WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center

ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION

Emphasis Services Limited v. Su Guangyu

Case No. DPH2017-0002

1. The Parties

The Complainant is Emphasis Services Limited of Grand Turk Island, Turks and Caicos Islands, Overseas Territory of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, internally represented.

The Respondent is Su Guangyu of Wuhan, Hubei, China.

2. The Domain Name and Registrar

The disputed domain name <dafabet.ph> is registered with DotPH (the “Registry”).

3. Procedural History

The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on March 15, 2017. On the same day, the Center transmitted by email to the Registry a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On March 16, 2017, the Registry transmitted by email to the Center its verification response confirming that the Respondent is listed as the registrant and providing the contact details. The Complainant filed an amended Complaint in the format of the model Complaint for the DotPH domain on March 23, 2017.

The Center verified that the Complaint together with the amended Complaint satisfied the formal requirements of the .PH Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (“phDRP” or the “Policy”), the Rules for .PH Uniform Dispute Resolution Implementation Rules (the “Rules”), and the WIPO Supplemental Rules (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 March 28, 2017. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was April 17, 2017. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on April 22, 2017.

The Center appointed Matthew Kennedy as the sole panelist in this matter on May 1, 2017. 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 owns and operates online betting sites at “www.dafabet.com” and “www.dafa888.com”. The Complainant owns multiple trademark registrations, including European Union trademark registration number 012067138 for the “d dafabet” logo registered from February 17, 2014, and Philippine trademark registration number PH502014000505034 for the trademarks DAFABET and the “d dafabet” logo, registered from October 24, 2014. These registrations specify entertainment, casino and other services in classes 38 and 41 and both remain current. The Complainant also sponsors various commercial football club teams.

The Respondent is an individual allegedly located in Wuhan, Hubei, China. Due to the fact that the Respondent’s contact address in the Registrar’s WhoIs database is incomplete, the Written Notice of the Complaint could not be delivered by courier.

The disputed domain name was registered on December 10, 2015. It resolves to a gaming website in Chinese that prominently displays the Complainant’s “d dafabet” logo and uses a similar layout to the Complainant’s website, including the logos of football clubs sponsored by the Complainant across the bottom of the home page in a similar way to the Complainant’s official website.

5. Parties’ Contentions

A. Complainant

The disputed domain name is identical and confusingly similar to the Complainant’s DAFABET trademark. The content of the website to which the disputed domain name resolves is basically a clone of the Complainant’s official website.

The Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name. The Complainant denies any direct connection with the Respondent. The Respondent’s use of the Complainant’s intellectual property in the disputed domain name and website is unauthorized and illegal. There is no evidence that the Respondent is commonly known by the disputed domain name. The Respondent’s illegal usage of the Complainant’s logos, images and content on its website belies any claim to the DAFABET trademark except as blatant copying and cloning of the Complainant’s website in bad faith.

The Respondent has registered and is using the disputed domain name in bad faith in the circumstances set out in paragraph 4(b)(iv) of the Policy. The Respondent is well aware that the Complainant is the owner of the trademark DAFABET due to the Complainant’s prior trademark registrations, the goodwill and notoriety of its trademarks and the Respondent’s illegal usage of the Complainant’s logos, content, images and designs in its website. The Respondent is not only using the Complainant’s trademarks in the disputed domain name, but it has virtually cloned the Complainant’s website by illegally using the Complainant’s graphics, images, designs, content and logos. This is a blatant to attempt to deceive the public into thinking that the Respondent’s website is associated with the Complainant and transacts business with it.

B. Respondent

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

6. Discussion and Findings

Paragraph 4(a) of the Policy provides that the complainant must prove each of the following elements:

(1) the disputed domain name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which the complainant has rights; and

(2) the respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name; and

(3) the disputed domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.

A. Identical or Confusingly Similar

Based on the evidence submitted, the Panel finds that the Complainant has rights in the DAFABET trademark.

The disputed domain name wholly incorporates the Complainant’s DAFABET trademark as its dominant and only distinctive element.

