The Complainant is Skyscanner Limited, United Kingdom, represented by Keltie LLP, United Kingdom.
The Respondent is Registration Private, Domains By Proxy, LLC, United States of America (“United States”) / Carolina Rodrigues, Fundacion Comercio Electronico, Panama.
The disputed domain name <skyscannert.com> is registered with GoDaddy.com, LLC (the “Registrar”).
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on October 1, 2019. On October 1, 2019, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On October 1, 2019, the Registrar transmitted by email to the Center its verification response disclosing registrant and contact information for the disputed domain name which differed from the named the Respondent and contact information in the Complaint. The Center sent an email communication to the Complainant on October 2, 2019, providing the registrant and contact information disclosed by the Registrar, and inviting the Complainant to submit an amendment to the Complaint. The Complainant filed an amended Complaint on October 2, 2019.
The Center verified that the Complaint together with the amended 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 October 4, 2019. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was October 24, 2019. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on October 25, 2019.
The Center appointed Leon Trakman as the sole panelist in this matter on October 30, 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 provides, among other services, advertising on the Internet, opinion polling, data processing, provision of business information, data feeds, auctioneering, all relating to travel. It also provides travel information and arrangement services, inter alia, from an Internet website operating through a global computer network and online from a computer database; and travel information that is accessible via a mobile phone that utilizes wireless technology.
The Complainant has registered various trademarks internationally. These include, among others, European Union designation of International Trademark Registration No. 900393 for SKYSCANNER (registered on March 3, 2006), International Trademark Registration No. 1030086 for SKYSCANNER, (registered on December 1, 2009) (hereinafter collectively referred to as “the Trademark”). The Complainant has further trademark registrations in the United States, India, Canada, and New Zealand, among other countries.
According to the WhoIs database registry, the Respondent’s identity in this administrative proceeding is masked by a WhoIs privacy service. However, a screenshot of the Respondent’s website establishes that the disputed domain name <skyscannert.com> directs Internet users to a website that contains pay-per-click (“PPC”) links to websites advertising the availability of travel arrangement services.
The Complainant alleges that the disputed domain name <skyscannert.com> is virtually identical to the Trademark; that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name; and that the Respondent registered and used the disputed domain name in bad faith, contrary to Policy, paragraphs 4(a)(iii), 4(b); Rules, paragraph 3(b)(ix)(1),(2) and ((3) respectively).
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.
The Panel holds that, while the disputed domain name <skyscannert.com> is not identical to the Complainant’s Trademark, it is almost identical and confusingly similar. The disputed domain name includes the Complainant’s Trademark in full, subject only to adding the letter “t” at the end of the disputed domain name.
Accordingly, the Complainant prevails on this first ground.
The Panel determines that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name.
The record demonstrates that the Complainant enjoys exclusive rights to its Trademark SKYSCANNER in connection with its global business. These rights are confirmed by the Complainant’s global reputation and use of its services, as affirmed by prior UDRP decisions in which the Complainant was a party. See e.g.Skyscanner Limited v. Basit Ali, WIPO Case No. D2012-1983; Skyscanner Limited v. Mohit Bajaj, WIPO Case No. D2016-1481; and Skyscanner Limited v. Contact Privacy Inc. Customer 1244355693 / Mrs k ananthan,WIPO Case No. D2019-0988.
Given the Complainant’s exclusive rights to its Trademark, it is difficult to argue that the Respondent has rights or interests in a confusingly similar domain name. Insofar as the burden of proof rests on the Complainant, it is reasonable to maintain that it has discharged this burden in such circumstances; and that the evidentiary burden then passes to the Respondent. There is no reasonable basis on the record to demonstrate that the Respondent has rebutted the burden which the Complainant has discharged.
Indeed, for the Respondent to have so rebutted the burden of proof, there must be relevant evidence which confirms that the Respondent has rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. In this case, the Respondent is not commonly known by the name “Skyscanner” or “Skyscannert”. Nor is there any reasonable evidence that the Respondent has registered rights in any trademarks related to the disputed domain name that is almost identical to that of the Complainant’s Trademark. The word “Skyscanner” is not in common use; it does not have any dictionary or other meaning; and it is not descriptive of anything other than a range of speculative correlations between “scanning” and “sky”.
Finally, the record readily demonstrates that the Complainant did not authorize the Respondent to act for it in any way. The Complainant did not consent, expressly, impliedly or by ratification, to the Respondent’s use of its Trademark for any purpose whatsoever. Nor is there any reasonable basis to infer that the Respondent reasonably believed that it was authorized to so act, or that the Complainant had ratified its action.
Accordingly, the Complainant prevails on this second ground.
The Panel holds that the Respondent’s registration and use of the disputed domain name constitutes bad faith. In effect, the Respondent both acquired and utilized the disputed domain name <skyscannert.com> in bad faith.
Evidence that the Respondent registered the disputed domain name in bad faith is the fact that the Respondent was aware, or should reasonably have been aware, of the Complainant’s global business under its brand and Trademark, a brand which had acquired global attention including through multiple registrations and millions of users internationally for almost two decades. Such global exposure included the widely publicized acquisition of the Complainant by Ctrip, China’s largest online travel agency in November 2016. The Respondent’s registration of the disputed domain name without being reasonably cognizant of the Complainant’s place in the online advertising industry, is highly improbable.
Accordingly, there is ample evidence to demonstrate that the Respondent registered the disputed domain name with reasonable awareness of these facts above, or that such reasonable awareness should be imputed to it.
The Panel holds that the Respondent also used the disputed domain name in bad faith. This is reflected in using a domain name that is identical to the Complainant’s Trademark, other than by adding the “t” to the letter “r”. The only reasonable conclusion to draw, given this use of a virtually identical domain name to the Complainant’s Trademark, is that the Respondent was purporting to attract, or coopt, Internet users to its website by replicating, while deliberately but minimally misspelling the Complainant’s Trademark.
The only reasonable conclusion to draw is that the Respondent’s purpose in doing so was economic, namely, to secure revenue by misleading Internet users to access the PPC links displayed on its website. It sought to achieve this purpose by purporting to confuse, or persuade users that it was somehow owned by, affiliated with, connected to, or controlled by the Complainant. Each of these presuppositions is not only intended to mislead Internet users; they are likely to accomplish that purpose in relation to at least some users.
It is also only reasonable to conclude, as ancillary evidence of bad faith use, that the Respondent intended to take unfair advantage of the Complainant’s widely known Trademark and reputation by diverting customers from the Complainant. The Respondent’s action poses significant risks to the Complainant, in losing existing or potential customers who are misled by the Respondent’s bad faith use of the disputed domain name. The further economic risk is of the Complainant’s loss of reputation by the bad faith appropriation and dilution of its Trademark, and damage to its reputation. Determinative is both the uncertainty and loss of public confidence arising from the Respondent’s bad faith use of the disputed domain name.
As final evidence of the Respondent’s bad faith use is a screenshot of a page on “www.sedo.com”. There the disputed domain name is offered for sale, inviting a minimum offer of USD 899. Whether the Respondent placed the advertisement, or it was placed by someone else is not determinative. In both cases, the advertisement of the disputed domain name would require the consent or other authorization of the Respondent. In both cases, too, the Respondent lacks “clean hands”, which affirms its illegal and bad faith use of the disputed domain name.
Accordingly, the Complainant prevails on this third ground.
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 <skyscannert.com> be transferred to the Complainant.
Date: November 4, 2019
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