State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company v.
Claim Number: FA0706001002765
Complainant is State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company (“Complainant”), represented by Mark
O'Flaherty, of State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance
REGISTRAR AND DISPUTED DOMAIN NAME
The domain name at issue is <statefarmwebquotes.com>, registered with Domain-It, Inc.
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.
James A. Carmody, Esq., as Panelist.
Complainant submitted a Complaint to
the National Arbitration Forum electronically on
On June 18, 2007, a Notification of Complaint and Commencement of Administrative Proceeding (the "Commencement Notification"), setting a deadline of July 9, 2007 by which Respondent could file a response to the Complaint, was transmitted to Respondent via e-mail, post and fax, to all entities and persons listed on Respondent's registration as technical, administrative and billing contacts, and to email@example.com by e-mail.
Having received no response from Respondent, the National Arbitration Forum transmitted to the parties a Notification of Respondent Default.
Having reviewed the communications records, the Administrative Panel (the "Panel") finds that the National Arbitration 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." Therefore, the Panel may issue its decision based on the documents submitted and in accordance with the ICANN Policy, ICANN Rules, the National Arbitration 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.
A. Complainant makes the following assertions:
1. Respondent’s <statefarmwebquotes.com> domain name is confusingly similar to Complainant’s STATE FARM mark.
2. Respondent does not have any rights or legitimate interests in the <statefarmwebquotes.com> domain name.
3. Respondent registered and used the <statefarmwebquotes.com> domain name in bad faith.
B. Respondent failed to submit a Response in this proceeding.
Complainant, State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company, is a nationally known company that offers insurance and other financial services. Complainant has been conducting business under its STATE FARM and related marks since 1930 and currently offers its services online at the <statefarm.com> domain name. Complainant holds a service mark registration for the STATE FARM mark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) (Reg. No. 1,979,585 issued June 11, 1996).
Respondent registered the <statefarmwebquotes.com> domain name on
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."
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(e), 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 and inferences set forth in the Complaint as true unless the evidence is clearly contradictory. See Vertical Solutions Mgmt., Inc. v. webnet-marketing, inc., FA 95095 (Nat. Arb. Forum July 31, 2000) (holding that the respondent’s failure to respond allows all reasonable inferences of fact in the allegations of the complaint to be deemed true); see also Talk City, Inc. v. Robertson, D2000-0009 (WIPO Feb. 29, 2000) (“In the absence of a response, it is appropriate to accept as true all allegations of the Complaint.”).
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.
Complainant’s federal trademark registration of the STATE FARM mark with the USPTO sufficiently establishes its rights in the mark pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(a)(i). See Men’s Wearhouse, Inc. v. Wick, FA 117861 (Nat. Arb. Forum Sept. 16, 2002) (“Under U.S. trademark law, registered marks hold a presumption that they are inherently distinctive [or] have acquired secondary meaning.”); see also Janus Int’l Holding Co. v. Rademacher, D2002-0201 (WIPO Mar. 5, 2002) ("Panel decisions have held that registration of a mark is prima facie evidence of validity, which creates a rebuttable presumption that the mark is inherently distinctive.").
Respondent’s <statefarmwebquotes.com> domain name is confusingly similar to Complainant’s STATE FARM mark, as it fully incorporates the mark and simply adds the generic terms “web” and “quotes” onto the mark, which are descriptive of an aspect of Complainant’s business. Based on previous UDRP decisions, the Panel finds that the addition of these descriptive words onto Complainant’s mark does not negate any confusing similarity between the STATE FARM mark and the <statefarmwebquotes.com> domain name. Moreover, the addition of the generic top-level domain “.com” to the disputed domain name is irrelevant to the Policy ¶ 4(a)(i) analysis, as a top-level domain is a required element of all domain names. Thus, the Panel finds that Respondent’s disputed domain name is confusingly similar to Complainant’s STATE FARM mark under Policy ¶ 4(a)(i). See Space Imaging LLC v. Brownell, AF-0298 (eResolution Sept. 22, 2000) (finding confusing similarity where the respondent’s domain name combines the complainant’s mark with a generic term that has an obvious relationship to the complainant’s business); see also Caterpillar Inc. v. Quin, D2000-0314 (WIPO June 12, 2000) (finding that the disputed domain names <caterpillarparts.com> and <caterpillarspares.com> were confusingly similar to the registered trademarks CATERPILLAR and CATERPILLER DESIGN because “the idea suggested by the disputed domain names and the registered trademarks is that the goods or services offered in association with [the] domain name are manufactured by or sold by the Complainant or one of the Complainants [sic] approved distributors. The disputed trademarks contain one distinct component, the word Caterpillar”); see also Rollerblade, Inc. v. McCrady, D2000-0429 (WIPO June 25, 2000) (finding that the top level of the domain name such as “.net” or “.com” does not affect the domain name for the purpose of determining whether it is identical or confusingly similar); see also Busy Body, Inc. v. Fitness Outlet Inc., D2000-0127 (WIPO Apr. 22, 2000) ("[T]he addition of the generic top-level domain (gTLD) name ‘.com’ is . . . without legal significance since use of a gTLD is required of domain name registrants . . . .").
