WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center

ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION

Instagram, LLC v. Ruthless Dummy

Case No. D2021-4170

1. The Parties

The Complainant is Instagram, LLC, United States of America, represented by Tucker Ellis, LLP, United States of America.

The Respondent is Ruthless Dummy, Turkey.

2. The Domain Name and Registrar

The disputed domain name <lnstagram-copyright-verify.com> is registered with Atak Domain Hosting Internet ve Bilgi Teknolojileri Limited Sirketi d/b/a Atak Teknoloji (the “Registrar”).

3. Procedural History

The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on December 12, 2021. On December 13, 2021, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On December 22, 2021, the Registrar transmitted by email to the Center its verification response confirming that the Respondent is listed as the registrant and providing the contact details.

The Center verified that 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 23, 2021. 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 14, 2022.

The Center appointed Angelica Lodigiani as the sole panelist in this matter on January 24, 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 operates the Instagram social networking service and mobile application. Instagram enables its users to create their own personal profiles, post photos and videos, and connect with each other on their mobile devices. The Complainant also offers account verification services, a feature that allows users to find more easily the real accounts of public figures, celebrities and brands on Instagram, thus avoiding fake profiles.

The Instagram website is currently the 23rd most visited website in the world, and the Instagram app is ranked among the top “apps” in the market. Instagram has more than 500 million daily active accounts and more than one billion monthly active users from all over the world.

The Complainant started using the INSTAGRAM mark in 2010. The Complainant is the owner of numerous worldwide registrations for the INSTAGRAM mark, among which are the following:

MARK

Jurisdiction

Filing Date

Reg. Date

Reg. No.

INSTAGRAM

US

September 19, 2011

May 22, 2012

4,146,057

INSTAGRAM

US

September 19, 2011

July 10, 2012

4,170,675

INSTAGRAM

US

October 24, 2013

June 16, 2015

4,756,754

INSTAGRAM

US

March 4, 2013

August 18, 2015

4,795,634

INSTAGRAM

US

June 20, 2013

September 29, 2015

4,822,600

INSTAGRAM

US

June 20, 2013

October 6, 2015

4,827,509

INSTAGRAM

US

June 20, 2013

November 17, 2015

4,856,047

INSTAGRAM

US

June 20, 2013

December 1, 2015

4,863,594

INSTAGRAM

US

June 20, 2013

December 1, 2015

4,863,595

INSTAGRAM

US

June 20, 2013

September 18, 2018

5,566,030

INSTAGRAM

US

August 14, 2015

August 9, 2016

5,019,151

INSTAGRAM

US

August 14, 2015

November 22, 2016

5,088,532

INSTAGRAM

US

September 9, 2016

April 11, 2017

5,181,545

INSTAGRAM

US

January 12, 2017

August 8, 2017

5,260,677

INSTAGRAM

US

September 27, 2018

September 24, 2019

5,869,731

INSTAGRAM

AU, CH, EM, IL, JP, KR, NO, SG, TR

September 19, 2011

March 15, 2012

1129314

INSTAGRAM

(stylized)

EU

September 3, 2013

March 6, 2014

012111746

INSTAGRAM

EU

August 20, 2015

December 24, 2015

014493886

INSTAGRAM (stylized)

EU

August 25, 2015

November 1, 2016

014502256

INSTAGRAM

EU

March 9, 2017

June 21, 2017

016449415

INSTAGRAM

EU

January 25, 2018

January 24, 2019

017739392

INSTAGRAM

EU

October 26, 2018

April 19, 2019

017972897

INSTAGRAM

(stylized)

EU

November 15, 2019

May 22, 2020

018153502

The disputed domain name was registered on February 2, 2021 and resolves to an inactive website.

5. Parties’ Contentions

A. Complainant

The Complainant maintains that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to the INSTAGRAM mark as it reproduces the letters “nstagram” preceded by the lowercase letter “l”, which is closely similar to the capital letter “I”. The additional terms “copyright” and “verify” are descriptive words that do not remove the otherwise confusing similarity between the disputed domain name and the mark. Likewise, the hyphens does not change that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to Complainant’s INSTAGRAM mark.

The Complainant also contends that the Respondent lacks rights and legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. The Complainant neither licensed nor authorized the Respondent to use the Complainant’s trademark. The Complainant does not have any legal relationship with the Complainant that would entitle the Respondent to use the Complainant’s trademark. Furthermore, the Respondent is not commonly known by the disputed domain name and is not making a bona fide offering of goods or services, nor a legitimate noncommercial or fair use of it. The Respondent is passively holding the disputed domain name and the latter is on a blacklist for prior use in relation to spam, malware, or other bad conduct.

