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#Electrum .net : An 18 year old #domain was lost via the #UDRP and here’s why

ZFBot

Electrum.net is a domain registered in 2001, a full 18 years ago.

Electrum Technologies GmbH, Germany, challenged its ownership based on a European trademark registered in 2019, and won.

How is this possible?

Apparently, the Electrum.net registrant copied the Complainant’s website at Electrum.org, and used this in phishing attempts that targeted Bitcoin wallets. The Complainant won the UDRP for Electrum.com a while ago.

Electrum.net was owned  by Japanese domain investor, Satoshi Shimoshita, until 2018, but it might have been stolen or sold to the Respondent that lists a Saint Kitts and Nevis location.

That practice indicates that the domain was being used in bad faith, regardless of the domain’s age. Full details on the decision follow:

WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Electrum Technologies GmbH v. Host Master, 1337 Services LLC
Case No. D2019-1565

1. The Parties

The Complainant is Electrum Technologies GmbH, Germany, represented by Law Office of Roberto Ledesma, United States of America (“United States”).

The Respondent is Host Master, 1337 Services LLC, Saint Kitts and Nevis.

2. The Domain Name and Registrar

The disputed domain name <electrum.net> is registered with Tucows Inc. (the “Registrar”).

3. Procedural History

The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on July 3, 2019. On July 5, 2019, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On July 5, 2019, the Registrar transmitted by email to the Center its verification response disclosing registrant and contact information for the disputed domain name which differed from the named Respondent and contact information in the Complaint. The Center sent an email communication to the Complainant on July 10, 2019, providing the registrant and contact information disclosed by the Registrar, and inviting the Complainant to submit an amendment to the Complaint. The Complainant filed an amended Complaint on July 15, 2019.

The Center verified that the Complaint together with the amended Complaint satisfied the formal requirements of the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (the “Policy” or “UDRP”), the Rules for Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (the “Rules”), and the WIPO Supplemental Rules for Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (the “Supplemental Rules”).

In accordance with the Rules, paragraphs 2 and 4, the Center formally notified the Respondent of the Complaint, and the proceedings commenced on July 18, 2019. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was August 7, 2019. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on August 12, 2019.

The Center appointed Steven A. Maier as the sole panelist in this matter on August 19, 2019. The Panel finds that it was properly constituted. The Panel has submitted the Statement of Acceptance and Declaration of Impartiality and Independence, as required by the Center to ensure compliance with the Rules, paragraph 7.

On August 22, 2019 the Center received an email purporting to come from the Respondent, stating:

“The owner details on this domain should be changed. It have been used for phishing. If the one that being CC’ed on this email don’t provide details of the new owner of the domain this UDPR case can just be dropped.”

The email was copied to a number of other parties.

On August 23, 2019 the Panel issued a Procedural Order directing each of the parties to provide evidence of the date of the acquisition of the disputed domain name by the Respondent.

On August 26, 2019 the Center received a further email from the same sender as the email referred to above, stating:

“If the one that being CC’ed on this email don’t provide new owner details on this domain this case can just be dropped.”

This email was copied to a single other party, namely “[…]@prontonmail.com”.

The Complainant filed a response to the Procedural Order on August 28, 2019.

On September 9, 2019, the Center received an email from “[…]@prontonmail.com”, stating:

“Hello. Yes. This is m y domain

How do I update the domain ownership credentials?”

4. Factual Background

The Complainant is a provider of software services to Bitcoin users and business, including a Bitcoin wallet product.

The Complainant is the owner of a European Union trademark registered with the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) on June 27, 2019, under number 017900524, for the standard character mark ELECTRUM.

The Complainant submits evidence that it has used the name and mark ELECTRUM in commerce since 2011 and operates a website at “www.electrum.org”. The Complainant exhibits a screen print of the home page of that website.

The disputed domain name was first registered in 2001, and appears to have undergone numerous changes in ownership since that date. Based on domain history evidence submitted by the Complainant (which the Respondent has not disputed), the Panel finds that the Respondent acquired the disputed domain name on a date in or around July 2018.

