WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Carvana, LLC v. Domain Administrator, Fundacion Privacy Services LTD
Case No. D2021-0493
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Carvana, LLC, United States of America (“United States” or “US”), represented by Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner, United States.
The Respondent is Domain Administrator, Fundacion Privacy Services LTD, Panama.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <caruvana.com> is registered with Media Elite Holdings Limited dba Register Matrix (the “Registrar”).
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on February 17, 2021. On February 17, 2021, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On February 22, 2021, the Registrar transmitted by email to the Center its verification response confirming that the 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 the Respondent of the Complaint, and the proceedings commenced on March 3, 2021. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was March 23, 2021. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on March 24, 2021.
The Center appointed Adam Samuel as the sole panelist in this matter on March 26, 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 operates an e-commerce platform offering a number of automobile-related services through its domain name <carvana.com> which was registered on October 18, 2003. The Complainant owns a number of US trademarks for the name CARVANA, including registration number 4328785, registered on April 30, 2013.
The disputed domain name was registered on January 14, 2021. It resolves to a parking page offering a variety of automobile-related services that compete directly with the Complainant.
5. Parties’ Contentions
The disputed domain name completely incorporates an obvious misspelling of the Complainant’s CARVANA trademarks, by the addition of the letter ‘u’ in the middle of the mark. The CARVANA mark is a distinctive coined term that is heavily advertised and well-known. The Respondent registered an insignificant variation of the Complainant’s mark to misdirect Internet users who make a common typographical or spelling error. The Complainant operates its core business online.
The Respondent is not authorised by the Complainant to use the disputed domain name. There is no indication that the Respondent is known by the disputed domain name. The Complainant’s trademark has no significance other than being connected to the Complainant. The Respondent has not, to the Complainant’s knowledge, sought or obtained any registrations for any tradenames, corporations or trademarks for the name “Carvana” or any variation on it. The Respondent is not making any legitimate non-commercial use of the disputed domain name. The Respondent’s use of the disputed domain name is purely commercial and is not legitimate. The Respondent knew of the Complainant’s trademarks when it registered the disputed domain name.
Since the CARVANA mark is an invented English word, third parties would not legitimately choose the disputed domain name unless they were seeking to create an impression of an association with the Complainant. The disputed domain name is designed to trade on the Complainant’s reputation and goodwill for financial gain. The Respondent is utilizing the disputed domain name to divert Internet users away from the Complainant’s primary website and authentic services towards the Respondent’s website.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
To succeed, the Complainant must demonstrate that all of the elements listed in paragraph 4(a) of the Policy have been satisfied:
(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 has been registered and is being used in bad faith.
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The disputed domain name consists of the Complainant’s trademark, with the insertion of the letter “u” between the letters “car” and “van” and the generic Top-Level Domain (“gTLD”) “.com”. The gTLD is irrelevant here because it does not affect the meaning of the disputed domain name and is a standard registration requirement. See section 1.11 of the WIPO Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions, Third Edition (“WIPO Overview 3.0”).
This is an example of typo-squatting. The insertion of one letter into a trademark with no ordinary meaning does not prevent the disputed domain name from being confusingly similar to the Complainant’s trademark. See section 1.9 of the WIPO Overview 3.0. The misspelt version of the Complainant’s trademark, used in the disputed domain name, has no impact under the analysis of the first element, as the Complainant’s trademark remains recognizable.
“A domain name which consists of a common, obvious, or intentional misspelling of a trademark is considered by panels to be confusingly similar to the relevant mark for purposes of the first element. This stems from the fact that the domain name contains sufficiently recognizable aspects of the relevant mark.”
For all these reasons, the Panel concludes that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to the Complainant’s trademark.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
The Respondent is not called “caruvana” or anything similar. There is no evidence that the Complainant has ever authorized the Respondent to use its trademarks. The Respondent does not appear to have used the disputed domain name for any purpose other than hosting a parking page. Based on the available record, and in the absence of any response on this point, the Panel concludes that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
Both the disputed domain name and the Complainant’s trademark CARVANA are words without any ordinary meaning. The addition of the letter ‘u’ in the disputed domain name to distinguish it from the Complainant’s trademark does not give the disputed domain name any meaning independent of the Complainant’s trademark. This is a typical typo-squatting case. On this subject, section 3.1.4 of the WIPO Overview 3.0 says:
“Panels have consistently found that the mere registration of a domain name that is identical or confusingly similar (particularly domain names comprising typos …) to a famous or widely-known trademark by an unaffiliated entity can by itself create a presumption of bad faith.”
“Particular circumstances panels may take into account in assessing whether the respondent’s registration of a domain name is in bad faith include: … the nature of the domain name (e.g., a typo of a widely-known mark.”
From all this, the Panel concludes that the Respondent knew of the Complainant’s business when it registered the disputed domain name and, in registering the disputed domain name sought to disrupt the Respondent’s business by attracting to its own website Internet users seeking the Complainant’s website.
For these reasons, the Panel concludes that the Respondent registered and is using the disputed domain name in bad faith: UDRP, paragraph 4(b)(iii) and (iv).
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, <caruvana.com> be transferred to the Complainant.
Date: April 9, 2021