FIA Card Services, National Association v. portfoliobrains.com
Claim Number: FA0708001071810
Complainant is FIA Card Services, National Association (“Complainant”), represented by Randel
S. Springer, of Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice, PLLC,
One West Fourth Street, Winston-Salem, NC 27101. Respondent is portfoliobrains.com (“Respondent”),
REGISTRAR AND DISPUTED DOMAIN NAME
The domain name at issue is <privacyassit.com>, registered with Nameking.com, Inc.
The undersigned certifies that he or she has acted independently and impartially and to the best of his or her knowledge has no known conflict in serving as Panelist in this proceeding.
James A. Crary as Panelist.
Complainant submitted a Complaint to the National Arbitration Forum electronically on August 28, 2007; the National Arbitration Forum received a hard copy of the Complaint on August 30, 2007.
On August 29, 2007, Nameking.com, Inc. confirmed by e-mail to the National Arbitration Forum that the <privacyassit.com> domain name is registered with Nameking.com, Inc. and that Respondent is the current registrant of the name. Nameking.com, Inc. has verified that Respondent is bound by the Nameking.com, 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 September 6, 2007, a Notification of Complaint and Commencement of Administrative Proceeding (the "Commencement Notification"), setting a deadline of September 26, 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 email@example.com by e-mail.
Having received no response from Respondent, the National Arbitration Forum transmitted to the parties a Notification of Respondent Default.
On October 3, 2007, pursuant to Complainant's request to have the dispute decided by a single-member Panel, the National Arbitration Forum appointed James A. Crary 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 <privacyassit.com> domain name is confusingly similar to Complainant’s PRIVACY ASSIST mark.
2. Respondent does not have any rights or legitimate interests in the <privacyassit.com> domain name.
3. Respondent registered and used the <privacyassit.com> domain name in bad faith.
B. Respondent failed to submit a Response in this proceeding.
Complainant, FIA Card Services, National Association, is a financial and credit monitoring services company. In connection with the provision of these services, Complainant has registered the PRIVACY ASSIST mark (Reg. No. 2,882,197 issued September 7, 2004) with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”).
Respondent registered the <privacyassit.com> domain name on October 5, 2006. The disputed domain name resolves to a website featuring advertisements of Complainant’s competitors, as well as links to third-party websites, some of which offer services that directly compete with Complainant’s business.
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 asserts rights in the PRIVACY ASSIST mark through registration of the mark with the USPTO. The Panel finds that Complainant’s timely registration of the PRIVACY ASSIST mark with the USPTO sufficiently establishes rights in the mark pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(a)(i). See Innomed Techs., Inc. v. DRP Servs., FA 221171 (Nat. Arb. Forum Feb. 18, 2004) (“Registration of the NASAL-AIRE mark with the USPTO establishes Complainant's rights in the mark.”); see also ESPN, Inc. v. MySportCenter.com, FA 95326 (Nat. Arb. Forum Sept. 5, 2000) (concluding that the complainant demonstrated its rights in the SPORTSCENTER mark through its valid trademark registrations with the USPTO and similar offices around the world).
Respondent’s <privacyassit.com> domain name almost contains Complainant’s PRIVACY ASSIST mark in its entirety, the only difference being the elimination of the letter “s” and the space between the two words of the mark. Additionally, Respondent’s disputed domain name contains the generic top-level domain (“gTLD”) “.com.” The Panel finds that the elimination of a single letter of a protected mark as well as the space found between the words of Complainant’s protected mark, combined with the addition of a gTLD fails to sufficiently distinguish the domain name from the mark pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(a)(i). See 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); see also Bond & Co. Jewelers, Inc. v. Tex. Int’l Prop. Assocs., FA 937650 (Nat. Arb. Forum Apr. 30, 2007) (finding that the elimination of spaces between terms and the addition of a gTLD do not establish distinctiveness from the complainant’s mark under Policy ¶ 4(a)(i); see also Reuters Ltd. v. Global Net 2000, Inc., D2000-0441 (WIPO July 13, 2000) (finding that a domain name which differs by only one letter from a trademark has a greater tendency to be confusingly similar to the trademark where the trademark is highly distinctive).
The Panel finds that Policy ¶ 4(a)(i) has been satisfied.
