WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Facebook, Inc. v. SonYong Kim
Case No. DPH2017-0006
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Facebook, Inc. of California, United States of America, represented by Hogan Lovells (Paris) LLP, France.
The Respondent is SonYong Kim of CheonNam Republic of Korea, self-represented.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The Disputed Domain Name <facebook.com.ph> is registered with DotPH (the “Registrar”).
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on August 18, 2017. On August 18, 2017, the Center transmitted by email to Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the Disputed Domain Name. On August 22, 2017, 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 .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 September 4, 2017. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was September 24, 2017. Apart from emails from the Respondent regarding possible settlement no official Response was filed with the Center.
The Complainant on October 11, 2017 requested from the Center for the suspension of the proceedings in the view of the ongoing discussion with the Respondent. The Center suspended the proceedings until November 15, 2017. The Complainant on October 24, 2017 informed the Center of its request for continuing the proceedings upon which the Center reinstituted the proceedings as of October 26, 2017.
The Center appointed Emre Kerim Yardimci as the sole panelist in this matter on November 2, 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 is the world’s leading provider of online social network services by way of operating a very well-known website “www.facebook.com” that allows users to stay connected with friends and family. The Complainant’s website was launched in 2004 in the United States, and today provides social network services in more than 70 languages with more than 2 billion active users.
The Complainant obtained a United States trademark registration for FACEBOOK on January 10, 2006, and the registration indicates first use of the mark in 2004. The Complainant also owns trademark registrations and domain names all over the world for the FACEBOOK trademark inter alia;
- Republic of Korea Trademark Registration No. 155950, FACEBOOK, registered on November 1, 2007;
- Philippines Trademark Registration No. 6832931, FACEBOOK, registered on April 14, 2012 (applied for on March 24, 2008);
- Philippines Trademark Registration No. 6832934, FACEBOOK, registered on April 14, 2012 (applied for on March 24, 2008);
The Complainant’s FACEBOOK trademark has been recognized as a well-known trademark in previous UDRP decisions and has been ranked as the 15th best global brand in 2016.
The Complainant registered the domain name <facebook.com> on March 28, 1997.
The Disputed Domain Name <facebook.com.ph> was originally registered on September 12, 2008.
The Respondent at the time of filing the Complaint used the Disputed Domain Name to point to a web page that is redirected to a different website each time the website “www.facebook.com.ph” is tried to be reached.
5. Parties’ Contentions
The Complainant requests the transfer of the Disputed Domain Name.
The Complainant asserts that the Disputed Domain Name is identical to the Complainant’s trademark FACEBOOK.
The Complainant contends that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the Disputed Domain Name. It has not been authorized or licensed by the Complainant to use the FACEBOOK trademark. The Complainant claims that the Respondent cannot assert that he has made or is currently making a legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the Disputed Domain Name.
The Complainant contends that the Respondent has registered and is using the Disputed Domain Name in bad faith. The Complainants claim that the Respondent must have known the Complainant’s trademark when registering the Disputed Domain Name and that the Respondent is using the Disputed Domain Name for redirecting it to a dynamic advertising site where he advertises computer repair services that is clearly a scam.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.
However, the Respondent offered to transfer the Disputed Domain Name with the condition that the UDRP Complaint is withdrawn. The Respondent further requested a compensation of USD 350 by the Complainant for the immediate transfer of the Disputed Domain Name.
6. Discussion and Findings
Pursuant to paragraph 4(a) of the Policy, the Complainant is required to prove the presence of each of the following three elements to obtain the remedy it has requested:
(i) the Disputed Domain Name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which the Complainant has rights;
(ii) the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Disputed Domain Name; and
(iii) the Disputed Domain Name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
Paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Policy requires the Complainant to show that the Disputed Domain Name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which the Complainant has rights.
A registered trademark provides a clear indication that the rights in the mark shown on the trademark certificate belong to its respective owner. As indicated above, FACEBOOK is the Complainant's registered trademark since 2006 and the Complainant holds multiple registrations for FACEBOOK all around the world including the Republic of Korea and the Philippines as of 2007 and 2008, respectively.
