Wednesday , August 17 2022

Airbnb #domain “typo” predates the brand’s own! :DomainGang

A funky UDRP filed against the domain name airnb.com ended up with the giant corporation, Airbnb, winning the case.

According to the complaint, the disputed domain name was originally registered in May 2008; since that time it has cycled through several different owners.

Complainant states that Respondent has been listed as the registrant of the domain name only since September 2020.

The domain name is being used to display links directing users to various third-party websites, including that of VRBO.com, a competitor of Complainant.

The case did not include feedback or a response from the Respondent; it could have been a completely different result, as the domain’s registration predates that of Airbnb.com by 3 months. The claim that the change in registrant signifies a new registration has been opposed to successfully by UDRP respondents in the past.

In our opinion, the domain most likely was used as a split of “Ai RnB” pointing to the Japanese R&B singer Ai.

Final decision: Transfer the domain airnb.com to the Complainant.

Airbnb, Inc. v. Hulmiho Ukolen / Poste restante

Claim Number: FA2106001952579

PARTIES

Complainant is Airbnb, Inc. (“Complainant”), represented by David K. Caplan of Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP, California, USA. Respondent is Hulmiho Ukolen / Poste restante (“Respondent”), Finland.

REGISTRAR AND DISPUTED DOMAIN NAME

The domain name at issue is <airnb.com>, registered with Gransy, s.r.o.

PANEL

The undersigned certifies that he has acted independently and impartially and to the best of his knowledge has no known conflict in serving as Panelist in this proceeding.

David E. Sorkin as Panelist.

PROCEDURAL HISTORY

Complainant submitted a Complaint to the Forum electronically on June 24, 2021; the Forum received payment on June 24, 2021.

On June 28, 2021, Gransy, s.r.o. confirmed by email to the Forum that the <airnb.com> domain name is registered with Gransy, s.r.o. and that Respondent is the current registrant of the name. Gransy, s.r.o. has verified that Respondent is bound by the Gransy, s.r.o. registration agreement and has thereby agreed to resolve domain disputes brought by third parties in accordance with ICANN’s Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (the “Policy”).

On June 30, 2021, the Forum served the Complaint and all Annexes, including a Written Notice of the Complaint, setting a deadline of July 20, 2021 by which Respondent could file a Response to the Complaint, via email to all entities and persons listed on Respondent’s registration as technical, administrative, and billing contacts, and to [email protected] Also on June 30, 2021, the Written Notice of the Complaint, notifying Respondent of the email addresses served and the deadline for a Response, was transmitted to Respondent via post and fax, to all entities and persons listed on Respondent’s registration as technical, administrative, and billing contacts.

Having received no response from Respondent, the Forum transmitted to the parties a Notification of Respondent Default.

On July 21, 2021, pursuant to Complainant’s request to have the dispute decided by a single-member Panel, the Forum appointed David E. Sorkin as Panelist.

Having reviewed the communications records, the Administrative Panel (the “Panel”) finds that the Forum has discharged its responsibility under Paragraph 2(a) of the Rules for Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (the “Rules”) “to employ reasonably available means calculated to achieve actual notice to Respondent” through submission of Electronic and Written Notices, as defined in Rule 1 and Rule 2. Therefore, the Panel may issue its decision based on the documents submitted and in accordance with the ICANN Policy, ICANN Rules, the Forum’s Supplemental Rules, and any rules and principles of law that the Panel deems applicable, without the benefit of any response from Respondent.

RELIEF SOUGHT

Complainant requests that the domain name be transferred from Respondent to Complainant.

PARTIES’ CONTENTIONS

A. Complainant

Complainant operates an online marketplace where people can list, discover, and book accommodations around the world, with more than 5.6 million listings in more than 100,000 cities and 220 countries and territories. Complainant announced its 1 millionth booking in February 2011, and celebrated its 500 millionth guest in March 2019. Complainant has used the AIRBNB mark in connection with this marketplace since 2009, and owns trademark registrations for AIRBNB in the United States and other jurisdictions issued as early as 2010. Complainant states that its mark has become famous as a result of extensive use, promotion, and media attention, and is one of the most recognized brands in the world.

The disputed domain name was originally registered in May 2008; since that time it has cycled through several different owners. Complainant states that Respondent has been listed as the registrant of the domain name only since September 2020. The domain name is being used to display links directing users to various third-party websites, including that of VRBO.com, a competitor of Complainant. Complainant states that Respondent is not commonly known by the disputed domain name and has not been authorized to use Complainant’s mark.

Complainant contends on the above grounds that the disputed domain name <airnb.com> is confusingly similar to its AIRBNB mark; that Respondent lacks rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name; and that the disputed domain name was registered and is being used in bad faith.

B. Respondent

Respondent failed to submit a Response in this proceeding.

FINDINGS

The Panel finds that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to a mark in which Complainant has rights; that Respondent lacks rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name; and that the disputed domain name was registered and is being used in bad faith.

DISCUSSION

Paragraph 15(a) of the Rules instructs this Panel to “decide a complaint on the basis of the statements and documents submitted in accordance with the Policy, these Rules and any rules and principles of law that it deems applicable.”