Lastly, the Complainant states that the disputed domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith. The INSTAGRAM trademark is renowned and uniquely associated to the Complainant. It is not conceivable that the Respondent registered the disputed domain name without being aware of the Complainant’s trademark. The registration of a confusingly similar domain name that is obviously connected with a particular trademark owner by someone with no connection with the trademark suggests bad faith. Furthermore, the non-use of a domain name that is confusingly similar to a complainant’s mark constitutes use in bad faith.

B. Respondent

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

6. Discussion and Findings

A. Identical or Confusingly Similar

The Panel finds that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to the Complainant’s trademark INSTAGRAM. The disputed domain name consists of the word “lnstagram”, where the first letter is a lowercase letter “l”, which is practically identical to a capital letter “i”. A domain name which consists of misspelling of a trademark is considered by panels to be confusingly similar to the relevant mark for purposes of the first element, see section 1.9 of WIPO Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions, Third Edition (“WIPO Overview 3.0”). The addition of the words “copyright” and “verify”, and of the two hyphens separating each single word of the disputed domain name, does not prevent a finding of confusing similarity, see section 1.8 of WIPO Overview 3.0.

In light of the foregoing, the Panel is satisfied that the fist condition under the Policy is met.

B. Rights or Legitimate Interests

While the overall burden of proof rests with the complainant, UDRP panels have recognized that this could result in the often impossible task of proving a negative, requiring information that is often primarily within the knowledge of the respondent. As such, where a complainant makes a prima facie case that the respondent lacks rights or legitimate interests, the burden of production shifts to the respondent to come forward with relevant evidence demonstrating rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name.

The Panel finds that the Respondent is not authorized to reflect the Complainant’s trademark in the disputed domain name, and that the Respondent does not appear to have been commonly known by the name “Instagram-copyright-verify”.

When this Complaint was filed, the disputed domain name did not resolve to an active webpage. Furthermore, as the disputed domain name is blacklisted, it is evident that it was previously used in connection with some kind of bad conduct.

The Respondent had the opportunity to rebut the Complainant’s arguments in support of the Respondent’s lack of rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name, but failed to do so by not filing a Response.

In view of all the circumstances mentioned above, the Panel finds that the Complainant has at least made a prima facie case that the Respondent lacks rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name.

Therefore, the Panel opines that also the second condition under the Policy is met.

C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith

The Panel agrees with the Respondent that the disputed domain name was registered and has been used in bad faith.

As far as registration is concerned, the Panel finds that the Complainant’s trademark is highly distinctive and enjoys wide reputation. The INSTAGRAM mark is uniquely associated to the Complainant and the disputed domain name is a typosquatting of the Complainant’s trademark as it contains an almost identical term where only the first letter “i” has been replaced by a capital letter “l”. As a result, it is impossible for the Internet user to distinguish the word “Instagram” in the disputed domain name from the Complainant’s trademark INSTAGRAM. The registration of a domain name so closely similar to the Complainant’s renown trademark without authorization and rights or legitimate interests is a clear evidence of registration in bad faith.

As far as use is concerned, the Panel notes that at the time of the filing of the Complaint, the disputed domain name did not lead to an active website. Previous UDRP panels have held that the use of a domain name for purposes other than to host a website may constitute bad faith. According to section 3.3 of WIPO Overview 3.0, “factors that have been considered relevant in applying the passive holding doctrine include: “(i) the degree of distinctiveness or reputation of the complainant’s mark, (ii) the failure of the respondent to submit a response or to provide any evidence of actual or contemplated good-faith use, (iii) the respondent’s concealing its identity or use of false contact details (noted to be in breach of its registration agreement), and (iv) the implausibility of any good faith use to which the domain name may be put”.

In the case at issue, the Complainant’s mark is highly distinctive and enjoys wide reputation. Furthermore, the Respondent did not submit a response and did not provide evidence of actual or contemplated bona fide use. Rather, there is evidence submitted by the Complainant showing that the disputed domain name is blacklisted, which means that it was previously used in connection with some kind of bad conduct.

Last but not least, the disputed domain name itself, contains words clearly referring to the contents of the Complainant’s Instagram’s platform (“copyright”), and the services provided by the Complainant (“verify”). This is evidence of a clear intent of the Respondent to falsely impersonate the Complainant in order to mislead Internet users searching for the Complainant, and redirect them to its website for some kind of bad faith use.

In light of the above, the Panel is satisfied that also the third condition under the Policy is met.

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, <lnstagram-copyright-verify.com> be transferred to the Complainant.

Angelica Lodigiani
Sole Panelist
Date: February 7, 2022