WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Formula One Licensing B.V. v. Privacy service provided by Withheld for Privacy ehf / Basit Ali
Case No. D2021-3215
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Formula One Licensing B.V., Netherlands, represented by Bereskin & Parr LLP, Canada.
The Respondent is Privacy service provided by Withheld for Privacy ehf, Iceland / Basit Ali, Pakistan.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <f1expresscargo.com> is registered with NameCheap, Inc. (the “Registrar”).
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on September 29, 2021. On the same day, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. Also on September 29, 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 October 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 amended Complaint on October 4, 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 October 5, 2021. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was October 25, 2021. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on October 29, 2021.
The Center appointed Evan D. Brown as the sole panelist in this matter on November 8, 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 in the business of organizing motorsports racing events and providing related services. It owns, among other marks, the trademark F1, which it has registered in many jurisdictions, including Canada (Reg. No. TMA699633, registered on October 29, 2007). The Complainant has used its marks around the world for several decades. The Complainant enters into licensing agreements with third parties, authorizing those parties to use the F1 mark and logo to promote those parties’ goods and services. For example, the complainant has an arrangement with freight company DHL, whereby DHL may display the F1 mark on its trucks.
According to the WhoIs records, the disputed domain name was registered on April 27, 2019. The Respondent has used the disputed domain name to establish a website to promote supposed freight, transportation, and logistical services for hire under the moniker “F1 Express Cargo”.
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
This element requires the Panel to consider two issues: first, whether the Complainant has rights in a relevant mark; and, second, whether the disputed domain name is identical or confusingly similar to that mark. This element under the Policy functions primarily as a standing requirement. WIPO Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions, Third Edition (“WIPO Overview 3.0”), section 1.7.
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 F1 mark by providing evidence of its trademark registrations. The disputed domain name incorporates the F1 mark in its entirety. This is sufficient for showing confusing similarity under the Policy. 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 known by the disputed domain name.
- There is no relationship or affiliation between the Complainant and the Respondent giving rise to any license, permission, or other right by which the Respondent could own or use any domain name incorporating the Complainant’s F1 trademark.
- The Respondent is not making a legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the disputed domain name without intent for commercial gain. The Complainant has provided archived and current screenshots showing how the Respondent has used the Complainant’s F1 trademark to drive traffic to its own website, located at the disputed domain name, to promote supposed freight, transportation, and logistical services for hire.
- The Respondent has never used, nor seems to be preparing to use, the disputed domain name with any bona fide offering of goods or services. The Complainant asserts that the business F1 Express Cargo, which is the subject of the website found at the disputed domain name, does not appear to be legitimate. The Complainant states that it attempted to contact the business on several occasions using the email address advertised on the webpage resolved from the disputed domain name, but all emails went unanswered. Additionally, the photographs of trucks and ships appearing on the Respondent’s website appear to have been digitally altered to make it look like those trucks and ships bear the mark F1 Express Cargo, when in fact they do not.
The Panel finds that the Complainant has made the required prima facie showing. The Respondent has not presented evidence to overcome this prima facie showing. Moreover, nothing in the record otherwise tilts the balance in the Respondent’s favor. Accordingly, the Panel finds that the Complainant has established this second element under 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 [the respondent’s] website or location”.
Because the Complainant’s F1 mark is so well known, it is implausible to believe that the Respondent was not aware of that mark when it registered the disputed domain name. 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 set up a website using the F1 mark, in competition with the services offered by the Complainant’s licensee. For these reasons, the Panel finds that the Complainant has successfully met this 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 <f1expresscargo.com> be transferred to the Complainant.
Evan D. Brown
Date: November 22, 2021