WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center

ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION

American Airlines, Inc. v. Super Privacy Service LTD c/o Dynadot / Mengdan Qian

Case No. D2021-4086

1. The Parties

The Complainant is American Airlines, Inc., United States of America (“United States”), represented by Greenberg Traurig, LLP, United States.

The Respondent is Super Privacy Service LTD c/o Dynadot, United States / Mengdan Qian, China.

2. The Domain Name and Registrar

The disputed domain name <faportalaa.com> is registered with Dynadot, LLC (the “Registrar”).

3. Procedural History

The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on December 7, 2021. On December 7, 2021, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On December 8, 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 14, 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 December 19, 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 December 23, 2022. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was January 12, 2022. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on January 19, 2022.

The Center appointed Taras Kyslyy, as the sole panelist in this matter on February 3, 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 an air carrier and enjoys reputation in the United States and internationally as a premier airline for business and leisure travelers. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Complainant and its affiliates served over 350 destinations in over fifty countries, with nearly 7,000 daily flights. For decades the Complainant has continuously used its brands AMERICAN, AMERICAN AIRLINES, AA (an abbreviation of AMERICAN AIRLINES) and AA.COM, both alone and in connection with other words and designs. The Complainant owns and operates the domain names <AA.com> and <AmericanAirlines.com>, in addition to numerous other domains incorporating the AA Marks.

The Complainant also has a website portal dedicated to American Airlines flight crews and flight attendants (sometimes abbreviated “FA”) to login and find information about their flight schedules among other information, located at “FAportal.AA.com”.

The Complainant owns multiple trademark registrations in various jurisdictions for AA mark, for instance the United States registration No. 514,292, registered on August 23, 1949.

The disputed domain name was registered on February 14, 2021, and resolves to a webpage with pay-per-click (“PPC”) links.

5. Parties’ Contentions

A. Complainant

The disputed domain name is identical or confusingly similar to the Complainant’s trademark. The disputed domain name incorporates the Complainant’s famous trademark in full, changing the mark only by adding the generic top-level domain (“gTLD”) “.com” and generic wording “FA portal” which is associated with the Complainant’s services. The Respondent’s addition of “FAportal” before the Complainant’s famous AA mark does not distinguish the disputed domain name but instead increases the likelihood of confusion, as “FAportal” is associated with and describe Complainant’s AA FA Portal Page and is virtually identical to the URL for the AA FA Portal Page located at “FAportal.AA.com”, including the Complainant’s AA FA Portal Page for its flight attendants at “FAportal.AA.com”.

The Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. Without the Complainant’s authorization or consent, the Respondent registered the disputed domain name which, misappropriates and is confusingly similar to the Complainant’s trademark. The Respondent is not commonly known by the disputed domain name, has not used or prepared to use the disputed domain name in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services, and has not been authorized, licensed, or otherwise permitted by the Complainant to register and/or use the disputed domain name. The Respondent has never operated any bona fide or legitimate business under the disputed domain name, and is not making a protected non-commercial or fair use of the disputed domain name. Instead, the Respondent is using the disputed domain name to divert Internet traffic to websites that contain “PPC” or affiliate advertising links for the Respondent’s commercial gain. This use of the disputed domain name to generate PPC or affiliate advertising revenue for the Respondent does not demonstrate rights or legitimate interests and does not constitute a protected noncommercial or fair use of the disputed domain name, even if the advertised web pages offer goods or services that are unrelated to the Complainant’s business. The Respondent is not in any way associated with, or authorized by, the Complainant in connection with the Complainant’s trademark and the Complainant’s services. There are no prior trademark applications or registrations in the name of the Respondent for any mark incorporating the Complainant’s trademark anywhere in the world.

The disputed domain name was registered and is being used in bad faith. Long after the Complainant established its rights in its famous trademark, and with its knowledge, the Respondent acquired the confusingly similar disputed domain name to redirect Internet traffic to websites with links displaying the Complainant’s trademark and promoting PPC or affiliate advertising links for the Respondent’s commercial gain. The mere fact that the Respondent has registered the disputed domain name which incorporates the famous Complainant’s trademark of the largest airline in the world is alone sufficient to give rise to an inference of bad faith. The Respondent had constructive knowledge of the Complainant’s trademark because of the Complainant’s trademark registrations where the Respondent is purportedly located in the United States. The disputed domain name has active mail exchange records, which indicate use for email, which evidences a likelihood of additional bad faith use of the disputed domain name to engage in fraudulent email or phishing communications. The disputed domain name is so obviously connected with the Complainant and its services provided under the famous Complainant’s trademark, that its use by the Respondent, with no connection to the Complainant, establishes an inference of the Respondent’s prior knowledge of the Complainant’s trademark and opportunistic bad faith. Use of a privacy or proxy registration service by the Respondent to shield its identity and elude enforcement efforts by legitimate trademark owner demonstrates the Respondent’s bad faith use and registration of the disputed domain name. The previous panels found that the same Respondent here, Mengdan Qian / Super Privacy Service LTD, registered and used several domain names incorporating well known marks in bad faith to redirect Internet traffic to PPC advertising websites for the Respondent’s commercial gain, which confirms that the Respondent is engaged in a pattern of bad faith registration and use of disputed domain names that incorporate well known marks, including the Complainant’s famous trademark.

