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WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center

ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION

Stanworth Development Limited v. Michael Gordon

Case No. D2007-1227

1. The Parties

Complainant is Stanworth Development Limited, Douglas, Isle of Man, represented by Bowman Gilfillan Inc, South Africa.

Respondent is Michael Gordon, St. John's, Antigua.

2. The Domain Name and Registrar

The disputed domain name <riverbellecasiino.com> is registered with Register.com.

3. Procedural History

The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on August 17, 2007. On August 23, 2007, the Center transmitted by email to Register.com a request for registrar verification in connection with the domain name at issue. On August 23, 2007, Register.com transmitted by email to the Center its verification response, confirming that Respondent is listed as the registrant and providing the contact details. In response to a notification by the Center that the Complaint was administratively deficient, Complainant filed an amendment to the Complaint on September 3, 2007. The Center verified that the Complaint, together with the amendment to the Complaint, satisfied the formal requirements of the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (the “Policy”), 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 Respondent of the Complaint, and the proceedings commenced on September 4, 2007. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was September 24, 2007. Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on September 28, 2007.

The Center appointed Lorelei Ritchie de Larena as the sole panelist in this matter on October 8, 2007. 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 is a holding company that trades in the RIVER BELLE mark, and related marks, in international class 41, for entertainment services related to online casino-style gambling. Complainant owns a number of marks that incorporate RIVER BELLE in various jurisdictions. These marks were filed as early as June 20, 2001. Among Complainant’s registered marks in this category are logos and terms that specify the word “casino,” including RIVER BELLE ONLINE CASINO.

In addition to its marks, Complainant has registered several related domain names, including <riverbellecasino.com>. Complainant has licensed its marks and good will to a company that operates an online gaming site located at the associated URL. Complainant’s licensee has operated the website successfully since 1997, enjoying over 25,000 software downloads, and thousands of regular players each month. In order to continue this success, Complainant and its licensee spend over US$50,000 per month in advertising, primarily online.

Respondent is not affiliated with Complainant and does not have a license to use Complainant’s marks. The registrar’s records indicate that Respondent registered <riverbellecasiino.com> on October 27, 2005. As of the date the Complaint was filed, Respondent was using <riverbellecasiino.com> to resolve to a range of links, including services offered by Complainant’s competitors.

5. Parties’ Contentions

A. Complainant

(a) Identical or Confusingly Similar – The domain name <riverbellecasiino.com> is almost identical, and is confusingly similar to Complainant’s mark, RIVER BELLE, adding only a misspelling of the generic term “casino,” which describes Complainant’s services.

(b) Rights or Legitimate Interests – Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests with respect to the domain name <riverbellecasiino.com>. Complainant owns a trademark registration for the marks RIVER BELLE and RIVER BELLE ONLINE CASINO, which it uses in commerce via a licensee, including for online casino business. Complainant’s registration of the mark predates Respondent’s corresponding domain name by at least 4 years. Complainant contends that Respondent does not own any trademark or intellectual property rights in the marks RIVER BELLE and RIVER BELLE ONLINE CASINO, and that Respondent has never used either as a legal or business name. Complainant further avers that it has never authorized, licensed or permitted Respondent to use these marks.

(c) Registered and Used in Bad Faith – Respondent’s domain name was registered and is being used in bad faith based on the following factors: (i) disrupting the business of a competitor by diverting traffic through confusion; (ii) knowledge of the Complainant’s long and continuous use of the RIVER BELLE and RIVER BELLE ONLINE CASINO marks at the time of registration and that Respondent had no right, title or interest, whatsoever, in the marks or the domain name.

B. Respondent

Respondent did not reply to Complainant’s contentions.

6. Discussion and Findings

A. Identical or Confusingly Similar

Complainant owns a number of marks that incorporate RIVER BELLE in various jurisdictions. These marks were filed as early as June 20, 2001. Among Complainant’s registered marks in this category are logos and terms that specify the word “casino,” including RIVER BELLE ONLINE CASINO.