Based on further evidence submitted by the Complainant, the disputed domain name has resolved to a web page at “www.electrum.net” which almost exactly replicates the Complainant’s own home page referred to above.

5. Parties’ Contentions

A. Complainant

The Complainant submits that it is a longstanding provider of Bitcoin software and that roughly three million users worldwide have downloaded its products. It provides evidence of substantial media coverage of its software and services and of its presence on social media.

The Complainant submits that the disputed domain name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which it has rights. It contends that there is no difference between the disputed domain name and its ELECTRUM trademark other than the generic Top-Level Domain (“gTLD”) “.net” which is not a distinguishing feature.

The Complainant submits that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name. It states that it has never authorized the Respondent to use its ELECTRUM trademark and that the Respondent has not commonly been known by any name corresponding to the disputed domain name. The Complainant also denies that the Respondent is making either bona fide commercial use or legitimate non-commercial or fair use of the disputed domain name. On the contrary, the Complainant submits that the Respondent has used the disputed domain name to operate a website which impersonates the Complainant’s own website for the purpose of a fraudulent malware distribution scheme.

The Complainant submits that the disputed domain name was registered and is being used in bad faith. It points to the fact that the disputed domain name has resolved to an almost exact copy of the Complainant’s own home page and submits that the Respondent has used its spoof website to deceive Internet users into downloading malware which is used to steal their Bitcoins. It refers to one instance in which USD 46,500 is said to have been stolen. The Complainant states that the matter has been referred to the FBI and the German authorities.

The Complainant submits that it is obvious from the Respondent’s use of the disputed domain name that it registered the disputed domain name with the Complainant’s ELECTRUM trademark in mind and with the intention of impersonating the Complainant. It further submits that the Respondent has used the disputed domain name in furtherance of a malware distribution scheme which creates consumer confusion as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation or endorsement of the disputed domain name.

The Complainant requests the transfer of the disputed domain name.

B. Respondent

The Respondent did not reply formally to the Complainant’s contentions. The Panel has, however, had regard to the various emails received by the Center apparently from the Respondent or parties connected with the Respondent and does not consider that the content of any of these emails substantially disputes the Complainant’s contentions in this proceeding.

6. Discussion and Findings

In order to succeed in the Complaint, the Complainant is required to show that all three of the elements set out under paragraph 4(a) of the Policy are present. Those elements are:

(i) that the disputed domain name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which the Complainant has rights;

(ii) that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name; and

(iii) that the disputed domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.

A. Identical or Confusingly Similar

The Complainant has established that it is the owner of registered trademark rights in the mark ELECTRUM. The disputed domain name <electrum.net> is identical to the Complainant’s trademark but for the gTLD “.net” which is typically to be disregarded for the purpose of comparison. The Panel therefore finds that the disputed domain name is identical to a trademark in which the Complainant has rights.

B. Rights or Legitimate Interests

In the view of the Panel, the Complainant’s submissions set out above give rise to a prima facie case that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name. However, the Respondent has not participated in this proceeding and has not, therefore, submitted any explanation for its registration and use of the disputed domain name, or evidence of rights or legitimate interests on its part in the disputed domain name, whether in the circumstances contemplated by paragraph 4(c) of the Policy or otherwise. There being no other evidence before the Panel of any such rights or legitimate interests, the Panel concludes that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name.

C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith

The Panel finds that the Complainant’s trademark ELECTRUM is distinctive and widely known in connection with Bitcoin services and can conceive of no explanation for the Respondent’s registration of the disputed domain name other than to impersonate the Complainant. The Panel also accepts the Complainant’s evidence, which the Respondent has not disputed, that the Respondent has used the disputed domain name for the purpose of a website which impersonates the Complainant’s website and has been used to operate a fraudulent malware scheme. Such use of the disputed domain name clearly constitutes use of the disputed domain name in bad faith, and the Panel therefore concludes that the disputed domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.

7. Decision

For the foregoing reasons, in accordance with paragraphs 4(i) of the Policy and 15 of the Rules, the Panel orders that the disputed domain name <electrum.net> be transferred to the Complainant.

Steven A. Maier
Sole Panelist
Date: September 10, 2019


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