WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center

ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION

Keurig Green Mountain, Inc. v. Domain Administrator, See PrivacyGuardian.org / Ling Liu

Case No. D2021-4095

1. The Parties

The Complainant is Keurig Green Mountain, Inc., United States of America (“United States”), represented by Schwegman Lundberg & Woessner, P.A., United States.

The Respondent is Domain Administrator, See PrivacyGuardian.org, United States / Ling Liu, China.

2. The Domain Names and Registrar

The disputed domain names <keurigmakersale.com>, <keurigmakers.com>, and <keurigmakerssale.com> are registered with NameSilo, 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 names. On December 7, 2021, the Registrar transmitted by email to the Center its verification response disclosing registrant and contact information for the disputed domain names 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 amendment to the Complaint on December 20, 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 January 7, 2022. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was January 27, 2022. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on January 28, 2022.

The Center appointed Andrew F. Christie as the sole panelist in this matter on February 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 headquartered in Massachusetts, United States, and is a subsidiary of Keurig Dr Pepper, Inc., one of the largest food and beverage companies in the world. The Complainant’s business offers goods and services including coffee, coffee machines, beverage preparation machines, storage containers, carafes, travel mugs, dairy-based beverages, and retail online store services featuring coffee products.

The Complainant is the owner of numerous trademark registrations, including United States Trademark Registration No. 2057361 (registered on April 29, 1997), for the word trademark KEURIG, and United States Trademark Registration No. 5735169 (registered on April 23, 2019), for the stylized trademark KEURIG.

The Complainant has developed a significant presence on the Internet and operates a website using the domain name <keurig.com>, which was registered on August 21, 1996.

The disputed domain name <keurigmakersale.com> was registered on November 16, 2021, the disputed domain name <keurigmakers.com> was registered on November 13, 2021, and the disputed domain name <keurigmakerssale.com> was registered on November 17, 2021. The Complainant has provided screenshots, taken on November 24, 2021, showing that each of the disputed domain names resolved to a page displaying the KEURIG stylized trademark and the KEURIG word trademark, and offering for sale Keurig-branded coffee brewers, coffee pods, and other coffee-related products. At the time of this decision, it appears that none of the disputed domain names resolve to an active website.

5. Parties’ Contentions

A. Complainant

The Complainant made the following contentions to establish that the disputed domain names are confusingly similar to a trademark in which the Complainant has rights. Each of the disputed domain names incorporates the Complainant’s KEURIG word trademark in its entirety, and the inclusion of “maker”, “makers”, and/or “sale” in the disputed domain names is clearly insufficient to distinguish or differentiate each of them from the Complainant’s KEURIG trademarks, given that the KEURIG trademarks are associated with making and selling coffee and coffee machines. As such, adding “maker”, “makers”, and/or “sale” will likely further confuse consumers into thinking the disputed domain names are associated with the Complainant and the Complainant’s goods and services, or with an authorized distributor of the Complainant’s goods. The public is likely to believe that there is some connection, sponsorship, affiliation, or association between the disputed domain names and the Complainant and its well-known trademarks.

The Complainant made the following contentions to establish that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain names. The disputed domain names are confusingly similar to the KEURIG trademarks, and each of the disputed domain names directs to a webpage improperly utilizing the KEURIG trademarks, without the Complainant’s authorization, in an attempt to sell coffee brewers, coffee, and associated products that are identical to the goods and services sold by the Complainant. The Complainant has given the Respondent no authorization or license to use its registered or common law marks, and there exists no connection between the parties. There is no evidence that the Respondent has been commonly known by the disputed domain names or has any trademark rights to them. In fact, it is clear that the Complainant has developed significant rights to the KEURIG trademarks over the past 24 or more years.

The Complainant made the following contentions to establish that the disputed domain names were registered and are being used in bad faith. The disputed domain names were registered in November 2021, more than 24 years after the Complainant first adopted and used its well-known KEURIG trademarks and more than 24 years after the Complainant registered its similar domain name <keurig.com>. The disputed domain names direct to websites which resemble the Complainant’s website at “www.keurig.com”, and which improperly use the KEURIG trademarks, to offer for sale the Complainant’s goods. The websites resolving from the disputed domain names prominently display the Complainant’s KEURIG trademarks in the banner of the websites, giving the impression that they are the Complainant’s official website. The Respondent has intentionally attempted to attract Internet users, for commercial gain, to the Respondent’s websites by creating a likelihood of confusion as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation or endorsement of the Respondent’s websites with the Complainant’s KEURIG trademarks and the Complainant’s own website.

B. Respondent

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

6. Discussion and Findings

A. Identical or Confusingly Similar

Once the generic Top-Level Domain (“gTLD”) “.com” is ignored (which is appropriate in this case), each of the three disputed domain names consist of the whole of the Complainant’s registered word trademark KEURIG followed by a word or word string – being either “makersale”, “makerssale” or “makers”. The Complainant’s word trademark KEURIG is clearly recognizable within each of the disputed domain names. The addition of the word or word strings does not prevent a finding of confusing similarity of the disputed domain names with the Complainant’s word trademark.

Accordingly, the Panel finds that each of the disputed domain names is confusingly similar to a trademark in which the Complainant has rights.

B. Rights or Legitimate Interests

The Respondent is not a licensee of the Complainant, is not otherwise affiliated with the Complainant, and has not been authorized by the Complainant to use its KEURIG trademark. The Respondent has not provided any evidence that it has been commonly known by, or has made a bona fide use of, the disputed domain names, or that it has, for any other reason, rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain names. The evidence provided by the Complainant shows that the disputed domain names have been used to resolve to websites at which the Complainant’s coffee-related goods and services are offered for sale. Given the confusing similarity of the disputed domain names to the Complainant’s trademark, the absence of any relationship between the Respondent and the Complainant, and the risk of implied false affiliation with the Complainant, the Respondent’s use of the disputed domain names is neither a bona fide use nor a legitimate noncommercial or fair use.

The Complainant has put forward a prima facie case that the Respondent lacks rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain names, and the Respondent has not rebutted this. Accordingly, the Panel finds that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain names.

C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith

The disputed domain names were registered many years after the Complainant first registered its KEURIG word trademark. It is inconceivable that the Respondent registered the disputed domain names ignorant of the existence of the Complainant’s KEURIG trademark, given that the disputed domain names consist of the Complainant’s trademark with the addition of descriptive words or word strings that relate to the Complainant’s business, and that the Respondent has used the disputed domain names to resolve to websites containing the Complainant’s trademarks and offering the Complainant’s coffee-related goods and services for sale.

Given the Respondent’s lack of rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain names, and the confusing similarity of the disputed domain names to the Complainant’s trademarks, any use of the disputed domain names by the Respondent almost certainly implies an affiliation with the Complainant that does not exist, and so would be a use in bad faith.

Furthermore, the evidence on the record provided by the Complainant indicates that the Respondent has used each of the disputed domain names in an attempt to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to a website by creating confusion in the minds of the public as to an association between the websites and the Complainant.

Accordingly, the Panel finds that the disputed domain names have been registered and are being used in bad faith.

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 names, <keurigmakersale.com>, <keurigmakers.com>, and <keurigmakerssale.com>, be transferred to the Complainant.

Andrew F. Christie
Sole Panelist
Date: February 24, 2022