Moldflow Corporation v. Robert Swanland
Claim Number: FA0112000103054
The Complainant is Moldflow Corporation, Wayland, MA (“Complainant”) represented by Beth M. Kotran, of Goodwin Procter LLP. The Respondent is Robert Swanland, Riverside, CA (“Respondent”).
The domain name at issue is <plasticszone.biz>, registered with VeriSign, 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.
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 18, 2001.
On December 20, 2001, a Notification of Complaint and Commencement of Administrative Proceeding (the “Commencement Notification”), setting a deadline of January 9, 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 PLASTICSZONE trademark.
Respondent does not have rights or legitimate interests in the <plasticszone.biz> domain name.
Respondent registered <plasticszone.biz> in bad faith.
Respondent failed to submit a Response in this proceeding.
Complainant is the leading provider of software products and services for optimizing the design, analysis and manufacture of injection molded plastic products. Complainant is headquartered in Massachusetts and has offices and research centers throughout the United States, Europe, Australia, and the Asia Pacific region.
Complainant registered the PLASTICSZONE trademark (Reg. No. 2,497,789) on the Principal Register of the United States Patent and Trademark Office on October 16, 2001.
Complainant has established substantial goodwill in its mark by its use of the mark in commerce as well as its presence on the Internet. To better serve its customers Complainant registered <plasticszone.com>, a website designed to provide comprehensive information to the injection molding industry, promote Complainant’s products and services, and allow customers to access expert consulting services and analyze plastic part design using Complainant’s software.
Respondent had full knowledge of Complainant and its PLASTICSZONE trademark because Respondent has registered similar domain names, including <plasticzone.com>, <plasticszone.info>, and <plasticzone.info> in the past. Complainant’s attorney first informed Respondent of Complainant’s PLASTICSZONE trademark on July 27, 2000 when Complainant became aware of Respondent’s <plasticzone.com> domain name. Respondent did not answer the letter, but Respondent informed Complainant by phone that it had plans to use the site for design and engineering consultation in the plastic industry despite the fact that the site had been “under construction” for the last year. Respondent then attempted to sell the <plasticzone.com> website to Complainant for an amount in the “hundreds of thousands.”
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 PLASTICSZONE mark through its use of the mark in relation to its business of selling products and services related to the plastic industry as well as its registration of the mark in the USPTO. The <plasticszone.biz> domain is identical to Complainant’s PLASTICSZONE registered trademark.
The Panel finds that STOP ¶ 4(a)(i) has been satisfied
The Panel is allowed to determine Respondent does not have rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name because Respondent has failed to provide 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).
Respondent failed to furnish any information that would indicate it has a service or trade mark in the PLASTICSZONE name or the identical domain name. Therefore, Respondent is presumed not to have any rights or legitimate interests pursuant to the STOP ¶ 4(c)(i) with respect to the disputed domain name.
Due to the fame and substantial goodwill built up in Complainant’s mark, it can be inferred that Respondent registered an identical domain to capitalize on Complainant’s goodwill by diverting Complainant’s customers to Respondent’s website for commercial gain. This behavior is not considered a bona fide offering of goods pursuant to STOP ¶ 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 Complainant’s HOUSEHOLD BANK mark, with hopes of attracting Complainant’s customers and thus finding no rights or legitimate interests).
There is no evidence, and Respondent has not furnished any evidence, that it is commonly known by the PLASTICSZONE mark or the identical domain name. As a result, Respondent is presumed not to have any rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name pursuant to STOP ¶ 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). Because Complainant’s PLASTICSZONE name is well known on the Internet and elsewhere, it can be presumed that Respondent is not commonly known by such a famous mark. See Victoria’s Secret et al v. Asdak, FA 96542 (Nat. Arb. Forum Feb. 28, 2001) (finding sufficient proof that Respondent was not commonly known by a domain name confusingly similar to Complainant’s VICTORIA’S SECRET mark because of Complainant’s well-established use of the mark).
The Panel finds that STOP ¶ 4(a)(ii) has been satisfied.
It may be inferred from Respondent’s history of attempting to sell domain names that incorporate Complainant’s marks for excessive profit, that it registered this domain with the intention of profiting from the sale of such a commercially valuable domain name. This activity suggests Respondent’s bad faith pursuant to STOP ¶ 4(b)(i). See Xerox Corp. v. Imaging Solution, D2001-0313 (WIPO Apr. 25, 2001) (finding that the Respondent registered the domain name in the hope and expectation of being able to sell it to the Complainant for a sum of money in excess of its out-of-pocket expenses and/or in the hope of forcing the establishment of a business arrangement beneficial to the Respondent).
Additionally, Respondent has demonstrated bad faith by registering a domain name that, if used, 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”); 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’”).
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 <plasticszone.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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