South African Airways (PTY) Limited v. Web Master aka Segod aka Nameregister.com
Claim Number: FA0111000102177
Complainant is South African Airways (Pty.) Limited, SOUTH AFRICA (“Complainant”) represented by Frank J. Costello, of Zuckert, Scoutt & Rasenberger, L.L.P. Respondent is Web Master a/k/a Segod a/k/a nameregister.com, ARMENIA (“Respondent”).
REGISTRAR AND DISPUTED DOMAIN NAME
The domain name at issue is <saa-canada.com>, registered with Computer Data Networks aka shop4domain.com.
The undersigned certifies that she has acted independently and impartially and to the best of her knowledge, has no known conflict in serving as Panelist in this proceeding.
Sandra Franklin as Panelist.
Complainant submitted a Complaint to the National Arbitration Forum (the “Forum”) electronically on November 14, 2001; the Forum received a hard copy of the Complaint on November 19, 2001.
On November 20, 2001, Computer Data Networks aka shop4domain.com confirmed by e-mail to the Forum that the domain name <saa-canada.com> is registered with Computer Data Networks aka shop4domain.com and that Respondent is the current registrant of the name. Computer Data Networks aka shop4domain.com has verified that Respondent is bound by the Computer Data Networks aka shop4domain.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 November 28, 2001, a Notification of Complaint and Commencement of Administrative Proceeding (the “Commencement Notification”), setting a deadline of December 18, 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 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 31, 2001, pursuant to Complainant’s request to have the dispute decided by a single-member Panel, the Forum appointed Sandra Franklin 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.
The <saa-canada.com> domain name is confusingly similar to Complainant's SAA service mark.
Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name.
Respondent registered and used the disputed domain name in bad faith.
Respondent failed to submit a Response.
Since 1934, Complainant has used the SAA service mark in relation to air transportation services. In Canada, the SAA service mark has been used since 1969 also in relation to air transportation services. The International Civil Aviation Organizations' three-letter identification code for Complainant (South African Airways) is also SAA. Complainant is the largest airline in Africa and one of the 30 largest airlines in the world. Complainant has provided direct service to and from the United States since 1969, with connecting flights throughout the United States and Canada.
Complainant's primary website is located as <flysaa.com>. Complainant previously registered the <saa-canada.com> domain name to advertise its transportation services. The registration expired in 2001 and Complainant did not renew the domain name because it decided to consolidate all of its online advertising and sales at <flysaa.com>.
Respondent registered the disputed domain name on August 6, 2001. Respondent is using the disputed domain name for a hardcore pornography website. Respondent has offered the domain name for sale for at least $2100. There is evidence that Respondent has engaged in a pattern of registering domain names incorporating well-known trademarks primarily for the purpose of selling, or renting the domains.
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
Complainant, through continuous and extensive use has established that it has rights in the SAA service mark. Furthermore, Respondent's <saa-canada.com> domain name is confusingly similar to Complainant's mark because it incorporates the entirety of Complainant's mark and merely adds a hyphen and the descriptive word "Canada". Canada is a place that Complainant does business. It has been found that the addition of a descriptive word to another's mark does not create a distinct mark capable of defeating a claim of confusing similarity. See Sunkist Growers, Inc. v. S G & Delmonte-Asia.com, D2001-0432 (WIPO May 22, 2001) (finding that the domain names <sunkistgrowers.org>, <sunkistgrowers.net> and <sunkistasia.com> are confusingly similar to complainant’s registered SUNKIST mark and identical to complainant’s common law SUNKIST GROWERS mark); see also Brown & Bigelow, Inc. v. Rodela, FA 96466 (Nat. Arb. Forum Mar. 5, 2001) (finding that the <hoylecasino.net> domain name is confusingly similar to Complainant’s HOYLE mark, and that the addition of “casino,” a generic word describing the type of business in which Complainant is engaged, does not take the disputed domain name out of the realm of confusing similarity).
The Panel finds that Policy ¶ 4(a)(i) has been satisfied.
Rights or Legitimate Interests
Respondent has failed to come forward with a Response and therefore it is presumed that Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. 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).
Furthermore, when Respondent fails to submit a Response the Panel is permitted to make all inferences in favor of Complainant. See 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”).
There is no evidence on the record, and Respondent has not come forward to establish that it is commonly known by the <saa-canada.com> domain name pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(c)(ii). See Broadcom Corp. v. Intellifone Corp., FA 96356 (Nat. Arb. Forum Feb. 5, 2001) (finding no rights or legitimate interests because Respondent is not commonly known by the disputed domain name or using the domain name in connection with a legitimate or fair use); see also CBS Broadcasting, Inc. v. LA-Twilight-Zone, D2000-0397 (WIPO June 19, 2000) (finding that Respondent has failed to demonstrate any rights or legitimate interests in the <twilight-zone.net> domain name since Complainant had been using the TWILIGHT ZONE mark since 1959).