The only additional element in the disputed domain name is the country code Top-Level Domain (“ccTLD”) suffix “.ph”. A ccTLD suffix is generally disregarded in assessing confusing similarity between a domain name and a trademark. See Skype Limited v. Hanna Jeong, WIPO Case No. DPH2011-0001.

Therefore, the Panel finds that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to a trademark in which the Complainant has rights. The Complainant has satisfied the first element in paragraph 4(a) of the Policy.

B. Rights or Legitimate Interests

Paragraph 4(c) of the Policy sets out the following circumstances which, without limitation, if found by the panel, shall demonstrate that the respondent has rights to, or legitimate interests in, a disputed domain name, for the purposes of paragraph 4(a)(2) of the Policy:

(1) before any notice to [the respondent] of the dispute, [the respondent’s] use of, or demonstrable preparations to use, the [disputed] domain name or a name corresponding to the [disputed] domain name in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services; or

(2) [the respondent] (as an individual, business, or other organization) [has] been commonly known by the [disputed] domain name, even if [the respondent has] acquired no trademark or service mark rights; or

(3) [the respondent is] making a legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the [disputed] domain name, without intent for commercial gain to misleadingly divert consumers.

As regards the first circumstance above, the disputed domain name is being used with an online betting website. The Panel has already found that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to the Complainant’s DAFABET trademark. While the syllable “bet” is a dictionary word, the term “dafabet” is not. Nothing on the website indicates any reason why the Respondent would choose to register a domain name including the term “dafabet” other than to mislead Internet users by creating a likelihood of confusion with the Complainant’s mark as to the affiliation of the Respondent’s website. All these facts indicate that the Respondent’s use of the disputed domain name is not in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services covered by the first circumstance of paragraph 4(c) of the Policy.

As regards the second circumstance above, the Registrar’s WhoIs database indicates that the Respondent’s name is “Su Guangyu” not “dafabet” or anything similar. There is no evidence indicating that the Respondent has been commonly known by the disputed domain name as envisaged by the second circumstance of paragraph 4(c) of the Policy.

As regards the third circumstance above, the disputed domain name resolves to a commercial online betting website. That is not a legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the disputed domain name covered by the third circumstance of paragraph 4(c) of the Policy.

In summary, the Panel considers that the Complainant has made a prima facie case that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name. The Respondent did not rebut that case because he did not respond to the Complaint.

Therefore, based on the record of this proceeding, the Panel finds that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name. The Complainant has satisfied the second element in paragraph 4(a) of the Policy.

C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith

Paragraph 4(b) of the Policy provides that certain circumstances, if found by the panel to be present, shall be evidence of the registration and use of a domain name in bad faith. The fourth circumstance is as follows:

“(4) by using the [disputed] domain name, [the respondent has] intentionally attempted to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to [the respondent’s] 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 [the respondent’s] website or location or of a product or service on [the respondent’s] website or location.”

The Respondent registered the disputed domain name in 2015, after the Complainant obtained its trademark registrations. The disputed domain name wholly incorporates the Complainant’s DAFABET trademark, with no additional element besides a ccTLD suffix. The Respondent’s website prominently displays the Complainant’s “d dafabet” logo and resembles the Complainant’s official website. This all gives the Panel reason to believe that the Respondent was not only aware of the Complainant and its DAFABET trademark at the time that he registered the disputed domain name but that he deliberately chose to register it as the disputed domain name in bad faith.

The Respondent uses the disputed domain name, which is confusingly similar to the Complainant’s DAFABET trademark, in connection with an online betting website that prominently displays the Complainant’s “d dafabet” logo and resembles the Complainant’s official website. The disputed domain name operates by creating a likelihood of confusion with the Complainant’s trademark as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation or endorsement of the Respondent’s website. This use is both intentional and for commercial gain. The Panel finds that these facts satisfy the requirements of paragraph 4(b)(4) of the Policy.

Therefore, the Panel finds that the disputed domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith. The Complainant has satisfied the third element in paragraph 4(a) of the Policy.

7. Decision

For all 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 <dafabet.ph> be transferred to the Complainant.

Matthew Kennedy
Sole Panelist
Date: May 10, 2017