R. Paniagua, Inc. v. Lavonne Luquis
Claim Number: FA0110000101534
Complainant is R. Paniagua, Inc., New York, NY (“Complainant”) represented by Fritz L. Schweitzer. Respondent is Lavonne Luquis, San Francisco, CA (“Respondent”).
REGISTRAR AND DISPUTED DOMAIN NAME
The domain name at issue is <latinoboxing.com>, registered with Network Solutions.
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.
Judge Ralph Yachnin as Panelist.
Complainant submitted a Complaint to the National Arbitration Forum (the “Forum”) electronically on October 30, 2001; the Forum received a hard copy of the Complaint on November 1, 2001.
On November 1, 2001, Network Solutions confirmed by e-mail to the Forum that the domain name <latinoboxing.com> is registered with Network Solutions and that Respondent is the current registrant of the name. Network Solutions has verified that Respondent is bound by the Network Solutions 5.0 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 November 5, 2001, a Notification of Complaint and Commencement of Administrative Proceeding (the “Commencement Notification”), setting a deadline of November 20, 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 firstname.lastname@example.org by e-mail.
Having received no Response from Respondent, using the same contact details and methods as were used for the Commencement Notification, the Forum transmitted to the parties a Notification of Respondent Default.
On December 6, 2001, pursuant to Complainant’s request to have the dispute decided by a single-member Panel, the Forum appointed Judge Ralph Yachnin 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.” 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 Response from Respondent.
Complainant requests that the domain name be transferred from the Respondent to the Complainant.
Respondent’s <latinoboxing.com> domain name is identical to Complainant’s common law mark.
Respondent does not have any rights or legitimate interests in the domain name.
Respondent registered the domain name in bad faith.
No Response was received.
Complainant has published the magazine entitled LATINO BOXING in the U.S. for over seven years. Complainant’s magazine is circulated among 300,000 readers a year, generating $400,000 in sales annually. Complainant spends over $200,000 a year promoting and advertising the magazine.
Complainant has acquired common law rights in the name and as further indication of its rights it has applied for a U.S. trademark for LATINO BOXING.
Respondent registered <latinoboxing.com> on April 12, 2000. Respondent has made no active use of the domain name since its registration. Complainant attempted to correspond with Respondent but it did not reply.
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 the Complainant's undisputed representations pursuant to paragraphs 5(e), 14(a) and 15(a) of the Rules.
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
By virtue of its circulation and extensive promotion of LATINO BOXING magazine, Complainant has established sufficient common law rights in the LATINO BOXING mark. See Passion Group Inc. v. Usearch, Inc., AF-0250 (eResolution Aug. 10, 2000) (finding that Complainant established sufficient rights by virtue of its distribution and advertising to enable it, at common law, to prevent another magazine by the same name from being passed off as that of Complainant. Thus Complainant established that it ‘has rights’ under the ICANN Policy); see also MatchNet PLC. V. MAC Trading, D2000-0205 (WIPO May 11, 2000) (citing British Broadcasting Corp. v. Renteria, D2000-0050 (WIPO Mar. 23, 2000)) (finding that the UDRP “does not distinguish between registered and unregistered trademarks and service marks in the context of abusive registration of domain names” and applying the UDRP to “unregistered trademarks and service marks”).
Respondent’s <latinoboxing.com> domain name is identical to Complainant’s common law mark because the addition of a top level like “.com” does not sufficiently distinguish the domain name from the mark. See World Wrestling Fed'n Entm't., Inc. v. Rapuano, DTV2001-0010 (WIPO May 23, 2001) (finding that “[t]he addition of the country code top level domain (ccTLD) designation <.tv> does not serve to distinguish those names from Complainant’s marks since ‘.tv’ is a common Internet address identifier that is not specifically associated with Respondent”); 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).