Respondent has used the disputed domain name for a pornographic website. It has been found that this type of use does not create rights or legitimate interests. See National Football League Prop., Inc., et al. v. One Sex Entm't. Co., D2000-0118 (WIPO Apr. 17, 2000) (finding that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the domain names "chargergirls.com" and "chargergirls.net" where the Respondent linked these domain names to its pornographic website); see also Brown & Bigelow, Inc. v. Rodela, FA 96466 (Nat. Arb. Forum Mar. 5, 2001) (finding that infringing on another's well known mark to provide a link to a pornographic site is not a legitimate or fair use).
Respondent registered the disputed domain name after Complainant let its own registration expire. It can be inferred that the Respondent had knowledge that the disputed domain name previously belonged to Complainant, and therefore that Internet user confusion would result from Respondent's use. See American Anti-Vivisection Soc’y v. “Infa dot Net” Web Serv., FA 95685 (Nat. Arb. Forum Nov. 6, 2000) (finding that Complainant’s prior registration of the same domain name is a factor in considering Respondent’s rights or legitimate interest in the domain name).
Respondent's use of a confusingly similar domain name for sexually explicit material is not considered a bona fide offering of goods and services pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(c)(i). See MatchNet plc v. MAC Trading, D2000-0205 (WIPO May 11, 2000) (finding that it is not a bona fide offering of goods or services to use a domain name for commercial gain by attracting Internet users to third party sites offering sexually explicit and pornographic material, where such use is calculated to mislead consumers and tarnish the Complainant’s mark).
It can be inferred that Respondent is intentionally diverting Internet users to its website for its own commercial gain and is therefore not making legitimate noncommercial, or fair use of the disputed domain pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(c)(iii). See Kosmea Pty Ltd. v. Krpan, D2000-0948 (WIPO Oct. 3, 2000) (finding no rights in the domain name where Respondent has an intention to divert consumers of Complainant’s products to Respondent’s site by using Complainant’s mark); see also Vapor Blast Mfg. Co. v. R & S Tech., Inc., FA 96577 (Nat. Arb. Forum Feb. 27, 2001) (finding that Respondent’s commercial use of the domain name to confuse and divert Internet traffic is not a legitimate use of the domain name).
The Panel finds that Policy ¶4(a)(ii) has been satisfied.
Registration and Use in Bad Faith
The <saa-canada.com> domain name is confusingly similar to Complainant's mark and the Internet user will likely believe that there is an affiliation between Respondent and Complainant. Registration of the confusingly similar <saa-canada.com> domain name is evidence of bad faith pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(c)(iv). See Sony Kabushiki Kaisha v. Inja, Kil, D2000-1409 (WIPO Dec. 9, 2000) (finding that bad faith registration and use where it is “inconceivable that the respondent could make any active use of the disputed domain names without creating a false impression of association with the Complainant”).
Respondent has engaged in a pattern of registering domain names infringing upon the marks of others, it has been found that a pattern of such conduct is evidence of bad faith. See Armstrong Holdings, Inc. v. JAZ Assoc., FA 95234 (Nat. Arb. Forum Aug. 17, 2000) (finding that the Respondent violated Policy ¶ 4(b)(ii) by registering multiple domain names which infringe upon others’ famous and registered trademarks); see also Encyclopaedia Britannica Inc. v. Shedon.com, D2000-0753 (Sept. 6, 2000) (finding bad faith where the Respondent engaged in the practice of registering domain names containing the trademarks of others).
Respondent has linked the confusingly similar <saa-canda.com> domain name to an adult content website. This conduct is evidence of bad faith under Policy ¶ 4(b)(iv). See MatchNet plc. v. MAC Trading, D2000-0205 (WIPO May 11, 2000) (finding that association of confusingly similar domain name with pornographic website can constitute bad faith); see also Youtv, Inc. v. Alemdar, FA 94243 (Nat. Arb. Forum Apr. 25, 2000) (finding bad faith where Respondent attracted users to his website for commercial gain and linked his website to pornographic websites); see also CCA Indus., Inc. v. Dailey, D2000-0148 (WIPO Apr. 26, 2000) (finding that “this association with a pornographic web site can itself constitute bad faith”).
Respondent has registered the domain name in order to sell it in excess of its out-of-pocket costs. The registration of a domain name for the primary purpose of selling, renting, or otherwise transferring it is evidence of bad faith pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(b)(i). See Wembley Nat’l Stadium Ltd. v. Thomson, D2000-1233 (WIPO Nov. 16, 2000) (finding bad faith based on the apparent willingness of the Respondent to sell the domain name in issue from the outset, albeit not at a price reflecting only the costs of registering and maintaining the name); see also Educational Testing Serv. v. TOEFL, D2000-0044 (WIPO Mar. 16, 2000) (finding that a general offer of sale combined with no legitimate use of the domain name constitutes registration and use 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 the requested relief shall be hereby granted.
Accordingly, it is Ordered that the domain name <saa-canada.com> be transferred from Respondent to Complainant.
Sandra Franklin, Panelist
Dated: January 8, 2002
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