The Royal Bank of Scotland Group plc v. [Redacted]
Claim Number: FA0908001282153
Complainant is The Royal Bank of Scotland Group plc (“Complainant”), represented by Pankaj
K. Shere, of Troutman Sanders LLP,
REGISTRAR AND DISPUTED DOMAIN NAME
The domain name at issue is <rbs-partners.com>, registered with Melbourne It, Ltd. d/b/a Internet Names Worldwide.
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.
Complainant submitted a Complaint to the National Arbitration Forum electronically on August 28, 2009; the National Arbitration Forum received a hard copy of the Complaint on August 31, 2009.
On September 1, 2009, Melbourne It, Ltd. d/b/a Internet Names Worldwide confirmed by e-mail to the National Arbitration Forum that the <rbs-partners.com> domain name is registered with Melbourne It, Ltd. d/b/a Internet Names Worldwide and that Respondent is the current registrant of the name. Melbourne It, Ltd. d/b/a Internet Names Worldwide has verified that Respondent is bound by the Melbourne It, Ltd. d/b/a Internet Names Worldwide registration agreement and has thereby agreed to resolve domain-name disputes brought by third parties in accordance with ICANN’s Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (the “Policy”).
On September 3, 2009, a Notification of Complaint and Commencement of Administrative Proceeding (the “Commencement Notification”), setting a deadline of September 23, 2009 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.
Correspondence was received from Respondent on September 12, 2009. The National Arbitration determined this correspondence was not a Response because it was addressed to the Forum only. Having received no formal response from Respondent, the National Arbitration Forum transmitted to the parties a Notification of Respondent Default.
On September 28, 2009, pursuant to Complainant’s request to have the dispute decided by a single-member Panel, the National Arbitration Forum appointed David E. Sorkin as Panelist.
On September 29, 2009, at the Panel’s request, the administrative proceeding was recommenced, and the Commencement Notification was transmitted to electronic mail and physical addresses listed on the website to which the disputed domain name resolves, with a response deadline of October 19, 2009. No Response was received by that deadline.
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.
Complainant is a provider of financial services with offices in numerous
countries around the world. Complainant
uses its RBS mark worldwide and has registered the mark in several countries,
including on the Principal Register of the United States Patent and Trademark
Office. Complainant alleges that the
disputed domain name <rbs‑partners.com>
is confusingly similar to its RBS mark; that Respondent does not have any rights
or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name; and that the disputed
domain name was registered and is being used in bad faith. In support thereof, Complainant asserts that
the disputed domain name is being used for a website that promotes a fraudulent
scheme that seeks to obtain personal financial information from Internet users
B. Respondent failed to submit a Response in this proceeding. In other correspondence, Respondent claims to have been a victim of identity theft, asserting (with supporting evidence) that Respondent’s name was used fraudulently to register the disputed domain name, and that Respondent has attempted unsuccessfully to close or modify the domain name registration account that was opened by a third party in Respondent’s name. Based upon this correspondence, the Panel has elected to redact Respondent’s identify from this Decision.
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.
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).
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.
Complainant has provided evidence of its rights in the RBS mark by virtue of its trademark registrations. The disputed domain name combines this mark with the generic term “partners,” separated by a hyphen, and appends the generic top-level domain suffix “.com”. The Panel finds these additions insufficient to differentiate the domain name from Complainant’s mark, and concludes that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to the mark. See Am. Int’l Grp., Inc. v. Free Space Image Consultants Inc., FA 411737 (Nat. Arb. Forum Mar. 22, 2005) (finding <aigpartners.com> confusingly similar to AIG); Gen. Elec. Co. v. Harper, D2000-1497 (WIPO Feb. 7, 2001) (finding <ge‑partners.com> confusingly similar to GE). The Panel finds that Policy ¶ 4(a)(i) has been satisfied.
Complainant alleges that Respondent lacks all rights and legitimate interests in the <rbs‑partners.com> domain name, pursuant to Paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy. If Complainant makes a prima facie case in support of its allegations, the burden shifts to Respondent to come forward with concrete evidence demonstrating its rights or legitimate interests. The Panel finds that Complainant has established a prima facie case and Respondent has failed to respond in these proceedings. See Document Techs., Inc. v. Int’l Elec. Commc’ns Inc., D2000-0270 (WIPO June 6, 2000) (“Although Paragraph 4(a) of the Policy requires that the Complainant prove the presence of this element (along with the other two), once a Complainant makes out a prima facie showing, the burden of production on this factor shifts to the Respondent to rebut the showing by providing concrete evidence that it has rights to or legitimate interests in the Domain Name.”).
Complainant contends that Respondent is neither commonly known by nor licensed to register the <rbs-partners.com> domain name. Respondent’s WHOIS information does not reflect Respondent is commonly known by the disputed domain name. Nor does it appear to the Panel from the website to which the disputed domain name resolves that Respondent is using the name for a bona fide offering of goods or services or a legitimate noncommercial or fair use. As Respondent has failed to come forward with any evidence of rights or legitimate interests, the Panel finds that Complainant has satisfied its burden of proof under paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy.
Complainant contends that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to its well-known financial services mark and that it is being used for a website that promotes a fraudulent financial scheme. Under the circumstances the Panel finds that the disputed domain name was registered and is being used in bad faith. See HOPE Worldwide, Ltd. v. Jin, FA 320379 (Nat. Arb. Forum Nov. 11, 2004) (finding bad faith registration and use based upon a website 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 <rbs-partners.com> domain name be TRANSFERRED from Respondent to Complainant.
David E. Sorkin, Panelist
Dated: October 28, 2009
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