Brindeed.com #UDRP unveils common practice of subdomain squatting

Indeed, Inc. is the world’s largest job site, with over 200 million unique visitors every month from over 60 different countries.

The UDRP filed against the domain name Brindeed.com was triggered by a common practice, that of subdomain squatting.

Indeed uses subdomains for its regional web sites and in the case of this UDRP filing the reference is to br.indeed.com, a subdomain targeting job seekers in Brazil.

While the web site at Brindeed.com appears to be a Brazilian crypto exchange, the INDEED mark was violated, according to the Complainant.

Despite all that, the Forum (NAF) panelist dismissed that approach as follows:

Complainant alleges that Respondent engages in typosquatting because the disputed domain name is similar to Complainant’s legitimate URL <br.indeed.com>. However, this is a misunderstanding of typosquatting, which consists of registering a domain name that is an obvious misspelling of a complainant’s mark. Complainant does not allege, much less present evidence to prove, that it has trademark rights in “BR.INDEED”. And the disputed domain name is not a misspelling of Complainant’s INDEED mark. Therefore, the Panel dismisses the allegation of typosquatting.

Regardless, the decision was made to grant the transfer of the domain Brindeed.com to the Complainant.

Indeed, Inc. v. lisa li

Claim Number: FA2201001981131

PARTIES

Complainant is Indeed, Inc. (“Complainant”), represented by Sheri Hunter of King & Spalding LLP, Texas, USA. Respondent is lisa li (“Respondent”), China.

REGISTRAR AND DISPUTED DOMAIN NAME

The domain name at issue is , registered with GoDaddy.com, LLC.

PANEL

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.

Richard Hill as Panelist.

PROCEDURAL HISTORY

Complainant submitted a Complaint to the Forum electronically on January 19, 2022; the Forum received payment on January 19, 2022.

On January 20, 2022, GoDaddy.com, LLC confirmed by e-mail to the Forum that the 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 January 21, 2022, the Forum served the Complaint and all Annexes, including a Written Notice of the Complaint, setting a deadline of February 10, 2022 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 postmaster@brindeed.com. Also on January 21, 2022, 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 February 16, 2022, pursuant to Complainant’s request to have the dispute decided by a single-member Panel, the Forum appointed Richard Hill 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.

RELIEF SOUGHT

Complainant requests that the domain name be transferred from Respondent to Complainant.

PARTIES’ CONTENTIONS

A. Complainant

Complainant states that it provides the world’s largest job site, with over 200 million unique visitors every month from over 60 different countries. Complainant helps companies of all sizes hire employees and helps job seekers find employment opportunities. Complainant owns and has used the domain name connection with an employment related website and search engine since at least 2004, and continues to do so. Complainant offers its services around the world, including for Brazil at the web site . Complainant has rights in the INDEED mark through its registration of the mark in the United States in 2006. The mark is registered elsewhere around the world.

Complainant alleges that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to its INDEED mark as it incorporates the mark in its entirety and merely adds the geographic descriptor “br” (which stands for Brazil) along with the “.com” generic top-level domain (“gTLD”).

According to Complainant, Respondent lacks rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name as Respondent is not commonly known by the disputed domain name nor did Complainant authorize Respondent to use the INDEED mark in any way. Respondent fails to make a bona fide offering of goods or services or legitimate noncommercial or fair use. Instead, the disputed domain name resolves to a web site that displays a logo similar to Complainant’s logo, purports to be an official partner of Complainant, and requires users to add monetary funds in order to complete tasks to receive a payment. However, this appears to be a scam, since users have posted complaints to the effect that they never received their payments.

According to Complainant, Respondent registered and uses the disputed domain name in bad faith as Respondent engages in the practice of typosquatting because Complainant operates a site at . Respondent attracts users to its web site for commercial gain. Respondent had actual knowledge of Complainant’s rights in the INDEED mark due to the longstanding use and fame of the mark in commerce.

B. Respondent

Respondent failed to submit a Response in this proceeding.

FINDINGS

Complainant owns the mark INDEED, with rights dating back to at least 2004 and uses it to help companies to hire employees, and job seekers to find employment opportunities.

The disputed domain name was registered in 2021.

Complainant has not licensed or otherwise authorized Respondent to use its mark.

The disputed domain name resolves to a web site that purports to offer services that are not related to Complainant’s business.

DISCUSSION

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”).

Identical and/or Confusingly Similar

The disputed domain name incorporates Complainant’s INDEED mark in its entirety and merely adds the geographic descriptor “br” (which stands for Brazil) along with the “.com” generic top-level domain (“gTLD”). Registration of a domain name that contains a mark in its entirety and adds a geographic designator along with a gTLD does not distinguish the domain name from the mark per Policy ¶ 4(a)(i). See General Motors LLC v. Domain Admin, Privacy Protection Service INC d/b/a PrivacyProtect.org, FA 1656166 (Forum Feb. 12, 2016) (finding respondent’s domain name confusingly similar to complainant’s GM mark as the addition of the geographic term “uzbekistan” is inconsequential to a Policy ¶ 4(a)(i) analysis); see also Avaya Inc. v. Evelyn Dayda / Avaya Unlimited Sources LLC, FA 1611255 (Forum May 4, 2015) (finding that as “the ‘usa’ portion of the disputed domain name is a generic geographic term, the internet user will assume that the domain name deals with the activities of Complainant in the USA and that it will lead to a website dealing with that subject. The domain name is therefore confusingly similar to the AVAYA mark and the Panel so finds.”). Therefore, the Panel finds that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to Complainant’s mark per Policy ¶ 4(a)(i).

