WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Vanity Number Leasing, LLC v. Domain Administrator, Registrant of 411painlawyers.com / chen xiansheng
Case No. D2021-4232
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Vanity Number Leasing, LLC, United States of America (“United States”), represented by Fross Zelnick Lehrman & Zissu, PC, United States.
The Respondent is Domain Administrator, Registrant of 411painlawyers.com, United Kingdom / chen xiansheng, Singapore.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <411painlawyers.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 16, 2021. On December 16, 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 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 22, 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 24, 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 27, 2021. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was January 16, 2022. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on January 17, 2022.
The Center appointed Zoltán Takács as the sole panelist in this matter on January 27, 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, itself and/or through its predecessors and licensees has used the 411PAIN family of marks in commerce in the United States, for advertising legal services since as early as 1998.
Among others, the Complainant is owner of the United States Trademark Registration No. 2621497 for the word mark 411PAIN registered on September 17, 2002 for services of classes 35 and 42 of the Nice Agreement Concerning the International Classification of Goods and Services for the Purposes of the Registration of Marks.
The disputed domain name was registered on November 18, 2021 and has been used in connection with promoting a Chinese language website “www.yabocorp.com” and a gambling operator to which the website has apparently been moved.
The language of this administrative proceeding is English, that being the language of the registration agreement.
5. Parties’ Contentions
The Complainant contends that the disputed domain name, which incorporates its 411PAIN trademark is confusingly similar to it since the other element of the disputed domain name is the term “lawyers”.
The Complainant alleges that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name and is unable to rely on any of the circumstances set out in paragraphs 4(c)(i), (ii) or (iii) of the Policy.
The Complainant claims that the Respondent registered and used the disputed domain name to intentionally
divert Internet traffic and redirect users seeking the Complainant to its website, which is evidence of bad faith.
The Complainant requests that the disputed domain name be transferred from the Respondent to the Complainant.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
Paragraph 15(a) of the Rules requires that the Panel’s decision be made “on the basis of the statements and documents submitted and in accordance with the Policy, these Rules and any rules and principles of law that it deems applicable”.
It has been a consensus view in UDRP decisions that a respondent’s default (i.e., failure to submit a response) would not by itself mean that the complainant is deemed to have prevailed; a respondent’s default is not necessarily an admission that the complainant’s claims are true. See section 4.3 of the WIPO Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions, Third Edition (“WIPO Overview 3.0”).
A complainant must evidence each of the three elements required by paragraph 4(a) of the Policy in order to succeed on the complaint, namely that;
(i) the disputed domain name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which the complainant has rights;
(ii) the respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name; and
(iii) the disputed domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
Under paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Policy, there are two requirements which the Complainant must establish, first that it has rights in a trademark or service mark, and second that the disputed domain name is identical or confusingly similar to the trademark or service mark.
It has been a consensus view among UDRP panels that if the complainant owns a trademark, then it generally satisfies the threshold requirement of having trademark rights.
The Complainant produced proper evidence of having rights in the 411PAIN trademark and for the purpose of this proceeding the Panel establishes that the United States Trademark Registration No. 2621497 satisfies the requirement of having trademark rights for the purpose of the Policy.
Having determined the presence of the Complainant’s trademark rights in the 411PAIN mark, the Panel next assesses whether the disputed domain name <411painlawyers.com> is identical or confusingly similar to the Complainant’s trademark.
According to section 1.7 of the WIPO Overview 3.0, the standing (or threshold) test for confusing similarity involves a reasoned but relatively straightforward comparison between the complainant’s trademark and the disputed domain name. This test typically involves a side-by-side comparison of the disputed domain name and the textual components of the relevant trademark to assess whether the mark is recognizable within the disputed domain name.
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 1.11.1 of the WIPO Overview 3.0, the applicable Top-Level Domain (“TLD”) in a domain name (e.g., “.com”, “.club”, “.nyc”) is viewed as a standard registration requirement and as such is generally disregarded under the first element confusingly similar test.
