Zedge, Inc. v. jun gao
Claim Number: FA2110001970395
Complainant is Zedge, Inc. (“Complainant”), represented by Michael D. Oliver of Oliver & Grimsley, LLC, Maryland, USA. Respondent is jun gao (“Respondent”), China.
REGISTRAR AND DISPUTED DOMAIN NAME
The domain name at issue is <emoji-pedia.com>, registered with NameCheap, Inc..
The undersigned certifies that she has acted independently and impartially and to the best of her knowledge has no known conflict in serving as Panelist in this proceeding.
Sandra J. Franklin as Panelist.
Complainant submitted a Complaint to the Forum electronically on October 25, 2021; the Forum received payment on October 25, 2021.
On October 25, 2021, NameCheap, Inc. confirmed by e-mail to the Forum that the <emoji-pedia.com> domain name is registered with NameCheap, Inc. and that Respondent is the current registrant of the name. NameCheap, Inc. has verified that Respondent is bound by the NameCheap, Inc. 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 October 28, 2021, the Forum served the Complaint and all Annexes, including a Written Notice of the Complaint, setting a deadline of November 17, 2021 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Also on October 28, 2021, 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 November 23, 2021, pursuant to Complainant's request to have the dispute decided by a single-member Panel, the Forum appointed Sandra J. Franklin 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.
1. Respondent’s <emoji-pedia.com> domain name is confusingly similar to Complainant’s EMOJIPEDIA mark.
2. Respondent does not have any rights or legitimate interests in the <emoji-pedia.com> domain name.
3. Respondent registered and uses the <emoji-pedia.com> domain name in bad faith.
B. Respondent did not file a Response.
Complainant offers images of emojis and holds a registration for the EMOJIPEDIA mark with multiple trademark agencies around the world, including the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) (Reg. No. 4,885,271, registered on January 12, 2016).
Respondent registered the <emoji-pedia.com> domain name on March 10, 2020, and uses it to imitate Complainant’s website and to offer the domain name for sale.
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 Panel finds that Complainant has rights in the EMOJIPEDIA mark through its registration of the mark with the USPTO. See Bloomberg Finance L.P. v. Jimmy Yau, FA 1764034 (Forum Jan. 25, 2018) (“The Panel finds that complainant has rights in BLOOMBERG mark under Policy ¶ 4(a)(i) based upon its registration with multiple trademark agencies, including the USPTO.”).
Respondent’s <emoji-pedia.com> domain name uses the EMOJIPEDIA mark and only adds a hyphen and the “.com” gTLD. Adding a hyphen and a gTLD is not sufficient to differentiate the disputed domain name from the mark. See ADP, LLC. v. Ella Magal, FA 1773958 (Forum Aug, 2, 2017) (“Respondent’s <workforce-now.com> domain name appropriates the dominant portion of Complainant’s ADP WORKFORCE NOW mark and adds a hyphen and the gTLD “.com.” These changes do not sufficiently distinguish the disputed domain name from the ADP WORKFORCE NOW mark.”); see also Pirelli & C. S.p.A. v. Tabriz, FA 921798 (Apr. 12, 2007) (finding that the addition of a hyphen between terms of a registered mark did not differentiate the <p-zero.org> domain name from the P ZERO mark under Policy ¶ 4(a)(i)). Therefore, the Panel finds that Respondent’s <emoji-pedia.com> domain name is confusingly similar to Complainant’s EMOJIPEDIA mark.
The Panel finds that Complainant has satisfied Policy ¶ 4(a)(i).
Once Complainant makes a prima facie case that Respondent lacks rights and legitimate interests in the disputed domain name under Policy ¶ 4(a)(ii), the burden shifts to Respondent to show it does have rights or legitimate interests. See Advanced International Marketing Corporation v. AA-1 Corp, FA 780200 (Forum Nov. 2, 2011) (finding that a complainant must offer some evidence to make its prima facie case and satisfy Policy ¶ 4(a)(ii)); see also Neal & Massey Holdings Limited v. Gregory Ricks, FA 1549327 (Forum Apr. 12, 2014) (“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”).
