State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company v. IPOWER
Claim Number: FA0706001007397
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 <derekbellstatefarm.com>, registered with Tucows 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.
Honorable Paul A. Dorf (Ret.) as Panelist.
Complainant submitted a Complaint to
the National Arbitration Forum electronically on
On June 14, 2007, a Notification of Complaint and Commencement of Administrative Proceeding (the "Commencement Notification"), setting a deadline of July 5, 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 <derekbellstatefarm.com> domain name is confusingly similar to Complainant’s STATE FARM mark.
2. Respondent does not have any rights or legitimate interests in the <derekbellstatefarm.com> domain name.
3. Respondent registered and used the <derekbellstatefarm.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 offering insurance and related financial services. In connection with the provision of these goods and services, Complainant has registered a number of trade and service marks with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) including the STATE FARM mark (Reg. No. 1,979,585 issued June 11, 1996).
Respondent registered the <derekbellstatefarm.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 attempts to establish rights in the STATE FARM
mark through registration of the mark with the USPTO. The Panel finds that Complainant’s
registration of the mark with the USPTO sufficiently establishes rights in the
mark pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(a)(i). See Innomed Techs., Inc. v. DRP Servs., FA 221171 (Nat. Arb. Forum
Respondent’s disputed domain name contains Complainant’s protected mark in its entirety and adds both the common terms “derek” and “bell” and the generic top-level domain (“gTLD”) “.com.” The Panel finds that the addition of common terms and a gTLD to an otherwise identical mark fails to sufficiently distinguish the domain name from the mark pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(a)(i). See 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 Westfield Corp. v. Hobbs, D2000-0227 (WIPO May 18, 2000) (finding the <westfieldshopping.com> domain name confusingly similar because the WESTFIELD mark was the dominant element).
The Panel finds that Policy ¶ 4(a)(i) has been satisfied.
In situations where Complainant has made a prima facie case in support of its allegations, the burden shifts to Respondent to set forth evidence indicating that it has rights or legitimate interests in accordance with Policy ¶ 4(a)(ii). See ALPITOUR S.p.A. v. Albloushi, FA 888651 (Nat. Arb. Forum Feb. 26, 2007) (finding that Policy ¶ 4(a)(ii) requires that the complainant must show that the respondent has no rights to or legitimate interests in the subject domain name and that once the complainant makes this showing, the burden of production shifts to the respondent to rebut the complainant’s allegations); see also F. Hoffman-La Roche AG v. Tomasso Di Salvatore, D2006-1417 (WIPO Feb. 1, 2007) (“Proper analysis of paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy shows that the burden of proof shifts from the Complainant to the Respondent once the Complainant has made out a prima facie case that the Respondent has no rights or interests in the domain names.”). The Panel finds that this Complainant’s assertions are sufficient to establish a prima facie case for purposes of the Policy. See 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).
The disputed domain name resolves to a website without an active use. The Panel finds, absent contrary evidence, that Respondent’s lack of any demonstrable preparations to use the disputed domain name evinces a lack of rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name in accordance with Policy ¶ 4(a)(ii). See LFP, Inc. v. B & J Props., FA 109697 (Nat. Arb. Forum May 30, 2002) (“A respondent cannot simply do nothing and effectively ‘sit on his rights’ for an extended period of time when that the respondent might be capable of doing otherwise.”); see also AT&T Corp. v. Domains by Brian Evans, D2000-0790 (WIPO Sept. 27, 2000) (finding no rights or legitimate interests where the respondent did not provide any documentation on the existence of its alleged company that might show what the company’s business was, or how the company’s years of existence, if it ever existed, might mesh with the complainant’s trademark claims).
Complainant avouches that Respondent is not commonly known
by the disputed domain name. Complainant
further claims that no contractual agreement exists between Complainant and
Respondent that would allow Respondent to use Complainant’s STATE FARM
mark. A review of Respondent’s WHOIS
registration information indicates that the registrant of the <derekbellstatefarm.com> domain name
is “IPOWER.” Absent countervailing
evidence, the Panel finds that Respondent is not commonly known by the disputed
domain name pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(c)(ii). See Tercent Inc. v. Lee Yi,
FA 139720 (Nat. Arb. Forum
The Panel finds that Policy ¶ 4(a)(ii) has been satisfied.
As indicated above, the disputed domain name resolves to a website that is not actively used. The Panel finds that Respondent’s failure to associate content with its disputed domain name registration constitutes registration and use 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 Telstra Corp. v. Nuclear Marshmallows, D2000-0003 (WIPO Feb. 18, 2000) (“[I]t is possible, in certain circumstances, for inactivity by the Respondent to amount to the domain name being used in bad faith.”).
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 <derekbellstatefarm.com> domain name be TRANSFERRED from Respondent to Complainant.
Honorable Paul A. Dorf (Ret.), Panelist
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