WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
beIN Media Group L.L.C v. Tabit Ahmed
Case No. D2021-1101
1. The Parties
The Complainant is beIN Media Group L.L.C, Qatar, represented by Gevers & Ores, France.
The Respondent is Tabit Ahmed, United States of America (“United States”).
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <bein7.com> (the “Disputed Domain Name”) is registered with GoDaddy.com, LLC (the “Registrar”).
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on April 12, 2021. On April 12, 2021, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the Disputed Domain Name. On April 13, 2021, the Registrar transmitted by email to the Center its verification response disclosing registrant and contact information for the Disputed 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 14, 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 April 14, 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 20, 2021. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was May 10, 2021. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on May 11, 2021.
The Center appointed Pablo A. Palazzi as the sole panelist in this matter on May 19, 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 media group established in Qatar that broadcasts and streams sporting events and entertainment. The Complainant distributes and produces entertainment, live sport, and major international events across five continents, forty-three countries, and in seven different languages spanning Europe, North America, Asia, Australia, the Middle East, and North Africa.
The Complainant owns several trademarks registrations for the term BEIN and BEIN SPORTS in numerous jurisdictions around the world, among others:
- BEIN SPORTS United States Registration No. 5,273,645, registered on August 29, 2017;
- BEIN United States Registration No. 4,665,444, registered on January 6, 2015; and
- BEIN European Union Trade Mark No. 010617058, registered on June 15, 2012.
In addition, the Complainant owns a large number of domain name registrations with the mark BEIN included.
The Disputed Domain Name was registered on September 9, 2017. The Disputed Domain Name resolves to a website which propose similar programs, i.e., programs related to sports and especially football, using an almost identical representation of the Complainant’s trademark (including the same color).
5. Parties’ Contentions
The Complainant´s contentions can be summarized as follows:
Identical or confusingly similar
The Complainant contends that the Disputed Domain Name is identical or least confusingly similar to the Complainant’s trademark.
The Complainant further states that the Disputed Domain Name consists of the term BEIN, combined with a seemingly arbitrary number. Alternatively, the number 7 could be a reference to the fact that the program of the Complainant is broadcasted 7 days a week – without interruption. Such addition would thus be merely descriptive.
Thus, the Complainant contends that the Disputed Domain Name is confusingly similar if not identical to the Complainant’s rights, and shows a clear visual, phonetical, and conceptual resemblance compared to the Complainant’s trademark.
Rights and legitimate interest
The Complainant states that the Respondent has no connection or affiliation with the Complainant and has not received any license and has never been permitted in any way by the Complainant to register or use the Complainant’s trademark, or to apply for or use any domain name incorporating its trademark.
The Complainant further alleges that the use of the Disputed Domain Name cannot be considered a bona fide offering of goods or services, since the Respondent uses the same color on the website related to the Disputed Domain Name as the one actually used by the Complainant on its genuine website. Moreover, the Respondent uses the Disputed Domain Name to propose similar programs, i.e., programs related to sports and especially football, using an identical representation of the Complainant’s trademark.
The Respondent is fraudulently identifying itself as the Complainant especially as it is using a transliteration of the Complainant’s trademark in Arabic. In this sense, the logo of the website is a transliteration of the words “BEIN LIVE”.
Therefore, the Respondent cannot be held to have any rights or legitimate interests in the Disputed Domain Name.
Registration and use in bad faith
The Complainant contends that the Respondent registered and is using the Disputed Domain Name in bad faith for the following reasons: (i) the Disputed Domain Name falsely gives the impression that it is a genuine site for the activities of the Complainant; (ii) the Respondent has intentionally attempted to attract the Complainant’s clients to engage with its website and included programs, by creating a likelihood of confusion with the Complainant’s trademark and the Respondent, in bad faith, with the view to divert consumers; and (iii) the fact that the Respondent used a color identical to the one of the Complainant on the website related to the Disputed Domain Name, which contains an identical representation of the Complainant’s trademarks BEIN, is clear evidence that the Disputed Domain Name was registered and used in bad faith.
Thus, it is clear that Respondent registered and used the Disputed Domain Name in bad faith.
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
Based on the evidence submitted, this Panel finds that the Disputed Domain Name is confusingly similar to the Complainant’s trademark BEIN. The Disputed Domain Name contains the Complainant’s BEIN trademark in its entirety.
The Disputed Domain Name only differs from the Complainant’s trademark with the addition of the number “7”. The addition of such number does not prevent a finding of confusing similarity between the Complainant’s trademark and the Disputed Domain Name.
In addition, the addition of the generic Top-Level Domain (“gTLD”) “.com” does not change this finding, since the gTLD is generally disregarded in such an assessment of confusingly similarity.
Therefore, this 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 BEIN 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. Furthermore, the nature of the Disputed Domain Name, comprising the Complainant’s trademark and an additional term, and the Respondent’s use of the Disputed Domain Name, resolving to a website giving a false impression of association with the Complainant and lacking any disclaimer regarding the relationship (or lack thereof) between the Parties, carry a risk of implied affiliation and cannot constitute fair use as the Disputed Domain Name effectively impersonates or suggests sponsorship or endorsement by the Complainant. See WIPO Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions, Third Edition (“WIPO Overview 3.0”), section 2.5.1 and 2.5.2.
The Complainant has put forward a prima facie case that the Respondent lacks rights or legitimate interests in the Disputed Domain Name. 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 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 Complainant has used its trademarks long before the Disputed Domain Name was registered.
In light of this, the Respondent likely had knowledge of the Complainant’s BEIN trademark when it registered the Disputed Domain Name. The fact that the website linked to the Disputed Domain Name broadcast sports programs, such as football, further supports this.
The circumstances in the case before the Panel indicates that the Respondent was aware of the Complainant’s trademarks when registering the Disputed Domain Name and it has intentionally created a likelihood confusion with the Complainant’s trademarks in order to attract Internet users for his own commercial gain.
Furthermore, the Complainant has not licensed or otherwise permitted the Respondent to use any of its trademarks or to register the Disputed Domain Name incorporating its BEIN trademark.
The Respondent has not denied the Complainant’s assertions because of its default. The Panel is of the view that the Respondent knew of the Complainant’s trademark and prior rights.
Paragraph 4(b)(iv) of the Policy states: “by using the domain name, you have intentionally attempted to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to your web site or other online location, by creating a likelihood of confusion with the complainant’s mark as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation, or endorsement of your web site or location or of a product or service on your web site or location.”
In the case at hand, the Respondent’s registration of a domain name confusingly similar to the Complainant’s BEIN trademark, used for the broadcasts of sport programs (as the Complainant), 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, affirm a finding of bad faith.
Due to this conduct, it is obvious that the Respondent intentionally created a likelihood confusion with the Complainant’s trademark and websites in order to attract Internets users for its own commercial gain, as set out in paragraph 4(b)(iv) of the Policy.
Therefore, taking all circumstances into account and for all the above reasons, the Panel concludes that there is bad faith in the registration and use of the Disputed Domain Name.
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 <bein7.com> be transferred to the Complainant.
Pablo A. Palazzi
Date: June 2, 2021