WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Cleartrip Private Limited v. Studentox, Premdeep Singh
Case No. DCO2013-0034
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Cleartrip Private Limited of Mumbai, India, of India, represented by iBRANDPROTECT, India.
The Respondent is Studentox, Premdeep Singh of North Brunswick, New Jersey, United States of America.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <cleartrips.co> is registered with eNom (the “Registrar”).
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on December 16, 2013. On the same date, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On December 17, 2013, 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 18, 2013 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 23, 2013 which substituted the presently named Respondent for that initially identified, to wit, WhoisGuardProtected, WhoisGuard Inc.
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(a) and 4(a), the Center formally notified the Respondent of the Complaint, and the proceedings commenced on December 24, 2013. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was January 13, 2014. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on January 15, 2014.
On January 15, 2014, the Respondent sent an email to the Center providing its current postal address.
On January 15, 2014 and January 16, 2014 the Center received emails with supplemental filings from the Respondent and Complainant, respectively.
The Center appointed Simon Minahan as the sole panelist in this matter on January 29, 2014. 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
For the purposes of this dispute, and on the basis of the Complainant’s uncontested submissions and supporting documentation, the Panel finds as follows:
- The Complainant is a private limited company, incorporated in India in 2005, carrying on a business of providing online travel services to consumers from all parts of the world. It conducts its business by reference to the name “Cleartrip” and has done so since its incorporation, advertising and promoting it widely in India and elsewhere.
- It has its principal place of business at Mumbai, Maharashtra, India but it also has operational presence in other countries such as countries such as United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.
- The Complainant principally conducts its business on-line, providing hotel and associated booking services via its website associated with the website “www.cleartrip.com” and around 25 other domain names incorporating the CLEARTRIP trade mark. In addition it holds a dozen registered trade marks in India incorporating the “Cleartrip” sign including a registration for the domain name <cleartrip.com>.
- It employs more than 400 employees and facilitates over 15,000 bookings per day across Indian and International air carriers and hotels. It has an annual turns over in excess of USD 400,000.000.
- The Complainant has an established reputation and rights, among others, in the “Cleartrip” name and the registered Indian trademarks No. 1416199 CLEARTRIP, registered in January 23, 2006, and mark No. 1648540 CLEARTRIP.COM, registered in January 31, 2008, in relation to on-line travel services and that reputation is extensive within India and extends internationally.
- The disputed domain name was registered on June 21, 2013.
- The Respondent is using the disputed domain name in connection with a website which closely mimics the business website which the Complainant associates with its registered domain <cleartrip.com>.
5. Parties’ Contentions
The Complainant contends that it has rights in the trade mark CLEARTRIP and various associated names in connection with its on-line travel booking business.
It further contends that:
a) the disputed domain name, <cleartrips.co>, is identical to the Complainant’s principle trade mark CLEARTRIP and the more particularly its trade mark CLEARTRIP.COM and domain name <cleartrip.com>. In this regard, it cites previous UDRP decisions as supporting the proposition that, the correct approach to be adopted by the Panel in this case, where a complainant trade mark has been wholly incorporated in a disputed domain name, is to undertake comparison of the disputed domain to the Complainant’s trade mark after disregarding each of the country code top level domain (“ccTLD”) suffix “.co” and the presence of the letter “s” and that this results in the disputed domain name being identical to the CLEARTRIP trade mark;
b) the Respondent has not established rights or legitimate interests in the CLEARTRIP trade mark;
c) The Respondent registered the disputed domain name knowing the Complainant’s business and reputation and intending to dishonestly ride “piggyback” upon the Complainant’s hard-earned goodwill and reputation;
d) the Respondent’s use of the disputed domain by associating it with a commercial website which closely mimics the business website of the Complainant is evidence of bad faith registration and use of the disputed domain name;
e) the Respondent had contacted the Complainant after the filing of the Amended Complaint and offered to transfer the disputed domain name for USD 10,000.00 which offer the Complainant had rejected.
