Indigo N.V. v. Rene Hoermann
Claim Number: FA0112000102955
The Complainant is Indigo N.V., a Netherlands corporation, (“Complainant”) represented by Rochelle Alpert, of Brobeck Phleger & Harrison LLP. The Respondent is Rene Hoermann, Altach, AUSTRIA (“Respondent”).
The domain name at issue is <eprint.biz>, registered with Speednames Inc.
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 Harold Kalina (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 .
On December 21, 2001, a Notification of Complaint and Commencement of Administrative Proceeding (the “Commencement Notification”), setting a deadline of January 10, 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 31, 2002, pursuant to STOP Rule 6(b), the Forum appointed Judge Harold Kalina (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.
The <eprint.biz> domain name is identical to Complainant's EPRINT mark.
Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the <eprint.biz> domain name.
Respondent registered the <eprint.biz> domain name in bad faith.
Respondent failed to submit a Response.
Since 1993, Complainant has used the marks EPRINT and E-PRINT in relation to its digital color press, and other printing related products including; printing presses, computer printers, printing inks, toner cartridges, computer hardware, computer programs, photoreceptors, instructional booklets, brochures and leaflets and on-site preparation and related service. Complainant is the world leader in the digital color printing industry. Complainant has registered numerous marks that incorporate EPRINT or E-PRINT. Complainant owns trademarks in Germany (Reg. No. 2,106,076) , Norway (Reg. No.195555), Ireland (Reg. No. 169556) , and the United States (Reg. No. 2,429,032).
Respondent registered the disputed domain name on November 19, 2001. Respondent is known as Rene Hoermann. Complainant's investigation has found no evidence of trademark registrations owned by Respondent anywhere in the world for the EPRINT or E-PRINT marks.
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, through registration and continuous use since 1993 has established that it has rights in the EPRINT and E-PRINT marks. The <eprint.biz> domain name is identical to the EPRINT and E-PRINT marks. See PG&E Corp. v. Anderson, D2000-1264 (WIPO Nov. 22, 2000) (noting that PG&E’s home web page is found at “www.pge.com” because the ampersand symbol is not reproducible in a domain name); see also Chernow Communications Inc. v. Kimball, D2000-0119 (WIPO May 18, 2000) (holding “that the use or absence of punctuation marks, such as hyphens, does not alter the fact that a name is identical to a mark").
The Panel finds that STOP Policy ¶ 4(a)(i) has been satisfied.
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 has used the mark in commerce since 1993, and is the owner of a trademark in numerous countries. Respondent has not come forward to offer evidence that it has used the EPRINT or E-PRINT marks in connection with its business, or that it owns any trademarks or service marks incorporating the word anywhere in the world. Therefore Respondent has not demonstrated any rights or legitimate interests in the <eprint.biz> domain name pursuant to STOP Policy ¶ 4(c)(i).
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 intended use of a domain name identical to Complainant's mark to divert Internet users to Respondent's website is not considered a bona fide offering of goods or services 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).
There is no evidence on the record, and Respondent has not come forward to establish that it is commonly known by the <eprint.biz> domain name pursuant to STOP Policy ¶ 4(c)(iii). See Great S. Wood Pres., Inc. v. TFA Assocs., FA 95169 (Nat. Arb. Forum Aug. 5, 2000) (finding that Respondent was not commonly known by the domain name <greatsouthernwood.com> where Respondent linked the domain name to <bestoftheweb.com>); 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).
The Panel finds that STOP Policy ¶ 4(a)(ii) has been satisfied.
The <eprint.biz> domain name is identical to Complainant's EPRINT and E-PRINT marks and the Internet user will likely believe that there is an affiliation between Respondent and Complainant. Registration of the <eprint.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”); see also Pavillion Agency, Inc. v. Greenhouse Agency Ltd., D2000-1221 (WIPO Dec. 4, 2000) (finding that the “domain names are so obviously connected with the Complainants that the use or registration by anyone other than Complainants suggests ‘opportunistic bad faith’”).
It can be inferred from the circumstances that Respondent registered the disputed domain name in order to prevent Complainant from using its EPRINT and E-PRINT marks 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 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 domain name <eprint.biz> be transferred from Respondent to Complainant and subsequent challenges under the STOP Policy against this domain name shall not be permitted.
Judge Harold Kalina (Ret.)
Dated: February 5, 2002
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