Complainant contends that Respondent lacks rights and legitimate interests in the <emoji-pedia.com> domain name because Respondent is not commonly known by the domain name and is not authorized to use the EMOJIPEDIA mark. The WHOIS information for the disputed domain name lists “jun gao” as the registrant. Therefore, the Panel finds that Respondent is not commonly known by the disputed domain name, and thus has no rights under Policy ¶ 4(c)(ii). See Amazon Technologies, Inc. v. Suzen Khan / Nancy Jain / Andrew Stanzy, FA 1741129 (Forum Aug. 16, 2017) (finding that respondent had no rights or legitimate interest in the disputed domain names when the identifying information provided by WHOIS was unrelated to the domain names or respondent’s use of the same).
Complainant also argues that Respondent is not using the disputed domain name for a bona fide offering of goods and services or a legitimate noncommercial or fair use because Respondent uses it to pass off as Complainant. Using a disputed domain name to pass off as a complainant is not a bona fide offering of goods and services or a legitimate noncommercial or fair use. See ShipChain, Inc. v. 谢东东 / 谢东东, FA 1785189 (Forum June 21, 2018) (“The resolving webpages between Complainant’s and Respondent’s websites are virtually the same. Respondent’s use of the disputed domain name does not confer rights and legitimate interests under Policy ¶¶4(c)(i) and (iii).”); see also Dell Inc. v. Devesh Tyagi, FA 1785301 (Forum June 2, 2018) (“Respondent replicates Complainant’s website and displays Complainant’s products. The Panel finds that this use is not a bona fide offering of goods or services under Policy ¶¶ 4(c)(i) & (iii).”) Complainant provides a screenshot of the website at <emoji-pedia.com> which is similar to Complainant’s website. The Panel finds this is not a bona fide offering of goods and services or a legitimate noncommercial or fair use, and thus Respondent has no rights under Policy ¶ 4(c)(i) and (iii).
The Panel notes that Respondent’s offer to sell the disputed domain name is also not a bona fide offering of goods and services or a legitimate noncommercial or fair use. See Enterprise Holdings, Inc. v. Huang Jia Lin, FA1504001614086 (Forum May 25, 2015) (“Accordingly, the Panel finds that Respondent’s general attempt to sell the disputed domain name is further evidence of Respondent’s lack of rights and legitimate interests under Policy ¶ 4(a)(ii).”).
The Panel finds that Complainant has satisfied Policy ¶ 4(a)(ii).
Complainant argues that Respondent registered the disputed domain name in bad faith as the resolving website mimics Complainant’s website for Respondent’s benefit. Using a confusingly similar domain name to resolve to a website that mimics a complainant’s for commercial gain constitutes bad faith under Policy ¶ 4(b)(iv). See Bittrex, Inc. v. Caroline Alves Maia, FA 1796113 (Forum Aug. 6, 2018) (finding the respondent registered and used the domain name in bad faith per Policy ¶ 4(b)(iv) because the respondent used the disputed domain name to present users with a website that was “virtually identical, with the same color scheme, the same layout and the same substantive content” and used the website to gain access to users’ cryptocurrency accounts). The Panel thus finds bad faith under Policy ¶ 4(b)(iv).
Complainant also asserts that Respondent had actual notice of Complainant’s rights in the EMOJIPEDIA mark when it registered the disputed domain name, evinced by Respondent’s virtually identical resolving website. The Panel agrees and finds bad faith under Policy ¶ 4(a)(iii). See Spectrum Brands, Inc. v. Guo Li Bo, FA 1760233 (Forum Jan. 5, 2018) (“[T]he fact Respondent registered a domain name that looked identical to the SPECTRUM BRANDS mark and used that as an email address to pass itself off as Complainant shows that Respondent knew of Complainant and its trademark rights at the time of registration.”); see also iFinex Inc. v. xu shuaiwei, FA 1760249 (Forum Jan. 1, 2018) (“Respondent’s prior knowledge is evident from the notoriety of Complainant’s BITFINEX trademark as well as from Respondent’s use of its trademark laden domain name to direct internet traffic to a website which is a direct competitor of Complainant”).
The Panel finds that Complainant has satisfied Policy ¶ 4(a)(iii).
Having established all three elements required under the ICANN Policy, the Panel concludes that relief shall be GRANTED.
Accordingly, it is Ordered that the <emoji-pedia.com> domain name be TRANSFERRED from Respondent to Complainant.
Sandra J. Franklin, Panelist
Dated: November 24, 2021
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