WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
WK Travel, Inc. v. suraj kumar, one-travel-tour
Case No. D2021-3434
1. The Parties
The Complainant is WK Travel, Inc., United States of America (“United States”), represented by Mitchell, Silberberg & Knupp, LLP, United States.
The Respondent is suraj kumar, one-travel-tour, India.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <one-travel-tour.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 October 16, 2021. On October 18, 2021, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On October 19, 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 20, 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 26, 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 November 2, 2021. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was November 22, 2021. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on November 25, 2021.
The Center appointed Steven A. Maier as the sole panelist in this matter on December 14, 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 corporation registered in New York, United States. It is a provider of low-cost travel services including air tickets, lodgings, car rentals and vacation packages.
The Complainant is the owner of United States trademark registration number 4545969 for the word mark ONETRAVEL, registered on June 10, 2014 for travel-related services in International Classes 39 and 43.
The Complainant operates a website at “www.onetravel.com”.
The disputed domain name was registered on May 23, 2021.
The Complainant has provided evidence that the disputed domain name has resolved to a website at “www.one-travel-tour.com” offering air tickets and other travel services. The website appears to be operated by an entity named “Travel Master” and there appears to be no further reference to the disputed domain name within the website content itself. The website offers a toll-free telephone number commencing “+1-813…” which the Panel understands to constitute an area code for Florida, United States.
5. Parties’ Contentions
The Complainant states that it has provided travel-related services under the ONETRAVEL mark for over 20 years. It submits that it has spent millions of dollars and other resources on developing, advertising and promoting its Internet-based services and that it has established significant commercial goodwill in the ONETRAVEL mark accordingly. The Complainant exhibits details of its website at “www.onetravel.com”.
The Complainant contends that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to its ONETRAVEL trademark. It submits that the disputed domain name incorporates the whole of that trademark, and that it is of no consequence for the purposes of comparison that the trademark is comprised of two commonly used words. The Complainant further submits that the addition of the descriptive term “tour” does not preclude a finding of confusingly similarity between the disputed domain name and its ONETRAVEL trademark.
The Complainant contends that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name. It states that it has never licensed or authorized the Respondent to use its ONETRAVEL trademark, that the Respondent has not been known by that name and that the Respondent is making neither bona fide commercial use nor legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the disputed domain name. The Complainant submits, in particular, that the Respondent’s use of the disputed domain name, which deceptively utilizes its ONETRAVEL trademark for the purpose of a competing website, cannot constitute bona fide commercial use of the disputed domain name.
The Complainant submits that the disputed domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith. It asserts that the Respondent could not plausibly deny having knowledge of its ONETRAVEL trademark since it has incorporated that trademark into the disputed domain name. The Complainant further contends that the Respondent’s use of the disputed domain name for the purpose of travel services which compete with those of the Complainant adds to the impression of registration with bad faith intent to deceive. The Complainant contends that the Respondent is using the disputed domain name deceptively to obtain Internet traffic that it would not otherwise receive and, in particular, that by using the disputed domain name it has intentionally attempted to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to its website by creating a likelihood of confusion with the Complainant’s ONETRAVEL trademark.
The Complainant requests the transfer of the disputed domain name.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
In order to succeed in the Complaint, the Complainant is required to show that all three of the elements set out under paragraph 4(a) of the Policy are present. Those elements are that:
(i) the disputed domain name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which the Complainant has rights; and
(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.
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The Complainant has established that it has registered trademark rights in the name ONETRAVEL. The disputed domain name incorporates that trademark, albeit with the terms “one” and “travel” separated by a hyphen, which does not in the view of the Panel prevent the Complainant’s trademark from being recognizable within the disputed domain name. Nor in the view of the Panel does the addition of the dictionary word “tours” prevent a finding of confusing similarity. The Panel finds in the circumstances that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to a trademark in which the Complainant has rights.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
While the Complainant has established that it has certain trademark rights in the name ONETRAVEL, the Panel is not persuaded that that trademark is either so distinctive or so widely known that no other party could legitimately use the term “one-travel” in connection with travel services. The question in this case, therefore, is whether the Respondent has made bona fide use of the disputed domain name for travel services without intent to take unfair advantage of the Complainant’s trademark, or alternatively, has deliberately targeted the Complainant’s ONETRAVEL trademark for the purpose of deceiving Internet users and obtaining a “free ride” on the back of the Complainant’s established reputation.
In all the circumstances of the case, the Panel concludes that the second of the above scenarios is the more likely and reaches that conclusion principally for the following reasons:
(1) The Respondent is operating a travel website, which competes with the Complainant’s services, from a URL at “www.one-travel-tours.com”. However, the entity shown as operating that website is “Travel Master” and there is no further reference to “one-travel” beyond the URL itself. It does not appear, therefore, that the Respondent’s business even purports to be called “one-travel-tours”.
(2) Had the Respondent’s business been confined to India, where the Respondent is located, there would be stronger grounds for believing that its choice of the disputed domain name was unrelated to the Complainant and its United States trademark. However, the Respondent appears to have traded with the United States specifically in mind, to the extent of including a toll-free number based in Florida, United States, in connection with its business.
(3) The Respondent has declined the opportunity of participating in this proceeding by filing a Response, and has not therefore provided any explanation for its registration and use of the disputed domain name, or disputed the Complainant’s contentions in any respect. Nor has the Respondent made any submissions as to any rights or legitimate interests that it may claim in connection with the disputed domain name, whether in the circumstances contemplated by paragraph 4(c) of the Policy or otherwise.
In the circumstances, the Panel finds that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
Similar considerations as above arise in connection with the issue of bad faith. In particular, in the light of the Panel’s conclusions enumerated as items (1) to (3) inclusive above, the Panel infers on the balance of probabilities that the Respondent was aware of the Complainant’s ONETRAVEL trademark when it registered the disputed domain name and that it did so with the intention of taking unfair advantage of the Complainant’s reputation and commercial goodwill attaching to that trademark, including such reputation and goodwill within the United States. The addition of the term “tour” to the Complainant’s trademark does not affect the conclusion reached above, as it is a term associated with the travel industry and the Complainant’s services.
The Panel finds further that the Respondent has used the disputed domain name with the intention of attracting Internet users to its own website, offering travel services under the business name “Travel Master”, by misleading such Internet users as to a connection with the Complainant’s established business. Even if upon arriving at the Respondent’s website such visitors would realize it was not the Complainant’s, the Respondent would nevertheless have obtained that traffic to its website and potential custom by reason of its misrepresentation. The Panel finds, in particular, that by using the disputed domain name, the Respondent has intentionally attempted to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to its website by creating a likelihood of confusion with the Complainant’s marks as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation, or endorsement of its website or of a product or service on its website (paragraph 4(b)(iv) of the Policy).
The Panel therefore finds that the disputed domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.
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 <one-travel-tour.com> be transferred to the Complainant.
Steven A. Maier
Date: December 28, 2021