The likelihood that Internet users would associate Respondent’s website with Complainant’s business is substantial. As a result, the domain name is confusingly similar to Complainant’s common law mark. See Perot Sys. Corp. v. Perot.net, FA 95312 (Nat. Arb. Forum Aug. 29, 2000) (finding that given the similarity of the Complainant’s marks with the domain name, consumers will presume the domain name is affiliated with the Complainant …the Respondent is attracting Internet users to a website, for commercial gain, by creating a likelihood of confusion with the Complainant’s mark as to the source, sponsorship, or endorsement of the Respondent’s website); see also Surface Protection Indus., Inc. v. The Webposters, D2000-1613 (WIPO Feb. 5, 2001) (finding the domain name confusingly similar “so as to likely confuse Internet users who may believe they are doing business with Complainant or with an entity whose services are endorsed by, sponsored by, or affiliated with Complainant; hence, satisfying the confusing similarity requirement”).
The Panel finds that Policy ¶ 4(a)(i) has been satisfied.
Rights or Legitimate Interests
Respondent’s failure to provide both a Response and evidence that it has rights in the domain name indicates that Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests. See Pavillion Agency, Inc. v. Greenhouse Agency Ltd., D2000-1221 (WIPO Dec. 4, 2000) (finding that Respondents’ failure to respond can be construed as an admission that they have no legitimate interest in the domain names).
Respondent’s failure to develop the domain name for active use indicates that it did not make a bona fide offering of goods or a legitimate or fair use. As a result, Respondent does not have rights or legitimate interests in the domain name. See American Home Prod. Corp. v. Malgioglio, D2000-1602 (WIPO Feb. 19, 2001) (finding no rights or legitimate interests in the domain name <solgarvitamins.com> where Respondent merely passively held the domain name); see also Bloomberg L.P. v. Sandhu, FA 96261 (Nat. Arb. Forum Feb. 12, 2001) (finding that no rights or legitimate interest can be found when Respondent fails to use disputed domain names in any way); see also BMW AG v. Loophole, D2000-1156 (WIPO Oct. 26, 2000) (finding no rights in the domain name where Respondent claimed to be using the domain name for a non-commercial purpose but had made no actual use of the domain name).
Respondent is not commonly known by the domain name and as a result, has no rights or legitimate interests in it pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(c)(ii). See Gallup Inc. v. Amish Country Store, FA 96209 (Nat. Arb. Forum Jan. 23, 2001) (finding that Respondent does not have rights in domain name when Respondent is not known by the mark); see also Hartford Fire Ins. Co. v. Webdeal.com, Inc., FA 95162 (Nat. Arb. Forum Aug. 29, 2000) (finding that Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in domain names because it is not commonly known by Complainant’s marks and Respondent has not used the domain names in connection with a bona fide offering of goods and services or for a legitimate noncommercial or fair use).
The Panel finds that Policy ¶ 4(a)(ii) has been satisfied
Respondent’s passive use of the domain name indicates bad faith use. See DCI S.A. v. Link Commercial Corp., D2000-1232 (WIPO Dec. 7, 2000) (concluding that the Respondent’s passive holding of the domain name satisfies the requirement of paragraph 4(a)(iii) of the Policy); see also 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).
Even though Respondent has not yet actively used the domain name Internet users will “inevitably” be confused into believing an association exits between Respondent and Complainant once Respondent activates the domain name. As a result, Respondent may be found to have used the domain name in bad faith pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(b)(iv). See Phat Fashions v. Kruger, FA 96193 (Nat. Arb. Forum Dec. 29, 2000) (finding bad faith under Policy ¶ 4(b)(iv) even though Respondent has not used the domain name because “It makes no sense whatever to wait until it actually ‘uses’ the name, when inevitably, when there is such use, it will create the confusion described in the Policy”).
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 the requested relief shall be hereby granted.
Accordingly, it is Ordered that the domain name <latinoboxing.com> be transferred from Respondent to Complainant.
Hon. Ralph Yachnin, Panelist
Justice, Supreme Court, NY (Ret.)
Dated: December 10, 2001
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