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WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
PriceGrabber.com Inc v. William Vaughan and Domain Administration Limited
Case No. D2008-1399
1. The Parties
The Complainant is PriceGrabber.com Inc, of United States of America, represented by Greenberg Glusker Fields Claman Machtinger & Kinsella, LLP, United States of America.
The Respondents are William Vaughan, of Queensland, Australia and Domain Administration Limited of Auckland, New Zealand (вЂњRespondentвЂќ).
2. The Domain Names and Registrars
The disputed domain names:
are registered with InnerWise, Inc. d/b/a ItsYourDomain.com and the disputed domain name <priocegrabber.com> is registered with Fabulous.com.
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the вЂњCenterвЂќ) on September 12, 2008. On September 15, 2008, the Center transmitted by email to InnerWise, Inc. d/b/a ItsYourDomain.com and Fabulous.com requests for registrar verification in connection with the domain names at issue. On September 15, 2008 and September 19, 2008, InnerWise, Inc. d/b/a ItsYourDomain.com and Fabulous.com transmitted by email to the Center their verification responses disclosing that the registrant and contact information for the disputed domain names differed from the named Respondent and contact information in the Complaint. The Center sent an email communication to the Complainant on October 1, 2008 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 8, 2008. The Center verified that the Complaint together with the amended Complaint satisfied the formal requirements of the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (the вЂњPolicyвЂќ), the Rules for Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (the вЂњRulesвЂќ), and the WIPO Supplemental Rules for Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (the вЂњSupplemental RulesвЂќ).
In accordance with the Rules, paragraphs 2(a) and 4(a), the Center formally notified the Respondent of the Complaint, and the proceedings commenced on October 9, 2008. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was October 29, 2008. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the RespondentвЂ™s default on October 30, 2008.
The Center appointed Christopher J. Pibus as the sole panelist in this matter on November 5, 2008. 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
The Complainant is a company located in the United States of America (вЂњU.S.вЂќ), which operates a website at the domain name <pricegrabber.com>. The ComplainantвЂ™s website permits Internet users to find information about a number of products, including product reviews, product comparisons and price comparisons. If an Internet user decides to purchase an item that it has seen on the ComplainantвЂ™s website, it can click on a link on the site and thereby be directed to a third party site from which the user can make the purchase.
Complainant created its domain name <pricegrabber.com> on March 10, 1999 and began operating the website at the subject domain name in May, 1999. The Complainant prominently displays the trademarks PRICEGRABBER and PRICEGRABBER.COM on its website. The Complainant holds two U.S. trademark registrations for the trademarks PRICEGRABBER and PRICEGRABBER.COM. The PRICEGRABBER trademark was registered on March 6, 2001 and the PRICEGRABBER.COM trademark was registered on June 18, 2002. The Complainant also holds an Australian trademark registration for PRICEGRABBER dated September 22, 2005.
The Complainant has continuously used the PRICEGRABBER trademarks since 1999 and has attracted over 25,000,000 visitors from around the world to its <pricegrabber.com> website. The Complainant has spent approximately $8,500,000 to $14,500,000, each year since 2004, on advertising the PRICEGRABBER trademarks and the <pricegrabber.com> domain name.
The domain names in question in this proceeding were registered on the following dates:
<priceegrabber.com> - September 30, 2004;
<proicegrabber.com> - September 30, 2004;
<priocegrabber.com> - September 30, 2004;
<pricegraabber.com> - October 29, 2004;
<pricegrabger.com> - December 8, 2005.
At the time the Complaint was filed, these domain names were being used in connection with websites which provided sponsored links to other third party websites. With the exception of <priocegrabber.com>, all the domain names in question were registered to William Vaughan. The <priocegrabber.com> domain name was registered to Domain Administration Limited.
