WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center

ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION

Reddit, Inc. v. J.P.Nagle

Case No. DCO2018-0008

1. The Parties

The Complainant is Reddit, Inc. of San Francisco, California, United States of America (“United States”), represented by Scott Lonardo, Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP, United States.

The Respondent is J.P.Nagle of London, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (“United Kingdom”).

2. The Domain Name and Registrar

The disputed domain name <reddit.co> is registered with PDR Ltd. d/b/a PublicDomainRegistry.com (the “Registrar”).

3. Procedural History

The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on March 6, 2018. On March 7, 2018, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On March 9, 2018, 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 March 15, 2018. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was April 4, 2018. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on April 5, 2018.

The Center appointed William A. Van Caenegem as the sole panelist in this matter on April 10, 2018. 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 a social news aggregator and discussion website at the domain name <reddit.com>. The Complainant is the registered owner of the trademark REDDIT, United States Reg. No. 5019343, registered on August 9, 2016 in Class 9; Reg. No. 5053433, registered on October 4, 2016 in Class 38; Reg. No. 3786519, registered on May 11, 2010 in Class 41; Reg. No. 5103419, registered on December 20, 2016 in Class 42; Reg. No. 5008166, registered on July 26, 2016 in Class 45; and REDDIT, European Union Reg. No. 1348086, registered on June 14, 2016 in Class 9, and Reg. No. 9386111, registered November 30, 2012 in Classes 38, 41, 42, and 45.

The disputed domain name was first registered on July 20, 2010.

The Complainant alleges that the Respondent has used the disputed domain name for the purpose of phishing.

5. Parties’ Contentions

A. Complainant

The Complainant asserts that REDDIT is a well-known brand. It operates thousands of online communities with over 300 million monthly visitors by reference to the REDDIT mark. The Complainant operates the domain name <reddit.com> and a substantial number of other domain names throughout the world, including under various country code Top-Level Domains. The Complainant asserts that is the fourth most visited website in the United States, and the sixth most visited website globally as of February 25, 2018. The REDDIT trademark is registered in a number of jurisdictions in relation to various classes, and is used and advertised very extensively by the Complainant, at considerable expense.

The Complainant asserts that the disputed domain name is identical to the REDDIT trademark that it owns. The only difference lies in the Top-Level Domain (“TLD”), and in that regard the Complainant points out that “.co” is a common mistyping of “.com”. In any case the TLD is irrelevant to the comparison required, according to the Complainant. If the extension is removed the disputed domain name and the trademark REDDIT are identical.

The Complainant also states that the Respondent is neither authorized nor licensed to use the REDDIT trademark. The Complainant indicates that it is not aware of any evidence that the Respondent is commonly known by the disputed domain name, and points out that the disputed domain name most likely would be understood to refer to the Complainant or the Complainant’s goods and services. The Respondent is also not using the disputed domain name for any legitimate purpose, but instead uses it in a phishing scheme to obtain user names and passwords, according to material put before the Panel by the Complainant. This use has caused a number of articles to be published alerting the public to this alleged phishing scheme of the Respondent.

Further the Complainant asserts that the Respondent has used the disputed domain name not only to create a false association with the Complainant by registering and using an identical domain name, but also by cloning the Complainant’s website, including its trademark and logos. According to the Complainant, the Respondent has gone to great efforts to make the disputed domain appear as if it originated from, is part of, affiliated with, or otherwise sponsored by the Complainant. These efforts include deceptively representing the Complainant’s trademarks, logos, and ledger and copying images and formatting from the Complainant’s “www.reddit.com” website. In any case the Complainant asserts that at the time of registration the Respondent could not have been unaware of the distinctive trademark of the Complainant and the extensive reputation that vests in it. According to the Complainant, the Respondent is using the Complainant’s REDDIT trademarks in the disputed domain name to disrupt the business of the Complainant and to capitalize on the substantial goodwill and reputation that the Complainant has built up in the REDDIT trademarks, by creating user confusion as to the source, affiliation, or sponsorship of the Respondent’s website. This evidence shows that the Respondent registered and is using the disputed domain name in bad faith, or so the Complainant asserts.

B. Respondent

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

6. Discussion and Findings

A. Identical or Confusingly Similar

The Panel holds that the disputed domain name is identical to the REDDIT trademark of the Complainant, and that the requirements of paragraph 4(a)(i) have been met.

B. Rights or Legitimate Interests

The Respondent has not been authorized by the Complainant to use, register or incorporate its highly distinctive trademark REDDIT in any domain name. The Respondent is also not known by that name nor does it conduct any legitimate business by reference to the mark REDDIT. Rather, according to the material put before the Panel by the Complainant, the Respondent has used the disputed domain name for the purposes of a phishing exercise, a practice aimed at dishonestly obtaining private user information. This is not a practice capable of vesting any rights or legitimate interests in any party.

Therefore the Panel holds that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name.

C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith

The Respondent must have been aware of the rights of the Complainant in its distinctive REDDIT trademark. This is a mark relating to services on the Internet, and the Complainant demonstrates that its activities by reference to the mark are extensive. The users of the legitimate “www.reddit.com” website are very considerable in number and geographical spread. In any case the material put before the Panel by the Complainant indicates that the Respondent has gone so far as to establish a copycat website and has used the disputed domain name in an associated phishing exercise. That is, by creating a false impression of association with the Complainant, the Respondent has sought to obtain private details of Internet users who visit its copycat site. This is a dishonest exercise with what amounts to a fraudulent purpose.

Therefore the Panel holds that the disputed domain name was registered and is 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 name <reddit.co> be transferred to the Complainant.

William Van Caenegem
Sole Panelist
Date: April 24, 2018