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WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center


SB Advanced Systems Ltd. v. Internet Ad & Seo

Case No. DRO2021-0009

1. The Parties

The Complainant is SB Advanced Systems Ltd., Cyprus, represented by Maravela Codescu Buliga Attorneys at law, Romania.

The Respondent is Internet Ad & Seo, Czech Republic.

2. The Domain Name and Registrar

The disputed domain name <super-bet.ro> (the “Disputed Domain Name”) is registered with ROTLD (the “Registry”).

3. Procedural History

The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on December 20, 2021. On December 21, 2021, the Center transmitted by email to the Registry a request for verification in connection with the Disputed Domain Name. On December 22, 2021, 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 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 December 28, 2021. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was January 17, 2022. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on January 18, 2022.

The Center appointed Nick J. Gardner as the sole panelist in this matter on January 24, 2022. 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 incorporated in Cyprus.

The Complainant is part of a group of companies acting in the field of sports gambling. The group was founded in 2008 in Romania and has become the leader of the retail market for sport gambling in Romania, where it currently operates over 1,200 agencies.

In addition to its retail presence, the Complainant’s group also offers a mobile application with a varied offer in the field of online betting, slot type of games, live casinos, virtual games and lotteries. The Complainant employs over 3,500 people in Romania and has become the company with the highest growth in the betting & gaming field in the Central and Eastern Europe (CEE). It also operated in Poland.

The Complainant owns a range of registered trademarks for the term “super bet” including for example word trademark SUPER BET No. 132133, registered in Romania as of July 8, 2013. These trademarks are collectively referred to as the “SUPER BET trademark” in this decision.

The Complainant’s turnover in 2020 was EUR 523,762,672. It advertises and markets its business extensively. The Complainant’s group of companies operate their main website for sport betting in Romania at the domain name <superbet.ro> and in Poland at the domain name <superbet.pl>.

The Disputed Domain Name was registered on October 19, 2019. The filed evidence shows it has been linked to a website (the “Respondent’s Website”) providing a range of information, articles and links related to betting and gambling. Its text is in Romanian. It includes links to third party gambling web sites including those of competitors to the Complainant in Romania.

On June 18, 2021 the Complainant’s lawyers sent a cease-and-desist letter to the Respondent. The Respondent replied alleging that its website has nothing to do with the Complainant but expressing willingness to transfer the Disputed Domain Name in exchange of compensation for creating the website. The Respondent said as follows – “I registered the domain Super-bet.ro in a goodwill and that I used for this domain the general-popular word ‘Super’ and the word popular in the betting environment – ‘bet’, when in no case was my intention to participate on the branding of your client. It is purely a combination of two common words.” The Respondent also asked that his backlinks be added to some of the Complainant’s websites for SEO purposes. The Complainant denied the request. The Respondent replied asking again for compensation to transfer the Disputed Domain Name to the Complainant.

5. Parties’ Contentions

A. Complainant

The Complainant’s contentions are set out in detail and refer to numerous previous UDRP cases as relevant and showing the applicable principles. The Panel does not consider it necessary to repeat all that here. The Complainant’s case can be summarized as follows.

The Disputed Domain Name is confusingly similar to the SUPER BET Trademark.

The Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the term “super bet” or “super-bet”.

In consequence the Complainant alleges that the Disputed Domain Name was registered and is being used in bad faith. The Complainant says the Respondent is deliberately using the Disputed Domain Name to attract traffic to the Respondent’s Website. It has deliberately chosen a confusingly similar term in this regard which indicates bad faith.

B. Respondent

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

6. Discussion and Findings

Preliminary Matters

The Panel notes that no communication has been received from the Respondent. However, given the Complaint and Written Notice were sent to the relevant addresses disclosed by the Registry, then the Panel considers that this satisfies the requirement in paragraph 2(a) of the UDRP Rules to “employ reasonably available means calculated to achieve actual notice”. Accordingly, the Panel considers it is able to proceed to determine this Complaint and to draw inferences from the Respondent’s failure to file any Response. While the Respondent’s failure to file a Response does not automatically result in a decision in favour of the Complainant, the Panel may draw appropriate inferences from the Respondent’s default (see, e.g., Verner Panton Design v. Fontana di Luce Corp, WIPO Case No. D2012-1909).

Substantive Matters

To succeed, in accordance with paragraph 4(a) of the Policy, the Complainant must satisfy the Panel that:

(i) the Disputed Domain Name is identical with 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

The Complainant has rights in the SUPER BET trademark. The Panel finds the Disputed Domain Name is confusingly similar to this trademark. It differs only by the inclusion of a hyphen between the two words.

The Panel agrees in this regard with the approach set out in WIPO Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions, Third Edition (“WIPO Overview 3.0”), section 1.9, namely:

“1.9 Is a domain name consisting of a misspelling of the complainant’s trademark (i.e.,typosquatting) confusingly similar to the complainant’s mark?

A domain name which consists of a common, obvious, or intentional misspelling of a trademark is considered by panels to be confusingly similar to the relevant mark for purposes of the first element.

This stems from the fact that the domain name contains sufficiently recognizable aspects of the relevant mark. Under the second and third elements, panels will normally find that employing a misspelling in this way signals an intention on the part of the respondent (typically corroborated by infringing website content) to confuse users seeking or expecting the complainant.

Examples of such typos include (i) adjacent keyboard letters, (ii) substitution of similar-appearing characters (e.g., upper vs lower-case letters or numbers used to look like letters), (iii) the use of different letters that appear similar in different fonts, (iv) the use of non-Latin internationalized or accented characters, (v) the inversion of letters and numbers, or (vi) the addition or interspersion of other terms or numbers.”

Irrespective of whether the interspersion of a hyphen could amount to a misspelling of the trademark the Panel finds that the addition of a hyphen does not prevent a finding of confusing similarity.

