WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Klarna Bank AB v. WhoisGuard, Inc. / Ben Matthews
Case No. D2021-1230
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Klarna Bank AB, Sweden, represented by SILKA AB, Sweden.
The Respondent is WhoisGuard, Inc., Panama / Ben Matthews, United Kingdom.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <klarnarama.com> is registered with NameCheap, Inc. (the “Registrar”).
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on April 21, 2021. On April 21, 2021, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On April 21, 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 28, 2021. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was May 18, 2021. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on June 1, 2021.
The Center appointed Knud Wallberg as the sole panelist in this matter on June 4, 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 was founded in 2005 and is an e-commerce company based in Sweden. It provides payment services for online storefronts, including direct payments, pay after delivery options and installment plans. It provides payment solutions for over 90 million consumers across 190,000 merchants in over 15 countries.
The Complainant is the owner of several trademarks that incorporates the KLARNA mark in including European Union Registration No. 009199803 KLARNA, registered on December 6, 2010, in classes 35 and 36. The Complainant is also the owner of a number list of domain names which incorporate the KLARNA mark, such as <klarna.com>.
The disputed domain name was registered on December 2, 2020 and resolves to a parked page without content, but MX records have been setup and are active for the disputed domain name. The disputed domain name has previously resolved to a website that was intended to display sponsored listings.
5. Parties’ Contentions
The Complainant contends that it has exclusive rights to the KLARNA mark. The disputed domain name incorporates the Complainant’s KLARNA mark and the term “rama”. The word “rama” has been used by the Complainant for targeting Australian customers during a so called “klarnarama sale from March 11-16, 2021. The Complainant submits that the registered KLARNA mark is clearly recognizable within the disputed domain name and that the addition of other terms does not prevent a finding of confusing similarity under the first element. The addition of the generic Top Level Domain (“gTLD”) “.com” does not differentiate the disputed domain name from the KLARNA mark.
The Complainant further submits that the Respondent lacks rights and legitimate interests in the disputed domain name as the Respondent is not affiliated with the Complainant in any way to make use of the KLARNA mark. The Complainant has not authorized the Respondent either as a licensee, vendor, supplier, distributor, or customer relations agent for the Complainant’s services. The Respondent is not commonly known by the disputed domain name, nor is the Respondent using the disputed domain name for any legitimate purpose. On the contrary, the Respondent has stated in a tweet that the purpose of the registration was that the website klarnarama.com “was going to be a campaigning site to fight “buy now, pay later” sites like @Klarna.”
The Complainant finally asserts that the disputed domain name has been registered and is being used by the Respondent in bad faith to cause confusion and mislead the Complainant's customers as well as the public. It is thus apparent that the Respondent knew of the Complainant’s mark and its business when he registered the disputed domain name. The fact that the disputed domain name presently does not resolve to an active website does not dispel a finding of bad faith, since all the conditions under the passive holding doctrine are fulfilled in this case.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
According to paragraph 15(a) of the Rules the Panel shall decide the Complaint in accordance with the Policy, the Rules and any rules and principles of law that it deems applicable.
Paragraph 4(a) of the Policy directs that a complainant must prove each of the following:
(i) that the domain name registered by the respondent is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which the complainant has rights;
(ii) that the respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the domain name; and
(iii) that the domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.
Paragraph 4(a) of the Policy states that the burden of proving that all these elements are present lies with the Complainant. At the same time, in accordance with paragraph 14(b) of the Rules, if a party, in the absence of exceptional circumstances, does not comply with any provision of, or requirement under, the Rules, or any request from the Panel, the Panel shall draw such inferences therefrom as it considers appropriate.
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The Panel finds that the disputed domain name <klarnarama.com> is confusingly similar (in the sense of the Policy) to the Complainant’s registered trademark KLARNA because it incorporates the mark in its entirety with the addition of the term “rama”. The gTLD “.com” is a standard registration requirement and as such is disregarded under the first element confusing similarity test. See section 1.11.1 of the WIPO Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions, Third Edition (“WIPO Overview 3.0”).
The Panel finds that the conditions in paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Policy are therefore fulfilled in relation to the disputed domain name.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
It is clear from the facts of the case that the Complainant has not licensed or otherwise permitted the Respondent to use its trademark and given the circumstances of this case, the Panel finds that the Complainant has established a prima facie case that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name.
The Respondent has not produced any evidence of the types of circumstances set out in paragraph 4(c) of the Policy that might give rise to rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name on the part of the Respondent in these proceedings. Rather, the statement made by the Respondent on his Twitter account in which he states that the disputed domain name was intended to be used for a website that “was going to be a campaigning site to fight “buy now, pay later” sites like @Klarna.” has been made. While on the surface, this statement seems to indicate a general grievance with certain payment platforms, the Panel notes that there is no corresponding (critical or otherwise) content on the website at the disputed domain name. Moreover, even if there were, the use of the Complainant’s mark plus the term “rama” especially in light of their use of the same term indicates an intent to unfairly draw attention to and cause confusion through the disputed domain name based on its composition which creates an impression of sponsorship or affiliation with the brand owner. Taken together, this effectively excludes that the Respondent has any rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name.
Consequently, the Panel finds that the condition in paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy is also fulfilled.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
Paragraph 4(a)(iii) of the Policy requires the Complainant to prove both registration and use of the disputed domain name in bad faith. Paragraph 4(b) of the Policy provides examples of circumstances which shall be evidence of registration and use in bad faith:
(i) circumstances indicating that the holder has registered or has acquired the domain name primarily for the purpose of selling, renting, or otherwise transferring the domain name registration to the complainant who is the owner of the trademark or service mark or to a competitor of that complainant, for valuable consideration in excess of the holder’s documented out-of-pocket costs directly related to the domain name; or
(ii) the holder 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 the holder has engaged in a pattern of such conduct; or
(iii) the holder has registered the domain name primarily for the purpose of disrupting the business of a competitor; or
(iv) by using the domain name, the holder has intentionally attempted to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to the holder’s website or other online location, by creating a likelihood of confusion with the complainant’s mark as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation, or endorsement of the holder’s website or location or of a product or service on the holder’s website or location.
Accordingly, for the Complainant to succeed, the Panel must be satisfied that the disputed domain names have been registered and are being used in bad faith.
Given the circumstances of the case, in particular the Respondent´s own statements on his Twitter account, it is obvious to the Panel that the Respondent registered the disputed domain name with prior knowledge of the Complainant and the Complainant’s mark. The Panel therefore finds that the disputed domain name was registered in bad faith.
The Panel incorporates here the findings made above under the second element and notes that the disputed domain seems to have been used for a website that contained a disclaimer concerning the “The Sponsored Listings displayed above”, but the website did not display any such sponsored listings. At the time of the filing of the dispute, the disputed domain name did not resolve to an active website, but this does not prevent a finding of bad faith use. As it is stated in section 3.3 of the WIPO Overview 3.0: “From the inception of the UDRP, panelists have found that the non-use of a domain name (including a blank or ‘coming soon’ page) would not prevent a finding of bad faith under the doctrine of passive holding.”
Noting that the disputed domain names all incorporate a distinctive and well-known trademark, that no response has been filed, that there appears to be no conceivable good faith use that could be made by the Respondent of the disputed domain names and considering all the facts and evidence, the Panel finds that the requirements of paragraph 4(a)(iii) of the Policy are also fulfilled in this case.
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 <klarnarama.com> be transferred to the Complainant.
Date: June 28, 2021