The Royal Bank of Scotland Group plc v. PrivacyProtect.org c/o Domain Admin
Claim Number: FA0801001126045
Complainant is The Royal Bank of Scotland Group plc (“Complainant”), represented by James
A. Thomas, of Troutman Sanders LLP,
REGISTRAR AND DISPUTED DOMAIN NAME
The domain name at issue is <rbosuk.net>, registered with Estdomains, Inc.
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.
Judge Ralph Yachnin as Panelist.
Complainant submitted a Complaint to
the National Arbitration Forum electronically on
On January 11, 2008, a Notification of Complaint and Commencement of Administrative Proceeding (the "Commencement Notification"), setting a deadline of January 31, 2008 by which Respondent could file a response to the Complaint, was transmitted to Respondent via e-mail, post and fax, to all entities and persons listed on Respondent's registration as technical, administrative and billing contacts, and to email@example.com by e-mail.
Having received no response from Respondent, the National Arbitration Forum transmitted to the parties a Notification of Respondent Default.
Having reviewed the communications records, the Administrative Panel (the "Panel") finds that the National Arbitration 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." Therefore, the Panel may issue its decision based on the documents submitted and in accordance with the ICANN Policy, ICANN Rules, the National Arbitration Forum's Supplemental Rules and any rules and principles of law that the Panel deems applicable, without the benefit of any response from Respondent.
Complainant requests that the domain name be transferred from Respondent to Complainant.
A. Complainant makes the following assertions:
1. Respondent’s <rbosuk.net> domain name is confusingly similar to Complainant’s RBS mark.
2. Respondent does not have any rights or legitimate interests in the <rbosuk.net> domain name.
3. Respondent registered and used the <rbosuk.net> domain name in bad faith.
B. Respondent failed to submit a Response in this proceeding.
Complainant, The Royal Bank of Scotland Group plc, is a
business which offers a wide range of financial products and services to
individuals and commercial entities. Complainant
registered its RBS mark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office
Respondent registered the <rbosuk.net>
domain name on
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."
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(e), 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 and inferences set forth in the Complaint as true unless the evidence is clearly contradictory. See Vertical Solutions Mgmt., Inc. v. webnet-marketing, inc., FA 95095 (Nat. Arb. Forum July 31, 2000) (holding that the respondent’s failure to respond allows all reasonable inferences of fact in the allegations of the complaint to be deemed true); see also Talk City, Inc. v. Robertson, D2000-0009 (WIPO Feb. 29, 2000) (“In the absence of a response, it is appropriate to accept as true all allegations of the Complaint.”).
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.
The Panel finds Complainant has established rights in the RBS mark pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(a)(i) through registration of the mark with the USPTO. See Janus Int’l Holding Co. v. Rademacher, D2002-0201 (WIPO Mar. 5, 2002) ("Panel decisions have held that registration of a mark is prima facie evidence of validity, which creates a rebuttable presumption that the mark is inherently distinctive."); see also Koninklijke KPN N.V. v. Telepathy Inc., D2001-0217 (WIPO May 7, 2001) (finding that the Policy does not require that the mark be registered in the country in which the respondent operates; therefore it is sufficient that the complainant can demonstrate a mark in some jurisdiction).
domain name is confusingly similar to
Complainant’s RBS mark pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(a)(i) because Respondent’s domain
name fully incorporates the mark with the addition of the letter “o” and the
common geographical identifier for the United Kingdom, “UK.” In addition, top level domains such as “.net”
are not considered in evaluating whether a domain name is confusingly similar
to a mark. See Campmor, Inc. v. Momm Amed Ia,
FA 154530 (Nat. Arb. Forum
The Panel finds that Policy ¶ 4(a)(i) has been satisfied.
