WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Check Into Cash, Inc. v. Domain Administrator, Fundacion Private Whois
Case No. D2014-1432
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Check Into Cash, Inc. of Cleveland, Tennessee, United States of America ("USA"), represented by Chambliss, Bahner & Stophel, USA.
The Respondent is Domain Administrator, Fundacion Private Whois of Panama, Panama.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <checkintocashcheckintocash.com> is registered with Internet.bs Corp. (the "Registrar").
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the "Center") on August 21, 2014. On August 21, 2014, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On August 22, 2014, the 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 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(a) and 4(a), the Center formally notified the Respondent of the Complaint, and the proceedings commenced on August 29, 2014. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was September 18, 2014. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent's default on September 19, 2014.
The Center appointed Andrea Dawson as the sole panelist in this matter on September 24, 2014. 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 operates a financial service business, which offers payday loans and other financial services across the USA under the name "Check into cash".
The Complainant is the owner of the trademark CHECK INTO CASH registration numbers 2256904 and 3525178 dated 1999 amongst other trademark registrations in the USA.
The disputed domain name <checkintocashcheckintocash.com> was registered on July 1, 2014.
5. Parties' Contentions
The Complainant provides evidence demonstrating its ownership of the trademark CHECK INTO CASH.
The Complainant claims that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to the Complainant's trademark. The disputed domain name reproduces entirely the Complainant's trademark.
The Complainant states that it has not licensed or otherwise authorized the Respondent to use its trademark. The Complainant further adds that there is no evidence that the disputed domain name is the legal name of the Respondent or that is commonly used to identify the Respondent.
The Complainant states that given the content of the site and the date of registration of the disputed domain name it is nearly inconceivable that the Respondent was not aware of Complainant when registering the disputed domain name.
Finally, the Complainant adds that it is evidence of bad faith that the Respondents failure to stop using the disputed domain name after the Complainant sent a cease and desist letter and notice of inaccurate WhoIs information.
Consequently, in view of the above-mentioned circumstances, the Complainant asserts that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to the Complainant's trademarks, that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name and that the Respondent registered the disputed domain name in bad faith. The Complainant requests that the Panel order transfer of the disputed domain name to the Complainant.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant's contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
Paragraph 4(a) of the Policy stipulates that the Complainant must prove the following three elements in order to be successful in its action:
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The Complainant has been able to demonstrate that it has rights to the trademark CHECK INTO CASH. The disputed domain name consists of the repeated term "checkintocash". The fact that the term is repeated does not eliminate the identity or the confusing similarity of the disputed domain name with the Complainant's trademarks.
For the above-cited reasons, the Panel concludes that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to the Complainant's trademark and therefore the condition of paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Policy is fulfilled.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
Under paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy, the Complainant must prove that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name.
However, many prior UDRP Panels have established that once a complainant makes out a prima facie case that a respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in a disputed domain name the burden of production shifts to the respondent to demonstrate that it does have rights or legitimate interests in the domain name.
The present Panel agrees that the Complainant needs only to make out a prima facie case and finds that it has met that standard.
The Panel accepts the arguments of the Complainant that the Respondent has not been authorized by the Complainant to use its trademark, or to seek registration of any domain name incorporating said mark and that the Respondent has no prior rights or legitimate interests in the domain name.
Furthermore, the Panel finds that the Respondent is neither commonly known by the name "checkintocashcheckintocash" nor in any way affiliated with Complainant, nor authorized or licensed in any other way to use the CHECK INTO CASH trademark.
Consequently, the Panel finds that the Complainant has satisfied the requirements of the second element under paragraph 4(a) of the Policy.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
Under paragraph 4(a)(iii) of the Policy, the Complainant must prove that the disputed domain name was registered and is being used in bad faith. Paragraph 4(b) of the Policy sets out certain circumstances which, in particular but without limitation, if found by the Panel to be present, shall be evidence of both registration and use of the disputed domain name in bad faith.
In this particular case the Panel considers that though the term "check into cash" may be considered a generic expression, when this expression is used as a domain name by the Respondent to advertise and offer online payday advance services and invites users to apply and obtain a payday loan, services identical to those offered by the Complainant one can assume that the expression is not a simple phrasing of random words and that it is unlikely that Respondent was unaware of the Complainant and its trademarks when the disputed domain name was registered.
Furthermore the Panel finds that it is impossible to conclude that Respondent did not have the Complainant's trademark in mind when registering the disputed domain name, especially when reviewing the screenshots provided in the Complaint in which one can clearly identify a logo extremely similar if not identical to that registered and used by the Complainant. Not only did the Respondent reproduce the Complainant's trademark but also its graphics and logos used in Complainant's website. In light of the above, the Panel has no hesitation in finding that the disputed domain name was registered in bad faith.
The fact that the Respondent's website referred to pay loans and financial services as shown in the screenshots provided in the Complaint, indicates that the Respondent had perfect knowledge of the Complainant's existence and the services it provided. It cannot be a mere coincidence that the website at the disputed domain name offered the same services as those of the Complainant.
In addition to the above, the Complainant sent a cease and desist letter to the Respondent, indicating that it was the owner of the trademark CHECK INTO CASH and requesting to cease in the use of the disputed domain name. No response was received from the Respondent until date.
In view of the above, it is clear to the Panel that the Respondent intentionally attempted to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to its website by creating a likelihood of confusion with the Complainant's trademark as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation, or endorsement of its website.
For the above-cited reasons, the Panel finds that the disputed domain name was registered and is being used in bad faith; therefore, the requirements of paragraph 4(a)(iii) of the Policy are also fulfilled in this case.
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 <checkintocashcheckintocash.com> be transferred to the Complainant.
Date: October 8, 2014