WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center


Seatgeek, Inc. v. Sean Lankford

Case No. DCO2018-0022

1. The Parties

Complainant is Seatgeek, Inc. of Milton Keynes, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (“United Kingdom”), represented by SafeNames Ltd., United Kingdom.

Respondent is Sean Lankford of North Las Vegas, Nevada, United States of America (“United States”).

2. The Domain Name and Registrar

The Disputed Domain Name <seatgeek.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 July 6, 2018. On July 9, 2018, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On July 10, 2018, the Registrar transmitted by email to the Center its verification response disclosing registrant and contact information for the disputed domain name that differed from the named Respondent and contact information in the Complaint. The Center sent an email communication to Complainant on July 12, 2018 providing the registrant and contact information disclosed by the Registrar, and inviting the Complainant to submit an amendment to the Complaint. Complainant filed an amended Complaint on July 26, 2018.

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 July 30, 2018. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was August 19, 2018. Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified Respondent’s default on August 20, 2018.

The Center appointed Roberto Bianchi as the sole panelist in this matter on August 24, 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

Complainant is a media and entertainment company that specializes in ticket search and price forecasting services, with headquarters in New York.

Complainant owns the following trademark registrations:









March 13, 2018

9, 35, 41, 42




November 29, 2011





October 14, 2015

9, 35, 41




March 20, 2017

9, 35, 41, 42

The Disputed Domain Name was registered on August 28, 2014.

The website at the Disputed Domain Name currently is inactive.

5. Parties’ Contentions

A. Complainant

Complainant contends as follows:

The Disputed Domain Name is Identical to Complainant’s marks. Complainant’s SEATGEEK mark is recognizable within the limits of the second level domain name. There is undoubtedly an identical or confusing similarity between them that inherently exists without any adornment. The extension “.co” can be disregarded.

Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the Disputed Domain Name. Respondent has not registered any trademarks for the term “SEATGEEK”. Complainant cannot conceive of any plausible explanation as to why Respondent would have a legitimate interest in a domain name that is clearly associated with Complainant.

Despite Respondent claiming in an email that the Disputed Domain Name was registered by a “client” for a “project”, Respondent has made no attempt to use the Disputed Domain Name and associated website for any legitimate business purpose. Since registration, the Disputed Domain Name has resolved to a Pay-Per-Click (PPC) parking page with links related to concert tickets, sport events and live event tickets. SeeAnnex G.

Respondent has never been licensed or authorized in any way by Complainant to use the distinctive SEATGEEK mark. Moreover, Respondent is not affiliated with Complainant in anyway whatsoever and could not make any legitimate use of the Disputed Domain Name given the prior use, reputation and goodwill associated with Complainant’s brand. Respondent is capitalizing on the reputation and goodwill of Complainant’s brand and gaining monetary compensation in the process. Respondent achieves this through numerous sponsored advertisements listed on the website at the Disputed Domain Name.

The Disputed Domain Name is listed for sale and has been since its registration in 2014. SeeAnnex H. Without any justification for registering a domain name identical to Complainant’s mark, it can only be concluded that the Disputed Domain Name was registered in an attempt to sell it for profit.

Respondent is not commonly known by the Disputed Domain Name. Upon contacting Respondent on January 16, 2018, Complainant’s representative received a response from a person identifying themselves as “Client agent/Charles”. While the response claimed to be written on behalf of an alleged representative of the registrant, the response came from the email address “[…]@qq.com”, which has been connected to an individual by the name of Tao Wang. No further explanation or justification from Respondent or its alleged representative was provided.

Respondent registered and is using the Disputed Domain Name in bad faith. Complainant submits that Respondent would have had sufficient knowledge of Complainant’s rights at the time of registration. Complainant has spent a considerable amount of time and resources to enable SEATGEEK to become a recognized brand globally and a significant player in a USD 5 billion secondary market. In particular, Complainant’s web-based platform is the foundation of its business, enabling users to purchase and sell event tickets for 123,379 events, 538,494 teams and artists, and across 383,380 venues, making it the largest inventory of live event tickets on the internet. Even a cursory Internet search on the part of Respondent would have disclosed the SEATGEEKbrand and its extensive use by Complainant. For example, searches for “seat geek” on Google reveal results on the first page exclusively for Complainant. SeeAnnex J.