The Respondent did not formally reply to the Complainant’s contentions. He did however contact the Center after the time allowed for response and indicated he had been in touch with the Complainant to discuss settlement of the Complaint and to express the view that he was hopeful of resolution by agreement.
6. Supplemental Filings
Though not obliged to have regard to the additional communications filed by the Respondent and Complainant concerning the discussions passing between them, nonetheless the Panel has read and noted them in considering this case. Reflecting as they do on the question of the Respondent’s bona fide in registering and using the disputed domain name, the Panel has been reinforced in its conclusion based on the principle flings and materials.
However, while it lends confirmation to the view the Panel had reached, the Panel wishes to emphasize that it reached its conclusion in this case without direct regard to the supplemental filings.
7. Discussion and Findings
On the basis of the general background findings of fact set out above and the more particular findings and rulings set out below, the Panel finds that the Complainant has established trade mark rights in CLEARTRIP and has successfully made out its case for transfer of the disputed domain name.
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
In assessing the confusing similarity of the disputed domain name <cleartrips.com> to the Complainant’s trade mark CLEARTRIP, which has been wholly incorporated in the disputed domain, the Panel accepts the Complainant’s contention that the ccTLD “.co” and the letter “s” may be disregarded as of minimal or no account in accordance with previous approaches:
See, e.g., the following decisions;
- Koninklijke Philips Electronics N.V. v. Selling Domains Best, WIPO Case No. D2002-1041;
- Direct Line Group Ltd., Direct Line Insurance plc, Direct Line Financial Services Ltd , Direct Line Life Insurance Company Ltd, Direct Line Unit Trusts Ltd, Direct Line Group Services Ltd v. Purge I.T., Purge I.T., Ltd, WIPO Case No. D2000-0583
- Aventis Pharmaceuticals Inc., Aventis Pharma SA v. Goldie Fishero, WIPO Case No. D2004-0094;
- Philip Morris Incorporated v. Alex Tsypkin, WIPO Case No. D2002-0946;
- Telecom Personal v..NAMEZERO.COM, Inc, WIPO Case No. D2001-0015.
As a consequence, the Panel finds the disputed domain name is effectively identical to the Complainant’s trade mark.
To avoid any doubt even if it were not regarded as identical, the Panel is of the view that the disputed domain name is unquestionably confusingly similar to the Complainant’s CLEARTRIP trade mark.
The Panel therefore considers that the disputed domain name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which the complainant has rights, in accordance with paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Policy.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
The Panel accepts the submissions of the Complainant that there is no known legitimate use of the “Cleartrip” name and trade mark by the Respondent and further notes that the Respondent has failed to establish rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name, especially in light of the Complainant’s assertions and evidence in respect to paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy, e.g.:
- Do the Hustle, LLC v Tropic Web, WIPO Case No. D2000-0624.
The Panel also accepts that the Respondent must have registered the disputed domain name knowing of the Complainant’s trade mark and that in those circumstances the Respondent had no and could acquire no rights or legitimate interests in the CLEARTRIP trade mark or any analogue of it. See, e.g.:
- Drexel University v. David Brouda, WIPO Case No. D2001-0067.
The Panel therefore considers that the Respondent lacks 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
The Panel considers that given the Respondent’s presumed knowledge of the Complainant’s trade mark, the Respondent’s interest in “Cleartrip” at the time of registration and the deceptive and commercial use made of the disputed domain name to pass off itself and its associated website with the Complainant’s domain name and website, are clear evidence of and establish bad faith use and registration. If any support in previous UDRP decisions is needed for this conclusion, the Panel is sustained in it by Deutsche Bank Aktiengesellschaft v New York TV Tickets Inc, WIPO Case No. D2001-1314.
In addition, the offer of the Respondent to “sell” the disputed domain name to the Complainant, as advised in the Complainant’s supplemental filing filed on January 16, 2014, is in this Panel’s view plain and incontrovertible evidence of bad faith.
The Panel therefore considers that the Respondent registered and is using the disputed domain name in bad faith, in accordance with 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 <cleartrips.co> be transferred to the Complainant.
Date: February 12, 2014