Rights or Legitimate Interests

Complainant has not licensed or otherwise authorized Respondent to use its INDEED mark. Respondent is not commonly known by the disputed domain name: where a response is lacking, WHOIS information may be used to determine whether a respondent is commonly known by the disputed domain name under Policy ¶ 4(c)(ii). See Amazon Technologies, Inc. v. LY Ta, FA 1789106 (Forum June 21, 2018) (concluding a respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in a disputed domain name where the complainant asserted it did not authorize the respondent to use the mark, and the relevant WHOIS information indicated the respondent is not commonly known by the domain name). Here, the WHOIS information for the disputed domain name lists the registrant as “Lisa Li”. Therefore the finds that Respondent is not commonly known by the disputed domain name per Policy ¶ 4(c)(ii).

Complainant alleges that the resolving website requires users to add monetary funds in order to complete tasks to receive a payment. However, it does not present evidence sufficient to satisfy its burden of proof for this allegation: examination of the resolving website does not clearly substantiate the allegation, and the user complaints annexes to the Complaint do not unequivocally identify the resolving website as the source of the scam that the users are complaining about. Therefore, the Panel will not further discuss this allegation.

However, it is clear that the resolving website purports to offers services not related to Complainant. Use of a complainant’s mark in a disputed domain name that resolves to a webpage that offers services unrelated to complainant’s is not a bona fide offering of goods or services or legitimate noncommercial or fair use per Policy ¶ 4(c)(i) or (iii). See Summit Group, LLC v. LSO, Ltd., FA 758981 (Forum Sept. 14, 2006) (finding that the respondent’s use of the complainant’s LIFESTYLE LOUNGE mark to redirect Internet users to respondent’s own website for commercial gain does not constitute either a bona fide offering of goods or services pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(c)(i), or a legitimate noncommercial or fair use pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(c)(iii)); see also Bloomberg Finance L.P. v. Syed Hussain / IBN7 Media Group, FA 1721384 (Forum Apr. 26, 2017) (holding that the respondent’s use of the disputed domain name to redirect Internet users to commercial websites, unrelated to the complainant and presumably with the purpose of earning a commission or pay-per-click referral fee did not evidence rights or legitimate interests in the domain name); see also Spike’s Holding, LLC v. Nexperian Holding Limited, FA 1736008 (Forum July 21, 2017) (“Using a confusingly similar domain to display unrelated content can evince a lack of a bona fide offering of goods or services or legitimate noncommercial or fair use… The Panel therefore finds that Respondent’s unrelated use of the domain name evinces a lack of rights and legitimate interests under Policy ¶ 4(c)(i) & (iii).”). Therefore the finds that Respondent fails to used the disputed domain name to make a bona fide offering of goods or services or legitimate noncommercial or fair use per Policy ¶ 4(c)(i) or (iii). And the Panel finds that Respondent does not have rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name.

Registration and Use in Bad Faith

Complainant alleges that Respondent engages in typosquatting because the disputed domain name is similar to Complainant’s legitimate URL . However, this is a misunderstanding of typosquatting, which consists of registering a domain name that is an obvious misspelling of a complainant’s mark. Complainant does not allege, much less present evidence to prove, that it has trademark rights in “BR.INDEED”. And the disputed domain name is not a misspelling of Complainant’s INDEED mark. Therefore, the Panel dismisses the allegation of typosquatting.

Respondent (who did not reply to Complainant’s contentions) has not presented any plausible explanation for its use of Complainant’s mark. In accordance with paragraph 14(b) of the Rules, the Panel shall draw such inferences from Respondent’s failure to reply as it considers appropriate. Accordingly, the Panel finds that Respondent did not have a legitimate use in mind when registering the disputed domain name.

Indeed, as already noted, the resolving website purports to offer services unrelated to Complainant’s business. This can demonstrate a respondent’s bad faith per Policy ¶ 4(b)(iv). See Dovetail Ventures, LLC v. Klayton Thorpe, FA1506001625786 (Forum Aug. 2, 2015) (holding that the respondent had acted in bad faith under Policy ¶ 4(b)(iv), where it used the disputed domain name to host a variety of hyperlinks, unrelated to the complainant’s business, through which the respondent presumably commercially gained); see also Allianz of Am. Corp. v. Bond, FA 680624 (Forum June 2, 2006) (finding bad faith registration and use under Policy ¶ 4(b)(iv) where the respondent was diverting Internet users searching for the complainant to its own website and likely profiting); see also Tumblr, Inc. v. Ailing Liu, FA1402001543807 (Forum Mar. 24, 2014) (“Bad faith use and registration exists under Policy ¶ 4(b)(iv) where a respondent uses a confusingly similar domain name to resolve to a website featuring links and advertisements unrelated to complainant’s business and respondent is likely collecting fees.”). The Panel therefore finds that Respondent has registered and used the domain name in bad faith per Policy ¶¶ 4(b)(iv)).

DECISION

Having established all three elements required under the ICANN Policy, the Panel concludes that relief shall be GRANTED.

Accordingly, it is Ordered that the domain name be TRANSFERRED from Respondent to Complainant.

Richard Hill, Panelist

Dated: February 16, 2022

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