WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center

ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION

Skyscanner Limited v. Wu Yu Yu

Case No. DCO2021-0051

1. The Parties

The Complainant is Skyscanner Limited, United Kingdom, represented by Lewis Silkin LLP, United Kingdom.

The Respondent is Wu Yu Yu, Seychelles.

2. The Domain Name and Registrar

The disputed domain name <skysanner.co> (the “Domain Name”) is registered with Sav.com, LLC (the “Registrar”).

3. Procedural History

The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on June 22, 2021. On June 23, 2021, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the Domain Name. On June 23, 2021, the Registrar transmitted by email to the Center its verification response disclosing registrant and contact information for the Domain Name, which differed from the named Respondent and contact information in the Complaint. The Center sent an email communication to the Complainant on June 24, 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 June 25, 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 June 28, 2021. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was July 18, 2021. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on July 20, 2021

The Center appointed Jeremy Speres as the sole panelist in this matter on August 2, 2021. 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 is a global travel search site that enables users to research and book travel options for their trips, including flights, hotels and car hire. Founded in 2003, it employs over 1,000 people and has approximately 100 million monthly users. The Complainant’s main website at “www.skyscanner.net” is ranked 1,671st globally for Internet traffic and engagement by Global Traffic Estimator Alexa.

The Complainant owns many trade mark registrations for its SKYSCANNER mark in many territories, the most relevant of which is International Trade Mark Registration No. 1030086 for SKYSCANNER in classes 35, 39 and 42 designating, amongst others, China (the Respondent’s presumed territory – see below), with a registration date in December 2009.

The Domain Name was registered on June 5, 2021 and, as at the drafting of the Complaint and this Decision, resolved to a parked page displaying pay-per-click (“PPC”) links for services that, amongst others, compete with the Complainant, and offering the Domain Name for sale for USD 800.

5. Parties’ Contentions

A. Complainant

The Complainant contends that the Domain Name is confusingly similar to its mark, that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in it, and it was registered and used in bad faith given that it takes advantage of the Complainant’s well-known trademark to divert consumers to competing services using PPC advertisements, and is offered for sale in excess of the Respondent’s out-of-pocket costs.

B. Respondent

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

6. Discussion and Findings

A. Identical or Confusingly Similar

It is well established that where a domain name consists of a misspelling of a trade mark such that the mark is recognisable, as in this case, the domain name is confusingly similar. See the WIPO Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions, Third Edition (“WIPO Overview 3.0”) at section 1.9.

The exclusion of the letter “c” does not serve to differentiate the overall impression of the Domain Name, which remains aurally and visually nearly identical to the mark. Panels have found that the exclusion of a single letter does not prevent a finding of confusing similarity (e.g. Kryterion International Limited v. ICS Inc., WIPO Case No. D2017-1590). The Complainant has satisfied the requirements of paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Policy.

B. Rights or Legitimate Interests

The Complainant has made out a prima facie case that the Respondent lacks rights or legitimate interests and the burden of production thus shifts to the Respondent (WIPO Overview 3.0 at section 2.1).

The Complainant’s mark was registered (including in China) and well known long prior to the registration of the Domain Name, as confirmed in numerous UDRP cases (e.g. Skyscanner Limited v. Sachin Rawat, Farebulk, WIPO Case No. D2018-0959). The Domain Name is confusingly similar to the Complainant’s mark and the Complainant has certified that the Domain Name is unauthorised by it. There is no evidence that any of the circumstances set out in paragraph 4(c) of the Policy pertain.

The Domain Name has been used for a parked page comprising PPC advertisements linked to commercial websites offering services, which, inter alia, compete with the Complainant. Panels have found that use of a domain name to host PPC links does not represent a bona fide offering where such links compete with the complainant’s mark (WIPO Overview 3.0 at section 2.9).

The only other use of the Domain Name is its advertisement for sale. Trading in domain names can constitute a bona fide offering provided it is not undertaken with intent to profit from or abuse trademarks (X6D Limited v. Telepathy, Inc., WIPO Case No. D2010-1519). For the reasons detailed below, it is clear that the Domain Name was registered and used in order to profit from the Complainant’s mark.

The Complainant has satisfied paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy.

C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith

The Domain Name has no ordinary meaning and makes no sense other than as a typographical variant of the Complainant’s well-known mark. The term “skysanner” is not mentioned on the website to which the Domain Name resolves and the choice of the Domain Name seems entirely incongruous with the content. It is thus quite unlikely that the Respondent registered the Domain Name for its semantic value as opposed to the attractive brand value of the Complainant’s mark.

The Domain Name has been used to advertise competitors of the Complainant with PPC advertisements, which is a clear indicator of targeting for commercial gain under paragraph 4(b)(iv) of the Policy. See Dr. Martens International Trading GmbH, Dr. Maertens Marketing GmbH v. Private Whois Service, WIPO Case No. D2011-1753. Although the advertisements may be served programmatically by a third party, the Respondent cannot disclaim responsibility for them (WIPO Overview 3.0 at section 3.5). Paragraph 4(b)(iv) of the Policy is applicable here.

Moreover, the Panel has independently established that the Respondent has been found to have acted in bad faith by at least one, but probably more, panels. The Panel has verified, using publically accessible historical WhoIs data, that the Respondent was the unsuccessful respondent in Indeed Inc. v. Wu Yu, WIPO Case No. DQA2019-0002, based on the Respondent’s email address. As pointed out by the Complainant, there are numerous other UDRP cases decided against a respondent named “Wu Yu” of China, including of the same province as the Respondent. The Respondent is thus more than likely based in China despite falsely listing Seychelles as its country here (the use of false details is a further indicator of bad faith). Therefore, it is likely that the Respondent is a serial cybersquatter and this case is merely a continuation of that pattern. A pattern of bad faith conduct is relevant in assessing bad faith generally (WIPO Overview 3.0 at sections 3.2.1 and 3.2.2), and paragraph 4(b)(ii) of the Policy is applicable here.

The Complainant has satisfied paragraph 4(a)(iii) of the Policy.

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 Domain Name, <skysanner.co>, be transferred to the Complainant.

Jeremy Speres
Sole Panelist
Date: August 9, 2021