WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Instagram, LLC v. Registration Private, Domains By Proxy, LLC / Dieu Buhendwa
Case No. D2021-1293
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Instagram, LLC, United States of America (the “United States”), represented by Hogan Lovells (Paris) LLP, France.
The Respondent is Registration Private, Domains By Proxy, LLC, United States / Dieu Buhendwa, United States, self-represented.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <instãgrãm.com> (xn--instgrm-0wac.com) 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 27, 2021. On April 27, 2021, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On April 28, 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 28, 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 30, 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 May 3, 2021. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was May 23, 2021. The Response was filed with the Center on May 20, 2021.
The Center appointed Evan D. Brown 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 provides an online photo and video sharing social networking application. The Complainant has secured ownership of numerous trademark registrations for the mark INSTAGRAM in many jurisdictions around the world, including United States Reg. No. 4146057, registered on May 22, 2012.
The disputed domain name was registered on August 4, 2020. It was registered under the Punycode system resulting in the domain name <xn--instgrm-0wac.com>, which converts to the Internationalized Domain Name (IDN) <instãgrãm.com>. The Complainant provided evidence that the dispute domain name has been used to resolve to a parking page displaying pay-per-click links.
5. Parties’ Contentions
The Complainant contends that the disputed domain name is identical or confusingly similar to the Complainant’s trademark; that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name; and that the disputed domain name was registered and is being used in bad faith.
The Respondent makes a number of seemingly unconnected and rather incoherent claims. It asserts that it registered the disputed domain name pursuing a business plan that is different from that of the Complainant. It claims to have purchased many other domain names, which anyone can do, and has been delayed in launching a business while one of its family members graduated “Electric School”. The Respondent further asserts that the Complainant is attempting to bully the Respondent, and otherwise argues generally that the Respondent has done nothing illegal.
6. Discussion and Findings
To succeed, the Complainant must demonstrate that all of the elements listed in paragraph 4(a) of the Policy have been satisfied:
(i) the disputed domain name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in 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.
The Panel finds that all three of these elements have been met in this case.
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The Complainant clearly has rights in the mark INSTAGRAM, evidenced by the registration certificates for that mark. The disputed domain name, for purposes of this first element, is identical or confusingly similar to the Complainant’s mark. The presence of the generic Top-Level domain “.com” does not prevent a finding of confusing similarity. Accordingly, the Complainant has succeeded under this first element of the Policy.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
The Complainant will be successful under this element of the Policy if it makes a prima facie showing that the Respondent lacks rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name, and if that prima facie showing remains unrebutted by the Respondent. The Complainant asserts, among other things, that:
- the Respondent is not using the disputed domain name in connection with any bona fide offering of goods or services;
- the Respondent is not a licensee of the Complainant, nor has the Respondent been otherwise authorized by the Complainant to use its trademark, in a domain name or otherwise;
- the Respondent is not commonly known by the disputed domain name; and
- the Respondent is not making a legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the disputed domain name.
These assertions establish the Complainant’s prima facie case. The Respondent has not meaningfully answered the Complainant’s assertions concerning rights or legitimate interests, and, seeing no basis in the record to overcome the Complainant’s prima facie showing, the Panel finds that the Complainant has satisfied this second Policy element.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
The Policy requires a complainant to establish that the disputed domain name was registered and is being used in bad faith. The Policy describes several non-exhaustive circumstances demonstrating a respondent’s bad faith registration and use. Under paragraph 4(b)(iv) of the Policy, a panel may find bad faith when a respondent “[uses] the domain name to intentionally attempt 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 a product or service on [the respondent’s] website or location”.
Because the Complainant’s INSTAGRAM mark is well known, it is implausible to believe that the Respondent was not aware of that mark when it registered the disputed domain name. Virgin Enterprises Limited v. Moniker Privacy Services / Name Redacted, WIPO Case No. D2019-1854. In the circumstances of this case, such a showing is sufficient to establish bad faith registration of the disputed domain name. Bad faith use is clear from the Respondent’s activities of using the disputed domain name to establish a website displaying unauthorized pay-per-click links. Id. The Complainant has successfully established the third UDRP element.
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 <instãgrãm.com> (xn--instgrm-0wac.com) be transferred to the Complainant.
Evan D. Brown
Date: June 21, 2021