Panels accept that there is some obligation on the part of respondents to avoid a likelihood of confusion when using a domain name for generating revenue from third-party advertisement. That obligation further increases when registering a domain name as distinctive as “seat geek”. The phrase “Seat Geek” is not associated with any other business, brand or service provider other than Complainant. Furthermore, the Disputed Domain Name is neither generic, nor descriptive, and it does not refer to a common phrase, which reinforces Respondent’s lack of good faith when registering the Disputed Domain Name.

Complainant’s surging worldwide presence has been underpinned by a comprehensive marketing and promotional campaign, encompassing social media, key partnerships and targeted ads through its “SeatGeekapp”. Complainant has an important presence through social media platforms, including

Facebook with over 58,000 followers, Instagram with over 51,000 followers and Twitter with over 48,000 followers. SeeAnnex K.

In 2012, Complainant launched its application for iPhone, iPad, and Android. A press release issued in April 2015 revealed the app had been downloaded over 3 million times, with 60% of users worldwide accessing the service through mobile platforms.

Complainant’s growth and popularity amongst its consumers has also attracted the attention of several notable organizations and individuals within the sports and entertainment industry, leading to some major investments and partnerships. SeeAnnex L.

Consequently, it is fair to suggest that the average Internet user will visit the Disputed Domain Name with the expectation that they will be redirected to a website operated, authorized, or connected with Complainant. With no evidence of a legitimate interest or any contemplated good faith use, it must be concluded that the Disputed Domain Name was registered in bad faith.

Respondenthas registered the Disputed Domain Name with the objective of attracting, for commercialgain, Internet users to its website, by creating a likelihood of confusion with Complainant’strademark as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation, or endorsement of its website.Commonly, Internet users will tend to search for a website through a domain name, which isidentical to a company’s trademark. Upon typing in the Disputed Domain Name, theunsuspecting visitor will arrive at Respondent’s landing page, which features goods, andservices that compete with Complainant.

Respondent cannot disclaim responsibility for howthe domain name is being used. The website at he disputed domain name is being used as a PPC website. Respondent is using the Disputed Domain Name to bait customers of Complainant and thereafter switch them to the websites of their competitors. Whether or not the customer ultimately takes advantage of the commercial offerings being made on the website, the deception has already taken place and represents bad faith use under the Policy.

The facts set forth above clearly demonstrate that Respondent is acting in bad faith. By registering and using the Disputed Domain Name, Respondent has unfairly capitalized on the goodwill and fame of Complainant’s marks and is attempting improperly to benefit financially in violation of the Policy, paragraph 4(b)(iv), which provides relief for a trademark owner where there is a likelihood of confusion with its mark.

Complainant received a response to its cease and desist letter on February 13, 2018 from the email address “[…]@qq.com”. This email address is associated with 108 domain names, many of which relate to third party brands: The evidence suggests that this email address is linked to an individual by the name, Tao Wang, who is also listed as the registrant of the <seatgeek.cz > and <seatgeek.co.za > domain names; Tao Wang is found to also use the email address “[…]@outlook.com”, which is associated with 270 domain names, many of which relate to third party brands. Although the WhoIs database identifies the Registrant as a Sean Lankford, this is likely to be an alias used by Respondent.

Under the Policy, bad faith can be demonstrated where the respondent has registered many domain names which incorporate famous trademarks or names for the purpose of preventing the legal owners of the names or marks from obtaining registrations. These registrations constitute a typical pattern of cybersquatting in bad faith. This is further exacerbated by Respondent’s attempt to sell the Disputed Domain Name through public listing and thereafter to Complainant.

B. Respondent

Respondent did not reply to Complainant’s contentions.

6. Discussion and Findings

A. Identical or Confusingly Similar

By submitting several printouts taken from the databases of the corresponding official trademark offices of WIPO, the United States, the European Union, and Canada, Complainant has proved to the satisfaction of the Panel that it has rights in the SEATGEEK trademark for the purposes of Policy paragraph 4(a)(i). See section 4 above.

