Nokia Corporation v. Nikolay Zhoukov
Claim Number: FA0708001072908
Complainant is Nokia Corporation (“Complainant”), represented by Robert
S. Weisbein, of Darby & Darby P.C.,
REGISTRAR AND DISPUTED DOMAIN NAME
The domain name at issue is <vertu-shop.com>, registered with GoDaddy.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.
Tyrus R. Atkinson, Jr., as Panelist.
Complainant submitted a Complaint to the National Arbitration Forum electronically on August 30, 2007; the National Arbitration Forum received a hard copy of the Complaint on September 4, 2007.
On August 31, 2007, GoDaddy.com, Inc. confirmed by e-mail to the National Arbitration Forum that the <vertu-shop.com> domain name is registered with GoDaddy.com, Inc. and that Respondent is the current registrant of the name. GoDaddy.com, Inc. has verified that Respondent is bound by the GoDaddy.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 7, 2007, a Notification of Complaint and Commencement of Administrative Proceeding (the "Commencement Notification"), setting a deadline of September 27, 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 4, 2007, pursuant to Complainant's request to have the dispute decided by a single-member Panel, the National Arbitration Forum appointed Tyrus R. Atkinson, Jr., 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 <vertu-shop.com> domain name is confusingly similar to Complainant’s VERTU mark.
2. Respondent does not have any rights or legitimate interests in the <vertu-shop.com> domain name.
3. Respondent registered and used the <vertu-shop.com> domain name in bad faith.
B. Respondent failed to submit a Response in this proceeding.
Complainant, Nokia Corporation, based in
Respondent registered the <vertu-shop.com> domain name on May 31, 2006. Respondent’s disputed domain name resolves to a website that appears to promote Complainant’s Vertu phones, even using excerpts from Complainant’s informational materials about the phones. However, the website also features third-party links to mobile phone companies in direct competition with Complainant.
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.
The Panel finds that, through its registration of the VERTU mark with the USPTO, Complainant has sufficiently established its 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 Men’s Wearhouse, Inc. v. Wick, FA 117861 (Nat. Arb. Forum Sept. 16, 2002) (“Under U.S. trademark law, registered marks hold a presumption that they are inherently distinctive [or] have acquired secondary meaning.”).
Complainant first alleges that Respondent’s <vertu-shop.com> domain name is
confusingly similar to Complainant’s VERTU mark. The disputed domain name uses the mark in its
entirety and simply adds a hyphen and the generic term “shop” onto the
mark. Under the UDRP, these alterations
to Complainant’s VERTU mark do not sufficiently distinguish the disputed domain
name from the mark. Moreover, the
addition of the generic top-level domain “.com” to the disputed domain name is
of no consequence, as a top-level domain is required of all domain names. Thus, the Panel agrees with Complainant and
finds that the <vertu-shop.com> domain
name is confusingly similar to Complainant’s VERTU mark pursuant to Policy ¶
4(a)(i). See Health Devices Corp. v.
The Panel thus finds that Policy ¶ 4(a)(i) has been satisfied.
Complainant next alleges that Respondent lacks rights and legitimate interests in the <vertu-shop.com> domain name. Under Policy ¶ 4(a)(ii), Complainant has the initial burden of making a prima facie case to prove this allegation, and then the burden shifts to Respondent to refute the allegation. In the instant case, the Panel finds that Complainant has established a prima facie case under the Policy. See Do The Hustle, LLC v. Tropic Web, D2000-0624 (WIPO Aug. 21, 2000) (holding that once the complainant asserts that the respondent has no rights or legitimate interests with respect to the domain, the burden shifts to the respondent to provide “concrete evidence that it has rights to or legitimate interests in the domain name at issue”); see also Clerical Med. Inv. Group Ltd. v. Clericalmedical.com, D2000-1228 (WIPO Nov. 28, 2000) (finding that, under certain circumstances, the mere assertion by the complainant that the respondent has no right or legitimate interest is sufficient to shift the burden of proof to the respondent to demonstrate that such a right or legitimate interest does exist).
Respondent’s failure to answer the Complaint allows the Panel to presume that Respondent lacks rights and legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. See Wild West Domains, Inc. v. Jung, D2004-0243 (WIPO May 18, 2004) (“It can be inferred that by defaulting Respondent showed nothing else but an absolute lack of interest in the Domain Name . . . . It is incumbent on Respondent to contribute to the fact-finding and if contrary to that, it rather incurs in default, there is nothing that the Panel could do to discuss in its benefit.”); see also Broadcom Corp. v. Ibecom PLC, FA 361190 (Nat. Arb. Forum Dec. 22, 2004) (“Respondent’s failure to respond to the Complaint functions as an implicit admission that [Respondent] lacks rights and legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. It also allows the Panel to accept all reasonable allegations set forth…as true.”). However, to determine whether Respondent has rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name under Policy ¶ 4(c), the Panel will now examine all evidence in the record.
