StubHub, Inc. v. Mark Henderson / New Pro
Claim Number: FA1906001847334
Complainant is StubHub, Inc. (“Complainant”), represented by Madelon Lapidus of Holland & Hart LLP, Colorado, USA. Respondent is Mark Henderson / New Pro (“Respondent”), India.
REGISTRAR AND DISPUTED DOMAIN NAME
The domain name at issue is <stubhubevent.com>, registered with GoDaddy.com, LLC.
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.
Paul M. DeCicco, as Panelist.
Complainant submitted a Complaint to the Forum electronically on June 11, 2019; the Forum received payment on June 11, 2019.
On June 12, 2019, GoDaddy.com, LLC confirmed by e-mail to the Forum that the <stubhubevent.com> domain name is registered with GoDaddy.com, LLC and that Respondent is the current registrant of the name. GoDaddy.com, LLC has verified that Respondent is bound by the GoDaddy.com, LLC 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 12, 2019, the Forum served the Complaint and all Annexes, including a Written Notice of the Complaint, setting a deadline of July 2, 2019 by which Respondent could file a Response to the Complaint, via e-mail to all entities and persons listed on Respondent’s registration as technical, administrative, and billing contacts, and to email@example.com. Also on June 12, 2019, the Written Notice of the Complaint, notifying Respondent of the e-mail 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 8, 2019, pursuant to Complainant's request to have the dispute decided by a single-member Panel, the Forum appointed Paul M. DeCicco 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.
Complainant requests that the domain name be transferred from Respondent to Complainant.
Complainant contends as follows:
Complainant provides the world’s largest ticket marketplace, with tickets available for over 10 million live sports, music, and theater events in more than 40 countries.
Complainant has rights in STUBHUB through its registration of the mark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”).
Respondent’s <stubhubevent.com> domain name is identical or confusingly similar to Complainant’s STUBHUB mark as the disputed domain name includes Complainant’s mark in its entirety, adding only the descriptive term “event” and the generic top-level domain (“gTLD”) “.com.”
Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name because Respondent is not affiliated with Complainant nor is Respondent licensed to use Complainant’s mark. Additionally, Respondent is not commonly known by the disputed domain name as the WHOIS information lists Respondent as “Mark Henderson.” Respondent fails to make a bona fide offering of goods or services or legitimate noncommercial or fair use. Instead, Respondent attempts to pass itself off as Complainant by mimicking Complainant’s legitimate website to defraud consumers.
Respondent registered and is using the <stubhubevent.com> domain name in bad faith as Respondent uses the domain name to perpetrate fraud on unsuspecting consumers. Respondent is using the <stubhubevent.com> domain name fraudulently by redirecting consumers to Complainant’s own legitimate website. Respondent had actual knowledge of Complainant’s rights when registering the disputed domain name due to the fame of the STUBHUB mark.
Respondent failed to submit a Response in this proceeding.
Complainant has rights in the STUBHUB mark through its registration of such mark with the USPTO.
Respondent is not affiliated with Complainant and had not been authorized to use Complainant’s trademark in any capacity.
Respondent registered the at‑issue domain name after Complainant acquired rights in the STUBHUB trademark.
Respondent uses the <stubhubevent.com> domain name to pass itself off as Complainant so that it might defraud consumers.
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 Jurisprudential Overview 3.0 at ¶ 4.3; see also eGalaxy Multimedia Inc. v. ON HOLD By Owner Ready To Expire, FA 157287 (Forum June 26, 2003) (“Because Complainant did not produce clear evidence to support its subjective allegations [. . .] the Panel finds it appropriate to dismiss the Complaint”).
The at-issue domain name is confusingly similar to a trademark in which Complainant has rights.
Complainant shows it has a USPTO registration for its STUBHUB mark. Such registration is persuasive evidence of Complainant’s rights in such mark under Policy ¶ 4(a)(i). See Microsoft Corp. v. Burkes, FA 652743 (Forum Apr. 17, 2006) (“Complainant has established rights in the MICROSOFT mark through registration of the mark with the USPTO.”).
Respondent’s <stubhubevent.com> domain name contains Complainant’s STUBHUB trademark followed by the generic term “event”. The domain name concludes with the top-level domain name “.com”. The differences between Respondent’s domain name and Complainant’s trademark are insufficient to distinguish one from the other for the purposes of Policy ¶ 4(a)(i). In fact, the term “event” is suggestive of Complainant’s ticket related business and so its inclusion in the domain name only adds to any confusion between the domain name and Complainant’s trademark. Therefore, the Panel concludes that Respondent’s <stubhubevent.com> domain name is confusingly similar to Complainant’s trademark. See Microsoft Corporation v. Thong Tran Thanh, FA 1653187 (Forum Jan. 21, 2016) (determining that confusing similarity exists where [a disputed domain name] contains Complainant’s entire mark and differs only by the addition of a generic or descriptive phrase and top-level domain, the differences between the domain name and its contained trademark are insufficient to differentiate one from the other for the purposes of the Policy).
Under Policy ¶ 4(a)(ii), Complainant must first make out a prima facie case showing that Respondent lacks rights and legitimate interests in respect of an at-issue domain name and then the burden, in effect, shifts to Respondent to come forward with evidence of its rights or legitimate interests. See Hanna-Barbera Prods., Inc. v. Entm’t Commentaries, FA 741828 (Forum Aug. 18, 2006).
Here, Respondent lacks both rights and legitimate interests in respect of the at-issue domain name. Respondent is not authorized to use Complainant’s trademark in any capacity and, as discussed below, there are no Policy ¶ 4(c) circumstances from which the Panel might find that Respondent has rights or interests in respect of the at‑issue domain name.
