WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Marlink SA v. bally dung,bally dung group
Case No. D2021-1082
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Marlink SA, Belgium, represented by Inlex IP Expertise, France.
The Respondent is bally dung, bally dung group, Malaysia.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <marlinkc.com> (the “Disputed Domain Name”) is registered with PDR Ltd. d/b/a PublicDomainRegistry.com (the “Registrar”).
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on April 9, 2021. On April 9, 2021, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the Disputed Domain Name. On April 10, 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 April 13, 2021. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was May 3, 2021. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on May 4, 2021.
The Center appointed Pablo A. Palazzi 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
The Complainant is a company based in Belgium, specialized in telecommunication and cyber security services for the maritime industry.
In addition, the Complainant is the owner of several trademark registrations for MARLINK across multiple jurisdictions, including, among others:
- MARLINK European Union Trade Mark Registration No. 0015333487, registered on October 4, 2016;
- MARLINK German Trademark Registration No. 39628128, registered on January 12, 1998; and
- MARLINK (Design) European Union Trade Mark Registration No. 0015462864, registered on
September 16, 2016.
Furthermore, the Complainant is the owner of the domain name <marlink.com> registered since May 10, 1996, which is the official website of the Complainant.
The Respondent registered the Disputed Domain Name <marlinkc.com> on March 28, 2021. The Disputed Domain Name does not currently resolve to an active website. However, the Complainant submitted evidence that the Disputed Domain Name resolved to a parking page displaying pay-per-click (“PPC”) links.
5. Parties’ Contentions
The Complainant’s contentions can be summarized as follows:
Identical or confusingly similar
The Complainant claims that the Disputed Domain Name reproduces the Complainant’s trademark MARLINK. The only difference is the addition of the letter “c” after the Complainant’s trademark, which does not create strong difference on visual standpoint especially as the letter “c” can be perceive as the letter “c” of “.com”.
The complainant further states that the addition of the letter “c” has no other purpose than misleading the consumer, since is a very common typosquatting practice to add a letter at the end of the word.
Rights or legitimate interest
The Complainant alleges that there is no business or legal relationship between the Complainant and the Respondent. In addition, the Complainant have neither authorized nor licensed the Respondent to use its trademarks in any way.
Furthermore, the Respondent’s address indicated in the WhoIs registry does not exist.
Thus, the Complainant conclude that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interest in respect of the Disputed Domain Name <marlinkc.com>.
Registration and use in bad faith
The Complainant contends that the Disputed Domain Name reproduces the MARLINK trademark. In this regard, the Disputed Domain Name has been registered with the aim of taking advantage of the reputation of the well-known trademark MARLINK of the Complainant.
The Complainant further states that it is unlikely that the Respondent was unaware of the Complainant’s activities and of the existence of the trademarks and domain names MARLINK of the Complainant at the time the registration was made.
Furthermore, the Complainant states that it is evident that the Disputed Domain Name has been registered for commercial purpose in order to mislead consumers and, in all likelihood, for diverting the Complaint’s consumers.
In addition, email servers have been activated, thus there is a high risk that the Disputed Domain Name be used for phishing or scams.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
Paragraph 4(a) of the Policy lists the three elements which the Complainant must satisfy with respect to the Disputed Domain Name:
“(i) the Disputed Domain Name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in the 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 Complainant is the owner of the MARLINK trademark as evidenced by its trademark registrations. Based on the evidence submitted, the Panel finds that the Disputed Domain Name is confusingly similar to the Complainant’s MARLINK trademark. The addition of the letter “c” at the end of the trademark represents a misspelling that does not prevent a finding of confusing similarity between then Disputed Domain Name and the Complainant’s trademark.
Moreover, the misspelling is also hardly noticeable and results in a very minor modification of the Complainant’s trademark, being a common mistake that any Internet user can make, when typing “.com”.
In this regard, this is a clear example of typosquatting. As section 1.9 of the WIPO Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions, Third Edition (“WIPO Overview 3.0”) states:
“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.(...) Examples of such typos include (i) adjacent keyboard letters, (ii) substitution of similar-appearing characters (e.g., upper vs lower-case letters or numbers used to look like letters), (iii) the use of different letters that appear similar in different fonts, (iv) the use of non-Latin internationalized or accented characters,(v) the inversion of letters and numbers, or (vi) the addition or interspersion of other terms or numbers.”
Therefore, the Panel finds that the Complainant has satisfied the first requirement of paragraph 4(a) of the Policy.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
Paragraph 4(c) of the Policy provides a list of circumstances any of which is sufficient to demonstrate that the Respondent has rights or legitimate interests in the Disputed Domain Name:
“(i) before any notice to you of the dispute, your use of, 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 (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 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 at issue.”
There is no evidence of the existence of any of those rights or legitimate interests. The Complainant has not authorized, licensed, or permitted the Respondent to register or use the Disputed Domain Name or to use the MARLINK trademark.
The Respondent has failed to show that it has acquired any rights with respect to the Disputed Domain Name or that the Disputed Domain Name is used in connection with a bona fide offering of goods and services.
The Respondent had the opportunity to demonstrate its rights or legitimate interests, but it did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.
As such, this Panel finds that the Complainant has made a prima facie case that the Respondent lacks rights or legitimate interests, unrebutted by the Respondent, and has satisfied the second requirement of paragraph 4(a) of the Policy.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
Paragraph 4(a)(iii) of the Policy provides that the Complainant must establish that the Respondent registered and subsequently used the Disputed Domain Name in bad faith. The fact that the Disputed Domain Name reproduces the Complainant’s trademark establishes that the Respondent was well aware of the Complainant’s trademark when registering the Disputed Domain Name.
The Disputed Domain Name is nearly identical to the Complainant’s trademark and domain name <marlink.com> and thereby the Respondent deliberately attempts to disrupt the Complainant’s business.
The Complainant’s MARLINK trademark is well known as it has been recognized by previous decisions under the Policy (see Marlink SA v. Contact Privacy Inc., Customer 1245005519 / Roberts Matthew, marl Link LLC, WIPO Case No. D2019-1653; Marlink SA v. Steve Co, Stave Co Ltd, WIPO Case No. D2018-1412; and Marlink SA v. Obabko Nikolay Vladimirovich, WIPO Case No. D2019-2371).
In light of this, the Respondent had evidently knowledge of the Complainant’s MARLINK trademark when it registered the Disputed Domain Name.
The circumstances in the case before the Panel indicates that the Respondent was aware of the Complaint´s trademark when registering the Disputed Domain Name and it has intentionally created a likelihood confusion with the Complainant’s trademark in order to attract Internet users for commercial gain.
The Disputed Domain Name <marlinkc.com> is currently inactive. As it has been the case in several previous UDRP cases, the fact that the Disputed Domain Name does not currently resolve to an active does not prevent a finding of bad faith use and does not change the Panel’s views in this respect.
In the case at hand, in view of the Respondent’s registration of a domain name confusingly similar to the Complainant’s well-known trademark, the absence of any documented rights or legitimate interests of the Respondent in the Disputed Domain Name and its failure to respond to the Complaint, the Panel finds that the Respondent’s lack of use of the Disputed Domain Name also amounts to bad faith.
In light of the above, it is obvious that the Respondent’s conduct falls squarely under the circumstance where bad faith registration and use can be found, as described by paragraph 4(b)(iv) of the Policy.
Therefore, taking all circumstances into account and for all above reasons, the Panel concludes that the Respondent has registered and using the Disputed Domain Name in bad faith.
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 <marlinkc.com> be transferred to the Complainant.
Pablo A. Palazzi
Date: May 26, 2021