Respondent’s <vertu-shop.com> domain name resolves to a website that promotes Complainant’s product, without permission, and displays links to third-party mobile phone websites in direct competition with Complainant. The Panel presumes that Respondent accrues click-through revenue from these links. This constitutes neither a bona fide offering of goods or services under Policy ¶ 4(c)(i) nor a legitimate noncommercial or fair use under Policy ¶ 4(c)(iii), and indicates a lack of rights and legitimate interests in the <vertu-shop.com> domain name. See WeddingChannel.com Inc. v. Vasiliev, FA 156716 (Nat. Arb. Forum June 12, 2003) (finding that the respondent’s use of the disputed domain name to redirect Internet users to websites unrelated to the complainant’s mark, websites where the respondent presumably receives a referral fee for each misdirected Internet user, was not a bona fide offering of goods or services as contemplated by the Policy); see also State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co. v. LaFaive, FA 95407 (Nat. Arb. Forum Sept. 27, 2000) (“The unauthorized providing of information and services under a mark owned by a third party cannot be said to be the bona fide offering of goods or services.”).
The record does not reflect any evidence suggesting that Respondent is commonly known by the <vertu-shop.com> domain name, including Respondent’s WHOIS information, which indicates that Respondent is “Nikolay Zhoukov.” Moreover, Complainant has not authorized or licensed Respondent to use its VERTU mark for any purpose. Therefore, the Panel finds that Respondent also lacks rights and legitimate interests under Policy ¶ 4(c)(ii). See Tercent Inc. v. Lee Yi, FA 139720 (Nat. Arb. Forum Feb. 10, 2003) (stating “nothing in Respondent’s WHOIS information implies that Respondent is ‘commonly known by’ the disputed domain name” as one factor in determining that Policy ¶ 4(c)(ii) does not apply); see also Charles Jourdan Holding AG v. AAIM, D2000-0403 (WIPO June 27, 2000) (finding no rights or legitimate interests where (1) the respondent is not a licensee of the complainant; (2) the complainant’s prior rights in the domain name precede the respondent’s registration; (3) the respondent is not commonly known by the domain name in question).
The Panel thus finds that Policy ¶ 4(a)(ii) has been satisfied.
Finally, Complainant alleges that Respondent registered and is using the <vertu-shop.com> domain name in bad faith pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(a)(iii). As mentioned previously, the Panel presumes that Respondent accrues click-through fees from the competing links displayed on the website that resolves from the disputed domain name. Respondent is thus benefiting commercially from the likelihood that Internet users, presumably seeking Complainant’s business, will be confused as to the source of the disputed domain name and Complainant’s affiliation with it. The Panel finds that this is evidence of Respondent’s bad faith registration and use under Policy ¶ 4(b)(iv). See Amazon.com, Inc. v. Shafir, FA 196119 (Nat. Arb. Forum Nov. 10, 2003) (“As Respondent is using the domain name at issue in direct competition with Complainant, and giving the impression of being affiliated with or sponsored by Complainant, this circumstance qualifies as bad faith registration and use of the domain name pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(b)(iv).”); see also Perot Sys. Corp. v. Perot.net, FA 95312 (Nat. Arb. Forum Aug. 29, 2000) (finding bad faith where the domain name in question is obviously connected with the complainant’s well-known marks, thus creating a likelihood of confusion strictly for commercial gain).
Furthermore, Respondent is using the <vertu-shop.com> domain name, which is confusingly similar to Complainant’s VERTU mark, to display links to third-party mobile phone providers in direct competition with Complainant. The Panel finds that such use constitutes a disruption of Complainant’s business and also qualifies as bad faith registration and use pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(b)(iii). See Disney Enters., Inc. v. Noel, FA 198805 (Nat. Arb. Forum Nov. 11, 2003) (“Respondent registered a domain name confusingly similar to Complainant's mark to divert Internet users to a competitor's website. It is a reasonable inference that Respondent's purpose of registration and use was to either disrupt or create confusion for Complainant's business in bad faith pursuant to Policy ¶¶ 4(b)(iii) [and] (iv).”); see also EBAY, Inc. v. MEOdesigns, D2000-1368 (WIPO Dec. 15, 2000) (finding that the respondent registered and used the domain name <eebay.com> in bad faith where the respondent has used the domain name to promote competing auction sites).
The Panel thus 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 <vertu-shop.com> domain name be TRANSFERRED from Respondent to Complainant.
Tyrus R. Atkinson, Jr., Panelist
Dated: October 16, 2007
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