WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Signature Bank v. Micheal Keane
Case No. D2021-1493
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Signature Bank, United States of America (“United States”), represented by CSC Digital Brand Services Group AB, Sweden.
The Respondent is Micheal Keane, United States.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <signatuerny.com> 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 May 13, 2021. On May 14, 2021, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On May 15, 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 June 2, 2021. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was June 22, 2021. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on June 23, 2021.
The Center appointed Evan D. Brown as the sole panelist in this matter on July 6, 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 large American bank based in New York. It owns the trademark SIGNATURE BANK, which is the subject of at least two trademark registrations, including United States Reg. No. 4132120, registered on April 24, 2012. The disputed domain name was registered on December 14, 2020. The Respondent has used the disputed domain name to set up a website featuring pay-per-click (“PPC”) links; it seems to no longer resolve.
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 did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.
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
A registered trademark provides a clear indication that the rights in the mark shown on the trademark certificate belong to its respective owner. See, Advance Magazine Publishers Inc., Les Publications Conde Nast S.A. v. Voguechen, WIPO Case No. D2014-0657. The Complainant has demonstrated its rights in the SIGNATURE BANK mark by providing evidence of its trademark registrations. The disputed domain name incorporates a close misspelling of the dominant portion of the SIGNATURE BANK mark switching the “r” and the “e” placement. This is sufficient for showing confusing similarity under the Policy. The addition of the geographical term “ny” in the disputed domain name does not reduce the confusing similarity. The Panel finds that the Complainant has established this first element under the Policy.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
The Panel evaluates this element of the Policy by first looking to see whether the Complainant has made a prima facie showing that the Respondent lacks rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name. If the Complainant makes that showing, the burden of demonstrating rights or legitimate interests shifts to the Respondent.
On this point, the Complainant asserts, among other things, that:
- The Respondent is not sponsored by or affiliated with the Complainant in any way.
- The Complainant has not given the Respondent a license, authorization or permission to use the Complainant’s trademark in any manner, including in domain names.
- The Respondent is not commonly known by the disputed domain name, which evinces a lack of rights or legitimate interests.
- There is no evidence that the Respondent has been commonly known by the disputed domain name.
- The Respondent is not using the disputed domain name to provide a bona fide offering of goods or services, nor a legitimate noncommercial or fair use as allowed under Policy.
The Panel also notes the nature of the disputed domain name being a typo plus a geographic term based on the Complainant’s core location. The Complainant has established its prima facie case and the Respondent has not provided any evidence to rebut the presumption created by these assertions. Accordingly, the Panel finds that the Complainant has prevailed on this second element of the Policy.
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 [respondent’s] website or location”.
Because the Complainant’s SIGNATURE BANK mark is well known, and because it has been in use and registered since before the registration of the disputed domain name, it is implausible to believe that the Respondent was not aware of the mark when it registered the disputed domain name. The Panel finds, on these facts, that the Respondent targeted the Complainant and its SIGNATURE BANK mark when it registered the disputed domain name, a typo plus a geographic term based on the Complainant’s core location. These facts show 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 PPC links; to the extent it no longer resolves, given the typo nature of the disputed domain name there is no conceivable good faith use the Respondent could realistically advance. 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 <signatuerny.com> be transferred to the Complainant.
Evan D. Brown
Date: July 21, 2021