Mattel, Inc. v. RaveClub Berlin
Claim Number: FA0203000106115
Complainant is Mattel, Inc., El Segundo, CA (“Complainant”) represented by William Dunnegan, of Perkins & Dunnegan. Respondent is RaveClub Berlin, Cherry Hill, NJ (“Respondent”).
REGISTRAR AND DISPUTED DOMAIN NAME
The domain name at issue is <whatherface.com>, registered with Computer Services Langenbach d/b/a Joker.com.
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.
James A. Carmody, Esq., as Panelist.
Complainant submitted a Complaint to the National Arbitration Forum (the “Forum”) electronically on March 27, 2002; the Forum received a hard copy of the Complaint on April 1, 2002.
On March 28, 2002, Computer Services Langenbach d/b/a Joker.com confirmed by e-mail to the Forum that the domain name <whatherface.com> is registered with Computer Services Langenbach d/b/a Joker.com and that Respondent is the current registrant of the name. Computer Services Langenbach d/b/a Joker.com has verified that Respondent is bound by the Computer Services Langenbach d/b/a Joker.com 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 April 1, 2002, a Notification of Complaint and Commencement of Administrative Proceeding (the “Commencement Notification”), setting a deadline of April 22, 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 May 1, 2002, pursuant to Complainant’s request to have the dispute decided by a single-member Panel, the Forum appointed James A. Carmody, Esq., 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 the Respondent to the Complainant.
The < whatherface.com> domain name is confusingly similar to Complainant's WHAT’S HER FACE mark.
Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name.
Respondent registered and used the disputed domain name in bad faith.
No Response was received.
Complainant has used the WHAT’S HER FACE mark in commerce since August of 2000. Complainant registered the mark on the Principal Register of the United States Patent and Trademark Office on March 7, 2002.
Respondent registered the disputed domain name on October 21, 2001. Respondent is using the disputed domain name as a portal to divert Internet users to <amatuervideos.nl>. This website contains pornographic content. Respondent is a notorious cybersquatter also known as John Zuccarini, and therefore has registered numerous domain names that infringe on the trademarks of others.
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 the 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 the Respondent is identical or confusingly similar 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 and is being used in bad faith.
Identical and/or Confusingly Similar
Complainant has established that it has rights in its WHAT’S HER FACE mark through registration and continuous use. Furthermore, Respondent’s <whatherface.com> is confusingly similar to Complainant’s mark because it incorporates the entirety of Complainant’s mark and merely omits the apostrophe and the “s” from “what’s.” The omission of single letter and an apostrophe is not enough to create a distinct mark capable of overcoming a claim of confusing similarity. See Universal City Studios, Inc. v. HarperStephens, D2000-0716 (WIPO Sept. 5, 2000) (finding that deleting the letter “s” from the Complainant’s UNIVERSAL STUDIOS STORE mark did not change the overall impression of the mark and thus made the disputed domain name confusingly similar to it); see also Chi-Chi’s Inc. v. Rest. Commentary, D2000-0321 (WIPO June 29, 2000) (finding the domain name <chichis.com> to be identical to Complainant’s CHI-CHI’S mark, despite the omission of the apostrophe and hyphen from the mark).
Furthermore, Respondent’s domain name is confusingly similar because the omission of spaces between the words “WHAT’S HER FACE” in Complainant’s mark does not create a distinct mark. Internet domain names require that spaces between words be omitted, therefore, the omission of spaces between words is irrelevant when determining whether or not the domain name is confusingly similar or identical. See Surface Protection Indus., Inc. v. The Webposters, D2000-1613 (WIPO Feb. 5, 2001) (finding the domain name <mannbrothers.com> confusingly similar to Complainant’s MANN BROTHERS mark “so as to likely confuse Internet users who may believe they are doing business with Complainant or with an entity whose services are endorsed by, sponsored by, or affiliated with Complainant”)
The Panel finds that Policy ¶ 4(a)(i) has been satisfied.
Rights or Legitimate Interests
Respondent has failed to come forward with a Response and therefore it is presumed 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’s domain name is confusingly similar to Complainant’s mark and therefore Respondent is attempting to attract Complainant’s customers to Respondent’s website for Respondent’s commercial gain. This type of use is not considered to be a bona fide offering of goods or services pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(c)(i). See 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). Furthermore, Respondent’s website features pornographic material, and therefore will tarnish Complainant’s goodwill if Internet users believe there is an affiliation between Respondent and Complainant. See MatchNet plc v. MAC Trading, D2000-0205 (WIPO May 11, 2000) (finding that it is not a bona fide offering of goods or services to use a domain name for commercial gain by attracting Internet users to third party sites offering sexually explicit and pornographic material, where such use is calculated to mislead consumers and tarnish the Complainant’s mark).
Respondent is not commonly known as WHAT’S HER FACE or <whatherface.com>. Respondent is commonly known as John Zuccarini or one of his numerous aliases including RaveClub Berlin. Therefore Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(c)(ii). See 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); see also 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).
Respondent’s domain name is a likely misspelling of Complainant’s mark. The registration and use of a misspelled mark is not considered to be a legitimate noncommercial or fair use of a domain name and therefore does not create legitimate rights or interests pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(c)(iii). See Encyclopaedia Brittanica, Inc. v. Zuccarini, D2000-0330 (WIPO June 7, 2000) (finding that fair use does not apply where the domain names are misspellings of Complainant's mark).
The Panel finds that Policy ¶ 4(a)(ii) has been satisfied.
Registration and Use in Bad Faith
Respondent registered a confusingly similar domain name in order to display pornographic material. The use of a confusingly similar domain name for an adult content website is evidence of bad faith. See MatchNet plc. v. MAC Trading, D2000-0205 (WIPO May 11, 2000) (finding that the association of a confusingly similar domain name with a pornographic website can constitute bad faith).
Respondent is engaging in typosquatting. This practice of “typosquatting” has been recognized as a bad faith use of a domain name under the Policy. See e.g. Hewlett-Packard Co. v. Zuccarini, FA 94454 (Nat. Arb. Forum May 30, 2000) (awarding <hewlitpackard.com> a misspelling of HEWLETT-PACKARD to Complainant); see also Bama Rags, Inc. v. Zuccarini, FA 94380 (Nat. Arb. Forum May 8, 2000) (awarding <davemathewsband.com> and <davemattewsband.com>, common misspellings of DAVE MATTHEWS BAND to Complainant); see also
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 <whatherface.com> be transferred from Respondent to Complainant.
James A. Carmody, Esq., Panelist
Dated: May 8, 2002
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