Hartford Fire Insurance Company v. Speedread America, Inc.
Claim Number: FA0110000100570
The Complainant is Hartford Fire Insurance Company, Hartford, CT (“Complainant”) represented by Donna A. Tobin, of Cooper & Dunham LLP. The Respondent is Speedread America, inc., Hot Springs, NM (“Respondent”).
REGISTRAR AND DISPUTED DOMAIN NAME(s)
The domain names at issue are <itthartford.org> and <itthartford.net>, registered with BulkRegister.com.
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.
Alan L. Limbury as Panelist.
Complainant submitted a Complaint to the National Arbitration Forum (“the Forum”) electronically on October 12, 2001; the Forum received a hard copy of the Complaint on October 15, 2001.
On October 19, 2001, BulkRegister.com confirmed by e-mail to the Forum that the domain names <itthartford.org> and <itthartford.net> are registered with BulkRegister.com and that the Respondent is the current registrant of the name. BulkRegister.com has verified that Respondent is bound by the BulkRegister.com registration agreement and has thereby agreed to resolve domain-name disputes brought by third parties in accordance with ICANN’s Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (the “Policy”).
On October 22, 2001, a Notification of Complaint and Commencement of Administrative Proceeding (the “Commencement Notification”), setting a deadline of November 12, 2001 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 and firstname.lastname@example.org by e-mail.
A timely response was received and determined to be complete on November 6, 2001.
On November 20, 2001, pursuant to Complainant’s request to have the dispute decided by a single-member Panel, the Forum appointed Alan L Limbury as Panelist.
The Complainant requests that the domain names be transferred from the Respondent to the Complainant.
The disputed domain names are confusingly similar to Complainant's HARTFORD and ITT trademarks; Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain names, which were registered and used in bad faith.
Respondent is a non-profit educational organization. Its retired founder/benefactor, Dr. Jay Polmar, reserved the two disputed domain names on his personal credit card, which is billed to Respondent's address. This reservation and parking were to assure his healthcare which has been negated by Complainant. Dr. Polmar has authorised the release of the disputed domain names.
Complainant provides insurance underwriting and investment and funds management services. Since 1971 it has used the marks HARTFORD and THE HARTFORD in connection with these services. It owns over 40 US trademark registrations comprising or incorporating these marks.
Complainant is also licensed by ITT Manufacturing Enterprises, Inc. to use and does use the mark ITT. That mark has been used since 1958 in association with various engineered products and services, including educational services. There are over 40 US registrations of the mark ITT.
The disputed domain names were registered by Dr. Jay Polmar on Sept 17, 2000, in the name of Respondent. In response to a "cease and desist" letter from Complainant's attorneys, Respondent on November 21, 2000 disassociated itself from their registration, saying that Dr. Polmar purchased these names personally, billing them to his corporate American Express card instead of his personal card. Respondent said:
"We did not register the names you claimed. We did not fill out any forms. Speedread America has nothing to do with Dr. Polmar and his gift for ITTHartford for his healthcare."
Respondent referred Complainant to Dr. Polmar, who, in turn, referred Complainant to his attorney:
"regarding my personal interest in ITT HARTFORD and their interest in me".
According to the Response, which was filed by Dr. Polmar, Dr Polmar is an injured worker with claims against Complainant in relation to health insurance and other matters. The Response contains the following passage:
“I don't want their name and have had confirmation that I don't own them. Speedread America never had anything to do with it and M.A.Kretschmar, president so reported in writing more than once. The names were registered and parked. They were offered, through my attorney, to ITT in exchange for the surgery that I must have and they are responsible for."
Paragraph 15(a) of the Rules for Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (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 the 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 the Respondent is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which the Complainant has rights;
(2) the 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.
Identical and/or Confusingly Similar
The test of confusing similarity under the Policy, unlike trademark infringement or unfair competition cases, is usually confined to a consideration of the disputed domain name and the trademark: See Vivendi Universal v. Mr. Jay David Sallen and GO247.COM, INC. D2001-1121 (WIPO Nov. 7, 2001) and the cases there cited.
Each of the disputed domain names incorporates the whole of the two trademarks in which Complainant has rights, either as registrant or licensee, namely ITT and HARTFORD. The disputed domain names are clearly confusingly similar to each of those trademarks. Complainant has established this element.
Rights or Legitimate Interests
Respondent does not assert any rights or legitimate interests in either of the disputed domain names and has expressly disclaimed any such interest. Complainant has established this element.
Registration and Use in Bad Faith
The act of registration in the name of Respondent was carried out by Dr. Polmar, whose grievances with Complainant date back to at least September, 1997. By allowing Dr. Polmar to use a corporate card, Respondent must be taken to have authorized the use to which Dr. Polmar put it in effecting registration of the disputed domain names. Dr. Polmar was clearly well aware of Complainant and its marks when he registered the disputed domain names and his purpose in doing so was clearly to further his cause in that conflict. In its communication with Complainant’s attorney of November 21, 2000, Respondent indicated sympathy for Dr. Polmar’s cause.
Registration of domain names that incorporate the trademarks of a party with which the registrant is in dispute for the purpose of furthering that dispute constitutes bad faith registration under the Policy. Accordingly, the Panel finds that the disputed domain names were registered in bad faith.
The offer to transfer the disputed domain names to Complainant in exchange for the surgery which Dr. Polmar seeks constitutes use of the disputed domain names in bad faith.
Complainant has established this element.
Pursuant to paragraphs 4(i) of the Policy and 15 of the Rules, the Panel directs that the domain names <itthartford.org> and <itthartford.net> be transferred to Complainant.
Alan L. Limbury, Panelist
Dated: December 1, 2001
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