WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Red Bull GmbH v. Amin Iqbal, Aminz Tech
Case No. D2021-1295
1. The Parties
Complainant is Red Bull GmbH, Austria, represented by TALIENS, Germany.
Respondent is Amin Iqbal, Aminz Tech, Pakistan.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <redbull-sports.com> (the “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 27, 2021. That same day, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the Domain Name. On April 28, 2021, the Registrar transmitted by email to the Center its verification response confirming that 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 Respondent of the Complaint, and the proceedings commenced on May 4, 2021. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was May 24, 2021. Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified Respondent’s default on June 4, 2021.
The Center appointed Harrie R. Samaras as the sole panelist in this matter on June 11, 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
Complainant produces the well-known Red Bull energy drink, as well as a wide range of additional drinks including Red Bull Sugar Free, Red Bull Bitter Lemon, Organics by Red Bull Ginger Ale, and Organics by Red Bull Tonic Water.
Complainant owns many national and international trademark registrations consisting of or containing the “RED BULL” mark including in Pakistan where Respondent is located (e.g., National Pakistan Trademark Nos. 164626 (registered on May 16, 2008) and 392278 (registered on December 28, 2017) (collectively the “RED BULL MARK” or the “MARK”).
The original RED BULL energy drink was first sold in Austria in 1987 and internationally since 1992. Currently, the RED BULL energy drink is sold in 172 countries. In 2020, Complainant invested approximately EUR 1,61 billion worldwide in marketing.
Complainant is active on social media recently having more than 48 million fans on Facebook, 14.1 million followers on Instagram, and 15.0 million followers on TikTok.
Complainant has organized and sponsored a host of cultural events worldwide and it has been very active in the sports sector since it began. Some of the sports events and teams it has sponsored include: RED BULL RACING (Formula 1 team); RED BULL X-FIGHTERS (International freestyle motocross championships); RED BULL AIR RACE (Official international championships of air races); RED BULL CLIFF DIVING (Official Cliff Diving World Series); RED BULL CRASHED ICE (Official international Ice Cross Downhill World Championship); and RED BULL NEYMAR JR.’S FIVE (worldwide soccer tournament). Sporting events and athletes are a significant focus on Complainant’s website. On its website at “www.redbullshop.com” Complainant also offers for sale: accessories, headwear (e.g., caps, helmet); footwear, gloves, motorbike and other sportswear, hoodies, t-shirts, outerwear, pants). Complainant features prominently on its website a red colored single bull headed into an open circular design.
The Domain Name was registered on October 8, 2019, and it currently resolves to a website having prominently displayed throughout the website the RED BULL Mark in conjunction with a red colored single bull headed into an open circular design. Some of the products for sale on the website include: accessories, outerwear, gloves, pants, t-shirts, hoodies, motorbike and other sportswear, and headwear (e.g., caps). The contact details provided on the website include email addresses with the following terms: “redbullsports” and “redbull-sports”.
On November 18, 2020, Complainant, through its counsel located in Pakistan, sent a cease and desist letter to Respondent by courier and via email under the contact addresses indicated on the website, informing him about Complainant’s rights in the RED BULL Mark and requesting him to cease and desist from using the Mark. Because Complainant did not receive any response to those contacts, it sent a reminder letter on December 17, 2020, again by courier and email. Complainant did not receive any response from Respondent. As a last attempt to resolve the matter amicably, on January 5, 2021 Complainant called the phone number on the website and was told that more time was needed to respond to the cease and desist letter. Complainant did not receive any response.
5. Parties’ Contentions
As a result of its extensive sales and marketing efforts and its support of sports and cultural activities, Complainant has developed a considerable reputation and goodwill worldwide in both its brands and products.
The Domain Name is confusingly similar to the Mark because it contains the RED BULL Mark in its entirely.
Also, the term “sports” does not avoid the confusing similarity between the Domain Name and the MARK. The RED BULL Mark is clearly recognizable in the Domain Name. Furthermore, the hyphen is irrelevant and has to be disregarded for purposes of assessing confusing similarity. The gTLD “.com” of the Domain Name can also be disregarded under the first element confusing similarity test.
Complainant has not licensed or otherwise permitted Respondent to use any of its trademarks or any variations or combinations thereof, or to register or use any domain name incorporating any of its marks or any variations or combinations thereof. Also, Respondent cannot assert that, prior to any notice of this dispute, he was using, or had made demonstrable preparations to use, the Domain Name in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services nor is he making a legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the Domain Name without intent for commercial gain. This is because the Domain Name resolves to a commercial website (called “REDBULL SPORTS”, which excludes a “noncommercial” use from the outset. In addition, the website is designed in a way susceptible to create the impression of a “true” Red Bull web shop by using a red colored single bull device and offering for sale the same products that Complainant is selling on its website which falsely suggests an affiliation with Complainant.
Respondent cannot conceivably claim that he is commonly known by the Domain Name because, according to the information available on the Whois database, the owner of the Domain Name is "Amin Iqbal"; not “Red Bull.”
Registering a domain name knowing of a reputed trademark and without rights or legitimate interests amounts to registration in bad faith, which is what Respondent did here. In addition, the Domain Name resolves to a website designed in a way that creates the impression of a “true” Red Bull website using a red colored single bull figure and offering the same products Complainant offers on its website. Furthermore, Respondent has combined in the Domain Name the RED BULL Mark with the word “sports”. Considering that Complainant is particularly active in sponsoring different sporting events and also that it offers for sale sports clothing on the website to which the Domain Name resolves it is evident that Respondent has and continues to intentionally attempt to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to its website, by creating a likelihood of confusion with the Mark as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation, or endorsement of the website and the products displayed there.
