Xerox Federal Credit Union v. Anthony Peppler d/b/a RealTimeInternet.com, Inc.
Claim Number: FA0202000104583
Complainant is Xerox Federal Credit Union, El Segundo, CA (“Complainant”). Respondent is Anthony Peppler d/b/a RealTimeInternet.com, Inc., Fort Wayne, Indiana (“Respondent”).
REGISTRAR AND DISPUTED DOMAIN NAME
The domain name at issue is <xfcu.com>, registered with eNom, Inc.
The undersigned certifies that she has acted independently and impartially and that to the best of her knowledge she has no known conflict in serving as Panelist in this proceeding. Hon. Carolyn Marks Johnson sits as Panelist.
Complainant submitted a Complaint to the National Arbitration Forum (the “Forum”) electronically on February 11, 2002; the Forum received a hard copy of the Complaint on February 14, 2002.
On February 11, 2002, eNom, Inc. confirmed by e-mail to the Forum that the domain name <xfcu.com> is registered with eNom, Inc. and that Respondent is the current registrant of the name. eNom, Inc. has verified that Respondent is bound by the eNom, Inc. 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 February 15, 2002, a Notification of Complaint and Commencement of Administrative Proceeding (the “Commencement Notification”), setting a deadline of March 7, 2002 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 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 March 13, 2002, pursuant to Complainant’s request to have the dispute decided by a single-member Panel, the Forum appointed Hon. Carolyn Marks Johnson 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 name be transferred from Respondent to Complainant.
A. Complainant makes the following allegations:
The <xfcu.com> domain name is identical to Complainant's XFCU mark. Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. Respondent registered and used the disputed domain name in bad faith.
B. Respondent did not file a Response in this proceeding.
Complainant has used the XFCU mark since 1985 on its marketing materials, member statements, website and all other member communications. Complainant has used <xfcu.org> as the website for its credit union members sine 1997.
Complainant notes that it used to own <xfcu.com> but accidentally failed to renew the domain name, resulting in Respondent's purchase of the disputed domain the very day Complainant's registration expired. Respondent has diverted the domain name to <infostart.com> and when Internet users attempt to close out of the window various other advertisements pop-up causing much dismay to credit union customers who accidentally go to <xfcu.com> instead of <xfcu.org>.
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 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 Respondent is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which Complainant has rights; and
(2) 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.
Complainant established in this proceeding that it has common law rights in the XFCU trademark in issue through continued use since 1985. See MatchNet PLC. V. MAC Trading, D2000-0205 (WIPO May 11, 2000) (citing British Broadcasting Corp. v. Renteria, D2000-0050 (WIPO Mar. 23, 2000)) (noting that the UDRP “does not distinguish between registered and unregistered trademarks and service marks in the context of abusive registration of domain names” and applying the UDRP to “unregistered trademarks and service marks”).
The <xfcu.com> domain name is identical to Complainant's XFCU mark, because it incorporates the entirety of Complainant's mark and merely adds the generic top-level domain name ".com". It has been established that the addition of a generic top-level domain name is irrelevant when considering whether a domain name is identical or confusingly similar. See Pomellato S.p.A v. Tonetti, D2000-0493 (WIPO July 7, 2000) (finding <pomellato.com> identical to Complainant’s mark because the generic top-level domain (gTLD) “.com” after the name POMELLATO is not relevant).
The Panel finds that Policy ¶ 4(a)(i) has been satisfied.
Respondent did not file a Response and in such circumstances the Panel is permitted to presume 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”).
Respondent is using a domain name identical to Complainant's mark in order to divert Complainant's customers to Respondent's website. This activity is not a bona fide offering of goods and services pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(c)(i). 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 Big Dog Holdings, Inc. v. Day, FA 93554 (Nat. Arb. Forum Mar. 9, 2000) (finding no legitimate use when Respondent was diverting consumers to its own website by using Complainant’s trademarks).
There is no evidence on the record, and Respondent has not come forward to establish any evidence, to show that Respondent is commonly known by the <xfcu.com> domain name 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).
It can be inferred based on the fact that Respondent diverts Complainant's customers to a website with "pop-up" advertisements that 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.
The <xfcu.com> domain name is identical to Complainant's mark and the Internet user will likely believe that there is an affiliation between Respondent and Complainant. Since <xfcu.com> is identical to an established mark, the mere registration of <xfcu.com> by Respondent 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 Respondent could make any active use of the disputed domain names without creating a false impression of association with the Complainant”).
Respondent's use of Complainant's mark is a misappropriation of Complainant's goodwill. This also constitutes bad faith. See National Rifle Ass'n. v. fredg.com, FA 95837 (Nat. Arb. Forum Nov. 30, 2000) (finding bad faith where Respondent registered the domain names <friendsofnra.com>, <friendsofnra.net>, and <friendsofnra.org> with the intention of using the domain names in connection with individual NRA fundraising, but without permission from Complainant to use the registered marks); see also Reuters Ltd. v. Global Net 2000, Inc., D2000-0441 (WIPO July 13, 2000) (finding bad faith where the Respondent attracted users to a website sponsored by the Respondent and created confusion with Complainant’s mark as to the source, sponsorship, or affiliation of that website.
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 <xfcu.com> be transferred from Respondent to Complainant.
Hon. Carolyn Marks Johnson, Panelist
Dated: March 25, 2002.
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