WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Gaming Innovation Group Limited v. Melissa McJunkin
Case No. D2017-0659
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Gaming Innovation Group Limited of Ta’ Xbiex, Malta, represented by SILKA Law AB, Sweden.
The Respondent is Melissa McJunkin of Shaoxing, China.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <riizk.com> is registered with GMO Internet, Inc. d/b/a Discount-Domain.com and Onamae.com (the “Registrar”).
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed in English with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on March 31, 2017. On March 31, 2017, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On April 4, 2017, 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. On April 5, 2017, the Center transmitted an email to the Parties in English and Japanese regarding the language of the proceeding. The Complainant requested that English be the language of the proceeding on the same day. The Respondent did not comment on the language of the proceeding by the specified due date.
On April 5, 2017, the Respondent submitted an email in English offering to transfer the disputed domain name to the Complainant. On the same day, the Center notified the Parties the proceeding was suspended until May 5, 2017, upon the Complainant’s request. On April 26, 2017, the Complainant requested to reinstitute the proceeding. Accordingly, the Center notified the Parties the proceeding was reinstituted on April 26, 2017.
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 in English and Japanese, and the proceedings commenced on May 3, 2017. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was May 23, 2017. The Respondent did not submit any substantive response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Parties the commencement of panel appointment process on May 24, 2017.
The Center appointed Keiji Kondo as the sole panelist in this matter on June 6, 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.
The language of the Registration Agreement is English. The Panel, however, considering the Complainant’s request and other circumstances, inter alia, the fact that the Respondent responded to the Center in English on April 5, 2017, without commenting on the Complainant’s request for English to be the language of the proceeding, has exercised his authority to conduct the proceeding in English.
4. Factual Background
The Complainant was founded in 2008, and is offering Cloud based services and performance marketing through its products. The Complainant owns gambling products, offering games from suppliers across the online sports betting and casino industry. The Complainant has over 400 people employed from different nationalities. The Complainant’s website “www.rizk.com” was launched in January, 2016 and is engaged in online gaming (Annex 3).
The Complainant is the owner of the registered trademark RIZK as a word mark through the European Union Trade Mark Registration. The trademark was registered under the number of 013715941 on June 2, 2015, for the application filed on February 5, 2015 (Annex 4). The registration is for Nice classes 28, 35, 36, 38, 41, 42 and 45, and class 28 includes, inter alia, games involving gambling (Annex 4).
The disputed domain name was registered on December 12, 2016. The disputed domain name was used to redirect Internet users to a website that offers among others betting services (Annex 5).
5. Parties’ Contentions
Identical or Confusingly Similar
The disputed domain name incorporates a typo variant of the Complainant’s trademark by adding an extra “i”. This is a clear case of typosquatting wherein the Respondent has slightly misspelled the RIZK trademark to divert Internet traffic. The practice of typosquatting has been regarded in previous UDRP decisions as creating domain names confusingly similar to the relevant mark (see Edmunds.com, Inc. v. Digi Real Estate Foundation, WIPO Case No. D2006-1043). The addition of the generic Top-Level Domains (“gTLD”) “.com” does not add any distinctiveness to the disputed domain name, see the WIPO Overview on Selected UDRP Questions, Second Edition (“WIPO Overview 2.0”), paragraph 1.2., as well as the International Business Machines Corporation v. Sledge, Inc. / Frank Sledge, WIPO Case No. D2014-0581 where the panel stated the following “In addition, it is generally accepted that the addition of the top-level suffix in the domain name (e.g., ‘com’) is to be disregarded under the confusing similarity test”. The following should apply in the current case and the disputed domain name should be considered as confusingly similar to the registered trademark RIZK.
Rights or Legitimate Interests
The Complainant has not found that the Respondent is commonly known by the disputed domain name. Hence, the Respondent has not by virtue of the content of any website, nor by its use of the disputed domain name established that it will be used in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services. The website is redirecting to a third-party website that offers among others betting services. At least one of the services offered is via Bet365 casino, a direct competitor to the Complainant. By scrolling further down on the live website, adult content related to porn is published (Annex 5). The Complainant chose not to capture the pornographic content in its Annex. It is clear from the use of the disputed domain name that the Respondent has constructive knowledge about the casino and betting industry and therefore decided to take advantage of the Complainant’s trademark to attract traffic to its own site.
The Respondent has made no claims to having any relevant prior rights of its own, or to having become commonly known by the disputed domain name, despite having been given several opportunities to present such evidence. Clearly, the Respondent is not known by the disputed domain name, nor does the Respondent claim to have made legitimate, noncommercial use of the disputed domain name. This behavior coupled with the use of the disputed domain name cannot be considered as legitimate use of the disputed domain name.
Registered and Used in Bad Faith.
