national arbitration forum




Sears Brands, LLC v. Yin Sung

Claim Number: FA0708001072910



Complainant is Sears Brands, LLC (“Complainant”), represented by Paul D. McGrady, of Greenberg Traurig, LLP, 77 West Wacker Drive, Suite 2500, Chicago, IL 60601.  Respondent is Yin Sung (“Respondent”), Bucheon Si Sosa-gu, Bucheon Si Sosa-gu, Gyeonggi-do 422074 KR.



The domain name at issue is <>, registered with Enom, 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.


Judge Ralph Yachnin 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 August 31, 2007.


On September 4, 2007, Enom, Inc. confirmed by e-mail to the National Arbitration Forum that the <> domain name 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 September 5, 2007, a Notification of Complaint and Commencement of Administrative Proceeding (the "Commencement Notification"), setting a deadline of September 25, 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 by e-mail.


Having received no response from Respondent, the National Arbitration Forum transmitted to the parties a Notification of Respondent Default.


On October 1, 2007 pursuant to Complainant's request to have the dispute decided by a single-member Panel, the National Arbitration Forum appointed Judge Ralph Yachnin 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 <> domain name is confusingly similar to Complainant’s SEARS mark.


2.      Respondent does not have any rights or legitimate interests in the <> domain name.


3.      Respondent registered and used the <> domain name in bad faith.


B.  Respondent failed to submit a Response in this proceeding.



Complainant, Sears Brands, LLC, and its affiliate Sears, Roebuck and Co., are wholly owned subsidiaries of Sears Holding Corp.  Complainant and its affiliates operate a leading retailing business through more than 2,400 stores, the online website located at the <> domain name, and its specialty catalogs.  In 2004, Complainant generated $36.1 billion in revenues through sales of its home merchandise, apparel and automotive products and services.  Complainant owns several trademark registrations with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) including the SEARS mark (Reg. No. 2,985,558 issued August 16, 2005).


Respondent registered the <> domain name on November 20, 2006.  Respondent’s disputed domain name resolves to a website containing links to various commercial websites including links for “Kitchen Remodeling,” “Bathroom Vanity,” “Patio Furniture,” and “Bedroom Furniture.” 



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.


Identical and/or Confusingly Similar


Complainant claims rights in the SEARS mark through registration with the USPTO.  The Panel finds that Complainant has established rights in the SEARS mark pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(a)(i).  See Metro. Life Ins. Co. v. Bin g Glu, FA 874496 (Nat Arb. Forum Feb. 13, 2007) (finding rights in the METLIFE mark as a result of its registration with the United States federal trademark authority); see also Auto. Racing Prods., Inc. v. Linecom, FA 836787 (Nat. Arb. Forum Dec. 21, 2006) (finding that the Complainant’s federal trademark registration establishes rights under Policy ¶ 4(a)(i)).


Complainant contends that the <> domain name is confusingly similar to Complainant’s SEARS mark.  Respondent’s disputed domain name contains Complainant’s mark in its entirety and adds the term “book” along with the generic top-level domain (“gTLD”) “.com.”  The Panel finds that neither the addition of a generic term nor the addition of a gTLD is sufficient to distinguish a domain name from a well-known mark for purposes of Policy ¶ 4(a)(i).  See Pfizer, Inc. v. Suger, D2002-0187 (WIPO Apr. 24, 2002) (finding that because the subject domain name incorporates the VIAGRA mark in its entirety, and deviates only by the addition of the word “bomb,” the domain name is rendered confusingly similar to the complainant’s mark); see also Body Shop Int’l PLC v. CPIC NET, D2000-1214 (WIPO Nov. 26, 2000) (finding that the domain name <> is confusingly similar to the complainant’s THE BODY SHOP trademark); 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 finds that Policy ¶ 4(a)(i) has been satisfied.


Rights or Legitimate Interests


Complainant contends that Respondent lacks all rights or legitimate interests in the <> domain name.  In instances where Complainant has made a prima facie case under Policy ¶ 4(a)(ii), the burden shifts to Respondent to set forth concrete evidence that it does possess rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name.  See Do The Hustle, LLC v. Tropic Web, D2000-0624 (WIPO Aug. 21, 2000) (holding that, where the complainant has asserted that the respondent has no rights or legitimate interests with respect to the domain name, it is incumbent on the respondent to come forward with concrete evidence rebutting this assertion because this information is “uniquely within the knowledge and control of the respondent”).


Complainant contends that Respondent is using its disputed domain name to resolve to a website that features links to various competing and non-competing commercial websites from which Respondent presumably receives referral fees.  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 ¶ (c)(iii).  See Computer Doctor Franchise Sys., Inc. v. Computer Doctor, FA 95396 (Nat. Arb. Forum Sept. 8, 2000) (finding that the respondent’s website, which is blank but for links to other websites, is not a legitimate use of the domain names); see also TM Acquisition Corp. v. Sign Guards, FA 132439 (Nat. Arb. Forum Dec. 31, 2002) (finding that the respondent’s diversionary use of the complainant’s marks to send Internet users to a website which displayed a series of links, some of which linked to the complainant’s competitors, was not a bona fide offering of goods or services).


Moreover, Complainant contends that Respondent is neither commonly known by the <> domain name nor authorized to register domain names featuring Complainant’s well-known SEARS mark in any way.  In the absence of evidence suggesting otherwise, the Panel finds that Respondent has not established rights or legitimate interests in accordance with Policy ¶ 4(c)(ii).  See 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); 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 finds that Policy ¶ 4(a)(ii) has been satisfied.


Registration and Use in Bad Faith


Complainant contends that Respondent is using the <> domain name to operate a website that provides Internet users with links to various competing retail product and service websites.  The Panel finds that Respondent’s use constitutes a disruption of Complainant’s business and evinces bad faith pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(b)(iii).  See Puckett, Individually v. Miller, D2000-0297 (WIPO June 12, 2000) (finding that the respondent has diverted business from the complainant to a competitor’s website in violation of Policy ¶ 4(b)(iii)); see also EBAY, Inc. v. MEOdesigns, D2000-1368 (WIPO Dec. 15, 2000) (finding that the respondent registered and used the domain name <> in bad faith where the respondent has used the domain name to promote competing auction sites).


Furthermore, Respondent’s use will likely cause confusion as to Complainant’s sponsorship of and affiliation with the resulting websites.  The Panel finds that such use of a domain name for Respondent’s own commercial gain is additional evidence of Respondent’s bad faith registration and use pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(b)(iv).  See Perot Sys. Corp. v., 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); see also Anne of Green Gable Licensing Auth., Inc. v. Internetworks, AF-0109 (eResolution June 12, 2000) (finding that the respondent violated Policy ¶ 4(b)(iv) because the respondent admittedly used the complainant’s well-known mark to attract users to the respondent's 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 relief shall be GRANTED.


Accordingly, it is Ordered that the <> domain name be TRANSFERRED from Respondent to Complainant.



Hon. Ralph Yachnin, Panelist

Justice, Supreme Court, NY (Ret)


Dated:  October 12, 2007



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