Wynn Resorts Holdings, LLC v. Dave Walton
Claim Number: FA0709001072983
Complainant is Wynn Resorts Holdings, LLC (“Complainant”), represented by Ronald
D. Green, of Greenberg Traurig, LLP,
REGISTRAR AND DISPUTED DOMAIN NAME
The domain name at issue is <wynnsucks.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.
John J. Upchurch as Panelist.
Complainant submitted a Complaint to the National Arbitration Forum electronically on August 31, 2007; the National Arbitration Forum received a hard copy of the Complaint on September 4, 2007.
On September 2, 2007, Godaddy.com, Inc. confirmed by e-mail to the National Arbitration Forum that the <wynnsucks.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 John J. Upchurch 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 <wynnsucks.com> domain name is identical/confusingly similar to Complainant’s WYNN mark.
2. Respondent does not have any rights or legitimate interests in the <wynnsucks.com> domain name.
3. Respondent registered and used the <wynnsucks.com> domain name in bad faith.
B. Respondent failed to submit a Response in this proceeding.
Complainant, Wynn Resorts Holdings, LLC, has continuously
used the WYNN mark in connection with casino, resort hotel, restaurant and
convention facility services since June 2003.
Complainant operates properties around the
Respondent’s <wynnsucks.com> domain name was registered on the same day as the opening of the Wynn Las Vegas resort hotel casino, April 28, 2005. It currently resolves to a parked web page provided by the registrar, Godaddy.com, Inc. The disputed domain name provides pay-per-click links to competitors of 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.
Pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(a)(i), Complainant may establish rights in a mark through registered marks, or common-law marks so long as the use of the mark is continuous and ongoing, and secondary meaning has been established. See McCarthy on Trademarks and Unfair Competition, § 25:74.2 (4th ed. 2002) (The ICANN dispute resolution policy is “broad in scope” in that “the reference to a trademark or service mark ‘in which the complainant has rights’ means that ownership of a registered mark is not required–unregistered or common law trademark or service mark rights will suffice” to support a domain name complaint under the Policy); see also Tuxedos By Rose v. Nunez, FA 95248 (Nat. Arb. Forum Aug. 17, 2000) (finding common law rights in a mark where its use was continuous and ongoing, and secondary meaning was established).
Complainant has been continuously using the WYNN mark in connection with casino, resort hotel, restaurant and convention facility services since June 2003. It operates properties around the world under the WYNN mark. Moreover, the Complainant holds registrations of the mark with the USPTO. The Panel finds that since the use of the WYNN mark has been continuous and ongoing, and secondary meaning has been established, Complainant holds rights in the WYNN mark pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(a)(i). See Bibbero Sys., Inc. v. Tseu & Assoc., FA 94416 (Nat. Arb. Forum May 9, 2000) (finding, while the complainant had registered the BIBBERO SYSTEMS, INC. mark, it also had common law rights in the BIBBERO mark because it had developed brand name recognition with the word “bibbero”); see also Keppel TatLee Bank v. Taylor, D2001-0168 (WIPO Mar. 28, 2001) (“[O]n account of long and substantial use of [KEPPEL BANK] in connection with its banking business, it has acquired rights under the common law.”).
Respondent’s <wynnsucks.com> domain name includes the generic top level (“gTLD”) “.com” and the term “sucks.” The inclusion of a gTLD is irrelevant for a Policy ¶ 4(a)(i) analysis. 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). The Panel recognizes that the inclusion of the term “sucks” does not automatically lead to a finding of confusing similarity. Complainant operates the following domain name in connection with its business and properties: <wynnlasvegas.com>, <wynnmacau.com>, <wynnresourts.com>. In consideration thereof, and absent any response from Respondent, the Panel finds the inclusion of “sucks” does not negate a finding of confusing similarity. Consequently, the Panel finds that Respondent’s <wynnsucks.com> domain name is confusingly similar to Complainant’s WYNN mark pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(a)(ii). See ADT Servs. AG v. ADT Sucks.com, D2001-0213 (WIPO Apr. 23, 2001) (exploring the difference of opinion among panels on "sucks" domain name disputes and concluding that use of the "sucks" suffix does not defeat the complainant's confusing similarity argument); see also Cabela’s Inc. v. Cupcake Patrol, FA 95080 (Nat. Arb. Forum Aug. 29, 2000) (finding that the complainant, owner of the Federally registered trademark ‘Cabela’s,’ and user of the domain name <cabelas.com> was entitled to relief under UDRP against the respondent for the bad faith registration and use of the domain name <cabelassucks.com> because “by using Complainant’s marks in its domain names, Respondent makes it likely that Internet users entering ‘Cabela’s’ into a search engine will find [<cabelassucks.com>] in addition to Complainant’s site <cabelas.com>.”).
