WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Sealed Air Corporation (US) v. Privacy service provided by Withheld for Privacy ehf / King Alpha, El Marco
Case No. D2021-0965
1. The Parties
Complainant is Sealed Air Corporation (US), United States of America (“United States” and “US”), represented by Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough, L.L.P., United States.
Respondent is Privacy service provided by Withheld for Privacy ehf, Iceland / King Alpha, El Marco, United States.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <sealedair.cam> (the “Domain Name”) is registered with NameCheap, Inc. (the “Registrar”).
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on March 30, 2021. On March 31, 2021, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the Domain Name. On April 2, 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 Complainant on April 6, 2021, providing the registrant and contact information disclosed by the Registrar, and inviting Complainant to submit an amendment to the Complaint. The Complainant filed an amended Complaint on April 8, 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 Respondent of the Complaint, and the proceedings commenced on April 12, 2021. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was May 2, 2021. Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified Respondent’s default on May 4, 2021.
The Center appointed Robert A. Badgley as the sole panelist in this matter on May 12, 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 describes itself as “a global leading manufacturer of food, protective, and specialty packaging materials.” Complainant operates in 48 countries and its global sales in 2020 were approximately USD 4.9 billion.
For more than 50 years, Complainant has manufactured and sold its wares under the trademark SEALED AIR. Complainant holds trademark registrations for the mark SEALED AIR in dozens of jurisdictions, including United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) Reg. No. 925,912 (registered December 21, 1971) for “cellular cushioning material in sheet form for packaging and other purposes,” and USPTO Reg. No. 1,580,890 (registered February 6, 1990) for, among other things, “packaging materials” and “paper and plastic padded shipping containers and envelopes.”
Complainant has owned the domain name <sealedair.com> since 1998, and operates a commercial website via that domain name.
The Domain Name was registered on March 22, 2021. The Domain Name does not resolve to an active website and, to Complainant’s knowledge, it has not been used for any particular purpose. Complainant states that Respondent is unrelated to Complainant, and Respondent has not been authorized to use the SEALER AID mark in a domain name or otherwise.
Complainant asserts that “it is very possible that the well-known SEALED AIR mark was used in the Domain Name with the intention to confuse or defraud people via its use in an email address (i.e., a phishing scam), but Complainant has provided no evidence in support of this allegation.
5. Parties’ Contentions
Complainant contends that it has established all three elements required under the Policy for a transfer of the Domain Name.
Respondent did not reply to Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
Paragraph 4(a) of the Policy lists the three elements which Complainant must satisfy with respect to the Domain Name:
(i) the Domain Name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which Complainant has rights; and
(ii) 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 Panel concludes that Complainant has rights in the trademark SEALED AIR through registration and use demonstrated in the record. The gTLD “.cam” is viewed as a standard registration requirement and as such is disregarded under the first element confusing similarity test. The Panel also concludes that the Domain Name is identical to Complainant’s mark.
Complainant has established Policy paragraph 4(a)(i).
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
Pursuant to paragraph 4(c) of the Policy, Respondent may establish its rights or legitimate interests in the Domain Name, among other circumstances, by showing any of the following elements:
(i) before any notice to you [Respondent] of the dispute, your use of, or demonstrable preparations to use, the Domain Name or a name corresponding to the Domain Name in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services; or
(ii) you [Respondent] (as an individual, business, or other organization) have been commonly known by the Domain Name, even if you have acquired no trademark or service mark rights; or
(iii) you [Respondent] are making a 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 Panel concludes that Respondent lacks rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Domain Name. Respondent has not come forward to explain its bona fides, if any, vis-à-vis the Domain Name. On this record, it is undisputed that Complainant has longstanding rights in the SEALED AIR trademark, a mark that has achieved some considerable measure of renown, that Complainant has no relationship with Respondent, that Complainant has not authorized Respondent to use its SEALED AIR mark in any manner, that Respondent is not commonly known by the Domain Name, and that Respondent has made no demonstrable preparations to use the Domain Name for any legitimate purpose, whether commercial or otherwise. Respondent had the opportunity in this proceeding to explain his motivations regarding the Domain Name, but Respondent has not done so.
Complainant has established Policy paragraph 4(a)(ii).
C. Registered or Used in Bad Faith
Paragraph 4(b) of the Policy provides that the following circumstances, “in particular but without limitation,” are evidence of the registration and use of the Domain Name in “bad faith”:
(i) circumstances indicating that Respondent has registered or has acquired the Domain Name primarily for the purpose of selling, renting, or otherwise transferring the Domain Name registration to Complainant who is the owner of the trademark or service mark or to a competitor of that Complainant, for valuable consideration in excess of its documented out of pocket costs directly related to the Domain Name; or
(ii) that Respondent has registered the Domain Name in order to prevent the owner of the trademark or service mark from reflecting the mark in a corresponding domain name, provided that Respondent has engaged in a pattern of such conduct; or
(iii) that Respondent has registered the Domain Name primarily for the purpose of disrupting the business of a competitor; or
(iv) that by using the Domain Name, Respondent has intentionally attempted to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to Respondent’s website or other online location, by creating a likelihood of confusion with Complainant’s mark as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation, or endorsement of Respondent’s website or location or of a product or service on Respondent’s website or location.
The Panel concludes that Respondent has registered and used the Domain Name in bad faith. The Panel incorporates its discussion above in the “rights or legitimate interests” section.
The Panel finds it more likely than not that Respondent had Complainant’s SEALED AIR mark in mind when registering the Domain Name. Although SEALED AIR is a mark comprised of two common words and is not fanciful, it is nonetheless a strong trademark by virtue of its extensive and longstanding worldwide use by Complainant. See Sealed Air Corporation v. Ruth Stoneking, Vail Resorts Management Company, WIPO Case No. D2016-2206 (“Complainant’s reputation in its field, extensive international and US trademark registrations for SEALED AIR, and presence on the Internet at <sealedair.com> suggest a sufficiently widespread footprint such that Respondent can be presumed (absent contrary evidence, of which there is none) to have known of the SEALED AIR mark prior to registering the disputed domain name [<sealedair-corp.com.]”). Respondent has not come forward to deny knowledge of Complainant’s trademark or otherwise articulate and prove some legitimate reason for registering the Domain Name.
As noted above, Respondent has made no use of the Domain Name since registering it. In the seminal UDRP case Telstra Corporation Limited v. Nuclear Marshmallows, WIPO Case No. D2000-0003, however, the panel held that, in certain circumstances, the “passive holding” of a domain name may constitute “bad faith” within the meaning of the UDRP. Each case must stand or fall on its own, and a variety of factors may inform the Telstra analysis.
As noted above, the Panel concludes that SEALED AIR enjoys a fair measure of notoriety as a trademark. The fame of the relevant trademark is typically a leading factor in a “passive holding” analysis.
In addition, the Panel takes note of Complainant’s assertion that Respondent has falsified his contact information in his Domain Name registration. According to the WhoIs database, Respondent’s home town is Deco, Alabama, United States. Complainant has provided a list of towns in Alabama, and Deco is not on the list. In addition, the ZIP code listed by Respondent in the WhoIs database corresponds to a location in California, a state some 2,000 miles away from Alabama. Respondent has not denied falsifying his contact information.
In the circumstances of this undisputed record, the Panel can conceive of no good-faith reason for Respondent to have registered the Domain Name, and that Respondent’s “passive holding” of the Domain Name, as accentuated by his manifestly false contact information, amounts to bad faith use of the Domain Name.
Complainant has established Policy paragraph 4(a)(iii).
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 <sealedair.cam> be transferred to Complainant.
Robert A. Badgley
Date: May 19, 2021