5. PartiesвЂ™ Contentions
(a) Identical or Confusingly Similar
The Complainant contends that the domain names <priceegrabber.com>; <proicegrabber.com>; <priocegrabber.com>; <pricegraabber.com>; and <pricegrabger.com> (hereinafter referred to as вЂњRespondentвЂ™s Domain NamesвЂќ) are confusingly similar to the ComplainantвЂ™s trademarks PRICEGRABBER and PRICEGRABBER.COM (hereinafter referred to as вЂњthe PRICEGRABBER TrademarksвЂќ).
The Complainant submits that the domain names are virtually identical to the PRICEGRABBER Trademarks, except that the names have been slightly altered to take advantage of Internet users who mistype the ComplainantвЂ™s domain name <pricegrabber.com> by adding an additional letter or deleting a single letter in each of the disputed domain names.
(b) Rights or Legitimate Interests
The Complainant contends that the Respondent cannot demonstrate or establish any legitimate interest in the disputed domain names. The Respondent registered the domain names in question after the Complainant had established rights in the PRICEGRABBER Trademarks. The Complainant submits that its rights in the PRICEGRABBER Trademarks are well-known and it is not possible that the Respondent was unaware of the ComplainantвЂ™s rights. The Complainant submits that there is no relationship between the Complainant and the Respondent giving rise to any license, permission or other right by which the Respondent could own or use any domain name incorporating the ComplainantвЂ™s PRICEGRABBER Trademarks. The Complainant further submits that the Respondent is not known or identified by the disputed domain names. The Complainant also submits that the Respondent is not using the domain names in a manner which offers bona fide goods and/or services. The Complainant contends that the Respondent is operating websites that provide links to other websites for the purpose of monetary gain. The Complainant contends that the Respondent has not established any legitimate right or interest in the disputed domain names. The ComplainantвЂ™s attorneys sent the Respondent a number of demand letters, seeking transfer of the domain names and the disabling of the associated websites on several occasions. The Respondent did not respond to those letters.
(c) Registered and Used in Bad Faith
The Complainant contends that the RespondentвЂ™s Domain Names have been registered and are being used in bad faith based on the following factors: (i) the RespondentвЂ™s knowledge of the PRICEGRABBER Trademarks at the time of registration of the dispute domain name; (ii) the RespondentвЂ™s registration of confusingly similar domain names; (iii) the RespondentвЂ™s use of confusingly similar domain names to operate websites that provide links to other websites for purposes of monetary gain; and (iv) the RespondentвЂ™s pattern of typosquatting conduct.
The Respondent did not reply to the ComplainantвЂ™s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
According to paragraph 4(a) of the Policy, in order to succeed, the Complainant must establish each of the following elements:
(i) The Domain Names are identical or confusingly similar to the trademark or service mark in which the Complainant has rights;
(ii) The Respondent has no rights or legitimate interest in respect of the Domain Names; and
(iii) The Domain Names have been registered and are being used in bad faith.
Identity of Respondents
The Panel notes that the domain names in question in this proceeding show different registrant names as owners, namely William Vaughan and Domain Administration Limited. The Complainant has filed evidence showing that the contact e-mail address for both Mr. William Vaughan and Domain Administration Limited is identical. The Complainant has also noted that other panelists have acknowledged significant links between Domain Administration Limited and William Vaughan. Specifically, in Touro College v. William Vaughan, SMTM Investments, Ltd.,
WIPO Case No. D2007-1813 the panelist held that the respondent, William Vaughan, SMTM Investments Ltd. and Domain Administration Limited were one and the same entity.
Accordingly, for purposes of this proceeding, the Panel accepts the uncontested evidence that the named Respondents, William Vaughan and Domain Administration Limited are sufficiently related to be treated as one and the same entity.
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The Panel finds that the Complainant has established rights in the PRICEGRABBER Trademarks, by virtue of U.S. Registration Nos. 2,433,561 and 2,582,289, and Australian Registration Registration No. 1,076,979.