Respondent did not reply to Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The Panel finds Complainant has established rights in the RED BULL Mark based on the aforementioned trademark registrations for the Mark, which Complainant made of record.
The Panel further finds that the Domain Name <redbull-sports.com> is confusingly similar to Complainant’s RED BULL Mark. The Domain Name wholly incorporates the RED BULL Mark, adding a hyphen and the word “sports”. Including the RED BULL Mark in the Domain Name in its entirety is enough to render the Domain Name confusingly similar to the Mark. See Britannia Building Society v. Britannia Fraud Prevention, WIPO Case No. D2001-0505. Similarly, adding a hyphen does not prevent the Domain Name from being confusingly similar to the Mark. Adding a hyphen is considered typosquatting because the Domain Name <redbull-sports.com> is likely to create confusion due to its visual similarity with the RED BULL Mark. See, e.g., VeriSign Inc. v. Bing Glu / G Design, WIPO Case No. D2007-0421.
Furthermore, combining the RED BULL Mark with an additional term does not prevent a finding of confusingly similarity. In this case, using the particular term “sports” with the RED BULL Mark in the context of Complainant’s sponsorship of sporting events around the world and Complainant’s sale of sports related clothing supports the Panel’s findings under the second and third elements as it increases the likelihood of confusion. See section 1.8 of the WIPO Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions, Third Edition (“WIPO Overview 3.0”). Likewise, adding the gTLD such as “.com” does not prevent confusing similarity because the use of a gTLD is required of domain name registrations. See SBC Communications v. Fred Bell aka Bell Internet, WIPO Case No. D2001-0602.
For the foregoing reasons, the Panel finds that paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Policy has been satisfied.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
It is uncontested that Complainant has not licensed or otherwise authorized Respondent to use the Mark for any purpose including to register the Domain Name. Similarly, there is no evidence Respondent has been known by the name RED BULL, rather only by the name in the WhoIs database.
Before any notice of this dispute Respondent was not using the Domain Name in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services nor was he making a legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the Domain Name without intent for commercial gain. This is because the Domain Name resolves to a commercial website called “REDBULL SPORTS” that is designed to create the impression that it is a website of Complainant’s by using Complainant’s RED BULL Mark and other marks of Complainant and offering similar products, thereby falsely suggesting an affiliation with Complainant.
Insofar as Complainant has made a prima facie showing that Respondent lacks rights or legitimate interests to the Domain Name (Spencer Douglass, MGA v. Bail Yes Bonding, WIPO Case No. D2004-0261), this shifts the burden to Respondent to show evidence that it has rights or legitimate interests in the Domain Name. See, e.g., Document Technologies, Inc. v. International Electronic Communications Inc., WIPO Case No. D2000-0270. Respondent has failed to adduce any evidence to shoulder its burden. Thus, Complainant’s facts, without contrary evidence from Respondent, are sufficient to permit a finding in Complainant’s favor on this issue. Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc. v. Lauren Raymond, WIPO Case No. D2000-0007.
The Panel therefore holds that Complainant has satisfied paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
Respondent registered and has been using a domain name that, as the Panel found above, is confusingly similar to the RED BULL Mark. When Respondent registered the Domain Name, Complainant had been using its RED BULL Mark for around 27 years worldwide, including in Pakistan and including in conjunction with a variety of sporting related events. On that basis alone it would be unlikely that Respondent would not have known of Complainant and its rights in the RED BULL Mark before registering the Domain Name. But the Panel further finds: (1) Respondent is selling on the website associated with the Domain Name products similar to what Complainant sells under the Mark on its website, including sports related clothing and accessories; (2) Respondent adopted a single bull logo that is oriented to head into an open circle design that looks very similar to the bull logo Complainant uses including similar red coloring of the bull; (3) the RED BULL Mark is prominently featured throughout Respondent’s website and in association with the single bull logo and circular design that Complainant uses on its website; (4) the presentation of the items offered for sale on Respondent’s website is similar to the way Complainant presents its items for sale; and (5) Respondent combined a well-known mark with the term “sports”, which happens to be an activity that Complainant is heavily involved in worldwide, to sell among other things sports related apparel and accessories, like Complainant sells on its website. For all of these reasons, the Panel concludes that Respondent was aware of Complainant and its rights in the RED BULL Mark and, thus, registered the Domain Name in bad faith.
Furthermore, Respondent’s use of the Domain Name constitutes bad faith use because Respondent is using a confusingly similar Domain Name (along with similar email addresses - email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org) on a website that has captured many features of Complainant’s website, such that it looks like Complainant’s website, and is selling for commercial gain products like Complainant sells on its website. Furthermore, Respondent’s bad faith use of the Domain Name is evidenced by the way in which Respondent ignored the repeated notices by Complainant of its rights in the RED BULL Mark, its allegations of Respondent’s infringement of that Mark, and the requests to stop using the Mark. Respondent did not defend or explain its use of Complainant’s Mark before or during these proceedings, but persisted in using a confusingly similar Mark for its own gain for which it had no rights or legitimate interests.
The Panel therefore holds that Complainant has satisfied 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 <redbull-sports.com> be transferred to Complainant.
Harrie R. Samaras
Date: June 13, 2021