The Panel notes that the Disputed Domain Name consists of the SEATGEEK mark, with the only addition of the “.co” country code Top-Level Domain (“ccTLD)”. The Panel finds that the Disputed Domain Name is identical to Complainant’s SEATGEEK mark.

B. Rights or Legitimate Interests

In the Panel’s opinion, the evidence available on the casefile supports Complainant`s contentions as to Respondent’s lack of rights or legitimate interests.

First, according to the data of the relevant WhoIs database, the registrant of the Disputed Domain Name is “Sean Lankford”. Previously Complainant had received, in reply to its communication to Respondent of January 2018, a communication sent by a “Client agent/Charles”. According to Complainant, this reply came from an email address that has been connected to an individual by the name of Tao Wang. In any case, there is no evidence that Respondent is known – commonly or otherwise – by the Disputed Domain Name. Thus, Policy paragraph 4(c)(ii) clearly is not applicable.

Second, according to printouts taken from the website at the Disputed Domain Name submitted by Complainant, and corresponding to November 2014, August 2015 and May 2018, the website simply consisted of “related links” entitled “SeatGeek”, “Geek Shop”, “Sport World”, “Sport Shop”, Music Audio”, “Bet”, Sport Sports”, “Concert Tickets for Sale”, “Live Sport tv”, “Watch Live Sports Free”, “Seatgeek”, “Football betting”, “Sports betting”, “Sports bets”, etc. The Panel agrees with Complainant that the website at the Disputed Domain Name is simply a PPC parking page, whereby Respondent is attempting at capitalizing on the reputation and goodwill of Complainant’s brand and thus generating monies for itself. In the view of the Panel, this is neither a use in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services pursuant to Policy paragraph 4(c)(i), nor a fair or legitimate noncommercial use, without intent for commercial gain misleadingly to divert consumers, according to Policy paragraph 4(c)(iii).

In short, Complainant has made a prima facie case that Respondent lacks rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Disputed Domain Name.

Lastly, the Panel notes that Respondent failed to provide any arguments or reasons whatsoever for its choice and use of the Disputed Domain Name. Moreover, on September 6, 2018, the Panel connected his browser to the website at the Disputed Domain Name, which is now simply displaying a webpage stating, “geek.co. Domain Suspension. This domain has expired and is now suspended. If you would like to restore it please contact the registrar used to register your domain. You can check the registrar used for your domain at whois.CO”. In sum, for all practical purposes the Disputed Domain Name is not being used in any manner, which is hardly an evidence of any rights or legitimate interests.

The Panel concludes that Respondent lacks any rights or legitimate interests in the Disputed Domain Name.

C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith

The Panel notes that Complainant’s United States registration No. 4062477 predates the registration of the Disputed Domain Name by almost 3 years. See section 4 above. In addition, a simple search on the Internet would have revealed to Respondent the previous existence of the SEATGEEKmark, and its intense use by Complainant. Moreover, the very content of the website at the Disputed Domain Name, displaying “related links” related to shows, events and tickets, shows that Respondent was totally aware of Complainant, its mark SEATGEEK and its activities in the business of selling tickets in the Internet for all kinds of shows and events, and targeted them at the time of registering the Disputed Domain Name.

As shown above, since the time of registration of the Disputed Domain, the corresponding website has consisted of lists of “related links”, which presumably attempted to generate click-through monies for Respondent. By using the Disputed Domain Name in this manner, Respondent has intentionally attempted to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to its website or other online location, by creating a likelihood of confusion with Complainant’s mark as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation, or endorsement of its website or location or of a product or service on its website or location. This is evidence of registration and use in bad faith pursuant to Policy paragraph 4(b)(iv).

In addition, Respondent failed to submit a response. Respondent also appears to have provided false or incomplete contact details at the time of registering the disputed domain name, because the courier entrusted with delivering the notice of the Complainant was unable to do so. Both factors contribute to the Panel’s overall impression of registration and use in bad faith.

The Panel concludes that the disputed domain name was registered and is 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 name <seatgeek.co> be transferred to Complainant.

Roberto Bianchi
Sole Panelist
Date: September 7, 2018