Tufts University v. Creation Research
Claim Number: FA0112000102787
The Complainant is Tufts University, Boston, MA (“Complainant”) represented by Thomas McVarish. The Respondent is Bill T. Odonnell and Creation Research, Bayside, CA (“Respondent”).
The domain name at issue is <tufts.biz>, registered with Register.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.
Hon. Ralph Yachnin as Panelist.
Complainant has standing to file a Start-up Trademark Opposition Policy (“STOP”) Complaint, as it timely filed the required Intellectual Property (IP) Claim Form with the Registry Operator, NeuLevel. As an IP Claimant, Complainant timely noted its intent to file a STOP Complaint against Respondent with the Registry Operator, NeuLevel and with the National Arbitration Forum (the “Forum”).
Complainant submitted a Complaint to the Forum electronically on December 8, 2001; the Forum received a hard copy of the Complaint on December 13, 2001.
On December 13, 2001, a Notification of Complaint and Commencement of Administrative Proceeding (the “Commencement Notification”), setting a deadline of January 2, 2002 by which Respondent could file a Response to the Complaint, was transmitted to Respondent in compliance with paragraph 2(a) of the Rules for the Start-up Trademark Opposition Policy (the “STOP Rules”).
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 January 10, 2002, pursuant to STOP Rule 6(b), the Forum appointed Hon. Ralph Yachnin as the single 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 STOP Rules. Therefore, the Panel may issue its decision based on the documents submitted and in accordance with the STOP Policy, STOP Rules, the Forum’s STOP Supplemental Rules and any rules and principles of law that the Panel deems applicable, without the benefit of any Response from Respondent.
Transfer of the domain name from Respondent to Complainant.
The <tufts.biz> domain name is identical to Complainant's TUFTS mark.
Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the <tufts.biz> domain name.
Respondent registered the <tufts.biz> domain name in bad faith.
Respondent failed to submit a Response.
Complainant is Tufts University. Since 1852, Complainant has used the TUFTS mark continuously and exclusively. Complainant is known throughout the world for its quality of education services, and the research it produces. Through these activities and related promotional efforts, Complainant has created substantial goodwill in the TUFTS mark.
Complainant is the owner of five trademarks and one service mark registered with the United States Patent and Trademark Office for the TUFTS mark. Since 1995, Complainant has owned TUFTS service mark, registration number 1,910,498, and used it in relation to education and entertainment services. Since 1994, Complainant has owned TUFTS trademark, registration number 1,862,452 for Jewelry. Complainant has owned its other four TUFTS trademarks since 1995 and uses them in relation to other goods bearing the University's name. Complainant also has a pending application for Trademark in the European Community for educational services and clothing.
Respondent registered the disputed domain on November 19, 2001. Respondent is known as Creation Research.
Paragraph 15(a) of the STOP 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 STOP Rules and draw such inferences it considers appropriate pursuant to paragraph 14(b) of the STOP Rules.
Paragraph 4(a) of the STOP Policy requires that the Complainant must prove each of the following three elements to obtain an order that a domain name should be transferred:
(1) the domain name is identical to a trademark or service mark in which the Complainant has rights; and
(2) the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the domain name; and
(3) the domain name has been registered or is being used in bad faith.
Due to the common authority of the ICANN policy governing both the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (“UDRP”) and these STOP proceedings, the Panel will exercise its discretion to cite relevant UDRP precedent where applicable in this STOP decision.
Under the STOP proceedings, a STOP Complaint may only be filed when the domain name in dispute is identical to a trademark or service mark for which a Complainant has registered an Intellectual Property (IP) claim form. Therefore, every STOP proceeding will involve a disputed domain name that is identical to a trademark or service mark in which a Complainant asserts rights. The existence of the “.biz” generic top-level domain (gTLD) in the disputed domain name is not a factor for purposes of finding that a disputed domain name is not identical to the mark in which the Complainant asserts rights.
Complainant has established that it has rights in the TUFTS mark through evidence of continuous use since 1852, and six trademark and/or service mark registrations.
Therefore the Panel finds that STOP ¶ 4(a)(i) has been satisfied.
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”).
Complainant has established that it has rights in the disputed domain name because it is the owner of a service mark and five trademarks incorporating the words TUFTS. Respondent has not come forward to offer evidence that it has common law rights in the mark TUFTS or owns any trademarks or service marks incorporating the word. Therefore Respondent has not demonstrated rights or legitimate interests in the <tufts.biz> domain name pursuant to STOP Policy ¶ 4(c)(i).
There is no evidence on the record, and Respondent has not come forward to establish that it is commonly known by the <tufts.biz> domain name pursuant to STOP Policy ¶ 4(c)(iii). 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).
It can be inferred that Respondent's planned use of a domain name identical to Complainant's mark is to divert Internet users interested in Complainant to Respondent's website. The use of a domain name identical to Complainant's mark to divert Internet users to Respondent's website is not a bona fide offering of goods pursuant of STOP Policy ¶ 4(c)(ii). See Toronto-Dominion Bank v. Karpachev, D2000-1571 (WIPO Jan. 15, 2001) (finding no rights or legitimate interests where Respondent diverted Complainant’s customers to his websites); see also Household Int’l, Inc. v. Cyntom Enter., FA 95784 (Nat. Arb. Forum Nov. 7, 2000) (inferring that Respondent registered the domain name <householdbank.com>, which incorporates Complainants HOUSEHOLD BANK mark, with hopes of attracting Complainant’s customers and thus finding no rights or legitimate interests).
The Panel finds that STOP ¶ 4(a)(ii) has been satisfied.
The <tufts.biz> domain name is identical to Complainant's TUFTS mark and the Internet user will likely believe that there is an affiliation between Respondent and Complainant. Registration of the <tufts.biz> domain name despite it being identical is evidence of bad faith pursuant to STOP Policy ¶ 4(b)(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”).
Because Respondent is a research company that competes with Complainant, it can be inferred that Respondent registered the disputed domain name in order to disrupt Complainant's business. This type of behavior is evidence of bad faith according to STOP Policy ¶ 4(b)(iii). See EthnicGrocer.com, Inc. v. Unlimited Latin Flavors, Inc., FA 94385 (Nat. Arb. Forum July 7, 2000) (finding that the minor degree of variation from the Complainant's marks suggests that the Respondent, the Complainant’s competitor, registered the names primarily for the purpose of disrupting the Complainant's business).
Based on the circumstances it can be inferred that Respondent registered the disputed domain name in order to prevent Complainant from using its TUFTS mark in a corresponding domain name. This behavior is evidence of bad faith pursuant to STOP Policy ¶ 4(b)(ii). See Toyota Jidosha Kabushiki Kaisha v. S&S Enter. Ltd., D2000-0802 (WIPO Sept. 9, 2000) (finding that “Registration of a domain name (by Respondent that incorporates another’s trademark) goes further than merely correctly using in an advertisement the trade mark of another in connection with that other’s goods or services: it prevents the trade mark owner from reflecting that mark in a corresponding domain name”).
The Panel finds that STOP ¶ 4(a)(iii) has been satisfied.
Having established all three elements required under the Start-up Trademark Opposition Policy, the Panel concludes that relief shall be hereby granted.
Accordingly, it is Ordered that the domain name <tufts.biz> be transferred from Respondent to Complainant and subsequent challenges under the STOP Policy against this domain name shall not be permitted.
Hon. Ralph Yachnin, Panelist
Justice, Supreme Court, NY (Ret.)
Dated: January 18, 2002
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