The Panel finds that Policy ¶ 4(a)(i) has been satisfied.
Under Policy ¶ 4(a)(ii), Complainant has the initial burden of proving that Respondent lacks rights or legitimate interests in the <statefarmwebquotes.com> domain name. Once Complainant has established a prima facie case, however, the burden shifts to Respondent to show that it does have rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. In the instant case, the Panel finds that Complainant has made a prima facie case under the Policy. See Do The Hustle, LLC v. Tropic Web, D2000-0624 (WIPO Aug. 21, 2000) (holding that, where the complainant has asserted that the respondent has no rights or legitimate interests with respect to the domain name, it is incumbent on the respondent to come forward with concrete evidence rebutting this assertion because this information is “uniquely within the knowledge and control of the respondent”); see also Clerical Med. Inv. Group Ltd. v. Clericalmedical.com, D2000-1228 (WIPO Nov. 28, 2000) (finding that, under certain circumstances, the mere assertion by the complainant that the respondent has no right or legitimate interest is sufficient to shift the burden of proof to the respondent to demonstrate that such a right or legitimate interest does exist).
Respondent’s failure to respond to the Complaint raises the
presumption that Respondent lacks rights or legitimate interests in the disputed
domain name. See Woolworths plc. v. Anderson, D2000-1113 (WIPO Oct. 10, 2000)
(finding that, absent evidence of preparation to use the domain name for a
legitimate purpose, the burden of proof lies with the respondent to demonstrate
that it has rights or legitimate interests); see also Am.
Express Co. v. Fang Suhendro, FA 129120
(Nat. Arb. Forum
Respondent’s WHOIS information does not indicate, and there is nothing further in the record to suggest, that Respondent is commonly known by the <statefarmwebquotes.com> domain name. Moreover, Complainant has not licensed or authorized Respondent to use its STATE FARM mark for any purpose. Thus, the Panel finds that Respondent lacks rights or legitimate interests under Policy ¶ 4(c)(ii). See Tercent Inc. v. Lee Yi, FA 139720 (Nat. Arb. Forum Feb. 10, 2003) (stating “nothing in Respondent’s WHOIS information implies that Respondent is ‘commonly known by’ the disputed domain name” as one factor in determining that Policy ¶ 4(c)(ii) does not apply); see also Compagnie de Saint Gobain v. Com-Union Corp., D2000-0020 (WIPO Mar. 14, 2000) (finding no rights or legitimate interest where the respondent was not commonly known by the mark and never applied for a license or permission from the complainant to use the trademarked name).
In addition, Respondent’s <statefarmwebquotes.com> domain name resolves to a website displaying a message that the domain name is reserved, but has no active use. This failure to develop a website at the disputed domain name does not qualify as a bona fide offering of goods or services under Policy ¶ 4(c)(i) or a legitimate noncommercial or fair use under Policy ¶ 4(c)(iii). See Pharmacia & Upjohn AB v. Romero, D2000-1273 (WIPO Nov. 13, 2000) (finding no rights or legitimate interests where the respondent failed to submit a response to the complaint and had made no use of the domain name in question); see also Boeing Co. v. Bressi, D2000-1164 (WIPO Oct. 23, 2000) (finding no rights or legitimate interests where the respondent has advanced no basis on which the panel could conclude that it has a right or legitimate interest in the domain names, and no commercial use of the domain names has been established).
The Panel finds that Policy ¶ 4(a)(ii) has been satisfied.
Respondent is using the <statefarmwebquotes.com> domain name to redirect Internet users to a website merely indicating that the domain name is reserved. This non-use of the disputed domain name is evidence that Respondent registered and is using the disputed domain name in bad faith pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(a)(iii). See Clerical Med. Inv. Group Ltd. v. Clericalmedical.com, D2000-1228 (WIPO Nov. 28, 2000) (finding that merely holding an infringing domain name without active use can constitute use in bad faith); see also Alitalia –Linee Aeree Italiane S.p.A v. Colour Digital, D2000-1260 (WIPO Nov. 23, 2000) (finding bad faith where the respondent made no use of the domain name in question and there are no other indications that the respondent could have registered and used the domain name in question for any non-infringing purpose).
The Panel finds that Policy ¶ 4(a)(iii) has been satisfied.
Having established all three elements required under the ICANN Policy, the Panel concludes that relief shall be GRANTED.
Accordingly, it is Ordered that the <statefarmwebquotes.com> domain name be TRANSFERRED from Respondent to Complainant.
James A. Carmody, Esq., Panelist
Dated: July 17, 2007
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