WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Verizon Trademark Services LLC v. gelincik kaya
Case No. D2021-0882
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Verizon Trademark Services LLC, United States of America (“United States”), represented internally.
The Respondent is gelincik kaya, Turkey.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <verizonfrontline.com> (the “Domain Name”) is registered with Dynadot, LLC (the “Registrar”).
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on March 23, 2021. On March 24, 2021, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the Domain Name. On March 25, 2021, the Registrar transmitted by email to the Center its verification response disclosing registrant and contact information for the Domain Name which differed from the named Respondent and contact information in the Complaint. The Center sent an email communication to the Complainant on March 26, 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 March 26, 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 April 6, 2021. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was April 26, 2021. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on April 27, 2021.
The Center appointed Willem J. H. Leppink as the sole panelist in this matter on May 3, 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 following facts are undisputed.
The Complainant is the intellectual property holding company within the Verizon group of companies. Verizon is a provider of communications, information and entertainment products and services to consumers, businesses and government entities.
The Complainant is the owner of several trademark registrations, including, but not limited to the United States trademark VERIZON (word mark), with registration no. 2886813, with a filing date of September 10, 1999 and with a registration date of September 21, 2004, for goods and services in classes 9, 16, 35, 36, 37, 38, 41 and 42 and the Turkish trademark VERIZON (word mark), with registration no. 200004438, with a filing date of March 10, 2000 and with a registration date of May 16, 2001 for goods and services in classes 9, 16, 35, 36, 37, 41 and 42 (hereinafter jointly referred to as the “Trademark”).
Verizon is the owner of various domain names that incorporate the Trademark, including inter alia <verizon.com>.
The Domain Name was registered on December 18, 2020. At the time of the filing of the Complaint, it resolved to a website offering the Domain Name for sale for USD 988 (the “Website”). At the time of the decision, the Domain Name resolved to a parked page including pay-per-click links.
5. Parties’ Contentions
Insofar as relevant for deciding this matter, the Complainant contends the following.
The Domain Name is confusingly similar to the Complainant’s Trademark, as the Trademark is recognizable within the Domain Name. The Trademark is completely incorporated in the Domain Name and the addition “frontline” does nothing to abate the confusing similarity of the Domain Name to the Trademark. Further, by including the Trademark in the Domain Name, it has a tendency to reinforce the impression that a genuine connection exists between the Domain Name and the Complainant.
The Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the Domain Name. The Respondent was not authorized, licensed or permitted to register or use the Domain Name and there is no connection between the Complainant and the Respondent.
The Domain Name was registered and has been used in bad faith. The Respondent was aware of the Complainant’s Trademark. Also, it is clear that the Respondent registered and uses de Domain Name to attempt to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to the Respondent’s Website by creating a likelihood of confusion with the Trademark as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation or endorsement of the Website. Last, the Respondent offered to sell the Domain Name for an excessive high price.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
Pursuant to paragraph 4(a) of the Policy, the Complainant must prove each of the following three elements:
(i) the 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 in respect of the Domain Name; and
(iii) the Domain Name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The Complainant must demonstrate that it has rights in a trademark or service mark and, if so, the Domain Name must be shown to be identical or confusingly similar to that mark.
The Complainant has shown that it has rights in the Trademark.
As set out in the WIPO Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions, Third Edition (“WIPO Overview 3.0”), section 1.7, the first element functions primarily as a standing requirement. The threshold test for confusing similarity between the Domain Name and the Trademark involves a relatively straightforward comparison.
In light of the foregoing, the Panel finds that the Domain Name is confusingly similar to the Trademark. The Domain Name consists of the elements “verizon” and “frontline”. The element “verizon” is identical to the Trademark. The element “frontline” is in principle a dictionary term. The Panel finds that the Trademark is included in its entirety in the Domain Name and that the additional term does not prevent a finding of confusing similarity.
In light of the foregoing, the Panel finds that the Domain Name is confusingly similar to the Trademark.
Therefore, the Panel is satisfied that the first element of the Policy is met.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
The Panel has carefully considered the factual allegations that have been made by the Complainant and are supported by the submitted evidence.
In particular, the Respondent has failed to offer the Panel any of the types of evidence set forth in paragraph 4(c) of the Policy from which the Panel might conclude that the Respondent has rights or legitimate interests in the Domain Name, such as:
(i) use or preparation to use the Domain Name or a name corresponding to the Domain Name in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services prior to notice of the dispute; or
(ii) being commonly known by the Domain Name (as an individual, business or other organization) even if the Respondent has not acquired any trademark or service mark rights; or
(iii) making legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the Domain Name, without intent for commercial gain to misleadingly divert consumers or to tarnish the trademark or service mark at issue.
The Respondent does not seem to be affiliated with the Complainant in any way. There is no evidence that “verizonfrontline” is the Respondent’s name or that the Respondent is commonly known under this name. There is also no evidence that the Respondent is, or has ever been, a licensee of the Complainant or that the Respondent has ever asked, or has ever been permitted in any way by the Complainant to register or use the Trademark, or to apply for or use any domain name incorporating the Trademark.
Furthermore, the use of the Domain Name cannot be considered as a bona fide offering of goods or services. The Complainant has sufficiently demonstrated that the Website offered the Domain Name for sale for an excessive high amount. The Panel finds that the Respondent has intentionally registered the Domain Name for the purpose of making illegitimate or unfair use of the goodwill and reputation associated with the Trademark.
Accordingly, the Panel finds that the Respondent cannot be said to have rights to or legitimate interests in the Domain Name.
Finally, given the circumstance of this case, the Panel finds that the Complainant’s case that the Respondent’s lack of rights or legitimate interests in the Domain Name is also unrebutted due to the fact that no response was filed by the Respondent.
Therefore, the Panel is satisfied that the second element of the Policy is met.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
The Panel finds that the Domain Name was registered and is being used in bad faith.
The Panel refers to its considerations under section 6.B and adds the following.
In light of the evidence filed by the Complainant, the Panel finds that the Trademark and the Complainant’s activities are well known throughout the world. Accordingly, in the Panel’s view, the Respondent must have been aware of the existence of the Complainant’s activities and rights at the time the Respondent registered the Domain Name.
A simple Internet search by the Panel shows that the Complainant is using the name “VerizonFrontline” for its network and technology for first responders (e.g. firefighters and law enforcement). This reinforces the view that the Respondent must have been aware of the Complainant and its activities at the time of registration.
Also, the Complainant submitted a print screen of the Website, made on March 23, 2021, of the Website. From this print screen it is clear that the Respondent offered the Domain Name for sale at an excessive high amount of USD 988. In the opinion of the Panel, this suggests that the Respondent registered and is using the Domain Name primarily for the purpose of selling the Domain Name and to profit from the Trademark of the Complainant for its own commercial gain. This is evidence of registration and use in bad faith.
The Domain Name currently resolves to a parked page including pay-per-click links. This is further evidence of bad faith.
Finally, although the lack of a formal or substantive response by the Respondent as such cannot by itself lead to the conclusion that there is registration and use in bad faith, the cumulative circumstances as outlined in the Decision are sufficient for the Panel to find that the registration and use of the Domain Name by the Respondent is in bad faith.
Therefore, the Panel is satisfied that the third element of the Policy is met.
For the foregoing reasons, in accordance with paragraphs 4(i) of the Policy and 15 of the Rules, the Panel orders that the Domain Name <verizonfrontline.com> be transferred to the Complainant.
Willem J. H. Leppink
Date: May 10, 2021