The Panel finds that the RespondentвЂ™s Domain Names are confusingly similar to the ComplainantвЂ™s registered PRICEGRABBER Trademarks. Each of the RespondentвЂ™s Domain Names contain the ComplainantвЂ™s trademarks in their entirety, except for the addition or deletion of a single letter. For example, <priceegrabber.com> incorporates the ComplainantвЂ™s PRICEGRABBER.COM Trademark in its entirety, except for the addition of the letter вЂњeвЂќ after вЂњpriceвЂќ. This does not serve to distinguish the domain names from the PRICEGRABBER Trademarks, and is consistent with typosquatting.
Therefore, the Panel finds that the Complainant has satisfied the first requirement of paragraph 4(a) of the Policy.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
The Panel finds no evidence that the Respondent ever had any rights or interests in the domain names in dispute. The Respondent registered the domain names several years after the Complainant had registered the PRICEGRABBER Trademarks in the U.S. The Panel finds no evidence that the Respondent was ever known by the disputed domain names. The Panel accepts the ComplainantвЂ™s assertion that it never licensed or authorized the Respondent to use the PRICEGRABBER Trademarks. The Panel further accepts that the Respondent is not affiliated or related to the Complainant in any manner.
The Panel finds that the Respondent is not using the domain names in connection with a bona fide offering of goods and services. The Complainant has filed evidence in this proceeding showing that the Respondent is operating websites in connection with the disputed domain names which provide links to other websites for the purposes of monetary gain. The RespondentвЂ™s websites refer to these links as вЂњSponsoredвЂќ links, which supports the inference that revenue is earned by the Respondent by including these links on its websites. The operation of a вЂњclick-throughвЂќ site is not evidence of a bona fide offering of goods and services.
The Panel is therefore satisfied that the Complainant has made a prima facie showing of the RespondentвЂ™s lack of rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain names. Once a complainant has made this prima facie showing, the respondent must come forward with evidence that rebuts this presumption. Document Technologies, Inc. v. International Electronic Communications Inc.,
WIPO Case No. D2000-0270.
As the Respondent has not filed any evidence in response, the Panel finds that the Complainant has satisfied the second requirement of paragraph 4(a) of the Policy.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
The uncontested evidence shows that the ComplainantвЂ™s PRICEGRABBER Trademarks are distinctive and known in the U.S. and internationally, including Australia, where the Respondent entities appear to carry on business. The uncontested evidence shows that the ComplainantвЂ™s PRICEGRABBER Trademarks have become in the PanelвЂ™s view well-known around the world. Accordingly, the Panel is therefore prepared to infer that the Respondent had actual knowledge of the ComplainantвЂ™s trademark rights when it registered the RespondentвЂ™s Domain Names.
The Panel is also prepared to find that the Respondent registered the disputed domain names and is using the domain names for the operation of click-through websites which provide links to other websites for the purposes of monetary gain. The evidence shows that the Respondent was not authorized or licensed to use the ComplainantвЂ™s trademarks. The Respondent appears to have deliberately traded on the goodwill of the Complainant through typosquatting. The Respondent has replicated the ComplainantвЂ™s trademark in its entirety, and added or deleted a letter in each of the Domain Names, thereby attracting Internet users and diverting Internet traffic intended for the ComplainantвЂ™s website to the RespondentвЂ™s websites for the purpose of monetary gain. Prior panels have recognized this type of conduct as evidence of bad faith (see MasterCard International Incorporated v. ZJ,
WIPO Case No. D2007-0687 and MasterCard International Incorporated v. Eric Hochberger,
WIPO Case No. D2006-1050).
Furthermore, the Panel is prepared to accept the ComplainantвЂ™s uncontested assertion that the Respondent has demonstrated a pattern of typosquatting domain names of trademark owners.
For these reasons, the Panel finds that the Complainant has satisfied the third requirement of paragraph 4(a) of the Policy
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 names:
be transferred to the Complainant.
Christopher J. Pibus
Dated: November 10, 2008