WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
GSM Association v. Da Da An
Case No. D2019-0307
1. The Parties
Complainant is GSM Association of London, United Kingdom, represented by Bird & Bird LLP, United Kingdom.
Respondent is Da Da An of Feng Yun Tian Xia, Philippines.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <mwc19.com> (the “Domain Name”) is registered with GoDaddy.com, LLC (the “Registrar”).
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on February 8, 2019. On February 11, 2019, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the Domain Name. On February 11, 2019, the Registrar transmitted by email to the Center its verification response confirming that 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 Respondent of the Complaint, and the proceedings commenced on February 20, 2019. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was March 12, 2019. Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified Respondent’s default on March 13, 2019.
The Center appointed Robert A. Badgley as the sole panelist in this matter on March 20, 2019. 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
Complainant describes itself as “a global association representing the interests of mobile network operators having its origins in the Groupe Speciale Mobile formed in 1982 to develop a pan-European mobile technology.” Complainant was formally registered as a Swiss association in 1995 and, within a year, had a membership of nearly 200 members in nearly 100 countries. Today, Complainant asserts, its “core members include over 750 mobile network operators, with over 350 companies in the broader mobile ecosystem, including those responsible for many of the world’s largest, most valuable and most widely-used mobile networks.” Complainant’s membership also “boasts prominent companies working in various fields related to or affected by the mobile network industry.”
In 1995, Complainant hosted the GSM World Congress, an event designed to discuss future developments in the mobile technology industry. The annual conferences eventually became known as the MWC (for “Mobile World Congress”), described by Complainant as “the largest mobile event in the world.” The events are now known by “MWC” and the year, expressed as “MWC17” for the 2017 event, “MWC18” for the 2018 event, and so forth. On September 25, 2018, Complainant issued a press release announcing the tripartite event for 2019, MWC19 Barcelona, MWC19 Shanghai, MWC19 Los Angeles.
Complainant has registered a number of trademarks, including United Kingdom Intellectual Property Office Registration No. UK00002490131 for the mark MWC, registered on November 14, 2008.
The Domain Name was registered on January 12, 2019. The Domain Name resolves to a pornographic website.
5. Parties’ Contentions
Complainant asserts that it has established the three elements required under the Policy for a transfer of the Domain Name.
Respondent has not replied to Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
Paragraph 4(a) of the Policy lists the three elements which Complainant must satisfy with respect to the Domain Name:
(i) the Domain Name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which Complainant has rights; and
(ii) Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Domain Name; and
(iii) the Domain Name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The Panel concludes that Complainant has rights in the mark MWC through demonstrated registration and use. The Panel concludes further that the Domain Name is confusingly similar to the MWC mark, inasmuch as the Domain Name incorporates the mark MWC in its entirety and adds the number 19, which corresponds to the annual MWC event planned for Complainant’s members in 2019.
Complainant has established Policy, paragraph 4(a)(i).
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
Pursuant to paragraph 4(c) of the Policy, Respondent may establish its rights or legitimate interests in the Domain Name, among other circumstances, by showing any of the following elements:
(i) before any notice to you [Respondent] of the dispute, your 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) you [Respondent] (as an individual, business, or other organization) have been commonly known by the Domain Name, even if you have acquired no trademark or service mark rights; or
(iii) you [Respondent] are 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 Panel concludes that Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Domain Name. Respondent has not come forward to explain its bona fides in connection with the Domain Name. It is doubtful that Respondent could articulate and prove any bona fides, given the undisputed and plausible contention by Complainant that Respondent’s purported contact information associated with the Domain Name in the WhoIs database is fictitious. Rather, the record here appears to present a fairly clear instance of a cybersquatter registering a domain name in order to siphon Internet traffic otherwise destined for a legitimate business’s website in order to derive profit and/or tarnish that business’s trademark.
Complainant has established Policy paragraph 4(a)(ii).
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
Paragraph 4(b) of the Policy provides that the following circumstances, “in particular but without limitation,” are evidence of the registration and use of the Domain Name in “bad faith”:
(i) circumstances indicating that Respondent has registered or has acquired the Domain Name primarily for the purpose of selling, renting, or otherwise transferring the Domain Name registration to Complainant who is the owner of the trademark or service mark or to a competitor of that Complainant, for valuable consideration in excess of its documented out of pocket costs directly related to the Domain Name; or
(ii) that Respondent has 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 Respondent has engaged in a pattern of such conduct; or
(iii) that Respondent has registered the Domain Name primarily for the purpose of disrupting the business of a competitor; or
(iv) that by using the Domain Name, Respondent has intentionally attempted to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to Respondent’s website or other online location, by creating a likelihood of confusion with Complainant’s mark as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation, or endorsement of Respondent’s website or location or of a product or service on Respondent’s website or location.
The Panel concludes that Respondent has registered and used the Domain Name in bad faith. The Panel finds it more likely than not that Respondent had Complainant’s MWC mark in mind when registering the Domain Name. Although MWC is a three-letter mark, and most combinations of only three letters could serve as a term, abbreviation, or acronym for multiple applications, the addition of the number 19 in the Domain Name renders it much more likely that Respondent had Complainant’s MWC mark in mind. As noted above, Complainant’s flagship event each year is known by MWC and the two-digit year indicator (such as, for this year, MWC19).
Respondent has also used the Domain Name in bad faith by linking it to a pornographic website. It is not unreasonable to conclude, on a balance of probabilities, that one who sets up or links to a pornographic website does so at least in part with the ultimate purpose of obtaining a pecuniary gain. As such, the Panel concludes on the undisputed record here, that Respondent has registered and used the Domain Name in bad faith within the meaning of the above-quoted Policy paragraph 4(b)(iv).
Complainant has established Policy paragraph 4(a)(iii).
For the foregoing reasons, in accordance with paragraphs 4(i) of the Policy and 15 of the Rules, the Panel orders that the Domain Name <mwc19.com> be transferred to Complainant.
Robert A. Badgley
Date: March 21, 2019