WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Cintas Corporation v. Domain Admin, Privacy Protect, LLC (PrivacyProtect.org) / Domain Admin, Domain Privacy Guard Sociedad Anónima Ltd
Case No. D2021-4052
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Cintas Corporation, United States of America (“United States”), represented by Keating Muething & Klekamp PLL, United States.
The Respondent is Domain Admin, Privacy Protect, LLC (PrivacyProtect.org), United States / Domain Admin, Domain Privacy Guard Sociedad Anónima Ltd, Panama.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <cintasjobs.com> (the “Disputed Domain Name”) is registered with PDR Ltd. d/b/a PublicDomainRegistry.com (the “Registrar”).
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on December 3, 2021. On December 6, 2021, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the Disputed Domain Name. On December 7, 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 December 7, 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 amendment to the Complaint on December 9, 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 the Respondent of the Complaint, and the proceedings commenced on December 10, 2021. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was December 30, 2021. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on January 4, 2022.
The Center appointed Nicholas Weston as the sole panelist in this matter on January 11, 2022. 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 United States NASDAQ listed company that operates a business supplying corporate identity uniforms, entrance mats, restroom supplies, tile and carpet cleaning products, promotional products, first aid, safety, and fire protection products and services for more than 1,000,000 businesses throughout North America, with approximately 41,000 employees, revenues in 2018 of approximately USD 6.5 billion and was ranked 410th in the Fortune Global 500 List in 2021. The Complainant holds a portfolio of registrations for the trademark CINTAS, and variations of it, in several countries, including United States trademark Registration No. 0985550 registered on June 4, 1974.
The Complainant owns numerous domain names that comprise or contain the trademark CINTAS, including the domain name <cintas.com>, registered on August 19, 1995, where it operates its main website, and the domain name <cintas.jobs>, registered on July 23, 2010 which automatically redirects Internet traffic to the sub‑domain <careers.cintas.com>.
The Respondent registered the Disputed Domain Name <cintasjobs.com> on February 7, 2005. The Disputed Domain Name resolves to a pay-per-click (“PPC”) parking page including links to “Cintas Jobs”, “Employment Job Openings”, “Job Postings” and other links about employment opportunities.
5. Parties’ Contentions
The Complainant cites its trademark registrations including United States Registration No. 0985550, registered on June 4, 1974, and numerous other registrations around the world, for the mark CINTAS, as prima facie evidence of ownership.
The Complainant submits that the mark CINTAS is well known and that its rights in that mark predate the Respondent’s registration of the Disputed Domain Name <cintasjobs.com>. It submits that the Disputed Domain Name is confusingly similar to its trademark, because the Disputed Domain Name incorporates in its entirety the CINTAS trademark and that the similarity is not removed by the addition of the word “jobs” or the generic Top-Level Domain (“gTLD”) “.com”.
The Complainant contends that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Disputed Domain Name because “Respondent is not commonly known by the name, ‘cintasjobs’, and it has not acquired any trademark or service mark rights in the name, ‘cintasjobs’. […] and the Complainant has not authorized Respondent to use the name ‘cintasjobs’“.
Finally, the Complainant alleges that the registration and use of the Disputed Domain Name was, and currently is, in bad faith, contrary to the Policy and Rules having regard to the prior use, the well-known nature of the Complainant’s trademark, the use to which the Disputed Domain Name has been put as a PPC parking page and evidence that it is offered for sale for USD 17,779, a sum that would exceed its registration costs.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
Under paragraph 4(a) of the Policy, the Complainant has the burden of proving the following:
(i) that the Disputed Domain Name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which the Complainant has rights; and
(ii) that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Disputed Domain Name; and
(iii) that the Disputed Domain Name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The Complainant has produced sufficient evidence to demonstrate that it has registered trademark rights in the mark CINTAS in numerous countries including the United States. The requirements of the first element for purposes of the Policy may be satisfied by a trademark registered in any country (see WIPO Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected URDP Questions, Third Edition (“WIPO Overview 3.0”), section 1.2.1).
Turning to whether the Disputed Domain Name is identical or confusingly similar to the CINTAS trademark, the Panel observes that the Disputed Domain Name is comprised of: (a) an exact reproduction of the Complainant’s trademark CINTAS; (b) followed by the word “jobs”; (c) followed by the gTLD “.com”.
It is well established that the gTLD used as part of a domain name is generally disregarded unless the gTLD takes on special significance where it has relevance to the analysis (see Autodesk v. MumbaiDomains, WIPO Case No. D2012-0286; Alstom v. WhoisGuard Protected, WhoisGuard, Inc. / Richard Lopez, Marines Supply Inc, WIPO Case No. D2021-0859). The gTLD chosen appears to have no special significance in this proceeding. The relevant comparison to be made is with the second-level portion of the Disputed Domain Name, specifically: “cintasjobs”.
The Panel finds that the Disputed Domain Name is confusingly similar to the Complainant’s CINTAS trademark.Accordingly, the Panel finds that the Complainant has established paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Policy.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
Paragraph 4(c) of the Policy lists the ways that the Respondent may demonstrate rights or legitimate interests in the Disputed Domain Name. The Policy also places the burden on the Complainant to establish the absence of the Respondent’s rights or legitimate interests in the Disputed Domain Name. Because of the inherent difficulties in proving a negative, the consensus view is that the Complainant need only put forward a prima facie case that the Respondent lacks rights or legitimate interests. The burden of production then shifts to the Respondent to rebut that prima facie case (see WIPO Overview 3.0, section 2.1).