Paragraph 4(a) of the Policy requires that Complainant must prove each of the following three elements to obtain an order that a domain name should be cancelled or transferred:

(1) the domain name registered by Respondent is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which Complainant has rights; and

(2) Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the domain name; and

(3) the domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.

In view of Respondent’s failure to submit a response, the Panel shall decide this administrative proceeding on the basis of Complainant’s undisputed representations pursuant to paragraphs 5(f), 14(a), and 15(a) of the Rules and draw such inferences it considers appropriate pursuant to paragraph 14(b) of the Rules. The Panel is entitled to accept all reasonable allegations set forth in a complaint; however, the Panel may deny relief where a complaint contains mere conclusory or unsubstantiated arguments. See WIPO Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions, § 4.3 (3d ed. 2017), available at http://www.wipo.int/amc/en/domains/search/overview3.0/; see also eGalaxy Multimedia Inc. v. ON HOLD By Owner Ready To Expire, FA 157287 (Forum June 26, 2003) (dismissing complaint where complainant failed to “produce clear evidence to support its subjective allegations”).

Identical and/or Confusingly Similar

The disputed domain name <airnb.com> incorporates Complainant’s registered AIRBNB trademark, omitting the first letter “B” and appending the “.com” top-level domain. These alterations do not substantially diminish the similarity between the domain name and Complainant’s mark. See, e.g., Airbnb, Inc. v. Yang Qijin / Yangqijin, FA 1870652 (Forum Dec. 13, 2019) (finding <arbnb.com> confusingly similar to AIRBNB); Airbnb, Inc. v. Domain Hostmaster, Customer ID : 87313851420490 / Whois Privacy Services Pty Ltd, FA 1746275 (Forum Sept. 22, 2017) (finding <airbbn.com> confusingly similar to AIRBNB). The Panel considers the disputed domain name to be confusingly similar to a mark in which Complainant has rights.

Rights or Legitimate Interests

Under the Policy, the Complainant must first make a prima facie case that the Respondent lacks rights and legitimate interests in the disputed domain name, and then the burden shifts to the Respondent to come forward with concrete evidence of such rights or legitimate interests. See Hanna-Barbera Productions, Inc. v. Entertainment Commentaries, FA 741828 (Forum Aug. 18, 2006).

The disputed domain name incorporates Complainant’s registered mark without authorization, and it is being used for the sole apparent purpose of displaying links directing users to various third-party websites, including that of a competitor of Complainant. Such use does not give rise to rights or legitimate interests under the Policy. See, e.g., Airbnb, Inc. v. Super Privacy Service LTD c/o Dynadot, FA 1821386 (Forum Jan. 10, 2019) (finding lack of rights or interests arising from use of domain name to redirect or link to competitor of complainant).

Complainant has made a prima facie case that Respondent lacks rights and legitimate interests in the domain name, and Respondent has failed to come forward with any evidence of such rights or interests. Accordingly, the Panel finds that Complainant has sustained its burden of proving that Respondent lacks rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name.

Registration and Use in Bad Faith

Finally, Complainant must show that the disputed domain name was registered and is being used in bad faith. Under paragraph 4(b)(iii) of the Policy, bad faith may be shown by evidence that Respondent registered the disputed domain name “primarily for the purpose of disrupting the business of a competitor.” Under paragraph 4(b)(iv), bad faith may be shown by evidence that “by using the domain name, [Respondent] intentionally attempted to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to [Respondent’s] web site or other on-line location, by creating a likelihood of confusion with the complainant’s mark as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation, or endorsement of [Respondent’s] web site or location or of a product or service on [Respondent’s] web site or location.”

Respondent registered or acquired a domain name corresponding to Complainant’s well-known mark but for the omission of one letter, in an instance of typosquatting. The domain name is being used to display links that direct users to other websites, including a competitor of Complainant, for Respondent’s presumed commercial gain. Such conduct is indicative of bad faith registration and use under the Policy. See, e.g., Airbnb, Inc. v. Yang Qijin / Yangqijin, supra (typosquatting); Airbnb, Inc. v. Super Privacy Service LTD c/o Dynadot, supra (displaying links to competitors of complainant); Airbnb, Inc. v. Domain Hostmaster, Customer ID : 87313851420490 / Whois Privacy Services Pty Ltd, supra (typosquatting and redirecting to competitor). The Panel is also mindful of Respondent’s extensive history of bad faith involving other domain names and trademarks. See Laboratory Corp. of America Holdings v. Hulmiho Ukolen / Poste restante, FA 1916228 (Forum Nov. 11, 2020). The Panel finds that the disputed domain name was registered and is being used in bad faith.

DECISION

Having considered the three elements required under the ICANN Policy, the Panel concludes that relief shall be GRANTED.

Accordingly, it is Ordered that the <airnb.com> domain name be TRANSFERRED from Respondent to Complainant.

 

David E. Sorkin, Panelist

Dated: July 23, 2021

Copyright © 2021 DomainGang.com · All Rights Reserved.


Source link

About DomainObserver

Check Also

Medal.com: Ultra premium #domain name the victim of corporate mergers

Medal.com: Ultra premium #domain name the victim of corporate mergers Posted by DomainGang on August …