WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Government Employees Insurance Company v. Data LLC, Data Guardian LLC
Case No. D2021-3530
1. The Parties
Complainant is Government Employees Insurance Company, United States of America (“United States”), represented by Burns & Levinson LLP, United States of America.
Respondent is Data LLC, Data Guardian LLC, United States.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <geicowarrantyco.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 22, 2021. On October 25, 2021, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On October 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 Complainant on October 26, 2021 providing the registrant and contact information disclosed by the Registrar, and inviting Complainant to submit an amendment to the Complaint. Complainant filed an amendment to the Complaint on October 31, 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 Respondent of the Complaint, and the proceedings commenced on November 15, 2021. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was December 5, 2021. Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified Respondent’s default on December 6, 2021.
The Center appointed Michael A. Albert as the sole panelist in this matter on December 17, 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
Complainant is an internationally known insurance provider who has provided its insurance services – including insurance brokerage and underwriting for automobiles, motorcycles, homeowners, renters, condominiums, mobile homes, commercial properties, overseas travel, floods, and boats – throughout the United States under the trademark GEICO since at least 1948.
Complainant holds trademark registrations for its trademark GEICO, including trademarks registered with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, e.g., Registration No. 763274, registered on January 14, 1964, and Registration No. 2601179, registered on July 30, 2002, as well as a trademark registered with the European Union Intellectual Property Office, Registration No. 1178718, registered on September 4, 2013, and an International Registration, No. 1178718, registered on September 4, 2013.
Through extensive use and promotional activities, the trademark GEICO has become uniquely associated with Complainant and its services. Complainant has over 17 million policies and insures more than 28 million vehicles. Complainant also has over 40,000 employees, and is one of the fastest-growing auto insurers in the United States.
Complainant maintains various social media accounts under its GEICO mark, including on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, and LinkedIn, each of which garner tens of thousands, and in some cases millions, of followers.
In connection with its insurance products and services, Complainant has established a website located at “www.geico.com”, which Complainant uses to promote and sell its insurance services under its GEICO trademark. The “www.geico.com” website enables computer users to: access information regarding Complainant’s insurance services, manage their policies and claims, learn more about Complainant, and obtain insurance quotes.
This disputed domain name <geicowarrantyco.com> was registered on November 21, 2020. The disputed domain name resolves to a parked registrar page indicating the disputed domain name may be available for sale.
5. Parties’ Contentions
The disputed domain name incorporates the distinctive GEICO trademark and is therefore identical or confusingly similar to the GEICO trademark, notwithstanding the inclusion of the generic or descriptive terms “warranty” and “co”.
Respondent lacks rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name because there is no evidence that: (i) Respondent’s use of, or demonstrable preparations to use, the disputed domain name relates to a bona fide offering of goods or services; (ii) Respondent is commonly known by the disputed domain name; or; (iii) Respondent is making a legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the disputed domain name.
Complainant has not given Respondent authorization for the use of its GEICO trademark in any form, nor does the Respondent offer any legitimate GEICO services on the website to which the disputed domain name resolves.
Respondent’s incorporation of Complainant’s famous, widely-known GEICO trademark into the disputed domain name creates a presumption of bad faith. The offer for sale of the disputed domain name in these circumstances is suggestive of bad faith, and it is implausible the disputed domain name was registered for legitimate speculation, rather than to specifically target Complainant.
Respondent did not reply to Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The disputed domain name is confusingly similar to Complainant’s well-known GEICO mark because it contains the entirety of Complainant’s mark with the addition of “warranty” and “co”, and the generic Top‑Level Domain (“gTLD”) “.com”. Numerous UDRP panels deciding cases under the Policy have held that the incorporation of a complainant’s well-known mark in full in a disputed domain name is a compelling factor in favor of a finding of confusing similarity, and that the addition of other terms does not prevent a finding of confusing similarity. See National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing, Inc. v. Racing Connection / The Racin’ Connection, Inc., WIPO Case No. D2007-1524. See also, WIPO Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions, Third Edition (“WIPO Overview 3.0”), section 1.7 and 1.8.
The Panel finds that Complainant has satisfied paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Policy.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
Respondent is not known by Complainant’s mark. Complainant confirms that it has not authorized Respondent’s use of the GEICO trademark or the registration of the disputed domain name. Respondent did not respond to the Complaint. Complainant satisfied its burden to make a prima facie case, which Respondent failed to rebut. See WIPO Overview 3.0, section 2.1.
The Panel finds that Complainant has satisfied paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
Respondent uses the disputed domain name primarily for the purpose of selling it through a domain name marketplace to unfairly profit from Complainant’s reputation, in violation of the Policy. Complainant’s trademark registrations predate the registrations of the disputed domain name. Given the long use and fame of Complainant’s GEICO marks, Respondent clearly knew or should have known of the GEICO mark at the time Respondent registered and used the disputed domain name. Such knowledge is sufficient to establish that the disputed domain name was registered and is being used by Respondent in bad faith.
The Panel finds that Complainant has satisfied 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 <geicowarrantyco.com> be transferred to Complainant.
Michael A. Albert
Date: December 30, 2021