WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Rootz LTD v. Withheld for Privacy Purposes, Privacy service provided by Withheld for Privacy ehf / Alex Yes
Case No. D2021-1687
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Rootz LTD, Malta, represented by Wilmark Oy, Finland.
The Respondent is Withheld for Privacy Purposes, Privacy service provided by Withheld for Privacy ehf, Iceland / Alex Yes, Russian Federation.
2. The Domain Names and Registrar
The disputed domain name <wildzonline.casino> is registered with NameCheap, Inc. (the “Registrar”).
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on May 28, 2021. On May 31, 2021, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On May 31, 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 June 1, 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 amendment to the Complaint on June 1, 2021.
The Center verified that the Complaint together with the amendment to 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 7, 2021. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was June 27, 2021. The Respondent did not submit any response. The Center notified the Parties of the commencement of the panel appointment process on June 28, 2021.
The Center appointed Marilena Comanescu as the sole panelist in this matter on July 2, 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 Rootz LTD, established in 2018 in Malta, is an online casino company.
The Complainant obtained several awards and accolades in Malta in its field of activity.
The Complainant holds trademark rights for WILDZ, such as the following:
- the International word trademark WILDZ registration No. 1443415 registered on June 13, 2018, for services in International Class 41 and covering many countries worldwide; and
- the European Union word trademark WILDZ registration No. 017589813 filed on December 12, 2017, and registered on April 25, 2018, for goods and services in International Classes 9, 16, 25, 28, 35, 36, 38, 41, 42 and 45.
The Complainant’s website is available at “www.wildz.com”.
The disputed domain name <wildzonline.casino> was registered on December 15, 2020, and at the time of filing the Complaint it was used in relation to a website providing online casino gaming content, presenting the Respondent as “Wildz Online Casino”, displaying the WILDZ trademarks and contact details of the Complainant and copying the look and feel of the Complainant’s official website.
5. Parties’ Contentions
The Complainant contends that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to its trademark WILDZ, that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name and that the Respondent registered and is using the disputed domain name in bad faith. The Complainant requests the transfer of the disputed domain name to it.
The Respondent did not formally reply to the Complainant’s contentions but it sent an informal email communication on June 1, 2021, questioning the Center about the subject of the dispute “As I understand, the subject is: wildz image on my website ? Cause the name wilds couldn’t be trademark. I can see it on w3.”
6. Discussion and Findings
Under paragraph 4(a) of the Policy, a complainant can only succeed in an administrative proceeding under the Policy if the following circumstances are met:
(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 the disputed domain name; and
(iii) the disputed domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.
The Panel will further analyze the concurrence of the above circumstances.
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The Panel finds that the Complainant holds rights in the WILDZ trademark.
The disputed domain name <wildzonline.casino> incorporates the Complainant’s trademark WILDZ in its entirety with the additional term “online”. However, such addition does not prevent a finding of confusing similarity as the Complainant’s trademark is clearly recognizable within the disputed domain name.
Numerous UDRP panels have considered that the addition of other terms (whether descriptive or geographic term, pejorative, meaningless or otherwise) to trademarks in a domain name is not sufficient to escape a finding of confusing similarity. See section 1.8 of the WIPO Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions, Third Edition (“WIPO Overview 3.0”).
It is well established in decisions under the UDRP that the generic Top-Level Domain (“gTLD”) (e.g., “.casino”, “.online”, “.com”, “.tv”) may typically be disregarded for the purposes of consideration of confusing similarity between a trademark and a domain name.
Given the above, the Panel finds that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to the Complainant’s trademark WILDZ, pursuant to the Policy, paragraph 4(a)(i).
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
The Complainant asserts that the Respondent does not hold any trademark rights, license or authorization whatsoever to use the mark WILDZ, that the Respondent is not commonly known by the disputed domain name, and that the Respondent has not used the disputed domain name in connection with a legitimate noncommercial or fair use or a bona fide offering of goods and services.
Under the Policy, “where a complainant makes out a prima facie case that the respondent lacks rights or legitimate interests, the burden of production on this element shifts to the respondent to come forward with relevant evidence demonstrating rights or legitimate interests in the domain name. If the respondent fails to come forward with such relevant evidence, the complainant is deemed to have satisfied the second element”. See section 2.1 of the WIPO Overview 3.0.
The Respondent has not substantially replied to the Complainant’s contentions and has not come forward with relevant evidence to rebut the Complainant’s prima facie case.
There is nothing in the record suggesting that the Respondent has ever been commonly known by the disputed domain name or that the Respondent made a bona fide offering of goods or services or a legitimate noncommercial use under the disputed domain name.
The Respondent has used the disputed domain name in connection with a website providing services identical to those of the Complainant, reproducing the Complainant’s trademark and address and using a name similar to the Complainant’s trade name and trademark. In this regard, panels have categorically held that the use of a domain name for illegal activity (such as swindle, fraud, identity theft, phishing and impersonation/passing off) can never confer rights or legitimate interests in a respondent. See section 2.13 of theWIPO Overview 3.0.
Consequently, the Panel finds that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name, pursuant to the Policy, paragraph 4(a)(ii).
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
The Complainant holds trademark rights for WILDZ since at least 2017 and its trademark is distinctive in relation to the goods and services claimed.
The disputed domain name was created in 2020 and incorporates the Complainant’s mark together with dictionary terms closely related to the Complainant’s business, “online” and is registered in the gTLD “casino”.
For the above, the Panel finds that the disputed domain name was registered in bad faith, knowing the Complainant and targeting its trademark.
At the time of filing the Complaint, the disputed domain name resolved to a web page presenting the Respondent as “Wildz Online Casino”, providing services identical to those of the Complainant and displaying the Complainant’s WILDZ trademarks and contact information.
Paragraph 4(b)(iv) of the Policy provides that the use of a domain name to intentionally attempt “to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to [the respondent’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 respondent’s] website or location or of a product or service on [the respondent’s] website or location” is evidence of registration and use in bad faith.
Given that the disputed domain name incorporates the Complainant’s trademark and the website operated under the disputed domain name provides identical services, uses a similar commercial name, displays the Complainant’s trademarks and actual contact details, indeed in this Panel’s view, the Respondent intended to attract Internet users accessing the website corresponding to the disputed domain name who may be confused and believe that the website is held, controlled by, or somehow affiliated or related to the Complainant, for its commercial gain.
Further, the Respondent registered the disputed domain name under a privacy service, provided inaccurate contact information in the WhoIs and did not substantially reply to the Complainant’s contentions in order to put forward any arguments in its favor. Having in view the other circumstances of this case, such facts constitute further evidence of bad faith behavior.
For all the above reasons, the Panel finds that the Respondent registered and is using the disputed domain name in bad faith, pursuant to the Policy, paragraph 4(a)(iii).
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 <wildzonline.casino> be transferred to the Complainant.
Date: July 16, 2021