The Disputed Domain Name <facebook.com.ph> integrates the Complainant’s FACEBOOK trademark as a sole element. As regards the domain suffix “.com.ph”, it is typically disregarded under the confusing similarity test.
Consequently, the Panel finds that the Complainant has shown that the Disputed Domain Name is confusingly similar to a trademark in which the Complainant has rights and satisfied the requirement under paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Policy.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
The Complainant has alleged that the Respondent has not indicated any sort of legitimate reason for having registered the Disputed Domain Name and has not provided any plausible bona fide reason for having it registered.
The Complainant has made a prima facie case in support of its allegations and, therefore, the burden of production shifts to the Respondent to come forward with appropriate allegations or evidence demonstrating that he does have rights or legitimate interests in the Disputed Domain Name, according to paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions and, therefore, did not submit any evidence of rights or legitimate interests over the Disputed Domain Name in accordance with paragraph 4(c) of the Policy.
Moreover, it appears from the content of the “www.facebook.com.ph” website that the Respondent is not making a legitimate noncommercial or fair use; on the contrary, it appears that he is using the Disputed Domain Name by redirecting to website advertising a variety of services, including computer repair services that appear to be a scam and also appears to be spreading malware. Therefore, the Respondent is using the Disputed Domain Name in a misleading way for his own commercial gain by taking unfair advantage of the Complainant’s trademark at issue and at the same time is damaging the Complainant’s reputation.
The Complainant, having made a prima facie case that the Respondent lacks rights or legitimate interests in the Disputed Domain Name, which remains unrebutted, has fulfilled the requirements of paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
At the time of registration by the Respondent of the Disputed Domain Name which occurred in 2017 according to the claim of the Complainant (annex 1 of the Complaint) which is not contended by the Respondent, the Complainant’s trademark FACEBOOK was a well-known trademark for a very long time. As the Complainant submits, it is inconceivable beyond any doubt that the Respondent would not have known of the Complainant’s trademark. In any event, the Panel notes that the Complainant’s trademark was registered in 2006, with a first use of the mark in 2004, i.e., before the Disputed Domain Name was originally registered.
The incorporation of a well-known trademark into a domain name by a registrant having no plausible explanation for doing so may be, in and of itself, an indication of bad faith (Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin, Maison Fondée en 1772 v. The Polygenix Group Co., WIPO Case No. D2000-0163; General Electric Company v. CPIC NET and Hussain Syed, WIPO Case No. D2001-0087; Microsoft Corporation v. Montrose Corporation, WIPO Case No. D2000-1568).
It appears from the screenshot (in Annex 10 of the Complaint) of the website at the Disputed Domain Name - which is again not contended by the Respondent, that the Disputed Domain Name resolves to a website which appears to be spreading malware or malicious software. On the other hand, it appears that the Disputed Domain Name resolves to a dynamic website where the Respondent offers computer repair services.
Lastly, the Respondent’s offer to transfer the disputed domain name with the proviso that the UDRP Compliant is withdrawn and that the Complainant pays USD 350 as compensation, reinforces, in the view of the overall circumstances, the ill-manner approach of the Respondent.
In the circumstances, the Panel is persuaded that the Respondent’s registration and use of the Disputed Domain Name, constitutes bad faith registration and use of the Disputed Domain Name. The only reason for the registration of the Disputed Domain Name must have been with bad faith intent to use it to exploit, for commercial gain, the Complainant’s reputation. As demonstrated above, the Respondent has used the Disputed Domain Name for precisely that purpose. See Groupe Auchan v. xmxzl, WIPO Case No. DCC2006-0004.
Therefore, in the view of cumulative circumstances, the Panel finds that the requirement of registration and use in bad faith is satisfied, according to the Policy, paragraph 4(a)(iii).
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, <facebook.com.ph> be transferred to the Complainant.
Emre Kerim Yardimci
Date: November 27, 2017