The Complainant is Check Into Cash, Inc., United States of America (“U.S.” or “United States”), represented by Chambliss, Bahner & Stophel, U.S.
The Respondent is Hope Lee, China.
The disputed domain names <chechintocash.com> and <checkintocah.com> are registered with Dynadot, LLC (the “Registrar”).
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on June 7, 2019. On June 11, 2019, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On June 12, 2019, 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 and 4, the Center formally notified the Respondent of the Complaint, and the proceedings commenced on June 20, 2019. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was July 10, 2019. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on July 11, 2019.
The Center appointed Francine Tan as the sole panelist in this matter on July 19, 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.
The Complainant states that it is a pioneer and industry leader in the short-term direct lending industry. It is headquartered in Cleveland, Tennessee, U.S., and has been operating for over 25 years.
The Complainant owns the trade mark CHECK INTO CASH which has been registered with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. The U.S. registrations include Registration No. 2256904, with a date of first use claim of June 1993 and registration date of June 29, 1999; Registration No. 4292267 with a date of first use claim of May 2009 and registration date of February 19, 2013; and Registration No. 3525178 with a date of first use claim of April 14, 2008 and registration date of October 28, 2008.
The Complainant asserts that extensive expense in advertising its services provided under the CHECK INTO CASH trade mark has been expended through various means such as direct-mail advertisement, national television and radio advertising, and outdoor billboards. The Complainant and its licensed affiliates prominently display the use of the CHECK INTO CASH trade mark at over 700 locations throughout the U.S.
The Complainant owns the domain name <checkintocash.com>, which resolves to its website. The Complainant has conducted a significant level of online business from its website over the past 20 years. The Complainant’s domain name was registered on April 1, 1997.
The disputed domain names <chechintocash.com> and <checkintocah.com> were registered, without the Complainant’s consent, on September 25, 2014 and November 6, 2016, respectively. Although sometimes the disputed domain names direct Internet traffic to the Complaint’s website, they also resolve to third-party websites connecting Internet users with short-term lenders who may compete with the Complainant.
The archive records show that there was an active website associated with the disputed domain name in 2016. The archive records in August 2018 show that <checkintocah.com> automatically redirected to “www.chechintocash.com”.
The Complainant learnt of the disputed domain names in late April 2019. On April 23, April 26 and April 30, 2019, the Complainant’s attorney sent a succession of letters to the host of the Respondent’s websites, demanding that Dynadot, LLC “immediately cease hosting” the disputed domain names. No substantive response was received.
Further, when the disputed domain names are entered into a search bar, the Internet user is sometimes redirected to “www.365fastloans.com”, a website that collects personal and financial information and which purports to be a lead generator for short-term lending services. A letter was sent by the Complainant’s attorneys on May 6, 2019 in relation to the disputed domain name <checkintocah.com>, and replies were received by email on May 6 and May 16, 2019 from the in-house legal counsel for “www.365fastloans.com”. The latter stated that following investigations, they had “blocked the source ID” which is specific to any mis‑spelling of “Check Into Cash”. However, in June, 2019, Internet traffic was redirected to “www.365fastloans.com”.
The disputed domain names are almost identical to the Complainant’s CHECK INTO CASH trade mark. The substitution of a single letter from “checkintocash” (“chechintocash”) or the removal of a single letter (“checkintocah”) does not dispel the confusion with the Complainant’s CHECK INTO CASH trade mark. The Respondent’s sole purpose is to capitalize on typing errors by those seeking the Complainant’s website.
The Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain names. The Respondent has not sought or obtained a licence from the Complainant which has trade mark rights in CHECK INTO CASH. The Respondent has not used the disputed domain names in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services but is seeking to “typosquat”. There is no evidence that the Respondent is commonly known by the disputed domain names or that “Check Into Cash” is its legal name.
The disputed domain names were registered and are being used in bad faith. The Respondent registered the disputed domain names primarily for the purpose of disrupting the Complainant’s business and to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to third-party websites that compete with the Complainant. It is not a coincidence that the Respondent who conducts business with the Complainant’s competitors registered the disputed domain names which incorporate the Complainant’s famous CHECK INTO CASH trade mark.
Further evidence of bad faith is also demonstrated by the fact that the Respondent stopped using the disputed domain names after the Complainant sent the cease and desist correspondence to the Registrar, web host and owner of the redirected website and did not respond in this proceeding.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.
6.1 Preliminary Issue: Consolidation of the Proceeding
The Complainant requested consolidation of the proceeding in relation to the disputed domain names, pursuant to paragraph 10(e) of the Rules. The reasons put forward were that the disputed domain names:
(i) are near identical variants of the term “checkintocash”;
(ii) share the same Registrar;
(iii) use the same web host;
(iv) have nearly identical websites affiliated with them;
(v) have the same purpose and function of redirecting Internet traffic to a third-party website, “www.365fastloans.com”.
all of which demonstrate a common control of the disputed domain names by the Respondent.
Paragraph 3(c) of the Rules provides that a complaint may relate to more than one domain name, provided that the domain names are registered by the same domain name holder. The Panel notes that the domain name holder is identical for the disputed domain names. It accordingly finds it appropriate for a consolidated decision to be issued in relation to the disputed domain names.
6.2 Substantive Issues
The Panel finds that the disputed domain names <chechintocash.com> and <checkintocah.com> are confusingly similar to the CHECK INTO CASH trade mark in which the Complainant has rights. The only differences between the disputed domain names and the Complainant’s trade mark lie in:
(i) the inclusion of the generic Top-Level Domain “.com” (which is a technical requirement of domain names and has no relevance to the issue of identity or confusing similarity); and
(ii) the substitution of the letter “h” in the disputed domain name <chechintocash.com> and the absence of the letter “s” in the disputed domain name <checkintocah.com>.
The Panel finds that the mis-spellings of the words “check” and “cash” in the disputed domain names do not serve to avoid a finding of confusing similarity with the Complainant’s CHECK INTO CASH trade mark. This finding is consistent with what is reflected in section 1.9 of the WIPO Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions, Third Edition (“WIPO Overview 3.0”):
“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.”
The Panel therefore finds that the first element of paragraph 4(a) of the Policy has been satisfied.
The Panel finds that the Complainant has established a prima facie case that the Respondent does not have rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain names. There is no evidence that the Respondent has been commonly known by the disputed domain names. Neither is there evidence showing that the Respondent is making a bona fide offering of goods and services or that the Respondent is making a legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the disputed domain names, without intent for commercial gain to misleadingly divert consumers.
The Respondent failed to rebut the Complainant’s prima facie case. The Panel therefore finds that the second element of paragraph 4(a) of the Policy has been satisfied.
The overall circumstances of this case further lead the Panel to also find that the disputed domain names were registered and used in bad faith. It is evident that the Respondent registered the disputed domain names with knowledge of the Complainant’s CHECK INTO CASH trade mark, seeing how the words which form the disputed domain names were mis-spelt and how they were used to redirect customers to third-party websites offering loan services which compete with those of the Complainant.
The circumstances of this case fall within paragraph 4(b)(iv) of the Policy. The disputed domain names contain sufficiently recognizable aspects of the Complainant’s CHECK INTO CASH trade mark, which gives rise to a strong presumption that the Respondent had registered the disputed domain names with the deliberate aim of attracting, for commercial gain, Internet users by creating a likelihood of confusion with the Complainant’s mark as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation, or endorsement of the website to which the disputed domain names resolved.
The Panel therefore concludes that the third element of paragraph 4(a) of the Policy has been satisfied.
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 names <chechintocash.com> and <checkintocah.com> be transferred to the Complainant.
Date: July 20, 2019
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