American International Group, Inc. v. AIG
Claim Number: FA0708001060803
Complainant is American International Group, Inc. (“Complainant”), represented by Claudia W. Stangle, Two Prudential
Plaza, Suite 4900, Chicago, IL 60601.
Respondent is AIG (“Respondent”), Baarerstrasse, Zug, Schweiz 6300
REGISTRAR AND DISPUTED DOMAIN NAME
The domain name at issue is <aigprivatequity.com>, registered with Tucows 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 submitted a Complaint to the National Arbitration Forum electronically on August 10, 2007; the National Arbitration Forum received a hard copy of the Complaint on August 13, 2007.
On August 13, 2007, Tucows Inc. confirmed by e-mail to the National Arbitration Forum that the <aigprivatequity.com> domain name is registered with Tucows Inc. and that Respondent is the current registrant of the name. Tucows Inc. has verified that Respondent is bound by the Tucows 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 August 15, 2007, a Notification of Complaint and Commencement of Administrative Proceeding (the "Commencement Notification"), setting a deadline of September 4, 2007 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 firstname.lastname@example.org by e-mail.
Having received no response from Respondent, the National Arbitration Forum transmitted to the parties a Notification of Respondent Default.
On September 12, 2007, pursuant to Complainant's request to have the dispute decided by a single-member Panel, the National Arbitration Forum appointed the Honorable Charles K. McCotter, Jr. (Ret.) as Panelist.
Having reviewed the communications records, the Administrative Panel (the "Panel") finds that the National Arbitration 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 National Arbitration 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 assertions:
1. Respondent’s <aigprivatequity.com> domain name is confusingly similar to Complainant’s AIG mark.
2. Respondent does not have any rights or legitimate interests in the <aigprivatequity.com> domain name.
3. Respondent registered and used the <aigprivatequity.com> domain name in bad faith.
B. Respondent failed to submit a Response in this proceeding.
Complainant has continuously used the AIG trademark worldwide in connection with various financial and insurance services. Complainant owns registrations of the AIG mark in numerous jurisdictions worldwide including with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”)(Reg. No. 1,273,845 issued April 10, 1984).
Respondent registered the <aigprivatequity.com> domain name on April 25, 2007 and it is being used as part of a fraudulent scheme soliciting funds from Complainant’s consumers through use of the e-mail address <email@example.com>. Upon the reception of a cease and desist letter copied to Respondent’s registrar Tucows Inc., the website resolving from the disputed domain name has been disabled. Despite this, Respondent continues to solicit funds and private information from Complainant’s customers under the guise of the e-mail address <firstname.lastname@example.org>, which is connected to the <aigprivatequity.com> domain name.
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 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. The Panel is entitled to accept all reasonable allegations and inferences set forth in the Complaint as true unless the evidence is clearly contradictory. See Vertical Solutions Mgmt., Inc. v. webnet-marketing, inc., FA 95095 (Nat. Arb. Forum July 31, 2000) (holding that the respondent’s failure to respond allows all reasonable inferences of fact in the allegations of the complaint to be deemed true); see also 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.”).
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 has sufficiently established its rights in the
AIG mark through registration with the USPTO.
Respondent’s <aigprivatequity.com> domain name contains the Complainant’s mark in its entirety and includes the words “private” and “equity” and the generic top level domain (“gTLD”) “.com.” The inclusion of generic descriptive terms that describe the service provided under a given mark are disregarded in a confusing similarity analysis. Moreover, a gTLD is not considered when a Panel conducts such an analysis. Consequently, the Panel finds that Respondent’s <aigprivatequity.com> domain name is confusingly similar to Complainant’s AIG mark. See Space Imaging LLC v. Brownell, AF-0298 (eResolution Sept. 22, 2000) (finding confusing similarity where the respondent’s domain name combines the complainant’s mark with a generic term that has an obvious relationship to the complainant’s business); see also Rollerblade, Inc. v. McCrady, D2000-0429 (WIPO June 25, 2000) (finding that the top level of the domain name such as “.net” or “.com” does not affect the domain name for the purpose of determining whether it is identical or confusingly similar).
The Panel concludes that Complainant has satisfied Policy ¶ 4(a)(i).
