Donald J. Trump and Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts Inc v. David Hames
Claim Number: FA0112000102803
Complainant is Donald J. Trump and Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts, Inc., New York, NY (“Complainant”) represented by Melissa L. Klipp, of Drinker, Biddle & Shanley, LLP. Respondent is David Hames, Taylorville, IL (“Respondent”).
REGISTRAR AND DISPUTED DOMAIN NAMES
The domain names at issue are <trumpcasino.net>, <sportstrump.com>, and <sportstrump.net>, 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.
John J. Upchurch as Panelist.
Complainant submitted a Complaint to the National Arbitration Forum (the “Forum”) electronically on December 10, 2001; the Forum received a hard copy of the Complaint on December 11, 2001.
On December 13, 2001, Register.com confirmed by e-mail to the Forum that the domain names <trumpcasino.net>, <sportstrump.com>, and <sportstrump.net> are registered with Register.com and that Respondent is the current registrant of the name. Register.com has verified that Respondent is bound by the Register.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 December 13, 2001, a Notification of Complaint and Commencement of Administrative Proceeding (the “Commencement Notification”), setting a deadline of January 2, 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, firstname.lastname@example.org, and 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 January 10, 2002, pursuant to Complainant’s request to have the dispute decided by a single-member Panel, the Forum appointed John J. Upchurch 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 names be transferred from the Respondent to the Complainant.
The <trumpcasino.net>, <sportstrump.com>, and <sportstrump.net> domain names are confusingly similar to Complainant's TRUMP mark.
Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain names.
Respondent registered and used the disputed domain names in bad faith.
Respondent failed to submit a Response.
Since 1984, Complainant has used the TRUMP mark in commerce in connection with casino and entertainment services. Complainant has invested millions of dollars into promoting the TRUMP mark and building reputation and goodwill in the services provided under the mark. The mark has been registered in the United States with the Patent and Trademark Office, and in addition, Complainant maintains numerous other marks including the word TRUMP to designate services ranging from casinos to golfing.
Complainant also has a significant presence over the Internet. Complainant operates several websites incorporating its various marks including: <trump.com>, <trumptaj.com>, <trumpplaza.com>, and <trumpmarina.com>. Through Complainant's longstanding use of the TRUMP mark in domain names and Web addresses the public has come to expect that domain names incorporating the TRUMP mark belong to the Complainant.
Respondent registered the <sportstrump.net>, and <sportstrump.com> disputed domain names on November 6, 2000. Respondent registered the <trumpcasino.net> domain name on December 20, 2000. After receiving two cease and desist letters, one by electronic mail, Respondent replied by offering to sell the disputed domain names to Complainant. Respondent has not established a website at any of the disputed domain names.
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 and draw such inferences it considers appropriate pursuant to paragraph 14(b) 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; and
(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 registration and continuous use has established that it has rights in the TRUMP mark. Furthermore, Respondent's <trumpcasino.net>, <sportstrump.com>, and <sportstrump.net> are confusingly similar to Complainant's
TRUMP mark because they incorporate the entirety of Complainant's mark and merely add the generic terms "sports" and "casino." Both of these generic terms are descriptive of business activities engaged in by Complainant. It has been found that the use of generic terms descriptive of Complainant's business does not create a distinctive mark capable of overcoming a claim of confusing similarity. See Arthur Guinness Son & Co. (Dublin) Ltd. v. Healy/BOSTH, D2001-0026 (WIPO Mar. 23, 2001) (finding confusing similarity where the domain name in dispute contains the identical mark of the Complainant combined with a generic word or term); 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 any of the disputed domain names 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).
Furthermore, Respondent has failed to establish a website at any of the disputed domain names even though it has owned them for over a year. Respondent's passive holding of the domain name demonstrates a lack of rights and legitimate interests because it has failed to use the domains for a bona fide offering of goods and services pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(c)(i). See Ziegenfelder Co. v. VMH Enter., Inc., D2000-0039 (WIPO Mar. 14, 2000) (finding that failure to provide a product or service or develop the site demonstrates that Respondents have not established any rights or legitimate interests in said 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).
It can be inferred based on the passive holding and the attempt to sell the disputed domain name to Complainant that Respondent registered the domain name with the intention of selling it. See Hewlett-Packard Co. v. High Performance Networks, Inc., FA 95083 (Nat. Arb. Forum July 31, 2000) (finding no rights or legitimate interests where the Respondent registered the domain name with the intention of selling the domain name); see also J. Paul Getty Trust v. Domain 4 Sale & Co., FA 95262 (Nat. Arb. Forum Sept. 7, 2000) (finding rights or legitimate interests do not exist when one has made no use of the websites that are located at the domain names at issue, other than to sell the domain names for profit).
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
Respondent's registration and passive holding of the disputed domain names supports a finding of bad faith pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(a)(iii). See Alitalia –Linee Aeree Italiane S.p.A v. Colour Digital, D2000-1260 (WIPO Nov. 23, 2000) (finding bad faith where the Respondent made no use of the domain name in question and there are no other indications that the Respondent could have registered and used the domain name in question for any non-infringing purpose).
The <trumpcasino.net>, <sportstrump.com>, and <sportstrump.net> domain names are 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 domain names is evidence of bad faith pursuant to 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”).
Furthermore, because of the famous and distinctive nature of Complainant's TRUMP mark, Respondent is thought to have been on notice of the existence of Complainant's mark at the time Respondent registered the infringing <trumpcasino.net>, <sportstrump.com>, and <sportstrump.net> domain names. See Samsonite Corp. v. Colony Holding, FA 94313 (Nat. Arb. Forum Apr. 17, 2000) (evidence of bad faith includes actual or constructive knowledge of commonly known mark at the time of registration); see also Victoria's Secret et al v. Hardin, FA 96694 (Nat Arb. Forum Mar. 31, 2001) (finding that, in light of the notoriety of Complainants' famous marks, Respondent had actual or constructive knowledge of the BODY BY VICTORIA marks at the time she registered the disputed domain name and such knowledge constitutes bad faith).
It can be inferred from the circumstances that Respondent registered the disputed domain names to sell the domain names to Complainant. According to Policy ¶ 4(b)(i) Respondent exhibits bad faith if circumstances indicate that it has registered the disputed domain name primarily for the purpose of selling or renting. 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 Cruzeiro Licenciamentos Ltda v. Sallen & Sallen Enter., D2000-0715 (WIPO Sept. 6, 2000) (finding that mere passive holding of a domain name can qualify as bad faith if the domain name owner’s conduct creates the impression that the name is for sale).
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 <trumpcasino.net>, <sportstrump.com>, and <sportstrump.net> be transferred from Respondent to Complainant.
John J. Upchurch, Panelist
Dated: January 23, 2002
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