The Complainant advises that it has not licensed, permitted or authorized the Respondent to use the trademark CINTAS. The Complainant contends that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Disputed Domain Name and is misleadingly directing Internet users to a PPC landing web page with links advertising: “Employment Job Openings”, “Hiring Job”, “Job Postings”, “Cintas Jobs”, “Job Search”, and “Find Jobs”, thereby illegitimately passing off the owner’s goodwill and reputation for its own benefit.
On any objective view, the Respondent is not a reseller with a legitimate interest in a domain name incorporating a manufacturer’s mark, such that it could meet the tests set out in Oki Data Americas, Inc. v. ASD, Inc., WIPO Case No. D2001-0903. Nor, alternatively, is the Respondent commonly known by the Disputed Domain Name. The Panel finds that because the Disputed Domain Name consists of the Complainant’s trademark in its entirety with the term “jobs”, which refers to employment opportunities with the Complainant’s large organisation, it carries a risk of implied affiliation that cannot constitute fair use given the suggested sponsorship or endorsement by the Complainant (see WIPO Overview 3.0, section 2.5.1).
This Panel finds that the Complainant has made out a prima facie case that the Respondent lacks rights or legitimate interests in the Disputed Domain Name and, in the absence of a Response by the Respondent, the Panel finds for the Complainant on the second element of the Policy.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
The third element of the Policy that the Complainant must also demonstrate is that the Disputed Domain Name has been registered and used in bad faith. Paragraph 4(b) of the Policy sets out certain circumstances to be construed as evidence of both of these conjunctive requirements.
The Panel finds that the evidence in the case shows the Respondent registered and has used the Disputed Domain Name in bad faith.
On the issue of registration, taking into account the composition of the Disputed Domain Name and the content of the PPC website it resolves to, the Panel is satisfied that the Respondent knew of the Complainant’s trademark CINTAS when it registered the Disputed Domain Name (see Cintas Corporation v. Domain Admin, Hush Whois Protection Ltd, WIPO Case No. D2019-2181(“The Complainant’s CINTAS mark is well-known”).
This Panel finds that there is no reason for the Respondent to have registered the Disputed Domain Name other than to trade off the reputation and goodwill of the Complainant’s well-known trademark (see: Charles Jourdan Holding AG v. AAIM, WIPO Case No. D2000-0403 (which held that the domain name in question was “so obviously connected with the Complainant and its products that its very use by someone with no connection with Complainant suggests opportunistic bad faith”).
The diversion of Internet users is also a common example of use in bad faith as referred to in paragraph 4(b)(iv) of the Policy and identified in many previous UDRP decisions (see L’Oréal, Biotherm, Lancôme Parfums et Beauté & Cie v. Unasi, Inc., WIPO Case No. D2005‑0623; Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin, Maison Fondée en 1772 v. The Polygenix Group Co., WIPO Case No. D2000-0163 and Hoffmann-La Roche Inc. v. Samuel Teodorek, WIPO Case No. D2007-1814).
Further, a gap of several years between registration of a complainant’s trademark and respondent’s registration of a disputed domain name (containing the trademark) can indicate bad faith registration (see Asian World of Martial Arts Inc. v. Texas International Property Associates, WIPO Case No. D2007-1415). In this case, the Respondent registered the Disputed Domain Name at least 19 years after the Complainant established trademark rights in the CINTAS mark. The Panel notes that the delay between the registration of the Disputed Domain Name in 2005 and the filing of the Complaint in 2021 does not prevent the Complainant from filing this UDRP proceeding, nor from potentially prevailing on its merits (see WIPO Overview 3.0, section 4.17).
On the issue of use, the evidence is that the Disputed Domain Name resolves to a PPC parking page unconnected with any bona fide supply of goods or services by the Respondent. The Panel surmises that the business model in this case, was for the Respondent to passively collect click-through revenue generated solely from the Complainant’s goodwill and Internet users’ misdirection caused by the incorporation of the Complainant’s trademark in its entirety. Exploitation of the reputation of a trademark to obtain click-through commissions from the diversion of Internet users is a common example of use in bad faith as referred to in paragraph 4(b)(iv) of the Policy and identified in many previous UDRP decisions (see: WIPO Overview 3.0, section 3.5).
The Complainant has also provided evidence that the Respondent is advertising a standing offer to sell the Disputed Domain Name for USD 17,779. The Panel finds this sum is likely to be in excess of the Respondent’s registration costs related to the Disputed Domain Name and, in the absence of the Respondent having an independent right to or legitimate interest in the Disputed Domain Name, or tabling evidence to displace the inference, supports a further finding of bad faith (see: WIPO Overview 3.0, section 3.1.1).
In the absence of any evidence to the contrary, this Panel finds that the Respondent has taken the Complainant’s trademark CINTAS and incorporated it in the Disputed Domain Name without the Complainant’s consent or authorization, for the purpose of capitalizing on the reputation of the trademark by diverting Internet users to a PPC parking web page for commercial gain, and also offering to sell the Disputed Domain Name for a sum in excess of the Respondent’s registration costs related to the Disputed Domain Name.
Accordingly, the Panel finds that the Complainant has satisfied the requirements of 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 <cintasjobs.com> be transferred to the Complainant.
Date: January 13, 2022