B. Respondent

The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.

6. Discussion and Findings

A. Identical or Confusingly Similar

According to section 1.11.1 of the WIPO Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions, Third Edition (the “WIPO Overview 3.0”) the applicable gTLD in a domain name (e.g., “.com”, “.club”, “.nyc”) is viewed as a standard registration requirement and as such is disregarded under the first element confusing similarity test. Thus, the Panel disregards gTLD “.com” for the purposes of the confusing similarity test.

According to section 1.7 of the WIPO Overview 3.0 in cases where a domain name incorporates the entirety of a trademark the domain name will normally be considered identical or confusingly similar to that mark for purposes of UDRP standing. The Panel finds that in the present case the disputed domain name incorporates the entirety of the Complainant’s trademark.

According to section 1.8 of the WIPO Overview 3.0 where the relevant trademark is recognizable within the disputed domain name, the addition of other terms (whether descriptive, geographical, pejorative, meaningless, or otherwise) would not prevent a finding of confusing similarity under the first element. According to section 1.15 of the WIPO Overview 3.0 previous panels have also found that the overall facts and circumstances of a case (including relevant website content) may support a finding of confusing similarity, particularly where it appears that the respondent registered the domain name precisely because it believed that the domain name was confusingly similar to a mark held by the complainant. In the present case the disputed domain name consists of the words “fa” and “portal” and the Complainant’s trademark AA to form a copy of the Complainant’s sub-domain “faportal.aa.com”. Under such circumstances the Panel finds that the Complainant’s trademark is recognizable within the disputed domain name and the copying of the Complainant’s sub-domain confirms that the Respondent registered the disputed domain name precisely because it believed that it was confusingly similar to the Complainant’s trademark.

Considering the above the Panel finds the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to the Complainant’s trademark, therefore, the Complainant has established its case under paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Policy.

B. Rights or Legitimate Interests

The Complainant has established prima facie that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name.

Furthermore, the Respondent provided no evidence that it holds rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name.

The Respondent is not commonly known by the disputed domain name, which could demonstrate its rights or legitimate interests (see, e.g., World Natural Bodybuilding Federation, Inc. v. Daniel Jones, TheDotCafe,/ Victoria McCann / Robert Hope, WIPO Case No. D2008-0642).

The Complainant did not license or otherwise agree for use of its prior registered trademarks by the Respondent, thus no actual or contemplated bona fide or legitimate use of the disputed domain name could be reasonably claimed (see, e.g., Sportswear Company S.P.A. v. Tang Hong, WIPO Case No. D2014-1875).

According to section 2.9 of the WIPO Overview 3.0 the use of a domain name to host a parked page comprising PPC links does not represent a bona fide offering where such links compete with or capitalize on the reputation and goodwill of the complainant’s mark or otherwise mislead Internet users. The Panel finds this applies to the present case.

Considering the above the Panel finds the Respondent does not have rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. Therefore, the Complainant has established its case under paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy.

C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith

According to section 3.2.2 of the WIPO Overview 3.0 further factors including the nature of the domain name, the chosen top-level domain, any use of the domain name, or any respondent pattern, may obviate a respondent’s claim not to have been aware of the complainant’s mark. In the present case the Respondent copied the Complainants subdomain including the Complainant’s trademark in the disputed domain name. Moreover, previous UDRP panels found that the same Respondent1 registered and used several domain names incorporating third party marks in bad faith, which confirms the Respondent’s pattern. Thus, the Panel finds that in the present case the Respondent was aware and targeted the Complainant and its trademark when registering the disputed domain name, which is bad faith.

According to paragraph 4(b)(iv) of the Policy the following circumstances, in particular but without limitation, if found by the Panel to be present, shall be evidence of the registration and use of a domain name in bad faith: by using the domain name, you have intentionally attempted to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to your website or other online location, by creating a likelihood of confusion with the Complainant’s mark as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation, or endorsement of your website or location or of a product or service on your website or location. Using the disputed domain name to host a PPC parking page the Respondent creates a likelihood of confusion with the Complainant’s trademark and potentially obtains revenue from this practice. Under such circumstances the Panel finds that the disputed domain name is being used in bad faith.

Moreover, the Respondent used a privacy service to register the disputed domain name. According to section 3.6 of the WIPO Overview 3.0, the use of a privacy or proxy service merely to avoid being notified of a UDRP proceeding, may support an inference of bad faith; a respondent filing a response may refute such inference. However, no such response was provided by the Respondent. The Panel finds that such use of the privacy service here confirms registration of the disputed domain name in bad faith.

Considering the above the Panel finds the disputed domain name was registered and is being used in bad faith. Therefore, the Complainant has established its case under paragraph 4(a)(iii) of the Policy.

7. Decision

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, <faportalaa.com> be transferred to the Complainant.

Taras Kyslyy
Sole Panelist
Date: February 11, 2022


1 See Valvoline Licensing and Intellectual Property LLC v. Super Privacy Service LTD c/o Dynadot / Mengdan Qian, WIPO Case No. D2020-1542; Barracuda Networks, Inc. v. Super Privacy Service LTD c/o Dynadot / Mengdan Qian, WIPO Case No. D2020-2290.