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GoogleCoronavirus.com : No, “Google” is not a generic term, it’s a #trademark

Catched.com

Google is not a generic term. If anything, it’s a very famous trademark and Google is very protective of its brand.

The ongoing global pandemic due to the Coronavirus, pushes people to make stupid domain registrations.

In the case of GoogleCoronavirus.com, its registrant set up a WordPress site but didn’t do much with it.

The domain was registered on March 13th with Google Domains – the audacity! ūüėÄ

By March 17th, Google filed a UDRP to protect its famous brand. During the UDRP process, the Complainant agreed to transfer the domain.

The sole panelist at the National Arbitration Forum ordered GoogleCoronavirus.com to be transferred. Full details on the decision follow:

Google LLC v. Ben Ghosh

Claim Number: FA2003001888606

PARTIES

Complainant is Google LLC (‚ÄúComplainant‚ÄĚ), represented by Brendan J Hughes of Cooley LLP, District of Columbia, United States. Respondent is Ben Ghosh (‚ÄúRespondent‚ÄĚ), Massachusetts, United States.

REGISTRAR AND DISPUTED DOMAIN NAME

The domain name at issue is <googlecoronavirus.com> (‚ÄúDomain Name‚ÄĚ), registered with Google 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.

Nicholas J.T. Smith as Panelist.

PROCEDURAL HISTORY

Complainant submitted a Complaint to the Forum electronically on March 17, 2020; the Forum received payment on March 17, 2020.

On March 19, 2020, Google LLC (as Registrar of the Domain Name) confirmed by e-mail to the Forum that the <googlecoronavirus.com> domain name is registered with Google LLC and that Respondent is the current registrant of the name. Google LLC has verified that Respondent is bound by the Google LLC registration agreement and has thereby agreed to resolve domain disputes brought by third parties in accordance with ICANN‚Äôs Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (the ‚ÄúPolicy‚ÄĚ).

On March 24, 2020, the Forum served the Complaint and all Annexes, including a Written Notice of the Complaint, setting a deadline of April 13, 2020 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@googlecoronavirus.com. Also on March 24, 2020, 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 formal response from Respondent, the Forum transmitted to the parties a Notification of Respondent Default.

On April 2, 2020, pursuant to Complainant’s request to have the dispute decided by a single-member Panel, the Forum appointed Nicholas J.T. Smith 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 formal response from Respondent.

RELIEF SOUGHT

Complainant requests that the Domain Name be transferred from Respondent to Complainant.

PARTIES’ CONTENTIONS

A. Complainant

Complainant, Google LLC, has become one of the most highly recognized and widely used Internet search services in the world. Complainant has rights in the GOOGLE mark based upon the registration with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (‚ÄúUSPTO‚ÄĚ) (e.g., Reg. No. 2,884,502, registered Sep. 14, 2004). Respondent‚Äôs <googlecoronavirus.com> domain name is confusingly similar to Complainant‚Äôs mark as Respondent merely adds the generic term ‚Äúcoronavirus‚ÄĚ and the ‚Äú.com‚ÄĚ generic top-level domain (‚ÄúgTLD‚ÄĚ) to Complainant‚Äôs mark.

Respondent does not have rights or legitimate interests in the <googlecoronavirus.com> domain name. Respondent is not licensed or authorized to use Complainant’s GOOGLE mark and is not commonly known by the Domain Name. Additionally, Respondent is not using the <googlecoronavirus.com> domain name in connection with any bona fide offering of goods or services or legitimate noncommercial or fair use. Instead, Respondent attempts to pass off as Complainant in order to redirect Internet users’ to its own website.

Respondent registered and uses the <googlecoronavirus.com> domain name in bad faith. Respondent attempts to confuse Internet users and to attract them to its own website. Furthermore, Respondent had actual knowledge of Complainant’s GOOGLE mark when it registered the Domain Name.

B. Respondent

Respondent failed to submit a formal Response in this proceeding but in its informal communication agreed to transfer the Domain Name to the Complainant.

PRELIMINARY ISSUE: CONSENT TO TRANSFER

Respondent consents to transfer the <googlecoronavirus.com> domain name to Complainant. However, after the initiation of this proceeding, Google LLC, as Registrar, placed a hold on Respondent’s account and therefore Respondent cannot transfer the Domain Name while this proceeding is still pending.

In a circumstance such as this, where Respondent has not contested the transfer of the Domain Name, but instead agrees to transfer the Domain Name to Complainant, the Panel is authorized to forego the traditional UDRP analysis. This Panel, in recognition of the common request of the parties, in the interests of judicial expedience, and in the absence of any aggravating circumstances, has so decided to forego the traditional UDRP analysis and to order an immediate transfer of the <googlecoronavirus.com> domain name. See Boehringer Ingelheim Int‚Äôl GmbH v. Modern Ltd. ‚Äď Cayman Web Dev., FA 133625 (Forum Jan. 9, 2003) (transferring the domain name registration where the respondent stipulated to the transfer); see also Malev Hungarian Airlines, Ltd. v. Vertical Axis Inc., FA 212653 (Forum Jan. 13, 2004) (‚ÄúIn this case, the parties have both asked for the domain name to be transferred to the Complainant . . . Since the requests of the parties in this case are identical, the Panel has no scope to do anything other than to recognize the common request, and it has no mandate to make findings of fact or of compliance (or not) with the Policy.‚ÄĚ); see also Disney Enters., Inc. v. Morales, FA 475191 (Forum June 24, 2005) (‚Äú[U]nder such circumstances, where Respondent has agreed to comply with Complainant‚Äôs request, the Panel felt it to be expedient and judicial to forego the traditional UDRP analysis and order the transfer of the domain names.‚ÄĚ).

DECISION

As the remedy of the Complainant and the request of the Respondent both sought to transfer the Domain Name from the Respondent to the Complainant, the Panel concludes that such relief shall be GRANTED.

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

Nicholas J.T. Smith, Panelist

Dated: April 3, 2020

 


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