Complainant has alleged that Respondent does not have rights
or legitimate interests in the <rbosuk.net>
domain name. Once Complainant makes a prima facie case in support of its allegations, the burden shifts
to Respondent to prove that it does have rights or legitimate interests
pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(a)(ii). The Panel finds that Complainant has
established a prima facie case. Due to Respondent’s failure to respond to the
Complaint, the Panel assumes that Respondent does not have rights or legitimate
interests in the disputed domain name. See G.D. Searle v. Martin
Mktg., FA 118277 (Nat. Arb. Forum
Respondent is using the <rbosuk.net> domain name to “pass itself off” as Complainant in order to defraud Complainant’s customers. Respondent’s domain name resolves to a website that displays an imitation of the RBS logo, purports to offer services similar to Complainant’s and attempts to obtain confidential account and password information by asking Internet users to “log-in” to access their accounts or divulge their information in an “Internet Banking Registration Form.” Complainant has alleged that Respondent was using this website to “phish” for confidential financial information in an attempt to defraud Complainant’s customers. The Panel finds Respondent’s attempt to pass itself off as Complainant and phish for customers’ confidential information is neither a use in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(c)(i), nor a legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the disputed domain name pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(c)(iii). See Am. Int’l Group, Inc. v. Busby, FA 156251 (Nat. Arb. Forum May 30, 2003) (finding that the respondent attempts to pass itself off as the complainant online, which is blatant unauthorized use of the complainant’s mark and is evidence that the respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name); see also Vivendi Universal Games v. Ballard, FA 146621 (Nat. Arb. Forum Mar. 13, 2002) (stating that where the respondent copied the complainant’s website in order to steal account information from the complainant’s customers, that the respondent’s “exploitation of the goodwill and consumer trust surrounding the BLIZZARD NORTH mark to aid in its illegal activities is prima facie evidence of a lack of rights and legitimate interests in the disputed domain name”).
Additionally, the record, including the WHOIS information,
indicates no evidence suggesting Respondent is commonly known by the <rbosuk.net> domain name. Thus, the Panel finds Respondent has not
established rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name pursuant
to Policy ¶ 4(c)(ii). See Gallup, Inc. v. Amish
Country Store, FA 96209 (Nat. Arb. Forum
The Panel finds that Policy ¶ 4(a)(ii) has been satisfied.
Respondent is using the <rbosuk.net> domain
name, which is confusingly similar to
Complainant’s RBS mark, to phish for confidential information by passing the
website off as Complainant’s. Respondent
is using a graphic scheme and offering services similar to Complainant on the
website that resolves from the disputed domain name. Respondent is attempting to pass itself off
as Complainant in order to fraudulently obtain Internet users’ confidential financial
information by asking them to “log-in” or provide information on the “Internet
Banking Registration Form.” The Panel
finds that such use constitutes bad faith registration and use pursuant to
Policy ¶ 4(a)(iii).
See Juno Online Servs., Inc. v. Iza, FA 245960 (Nat. Arb. Forum May 3,
2004) (finding that using a domain name that “is confusingly similar to
Complainant’s mark, redirects Internet users to a website that imitates
Complainant’s billing website, and is used to fraudulently acquire personal
information from Complainant’s clients” is evidence of bad faith registration
and use); see also Capital One
Fin. Corp. v. Howel, FA 289304 (Nat. Arb. Forum
In addition, the Panel finds Respondent’s use of the <rbosuk.net> domain name is a registration and use in bad faith pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(b)(iv) because it is confusingly similar to the Complainant’s website and Respondent is profiting by obtaining Internet users’ confidential financial information. Respondent is attempting to use the recognition Complainant has built up in its RBS mark in order to lure Internet users into providing their confidential information to Respondent. See Perot Sys. Corp. v. Perot.net, FA 95312 (Nat. Arb. Forum Aug. 29, 2000) (finding bad faith where the domain name in question is obviously connected with the complainant’s well-known marks, thus creating a likelihood of confusion strictly for commercial gain); see also HOPE worldwide, Ltd. v. Jin, FA 320379 (Nat. Arb. Forum Nov. 11, 2004) (finding that the respondent registered and used the domain name in bad faith because it redirected Internet users to a website that imitated the complainant’s website and was used to fraudulently acquire personal information from the complainant’s potential associates).
The Panel finds that Policy ¶ 4(a)(iii) has been satisfied.
Having established all three elements required under the ICANN Policy, the Panel concludes that relief shall be GRANTED.
Accordingly, it is Ordered that the <rbosuk.net> domain name be TRANSFERRED from Respondent to Complainant.
Hon. Ralph Yachnin, Panelist
Justice, Supreme Court, NY (Ret.)
Dated: February 14, 2008
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