WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Rocket Mortgage, LLC v. Privacy service provided by Withheld for Privacy ehf / William Weatherall
Case No. D2021-3538
1. The Parties
Complainant is Rocket Mortgage, LLC, United States of America (“United States” or “US”), represented by Dykema Gossett PLLC, United States.
Respondent is Privacy service provided by Withheld for Privacy ehf, Iceland / William Weatherall, United States.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <quickloans-now.com> (the “Domain Name”) is registered with NameCheap, Inc. (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 Domain Name. On October 25, 2021, the Registrar transmitted by email to the Center its verification response disclosing registrant and contact information for the Domain Name which differed from the named Respondent and contact information in the Complaint. The Center sent an email to Complainant on November 10, 2021, providing the registrant and contact information disclosed by the Registrar, and inviting Complainant to submit an amendment to the Complaint. Complainant filed a First amended Complaint on November 12, 2021. Subsequently, Complainant filed a Second Amended Complaint on November 15, 2021.
The Center verified that the Complaint together with the First and Second amended Complaints 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 17, 2021. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was December 7, 2021. Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified Respondent’s default on December 15, 2021.
The Center appointed Robert A. Badgley as the sole panelist in this matter on December 21, 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 has been a consumer loan and mortgage provider for more than 20 years. According to the Complaint, for several years Complainant has been “the leading mortgage lender by value in the United States.” In 2020, Complainant closed over USD 300 billion in mortgage volume across the United States. Complainant operates a commercial website at the domain name <quickenloans.com>.
Complainant holds various trademark registrations for QUICKEN LOANS in connection with consumer lending services, mortgage lending, loan financing, and related services, including United States Patent and Trademark Office Reg. No. 2,528,282 (registered on January 8, 2002 with a date of first use in commerce of January 10, 2000).
The Domain Name was registered on March 3, 2021. The Domain Name does not resolve to an active website. According to Complainant, however, Respondent is using the Domain Name “to send unsolicited text messages requesting payments.” Annexed to the Complaint is a screenshot reflecting one such solicitation, in the form of a text message stating: “Last Chance Reminder – Payment Collection,” followed by a hyperlink featuring the Domain Name and other characters.
According to Complainant, Respondent is using these unsolicited text messages to deceive consumers and obtain personal information. Complainant also states that Respondent has no relationship with Complainant, and that Respondent is not licensed or otherwise authorized to use the QUICKEN LOANS trademark in a domain name or otherwise.
Complainant also asserts that Respondent’s contact information provided in the Whois database is false. For example, there was no “William Weatherall” located at the address provided in the Whois database. The only person with such a name in the entire state of Mississippi had died in 2003. Moreover, the street address provided by Respondent does not correspond to the Zip Code indicated.
5. Parties’ Contentions
Complainant contends that it has proven all three elements required under the Policy for a transfer of the Domain Name.
Respondent did not reply to Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
Paragraph 4(a) of the Policy lists the three elements which Complainant must satisfy with respect to the Domain Name:
(i) the Domain Name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which Complainant has rights; and
(ii) Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Domain Name; and
(iii) the Domain Name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The Panel concludes that Complainant has rights in the trademark QUICKEN LOANS through registration and use demonstrated in the record. The Panel also concludes that the Domain Name is confusingly similar to that mark. The Domain Name merely removes two letters (“en”) from the QUICKEN LOANS mark, and appends a hyphen and the word “now.” In the Panel’s view, the QUICKEN LOANS mark, even in this slightly modified form, is clearly recognizable within the Domain Name, and the additional word “now” does little or nothing to reduce the confusing similarity between the Domain Name and the mark.
Complainant has established Policy paragraph 4(a)(i).
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
Pursuant to paragraph 4(c) of the Policy, Respondent may establish its rights or legitimate interests in the Domain Name, among other circumstances, by showing any of the following elements:
(i) before any notice to you [Respondent] of the dispute, your use of, or demonstrable preparations to use, the Domain Name or a name corresponding to the Domain Name in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services; or
(ii) you [Respondent] (as an individual, business, or other organization) have been commonly known by the Domain Name, even if you have acquired no trademark or service mark rights; or
(iii) you [Respondent] are making a legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the Domain Name, without intent for commercial gain to misleadingly divert consumers or to tarnish the trademark or service mark at issue.
The Panel concludes that Respondent lacks rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Domain Name. Respondent has not come forward to articulate or prove some bona fide reason for registering the Domain Name. It is undisputed that Respondent has no authority from Complainant to register the Domain Name. It is also undisputed that Respondent provided false contact information in the Whois database. Finally, the only evidence of use of the Domain Name in this record is Respondent’s transmittal of unsolicited text messages suggesting (falsely) to the recipient that he or she owes payment on a debt and should therefore click on the hyperlink provided. This conduct bears all the hallmarks of a fraudulent undertaking.
Complainant has established Policy paragraph 4(a)(iii).
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
Paragraph 4(b) of the Policy provides that the following circumstances, “in particular but without limitation,” are evidence of the registration and use of the Domain Name in “bad faith”:
(i) circumstances indicating that Respondent has registered or has acquired the Domain Name primarily for the purpose of selling, renting, or otherwise transferring the Domain Name registration to Complainant who is the owner of the trademark or service mark or to a competitor of that Complainant, for valuable consideration in excess of its documented out of pocket costs directly related to the Domain Name; or
(ii) that 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 Respondent has engaged in a pattern of such conduct; or
(iii) that Respondent has registered the Domain Name primarily for the purpose of disrupting the business of a competitor; or
(iv) that by using the Domain Name, Respondent has intentionally attempted 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 of a product or service on Respondent’s website or location.
The Panel concludes, under the Policy and the record presented here, that Respondent has registered and used the Domain Name in bad faith. Based on the notoriety of Complainant’s 20-year-old trademark and the content of the unsolicited text messages (i.e., pertaining to loan repayment), it seems rather obvious that Respondent had Complainant’s QUICKEN LOANS mark in mind when registering the Domain Name.
As respects bad faith use of the Domain Name, the Panel incorporates its comments from the previous section. The undisputed record here points to a likely phishing or fraud scheme being undertaken by Respondent. The Panel finds that such conduct constitutes bad faith within the meaning of the above-quoted Policy paragraph 4(b)(iv).
Complainant has established 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 Domain Name <quickloans-now.com> be transferred to Complainant.
Robert A. Badgley
Date: December 30, 2021