence to suggest that the Respondent has ever used the domain name in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services.
The Complainant also confirms that there has never been any relationship between the Complainant and the Respondent. The Respondent is not licensed, or otherwise authorized, be it directly or indirectly, to register or use, the trade marks CORNING.
In the absence of a Response, the Panel agrees with the Complainant’s submissions that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name within paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
The Complainant relies upon the evidence set out in section 6B above to support its contention that the Respondent registered the disputed domain name as part of a fraudulent scheme to unlawfully extract money and sensitive financial information from unsuspecting users of the website accessed by the disputed domain name confused or deceived into believing the Respondent to be the Complainant.
The Complainant relies upon paragraph 4(b)(iv) of the Policy that bad faith registration will be found where a respondent is using a domain name to intentionally attempt to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to a website by creating a likelihood of confusion with a complainant’s mark as to source, sponsorship, affiliation, or endorsement.
It is well-established that the registration and use of a domain name for a fraudulent purpose constitutes bad faith within paragraph 4(b)(iv). The evidence shows that the disputed domain name is intended to confuse and deceive end users as to its source or sponsorship. The domain name is likely to confuse potential customers into believing that the Respondent is affiliated or endorsed by the Complainant.
The Complainant also submits that it is well-established that “typosquatting” is by itself prima facie evidence of bad faith. The evidence supports a finding of “typosquatting”.
Having considered the evidence, and in the absence of a Response, the Panel is satisfied that the Respondent’s conduct demonstrates evidence of the use of the disputed domain name as part of a fraudulent scheme that falls within paragraph 4(b)(iv) of the Policy.
The Panel therefore finds that the disputed domain name <cirning.com> has been registered and is being used in bad faith within 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 <cirning.com> be transferred to the Complainant.
Clive Duncan Thorne
Date: March 25, 2021