WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
VS Media, Inc. v. John Free
Case No. D2021-0967
1. The Parties
The Complainant is VS Media, Inc., United States of America (“United States” or “US”), represented internally.
The Respondent is John Free, Australia.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <flirt4freeforums.com> (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 31, 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 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 April 16, 2021 providing the registrant and contact information disclosed by the Registrar, and inviting the Complainant to submit amendments to the Complaint.
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 April 20, 2021. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was May 20, 2021. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on May 11, 2021.
The Center appointed Mathias Lilleengen as the sole panelist in this matter on May 18, 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 offers live video and chat solutions, billing solutions and gamification development.
The Complainant is a holder of US trademark registration number 2684274 FLIRT4FREE, registered on February 3, 2003.
The Domain Name was registered on February 21, 2021. At the time of drafting the Decision, the Domain Name redirected to a webpage inviting people to an alleged “premium forum area for Flirt4Free models and studios” through a login procedure.
5. Parties’ Contentions
The Complainant provides evidence of a trademark registration, and argues that the Domain Name is almost identical to the Complainant’s trademark.
The Complainant asserts that it has not been able to get in contact with the Respondent, implying it has not in any way authorized the Respondent to use the Complainant’s trademark. The Complainant argues that the Respondent has no bona fide offering of goods or services, as the Domain Name redirects to a website that masquerades as a sign-up page for the Complainant’s services. The Complainant also argues that the Respondent may conduct a “phishing” scheme when requesting login information.
The Complainant believes the Respondent is infringing on the Complainant’s trademark for commercial gain, attempting to attract for commercial gain, Internet users to the Respondent’s website, by creating a likelihood of confusion with the Complainant’s mark as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation, or endorsement. According to the Complainant, the Respondent is deceptively pretending to be affiliated to the Complainant.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The Complainant has established that it has rights in the trademark FLIRT4FREE. The Domain Name incorporates the trademark, with the addition of “forums”. The addition of the generic term “forums” does not prevent confusing similarity.
For the purpose of assessing under paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Policy, the Panel ignores the generic Top-Level Domain (“gTLD”) “.com”; see WIPO Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions, Third Edition (“WIPO Overview 3.0”), section 1.11.
The Panel finds that the Domain Name is confusingly similar to a trademark in which the Complainant has rights in accordance with paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Policy.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
The Complainant has made unrebutted assertions that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the Domain Name. The Respondent’s use of the Domain Name is on the face of it not bona fide. The Complainant has documented that the Respondent has used the Domain Name to redirect to a website that may be confused for a sign-up page for the Complainant’s services.
The Panel finds that the Complainant has made out an unrebutted case. Accordingly, the Panel finds that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Domain Name in accordance with paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
The Domain Name is confusingly similar to the Complainant’s trademark. Based on the case file, in particular the Respondent’s use of the Domain Name, and despite the generic nature of the Complainant’s trademark, the Panel finds it likely that the Respondent knew of the Complainant when the Respondent registered the Domain Name. The Respondent has not argued or documented any bona fide use of the Domain Name.
As indicated above under the second element, the Panel believes the Respondent has registered the Domain Name to attract Internet users to the Respondent’s website by creating a likelihood of confusion with the Complainant’s trademark. Moreover, the Respondent’s use of a privacy service, and the fact that the Respondent has not responded to the Complainant’s contentions, indicate in this context bad faith.
For the reasons set out above, the Panel concludes that the Domain Name was registered and is being used in bad faith, within the meaning of 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 Domain Name, <flirt4freeforums.com>, be transferred to the Complainant.
Date: May 19, 2021