The disputed domain name was registered in bad faith:
It has to be highlighted that the Complainant’s trademark registration predate the registration of the disputed domain name and therefore it seems to be unlikely that the Respondent was not aware of the trademark RIZK and of the unlawful nature of the disputed domain name registration.
The disputed domain name is being used in bad faith:
The Complainant tried to contact the Respondent on March 15, 2017, via email. The email was sent to the email address listed in the WhoIs record with the Registrar’s abuse email in copy. The Complainant advised the Respondent that the use of terms confusingly similar to its trademark within the disputed domain name violated the Complainant’s trademark rights and that if no response was received, a complaint would be filed under the UDRP. However, no reply was received and a reminder was sent on March 20, 2017 (Annex 6). The Respondent has simply disregarded any and all communication attempts. Since the efforts of trying to resolve the matter amicably were unsuccessful, the Complainant chose to file a complaint according to the UDRP process. It has been mentioned in earlier UDRP cases that the failure of a respondent to respond to a cease and desist letter, or a similar attempt at contact, has been considered relevant in a finding of bad faith, e.g., News Group Newspapers Limited and News Network Limited v. Momm Amed Ia, WIPO Case No. D2000-1623; Nike, Inc. v. Azumano Travel, WIPO Case No. D2000-1598; and America Online, Inc. v. Antonio R. Diaz, WIPO Case No. D2000-1460.
From the Complainant’s point of view, the Respondent intentionally chose the disputed domain name based on the RIZK trademark in order to attract and divert Internet users to the Respondent’s own website.
Pattern of abusive registrations:
Further, the Respondent has registered several other domain names that seem to be typos of well-known trademarks. For example, the Respondent has registered domain names such as <landrovver.com> (seemingly a typo of LAND ROVER), <qantsa.com> (seemingly a typo of QANTAS) and <peugeoot.com> (seemingly a typo of PEUGEOUT) (Annex 7). This makes it clear that the Respondent is well aware of international trademarks and not trademarks merely designated to China and had full knowledge of the RIZK trademark at the time of registration and has therefore registered the disputed domain name in bad faith. The name of the registrant differs in the WhoIs records, but Annex 7 shows the same email the registrants of these domain names as for the Respondent of this case. Further, they are all registered on the same date via the same Registrar. The Respondent has a common control over all of these domain names, but has, most likely fabricated the owner details.
To summarize, the brand RIZK is an established trademark in the betting industry. It is highly unlikely that the Respondent was not aware of the rights the Complainant has in the trademark and the value of said trademark, at the point of the disputed domain name’s registration. Inference of bad faith registration and use of the disputed domain name is also given by the fact that the Respondent never replied to the Complainant’s emails. Consequently, considering all of the above mentioned circumstances, the Respondent should be considered to have registered and to be using the disputed domain name in bad faith.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The disputed domain name consists of “riizk” and gTLD “.com”. Compared with the Complainant’s trademark RIZK, “riizk” has an extra “i”. However, double “ii” and single “i” are not easily distinguishable at a glance. Especially, those who are familiar with the Complainant’s trademark would easily misrecognize “riizk” for “rizk”. The addition of the gTLD “.com” does not add any distinctiveness to the disputed domain name. Therefore, the Panel finds that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to the Complainant’s trademark RIZK.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
The term “riizk” does not have any apparent meaning either in English or Japanese. Since the Respondent has not submitted any response to the Complaint, the Panel concludes that the term may have no meaning even in Chinese.
In addition to the fact that the Respondent did not submit any substantive response, the Respondent, in its email to the Center on April 5, 2017, stated “You can transfer the domain name to others.” Further, the disputed domain name is used only to redirect Internet users to a website that offers betting services, on which no mark or symbol incorporating “riizk” appears.
The Panel also notes that domain names such as <landrovver.com> (seemingly a typo of LAND ROVER), <qantsa.com> (seemingly a typo of QANTAS) and <peugeoot.com> (seemingly a typo of PEUGEOUT) are registered with the registrant’s email address that is the same as the Respondent’s.
Considering these circumstances, the Panel concludes that the Respondent is not using the disputed domain name in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services, nor is the Respondent commonly known by the disputed domain name. The Panel also concludes that the Respondent is not making a legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the disputed domain name.
Accordingly, the Panel concludes that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
The Complainant is engaged in gambling business. The disputed domain name is used to redirect Internet users to a website showing casino-related advertising. From these facts the Panel concludes that the Respondent registered the disputed domain name and has been used intending to mislead the Complainant’s present or potential customers to a website of an entity who is at least potentially a competitor of the Complainant. Therefore, the Respondent, by using the disputed domain name, has intentionally attempted to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to an online location, by creating a likelihood of confusion with the Complainant’s mark as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation or endorsement of the location.
Accordingly, the Panel concludes that the disputed domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.
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 <riizk.com> be transferred to the Complainant.
Date: June 16, 2017