Evli Bank Plc v. Halit Evli
Claim Number: FA0112000102950
The Complainant is Evli Bank Plc, Helsinki, FINLAND (“Complainant”). The Respondent is Halit Evli, Wetzlar, GERMANY (“Respondent”).
The domain name at issue is <evli.biz>, registered with Schlund & Partner.
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.
The Honorable Charles K. McCotter, Jr. (Ret.) 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 14, 2001; the Forum received a hard copy of the Complaint on December 14, 2001.
On December 27, 2001, a Notification of Complaint and Commencement of Administrative Proceeding (the “Commencement Notification”), setting a deadline of January 16, 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 February 5, 2002, pursuant to STOP Rule 6(b), the Forum appointed The Honorable Charles K. McCotter, Jr. (Ret.) 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.
Complainant has rights to its EVLI trademark.
Respondent does not have rights or legitimate interests in the <evli.biz> domain name.
Respondent registered <evli.biz> in bad faith.
Respondent failed to submit a Response in this proceeding.
Complainant is a deposit bank in Finland; its services include: market-making, securities dealings, underwriting of issues, asset management, arranging of issues, and investment consultation related to these activities. Complainant registered its EVLI name on the Finnish Register in March 31, 1983. Additionally, Complainant holds registrations and pending registrations of the EVLI mark in several other countries, including the United States.
Complainant has developed substantial goodwill in its EVLI trademark through its varied banking and investment services as well as its presence on the Internet through its <evli.fi> and <evli.com> websites.
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 rely on relevant UDRP precedent where applicable.
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 necessarily involves 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 determining that a disputed domain name is not identical to the mark in which the Complainant asserts rights.
Complainant has established rights in the EVLI mark through its use of the mark in connection with its banking and investment services as well as its registration of the EVLI mark on the Finnish Register. The <evli.biz> domain name is identical to Complainant’s regsiterd EVLI mark.
The Panel finds that STOP Policy ¶ 4(a)(i) has been satisfied.
Respondent may be found not to have any rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name because Respondent has not furnished a Response to this claim. 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).
There is no information, nor has Respondent provided any, to show that it has a service or trademark reflecting the EVLI mark or the identical domain name. Therefore, Respondent is presumed not to have any rights or legitimate interests pursuant to the STOP Policy ¶ 4(c)(i) with respect to the disputed domain name.
Because Respondent’s domain name incorporates Complainant’s registered mark in its entirety, and because Complainant’s bank has already established a significant presence on the Internet, it can be inferred that Respondent registered the disputed domain name in order to attract Complainant’s customers to its website. This behavior is not considered a bona fide offering of goods pursuant to STOP Policy ¶ 4 (c)(ii). See 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 Complainant’s HOUSEHOLD BANK mark, with hopes of attracting Complainant’s customers and thus finding no rights or legitimate interests).
Respondent has not furnished any evidence, that it is commonly known by the EVLI mark or the identical domain name. As a result, Respondent is presumed not to have any rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain pursuant to STOP Policy ¶ 4(c)(iii). 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 STOP Policy ¶ 4(a)(ii) has been satisfied.
Respondent has demonstrated bad faith pursuant to STOP Policy ¶ 4(b)(iv) by registering a domain name that is likely to be falsely associated with Complainant’s business by Internet users. See Sony Kabushiki Kaisha v. Inja, Kil, D2000-1409 (WIPO Dec. 9, 2000) (finding 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”). Moreover, the very registration of a domain name incorporating Complainant’s established EVLI mark reveals Respondent’s attempt to trade on the goodwill of Complainant’s mark by using it to attract Internet users to Respondent’s website for commercial gain. This activity is determined to be in bad faith pursuant to STOP Policy ¶ 4(b)(iv). See State Fair of Texas v. Granbury.com, FA 95288 (Nat. Arb. Forum Sept. 12, 2000) (finding bad faith where the Respondent registered the domain name <bigtex.net> to infringe on the Complainant’s good will and attract Internet users to the Respondent’s website); see also Perot Sys. Corp. v. Perot.net, FA 95312 (Nat. Arb. Forum Aug. 29, 2000) (finding bad faith where the domain name in question is obviously connected with the Complainant’s well-known marks, thus creating a likelihood of confusion strictly for commercial gain).
The Panel finds that STOP Policy ¶ 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 <evli.biz> domain name be transferred from Respondent to Complainant and that subsequent challenges under the STOP Policy against the domain name shall not be permitted.
The Honorable Charles K. McCotter, Jr. (Ret.), Panelist
Dated: February 12, 2002
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