The domain name <riverbellecasiino.com> is almost identical, and is confusingly similar to Complainant’s mark, RIVER BELLE, adding only a misspelling of the generic term “casino,” which describes Complainant’s services. The result is a domain name that is distinctly suggestive of Complainant’s “casino” services, linked with Complainant’s RIVER BELLE mark. It also is apparently derivative of Complainant’s RIVER BELLE ONLINE CASINO mark.

Respondent has undertaken two common practices. First, Respondent has added a generic term to Complainant’s mark. Second, Respondent has engaged in “typosquatting,” where a domain name registrant deliberately registers common misspellings of a mark in order to divert consumer traffic.

Various UDRP panels have found that adding a generic term to a mark still renders it “identical or confusingly similar”, especially when the added term is descriptive of Complainant’s business. See, e.g., DaimlerChrysler A.G. v. Donald Drummonds, WIPO Case No. D2001-0160; Microsoft Corp. v. StepWeb, WIPO Case No. D2000-1500.

Furthermore, UDRP panels have routinely found typosquatted domain names like this one to be “confusingly similar” for purposes of a finding under the UDRP. See Edmonds.com, Inc. v. Yingkun Guo, WIPO Case No. D2006-0694; Disney Enterprises, Inc. v. John Zuccarini, Cupcake City and Cupcake Patrolё WIPO Case No. D2001-0489.

The Panel therefore finds that Complainant has satisfied the first requirement under paragraph 4(a) of the Policy.

B. Rights or Legitimate Interests

The Panel accepts Complainant’s contention regarding Respondent’s lack of rights or legitimate interests in the domain name <riverbellecasiino.com>. Complainant owns rights in the marks RIVER BELLE and RIVER BELLE ONLINE CASINO, in class 41, for entertainment services related to online casino-style gambling. Complainant uses these marks in commerce via a licensee, including for online casino gambling services. Complainant’s registration of the RIVER BELLE mark predates Respondent’s registration of the similar <riverbellecasiino.com> domain name by at least 4 years.

Complainant contends that Respondent does not own any trademark or intellectual property rights in the RIVER BELLE mark, and that Respondent has never used RIVER BELLE or RIVER BELLE CASINO as a legal or business name. Complainant further avers that it has never authorized, licensed or permitted Respondent to use these marks. Complainant has established a prima facie case that Respondent lacks rights or legitimate interest in the domain name. Respondent has submitted no Response or materials in rebuttal.

The Panel therefore finds that Complainant has satisfied the second requirement under paragraph 4(a) of the Policy.

C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith

Two primary factors lead the Panel to infer and conclude that Respondent had knowledge of Complainant’s trademark and has registered and used the domain name <riverbellecasiino.com> in bad faith.

First, Complainant registered the RIVER BELLE mark as early as 2001, four years prior to Respondent’s registration of the domain name <riverbellecasiino.com>. Complainant is widely known and enjoys success in the online gambling industry.

In addition to its marks, Complainant has registered several related domain names, including <riverbellecasino.com>. Complainant has licensed its marks and good will to a company that operates an online gaming site located at the associated URL. Complainant’s licensee has operated the website successfully since 1997, enjoying over 25,000 software downloads, and thousands of regular players each month.

Second, the Panel finds that it appears that Respondent has chosen to register Complainant’s mark as a domain name in order to divert Internet traffic away from Complainant’s website for the purpose of disrupting Complainant’s business for apparent monetary gain. Respondent’s website actually directs users to a range of services, including those of Complainant’s competitors. This conduct constitutes bad faith.

Accordingly, the Panel finds that Complainant has satisfied the third element under paragraph 4(a) of the Policy.

7. Decision

For all the foregoing reasons, in accordance with paragraphs 4(i) of the Policy and 15 of the Rules, the Panel orders that the domain name <riverbellecasiino.com> be transferred to Complainant.


Lorelei Ritchie De Larena
Sole Panelist

Date: October 22, 2007

 

Источник информации: https://internet-law.ru/intlaw/udrp/2007/d2007-1227.html

 

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