The Panel concludes that Complainant has satisfied Policy ¶ 4(a)(i).
Under Policy ¶ 4(a)(ii), Complainant must first establish a prima facie case that Respondent does not have any rights and legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. See TotalFinaElf E&P USA, Inc. v. Farnes, FA 117028 (Nat. Arb. Forum Sept. 16, 2002) (“In order to bring a claim under the Policy, Complainant must first establish a prima facie case. Complainant’s [initial burden] is to provide proof of valid, subsisting rights in a mark that is similar or identical to the domain name in question.”). The Panel finds that Complainant has established a prima facie case and that the burden is effectively shifted to Respondent to prove that it does have rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. See G.D. Searle v. Martin Mktg., FA 118277 (Nat. Arb. Forum Oct. 1, 2002) (“Because Complainant’s Submission constitutes a prima facie case under the Policy, the burden effectively shifts to Respondent); see also 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”).
Respondent has not submitted a response to the Complaint. Therefore, the Panel presumes that Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the <wynnsucks.com> domain name but will still consider all the available evidence in the record under consideration of the factors contained in Policy ¶ 4(c). 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 Charles Jourdan Holding AG v. AAIM, D2000-0403 (WIPO June 27, 2000) (finding it appropriate for the panel to draw adverse inferences from the respondent’s failure to reply to the complaint).
Nowhere in Respondent’s WHOIS information or anywhere else in the record does it affirmatively indicate that Respondent is or ever has been commonly known by the disputed domain name. Moreover, Respondent has not sought nor received permission from Complainant to use the WYNN mark. As such, the Panel finds that Respondent is not commonly known by the <wynnsucks.com> domain name pursuant to 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 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’s <wynnsucks.com> domain name contains Complainant’s mark in its entirety and resolves to website featuring pay-per-click links to competitors of Complainant. These links presumably financially benefit Respondent. The Panel finds that this does not constitute a bona fide offering of goods or service pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(c)(i) or a legitimate noncommercial or fair use pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(c)(iii). See eBay Inc. v. Hong, D2000-1633 (WIPO Jan. 18, 2001) (stating that the respondent’s use of the complainant’s entire mark in domain names makes it difficult to infer a legitimate use); see also 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 Black & Decker Corp. v. Clinical Evaluations, FA 112629 (Nat. Arb. Forum June 24, 2002) (holding that the respondent’s use of the disputed domain name to redirect Internet users to commercial websites, unrelated to the complainant and presumably with the purpose of earning a commission or pay-per-click referral fee did not evidence rights or legitimate interests in the domain name).
The Panel concludes that Complainant has satisfied Policy ¶ 4(a)(ii).
Respondent’s <wynnsucks.com> domain name is confusingly similar to Complainant’s mark and resolves to a website featuring links to competitors of Complaintant. The Panel finds this to establish that Respondent registered and is using the disputed domain name in bad faith 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 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)).
Moreover, the Panel presumes that Respondent is financially
benefiting from such competing use through the use of click through fees. As such, the Panel finds bad faith pursuant
to Policy ¶ 4(b)(iv).
The Panel finds that the factors listed under Policy ¶ 4(b) are not the exclusive examples of evidence of bad faith registration and use. See Cellular One Group v. Brien, D2000-0028 (WIPO Mar. 10, 2000) (finding that the criteria specified in 4(b) of the Policy is not an exhaustive list of bad faith evidence); see also CBS Broad., Inc. v. LA-Twilight-Zone, D2000-0397 (WIPO June 19, 2000) (“[T]he Policy expressly recognizes that other circumstances can be evidence that a domain name was registered and is being used in bad faith.”).
The disputed domain
name contains the word “sucks.” In
consideration that Respondent is presumably benefiting from the website that
resolves from the disputed domain name, the inclusion of the word “sucks”
itself is found by the Panel to be further evidence of bad faith pursuant to
Policy ¶ 4(a)(iii). See Caixa
d’Estalvis y Pensions de
Lastly, Respondent registered the <wynnsucks.com> domain name the same day the Complainant
opened the Wynn Las Vegas resort hotel casino in
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 <wynnsucks.com> domain name be TRANSFERRED from Respondent to Complainant.
John J. Upchurch, Panelist
Dated: November 2, 2007
National Arbitration Forum
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