WHOIS information for the at-issue domain name identifies the domain name’s registrant as “Mark Henderson” and the record before the Panel contains no evidence that otherwise tends to prove that Respondent is commonly known by the <stubhubevent.com> domain name. The Panel therefore concludes that Respondent is not commonly known by the <stubhubevent.com> domain name for the purposes of Policy ¶ 4(c)(ii). See Coppertown Drive-Thru Sys., LLC v. Snowden, FA 715089 (Forum July 17, 2006) (concluding that the respondent was not commonly known by the <coppertown.com> domain name where there was no evidence in the record, including the WHOIS information, suggesting that the respondent was commonly known by the disputed domain name).
Additionally and as discussed below regarding bad faith, Respondent used the <stubhubevent.com> domain name to pass itself off as Complainant in furtherance of an attempt to defraud consumers. The website addressed by the at-issue domain name displayed Complainant’s mark and logo and offered services related to the entertainment industry. To effectuate its charade, Respondent posted a telephone number. On calling the number, an operator pretending to work for Complainant would inform the caller that in order to make a purchase the caller needed to buy a gift card and give the phony operator the card number. No services or goods were ever rendered. Respondent’s use the of the domain name in this manner is neither a bona fide offering of goods or services under Policy ¶ 4(c)(i), nor a non-commercial or fair use pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(c)(iii). Attempts to pass off as a complainant by mimicking or copying a complainant’s website in furtherance of fraud or a phishing scheme is generally not considered a bona fide offering of goods or services or legitimate noncommercial or fair use per Policy ¶¶ 4(c)(i) or (iii). See iFinex Inc. v. Yuri Hefetz / Genie-Solution, FA 1789385 (Forum July 9, 2018) (holding that the respondent’s mimicking the complainant’s website in order to cause existing or potential customers to falsely believe they are setting up a new account with the complainant is prima facie evidence of the respondent’s lack of rights and legitimate interests in the disputed domain name); see also DaVita Inc. v. Cynthia Rochelo, FA 1738034 (Forum July 20, 2017) (”Passing off in furtherance of a phishing scheme is not considered a bona fide offering of goods or services or legitimate noncommercial or fair use.”).
Given the forgoing and absent any contrary evidence from Respondent, Complainant satisfies its initial burden and shows Respondent’s lack of rights and legitimate interests in the at-issue domain name under Policy ¶ 4(a)(ii).
The at-issue domain name was registered and was being used in bad faith. As discussed below, bad faith circumstances are present from which the Panel concludes that Respondent acted in bad faith pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(a)(iii).
As mentioned above regarding rights and legitimate interests, Respondent used the <stubhubevent.com> domain name to host a website displaying Complainant’s trademark and logo and offering entertainment related services all in an effort to defraud website visitors. Importantly, Respondent used multiple tricks to extract money from consumers who believed they were dealing with Complainant when they were not. Using the confusingly similar domain name to pass itself off as Complainant in furtherance of a phishing scheme demonstrates Respondent’s bad faith registration and use of the domain name pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(b)(iv). See Bittrex, Inc. v. Wuxi Yilian LLC, FA 1760517 (Forum Dec. 27, 2017) (finding bad faith per Policy ¶ 4(b)(iv) where “Respondent registered and uses the <lbittrex.com> domain name in bad faith by directing Internet users to a website that mimics Complainant’s own website in order to confuse users into believing that Respondent is Complainant, or is otherwise affiliated or associated with Complainant.”); see also Juno Online Servs., Inc. v. Nelson, FA 241972 (Forum Mar. 29, 2004) (“The domain name <billing-juno.com> was registered and used in bad faith by using the name for fraudulent purposes.”).
Respondent also used of the domain name to redirect consumers to Complainant’s legitimate website. Respondent’s use of the <stubhubevent.com> domain name to redirect visitors to Complainant’s own website also demonstrates Respondent’s bad faith per Policy ¶ 4(a)(iii). See Verizon Trademark Servs. LLC v. Boyiko, FA 1382148 (Forum May 12, 2011) (“The Panel finds that Respondent’s registration and use of the confusingly similar disputed domain name, even where it resolves to Complainant’s own site, is still registration and use in bad faith pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(a)(iii).”).
Finally, Respondent had actual knowledge of Complainant’s rights in the STUBHUB mark when it registered <stubhubevent.com> as a domain name. Respondent’s actual knowledge is evident from the notoriety of Complainant’s trademark, from Respondent’s use of the Complainant’s mark and related intellectual property on Respondent’s <stubhubevent.com> website, and from Respondent’s redirection of traffic to Complainant’s official website. Registering and using a confusingly similar domain name with knowledge of Complainant’s rights in such domain name shows bad faith registration and use pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(a)(iii). See Minicards Vennootschap Onder FIrma Amsterdam v. Moscow Studios, FA 1031703 (Forum Sept. 5, 2007) (holding that respondent registered a domain name in bad faith under Policy ¶ 4(a)(iii) after concluding that respondent had actual knowledge of Complainant's mark when registering the disputed domain name); see also, Univision Comm'cns Inc. v. Norte, FA 1000079 (Forum Aug. 16, 2007) (rejecting the respondent's contention that it did not register the disputed domain name in bad faith since the panel found that the respondent had knowledge of the complainant's rights in the UNIVISION mark when registering the disputed domain name).
Having established all three elements required under the ICANN Policy, the Panel concludes that relief shall be GRANTED.
Accordingly, it is Ordered that the <stubhubevent.com> domain name be TRANSFERRED from Respondent to Complainant.
Paul M. DeCicco, Panelist
Dated: July 10, 2019
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