WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
PrideStaff, Inc. v. Kevin Wilson
Case No. D2021-1989
1. The Parties
The Complainant is PrideStaff, Inc., United States of America (the “United States”), represented by Frost Brown Todd LLC, United States.
The Respondent is Kevin Wilson, United States.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <pridstaff.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 June 23, 2021. On June 24, 2021, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On June 25, 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 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 July 1, 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 July 5, 2021. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was July 25, 2021. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on July 26, 2021.
The Center appointed William F. Hamilton as the sole panelist in this matter on July 28, 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 1978 and has continuously offered professional staffing services in the United States for employers and individuals seeking job placement. The Complainant owns United States Patent and Trademark Office Registration No. 2,116,589 for the mark PRIDESTAFF (the “Mark”) which was granted in 1997 and reflects a 1995 first use date. The Complainant owns and utilizes the domain name <pridestaff.com> to advertise and promote its staffing services.
The Respondent registered the disputed domain name on October 20, 2020. The disputed domain resolved to a pornographic website.
5. Parties’ Contentions
The Complainant asserts the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to the Mark because the disputed domain name entirely incorporates the Complainant’s Mark with the exception of the letter “e”. The Complainant asserts that the Complainant never authorized the Respondent to use the disputed domain name, that the Respondent is not generally known by the disputed domain name, and that the Respondent has never engaged in any bona fide commercial activity in connection with the disputed domain name. The Complainant asserts that the Respondent has registered and used the disputed domain name to land unsuspecting Internet users at its adult website for commercial gain.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
Under paragraph 4(a) of the Policy, to succeed the Complainant must satisfy the Panel that:
(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 was registered and are being used in bad faith.
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The Panel finds that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to the Complainant’s Mark.
The disputed domain name is composed entirely of the Complainant’s Mark except for the letter “e”. The deletion of the letter “e” from the Mark does not prevent a finding of confusing similarity and is a classic example of typosquatting. A domain name which consists of a common, obvious, or intentional misspelling of a trademark is confusingly similar to the relevant mark for purposes of the Policy’s first element. See WIPO Jurisprudential Overview 3.0 (“WIPO Overview 3.0”), section 1.9.
The generic Top-Level Domain of the disputed domain name, in this case “.com”, may be disregarded for the purposes of assessment under the first element, as it is viewed as a standard registration requirement. See WIPO Overview 3.0, section 1.11.1. Monster Energy Company, a Delaware Corporation v. J.H.M. den Ouden, WIPO Case No. D2016-1759 (transferring <monsterenergy.world>).
The Complainant has met its burden under paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Policy.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
The Panel finds that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name.
The Complainant has specifically disavowed providing the Respondent with permission to use the disputed domain name or the Mark. There is no evidence that the Respondent has conducted any bona fide business under the disputed domain name or is commonly known by the disputed domain name. The Complainant has established a prima facie case in its favor, which shifts the burden of production on this point to the Respondent. The Respondent, however, has failed to come forth with any evidence showing any rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. Furthermore, the nature of the disputed domain name, being nearly identical to the Mark, carries a risk of implied affiliation. WIPO Overview 3.0, section 2.5.1. Nor does the disputed domain name have any inherent association with the content of the Respondent’s website.
The facts and circumstances presented to the Panel demonstrate that the Respondent does not have any rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. The Complainant has met its burden under paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
1. Under paragraph 4(b) of the Policy, bad faith may be established by any one of the following non‑exhaustive scenarios:
(i) circumstances indicating that the respondent has registered or acquired the domain name primarily for the purpose of selling, renting, or otherwise transferring the domain name 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 respondent’s documented out-of-pocket costs directly related to the domain name; or
(ii) the respondent 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 respondent has engaged in a pattern of such conduct; or
(iii) the respondent has registered the domain name primarily for the purpose of disrupting the business of a competitor; or
(iv) by using the domain name, the respondent has intentionally attempted to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to its website or other on-line 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.
2. The Panel finds the disputed domain name was registered and is being used in bad faith.
It is clear on the evidence presented that the Respondent has registered and used the confusingly similar disputed domain name to cause unsuspecting Internet users to land on the Respondent’s pornographic website for commercial gain. E-Committee Comitato di Coordinamento dell Intrastructure per I’E-Banking v. Ivan Vogel, WIPO Case No. D2005-0136 (transferring confusingly similar domain name that resolved to pornographic website).
Moreover, it is difficult in the circumstances for the Panel to conceive of any use that the Respondent might make of the disputed domain name without the Complainant’s consent that would not involve bad faith. Telstra Corporation Limited v. Nuclear Marshmellows, WIPO Case No. D2000-0003; Verner Panton Design v. Fontana di Luce Corp, WIPO Case No. D2012-1909 (where the reputation of a complainant in a given mark is significant and the mark bears strong similarities to the disputed domain name, the likelihood of confusion is such that bad faith may be inferred); DPDgroup International Services GmbH & Co. KG v. Wise One, Wilson TECH, WIPO Case No. D2021-0109 (transferring <dpdcouriercompany.com>); Monster Energy Company v. PrivacyDotLink Customer 116709 / Ferdinand Nikolaus Kronschnabl, WIPO Case No. D2016-1335 (transferring <monsterenergy.club>).
The Complainant has met its burden under 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 disputed domain name <pridstaff.com> be transferred to the Complainant.
William F. Hamilton
Date: August 9, 2021