In instances where Complainant has made a prima facie case in support of its
allegations, the burden shifts to Respondent to set forth concrete evidence
indicating that it has rights or legitimate interests in accordance with Policy
¶ 4(a)(ii). See
SEMCO Prods., LLC v. dmg world media (
Respondent’s <privacyassit.com> domain name resolves to a website featuring advertisements for Complainant’s competitors, as well as links to third-party commercial websites, some of which offer directly competing services. As a result, the Panel finds that Respondent’s use is neither a bona fide offering of goods or services pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(c)(i) nor a legitimate noncommercial or fair use pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(c)(iii). See Expedia, Inc. v. Compaid, FA 520654 (Nat. Arb. Forum Aug. 30, 2005) (finding that the respondent’s use of the <expediate.com> domain name to redirect Internet users to a website featuring links to travel services that competed with the complainant was not a bona fide offering of goods or services pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(c)(i) or a legitimate noncommercial or fair use pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(c)(iii)); see also Bank of Am. Corp. v. Out Island Props., Inc., FA 154531 (Nat. Arb. Forum June 3, 2003) (holding that the respondent’s use of infringing domain names to direct Internet traffic to a search engine website that hosted pop-up advertisements was evidence that it lacked rights or legitimate interests in the domain names).
Complainant asseverates that Respondent is not, nor has never been, commonly known by the disputed domain name or the PRIVACY ASSIST mark. A perlustration of Respondent’s WHOIS registration information unveils the registrant of the <privacyassit.com> domain name to be “Portfolio Brains.” In recognition of the aforementioned facts as well the fact that Respondent has failed to proffer countervailing evidence that would lead the Panel to a contrary conclusion, the Panel finds that Respondent is not commonly known by the disputed domain name pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(c)(ii). See Instron Corp. v. Kaner, FA 768859 (Nat. Arb. Forum Sept. 21, 2006) (finding that the respondent is not commonly known by the <shoredurometer.com> or <shoredurometers.com> domain names where the WHOIS information indicates the registrant of the domain names as “Andrew Kaner c/o Electromatic a/k/a Electromatic Equip’t,” and no other evidence suggests that the respondent is commonly known by the domain names); see also Reese v. Morgan, FA 917029 (Nat. Arb. Forum Apr. 5, 2007) (concluding that the respondent was not commonly known by the <lilpunk.com> domain name as there was no evidence in the record showing that the respondent was commonly known by that domain name, including the WHOIS information as well as the complainant’s assertion that it did not authorize or license the respondent’s use of its mark in a domain name).
The Panel finds that Policy ¶ 4(a)(ii) has been satisfied.
various third party websites, some of which offer services in direct competition with those offered by Complainant. The Panel therefore finds that Respondent’s use amounts to a disruption of Complainant’s business, which evinces registration and use in bad faith pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(b)(iii). See Persohn v. Lim, FA 874447 (Nat. Arb. Forum Feb. 19, 2007) (finding bad faith registration and use pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(b)(iii) where a respondent used the disputed domain name to operate a commercial search engine with links to the complainant’s competitors); see also Tesco Pers. Fin. Ltd. v. Domain Mgmt. Services, FA 877982 (Nat. Arb. Forum Feb. 13, 2007) (concluding that the use of a confusingly similar domain name to attract Internet users to a website containing commercial links to the websites of the complainant’s competitors represented bad faith registration and use under Policy ¶ 4(b)(iii)).
Presumably, Respondent enjoys financial remuneration from the use of advertising on the website associated with the <privacyassit.com> domain name. Accordingly, the Panel finds that Respondent’s use evinces registration and use in bad faith pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(b)(iv). See AltaVista Co. v. Krotov, D2000-1091 (WIPO Oct. 25, 2000) (finding bad faith under Policy ¶ 4(b)(iv) where the respondent’s domain name resolved to a website that offered links to third-party websites that offered services similar to the complainant’s services and merely took advantage of Internet user mistakes); see also Drs. Foster & Smith, Inc. v. Lalli, FA 95284 (Nat. Arb. Forum Aug. 21, 2000) (finding bad faith where the respondent directed Internet users seeking the complainant’s site to its own website for commercial gain).
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 relief shall be GRANTED.
Accordingly, it is Ordered that the <privacyassit.com> domain name be TRANSFERRED from Respondent to Complainant.
James A. Crary, Panelist
Dated: October 15, 2007
Click Here to return to the main Domain Decisions Page.
Click Here to return to our Home Page
National Arbitration Forum