Under Policy ¶ 4(a)(ii), Complainant must initially make out
a prima facie case that Respondent
has no rights or legitimate interests in the domain name at issue. See
VeriSign Inc. Vene Sign,
Respondent has failed to submit a response to the Complaint. The Panel thus presumes that Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the <aigprivatequity.com> domain name, but will still consider all available evidence with respect to the factors listed in Policy ¶ 4(c) before making this determination. See G.D. Searle v. Martin Mktg., FA 118277 (Nat. Arb. Forum Oct. 1, 2002) (“Respondent’s failure to respond means that Respondent has not presented any circumstances that would promote its rights or legitimate interests in the subject domain name under Policy ¶ 4(a)(ii).”); see also Bank of Am. Corp. v. McCall, FA 135012 (Nat. Arb. Forum Dec. 31, 2002) (“Respondent's failure to respond not only results in its failure to meet its burden, but also will be viewed as evidence itself that Respondent lacks rights and legitimate interests in the disputed domain name.”).
Nowhere in Respondent’s WHOIS information besides the registrant’s name being listed as AIG does it indicate that Respondent is or ever has been commonly known by the <aigprivatequity.com> domain name. There is also no other information in the record that indicates such evidence exists. Further, Respondent has not sought, nor has Complainant granted, a license or permission to use Complainant’s mark in any way. Therefore, the Panel finds that Respondent is not commonly known by the disputed domain name pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(c)(ii). See Gallup, Inc. v. Amish Country Store, FA 96209 (Nat. Arb. Forum Jan. 23, 2001) (finding that the respondent does not have rights in a domain name when the respondent is not known by the mark); see also Compagnie de Saint Gobain v. Com-Union Corp., D2000-0020 (WIPO Mar. 14, 2000) (finding no rights or legitimate interest where the respondent was not commonly known by the mark and never applied for a license or permission from the complainant to use the trademarked name).
Respondent has been using the <email@example.com> e-mail address, which operates in connection with the <aigprivatequity.com> domain name, to send e-mails containing the AIG mark and solicit private financial information from Complainant’s customers in an attempt to defraud them. The Panel presumes that Respondent is engaging in a phishing attempt. The Panel finds that this is evidence that Respondent is not using the disputed domain name in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(c)(i) or in a noncommercial or fair way pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(c)(iii). See HOPE worldwide, Ltd. v. Jin, FA 320379 (Nat. Arb. Forum Nov. 11, 2004) (defining “phishing” as fooling “Internet users into sharing personal financial data so that identities can be stolen, fraudulent bills are run up, and spam e-mail is sent”); see also Juno Online Servs., Inc. v. Nelson, FA 241972 (Nat. Arb. Forum Mar. 29, 2004) (finding that using a domain name in a fraudulent scheme to deceive Internet users into providing their credit card and personal information is not a bona fide offering of goods or services nor a legitimate noncommercial or fair use).
The Panel concludes that Complainant has satisfied Policy ¶ 4(a)(ii).
Respondent’s <aigprivatequity.com> domain name is being used as part of a fraudulent phishing scheme to solicit funds and private financial information from Complainant’s customers through the use of the e-mail address <firstname.lastname@example.org>. The Panel finds that this is conclusive evidence of Respondent’s bad faith use and registration pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(c)(iii). See Juno Online Servs., Inc. v. Nelson, FA 241972 (Nat. Arb. Forum Mar. 29, 2004) (“The domain name <billing-juno.com> was registered and used in bad faith by using the name for fraudulent purposes.”); see also HOPE worldwide, Ltd. v. Jin, FA 320379 (Nat. Arb. Forum Nov. 11, 2004) (finding that the respondent registered and used the domain name in bad faith because it redirected Internet users to a website that imitated the complainant’s website and was used to fraudulently acquire personal information from the complainant’s potential associates).
The Panel concludes that Complainant has satisfied Policy ¶ 4(a)(iii).
Having established all three elements required under the ICANN Policy, the Panel concludes that relief shall be GRANTED.
Accordingly, it is Ordered that the <aigprivatequity.com> domain name be TRANSFERRED from Respondent to Complainant.
The Honorable Charles K. McCotter, Jr. (Ret.), Panelist
Dated: September 21, 2007
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