It is also well established that the country code Top-Level Domain (in this case “.ro”), does not affect the Disputed Domain Name for the purpose of determining whether it is identical or confusingly similar.

Accordingly the Panel finds that the Disputed Domain Name is confusingly similar to the Complainant’s trademark and hence the first condition of paragraph 4(a) of the Policy has been fulfilled.

B. Rights or Legitimate Interests

The Panel finds the SUPER BET trademark is, on the evidence before the Panel, a term in which the Complainant has developed a significant reputation particularly in Romania.

Paragraph 4(c) of the Policy provides a list of circumstances any of which is sufficient to demonstrate that a respondent has rights or legitimate interests in a domain name:

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

(ii) the respondent has been commonly known by the domain name, even if the respondent has acquired no trademark or service mark rights; or

(iii) the respondent is making a legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the domain name, without intent for commercial gain to misleadingly divert consumers or to tarnish the trademark or service mark at issue.

The Complainant has not authorised, licensed, or permitted the Respondent to register or use the Disputed Domain Name or to use the SUPER BET trademark. The Complainant has prior rights in the SUPER BET trademark which precede the Respondent’s acquisition of the Disputed Domain Name. The Complainant has therefore established a prima facie case that the Respondent does not have any rights or legitimate interests in the Disputed Domain Name and thereby the burden of production shifts to the Respondent to produce evidence demonstrating rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Disputed Domain Name (see, for example, Do The Hustle, LLC v. Tropic Web, WIPO Case No. D2000-0624; Croatia Airlines d.d. v. Modern Empire Internet Ltd., WIPO Case No. D2003-0455).

The Panel finds that the Respondent has failed to produce any evidence to establish his rights or legitimate interests in the Disputed Domain Name. Absent any such evidence it seems to the Panel that the only ground that might potentially be relevant is paragraph 4(c)(i). However it seems to the Panel that paragraph 4(c)(i) cannot simply apply if a business exists has deliberately adopted another person’s trademark as its domain name, otherwise the Policy would be inapplicable to all cases in which a respondent was operating a business, which is clearly not its intention. The words “bona fide” must encompass the Respondent’s knowledge and motives in choosing the name in question – if done deliberately to trade off, or take advantage of the Complainant’s name or reputation, then the “bona fide” requirement is not met. The Panel considers that is the case here – see discussion below.

Accordingly the Panel finds the Respondent has no rights or any legitimate interests in the Disputed Domain Name and the second condition of paragraph 4(a) of the Policy has been fulfilled.

C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith

In the present circumstances the evidence as to the extent of the reputation the Complainant enjoys in the SUPER BET trademark, and the fact that the Disputed Domain Name was linked to the Respondent’s Website which is in Romanian and which is clearly related to gambling leads the Panel to conclude the registration and use were in bad faith.

The Panel concludes that the Respondent chose to register a domain name comprising a composition very similar to the Complainant’s trademark under the ccTLD “.ro” in order to attract traffic to the Respondent’s Website. The panel concludes that the Respondent will more likely than not known of the Complainant when it selected the Disputed Domain Name and that was why it chose it. The Panel accepts that “super” and “bet” are two ordinary English words but does not accept the explanation the Respondent offered in correspondence that the selection of these words in combination was without intent to target the Complainant. The Respondent is operating a sophisticated website and is manifestly knowledgeable about the betting business in Romania – it is in the Panel’s opinion extremely unlikely that the Disputed Domain Name was chosen without having the Complainant in mind (particularly noting the Complainant’s business in Romania and that the Respondent chose the ccTLD “.ro” for the Disputed Domain Name). The principles applicable are similar to those in Skyscanner Limited v. Privacy Service Provided by Withheld for Privacy ehf/Islam Omar, WIPO Case No. D2021-2880 – “Respondent has not articulated any potentially legitimate reason for registering the Domain Name, other than the fact that the Domain Name includes two ordinary English words, “sky” and “scanner”. This explanation does not vest Respondent with legitimacy here, though, as it is the precise combination of these two words that gives rise to suspicion of nefarious motives targeting the Complainant.”

Under paragraph 4(b) of the Policy a non-exhaustive list of factors evidencing registration and use in bad faith comprises:

(i) circumstances indicating that you have registered or you have acquired the domain name primarily for the purpose of selling, renting, or otherwise transferring the domain name registration to the complainant who is the owner of the trademark or service mark or to a competitor of that complainant, for valuable consideration in excess of your documented out-of-pocket costs directly related to the domain name; or

(ii) you have registered the domain name in order to prevent the owner of the trademark or service mark from reflecting the mark in a corresponding domain name, provided that you have engaged in a pattern of such conduct; or

(iii) you have registered the domain name primarily for the purpose of disrupting the business of a competitor; or

(iv) by using the domain name, you have intentionally attempted to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to your web site or other on-line location, by creating a likelihood of confusion with the complainant’s mark as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation, or endorsement of your web site or location or of a product or service on your web site or location.

In the present circumstances the Panel agrees with the Complainant that factor (iv) applies as the Respondent was seeking to achieve commercial gain by attracting traffic to his own website and as result will then no doubt earn referral and advertising income. He has done so by using the Disputed Domain Name which will likely attract traffic as a result of confusion with the Complainant’s mark. The Panel also notes that the Respondent has not filed a Response and hence has not availed himself of the opportunity to present any case of good faith that he might have. The Panel infers that none exists.

Accordingly, the Panel finds that the Disputed Domain Name has been registered and is being used in bad faith and the third condition of paragraph 4(a) of the Policy has been fulfilled.

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 <super-bet.ro> be transferred to the Complainant.

Nick J. Gardner
Sole Panelist
Date: February 7, 2022