Google LLC v. Host Master / Transure Enterprise Ltd
Claim Number: FA2001001877994
Complainant is Google LLC ("Complainant"), represented by Brendan J Hughes of Cooley LLP, District of Columbia, United States. Respondent is Host Master / Transure Enterprise Ltd ("Respondent"), United States.
REGISTRAR AND DISPUTED DOMAIN NAME
The domain name at issue is <supportgoogle.com>, registered with Above.com Pty Ltd.
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 Forum electronically on January 7, 2020; the Forum received payment on January 7, 2020.
On January 9, 2020, Above.com Pty Ltd. confirmed by email to the Forum that the <supportgoogle.com> domain name is registered with Above.com Pty Ltd. and that Respondent is the current registrant of the name. Above.com Pty Ltd. has verified that Respondent is bound by the Above.com Pty Ltd. 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 January 13, 2020, the Forum served the Complaint and all Annexes, including a Written Notice of the Complaint, setting a deadline of February 3, 2020 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@example.com. Also on January 13, 2020, 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 February 6, 2020, 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.
Complainant requests that the domain name be transferred from Respondent to Complainant.
Complainant was founded in 1997. Complainant operates the widely used GOOGLE search engine and offers other products and services. Complainant's GOOGLE mark ranks among the world's most valuable global brands. Complainant owns numerous trademark registrations for GOOGLE and related marks dating back to 1999 in the United States and other jurisdictions throughout the world.
Respondent registered the disputed domain name <supportgoogle.com> in April 2012, long after Complainant and its mark achieved worldwide recognition. The disputed domain name resolves or redirects to a website that attempts to install software on a user's computer. Complainant asserts that the site is designed to deceive users into believing that it is operated by or affiliated with Complainant, and that it is being used to distribute malware. Complainant states that it has not authorized or licensed Respondent to use its mark, and that Respondent is not commonly known by the domain name or any name containing Complainant's mark.
Complainant contends on the above grounds that the disputed domain name <supportgoogle.com> is confusingly similar to its GOOGLE 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.
Respondent failed to submit a Response in this proceeding.
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."
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").
The disputed domain name <supportgoogle.com> incorporates Complainant's registered GOOGLE trademark, adding the generic term "support" and the ".com" top-level domain. These additions do not substantially diminish the similarity between the domain name and Complainant's mark. See, e.g., Google LLC v. Gaurav Kumar, FA 1849354 (Forum July 18, 2019) (finding <googlesupport.co> confusingly similar to GOOGLE); Facebook, Inc. v. Werner Gonzalez, D2017-2046 (WIPO Dec. 18, 2017) (finding <supportfacebook.com> confusingly similar to FACEBOOK); AOL Inc. v. Purna Baniya aka MJ Corp., FA 1520588 (Forum Oct. 24, 2013) (finding <supportaol.com> confusingly similar to AOL). The Panel considers the disputed domain name to be confusingly similar to a mark in which Complainant has rights.
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 to confuse and mislead Internet users and to distribute malware. Such use does not give rise to rights or legitimate interests under the Policy. See, e.g., Google LLC v. Raj Bansal, FA 1875857 (Forum Jan. 16, 2020) (finding lack of rights or interests in similar circumstances).
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.
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 and is using a domain name that incorporates Complainant's famous registered mark to confuse and mislead Internet users and to distribute malware. Such conduct is indicative of bad faith registration and use under the Policy. See, e.g., Google LLC v. Raj Bansal, supra (finding bad faith registration and use in similar circumstances). The Panel further notes that Respondent has previously been found to have registered and used a domain name incorporating the same mark in bad faith. See Google LLC v. Host Master / Transure Enterprise Ltd, FA 1849072 (Forum July 22, 2019) (ordering transfer of <figoogle.com>). The Panel finds that the disputed domain name was registered and is being used in bad faith.
Having considered the three elements required under the ICANN Policy, the Panel concludes that relief shall be GRANTED.
Accordingly, it is Ordered that the <supportgoogle.com> domain name be TRANSFERRED from Respondent to Complainant.
David E. Sorkin, Panelist
Dated: February 8, 2020
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