The disputed domain name contains the Complainant’s 411PAIN trademark in its entirety and is clearly recognizable within the disputed domain name. Mere addition of the term “lawyers” does not prevent a finding of confusing similarity between the Complainant’s 411PAIN trademark and the disputed domain name.
Accordingly, the Panel finds that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to the Complainant’s trademark and that the requirement of paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Policy is satisfied.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
Under paragraph 4(c) of the Policy, a respondent may demonstrate its rights or legitimate interests in a domain name by showing any of the following circumstances, in particular but without limitation:
(i) its use of, or demonstrable preparation to use the domain name or a name corresponding to the domain name in connection with a bona fide offering of goods and services;
(ii) it has been commonly known by the domain name;
(iii) it is making a legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the domain name, without intent for commercial gain to misleadingly divert customers or to tarnish the trademark or service mark at issue.
In the present case, the Complainant has submitted sufficient and uncontested evidence that it holds well‑established rights in the 411PAIN trademark.
The Complainant has never authorized the Respondent to use its trademark in any way, and its prior rights in the 411PAIN trademark long precede the date of registration of the disputed domain name.
According to section 2.1 of the WIPO Overview 3.0, while the overall burden of proof in UDRP proceedings is on the complainant, panels have recognized that proving a respondent lacks rights or legitimate interests in a domain name may result in the often impossible task of “proving a negative”, requiring information that is often primarily within the knowledge or control of the respondent.
As such, where a complainant makes out a prima facie case that the respondent lacks rights or legitimate interests, the burden of production on this element shifts to the respondent to come forward with the relevant evidence demonstrating rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. If the respondent fails to come forward with such relevant evidence, the complainant is deemed to have satisfied the second element.
The Respondent defaulted and failed to respond, and by doing so failed to offer the Panel any type of evidence set forth in paragraph 4(c) of the Policy, or otherwise counter the Complainant’s prima facie case.
In addition, the Panel finds that the disputed domain name carries a risk of implied affiliation with the Complainant. See section 2.5.1 of the WIPO Overview 3.0.
The Panel finds that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name in accordance with paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
Paragraph 4(b) of the Policy lists a number of factors which, if found by the panel to be present, shall be evidence of registration and use of a domain name in bad faith. This non-exclusive list includes:
(i) circumstances indicating that you have registered or you have acquired the domain name primarily for the purpose of selling, renting or otherwise transferring the domain name registration to the complainant who is the owner of the trademark or service mark or to a competitor of that complainant, for valuable consideration in excess of your documented out-of-pocket costs directly related to the domain name; or
(ii) you have 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 you have engaged in a pattern of such conduct; or
(iii) you have registered the domain name primarily for the purpose of disrupting the business of a competitor; or
(iv) 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.
The Complainant’s 411PAIN trademark is inherently distinctive and has been substantially used.
Use of a distinctive trademark, together with a term which describes the Complainant’s business suggests that it is unlikely that the Respondent was unaware of the Complainant’s trademark at the time of registration. The Panel is convinced that the Respondent registered and used the disputed domain name to trade of the reputation of the Complainant’s trademark.
The Respondent chose not to respond to the Complaint. It is reasonable to expect that a good faith individual or business respond to allegations of deliberate abuse of others rights. The Respondent’s failure to react to the Complaint, in addition to the facts and circumstances discussed above convince the Panel that the Respondent has intentionally attempted to attract, for commercial gain Internet users to its website by creating a likelihood of confusion with the Complainant’s mark as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation or endorsement of such site or the services advertised on such site, within the meaning of paragraph 4(b)(iv) of the Policy.
Accordingly, the Panel finds that paragraph 4(a)(iii) of the Policy is satisfied.
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 <411painlawyers.com> be transferred to the Complainant.
Date: February 10, 2022