Microsoft Corporation v. Videosdemsn.com
Claim Number: FA0709001075557
Complainant is Microsoft Corporation (“Complainant”), represented by Molly
Buck Richard, of Richard Law Group, Inc.,
REGISTRAR AND DISPUTED DOMAIN NAME
The domain name at issue is <videosdemsn.com>, registered with Intercosmos Media Group, Inc. d/b/a Directnic.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.
Honorable Karl V. Fink (Ret.), as Panelist.
Complainant submitted a Complaint to the National Arbitration Forum electronically on September 10, 2007; the National Arbitration Forum received a hard copy of the Complaint on September 11, 2007.
On September 11, 2007, Intercosmos Media Group, Inc. d/b/a Directnic.com confirmed by e-mail to the National Arbitration Forum that the <videosdemsn.com> domain name is registered with Intercosmos Media Group, Inc. d/b/a Directnic.com and that Respondent is the current registrant of the name. Intercosmos Media Group, Inc. d/b/a Directnic.com has verified that Respondent is bound by the Intercosmos Media Group, Inc. d/b/a Directnic.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 September 12, 2007, a Notification of Complaint and Commencement of Administrative Proceeding (the "Commencement Notification"), setting a deadline of October 2, 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 firstname.lastname@example.org by e-mail.
Having received no response from Respondent, the National Arbitration Forum transmitted to the parties a Notification of Respondent Default.
On October 10, 2007, pursuant to Complainant's request to have the dispute decided by a single-member Panel, the National Arbitration Forum appointed Honorable Karl V. Fink (Ret.) 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 <videosdemsn.com> domain name is confusingly similar to Complainant’s MSN mark.
2. Respondent does not have any rights or legitimate interests in the <videosdemsn.com> domain name.
3. Respondent registered and used the <videosdemsn.com> domain name in bad faith.
B. Respondent failed to submit a Response in this proceeding.
Complainant, Microsoft Corporation, manufactures markets and sells computer software, products and related services. Since 1995, Complainant has operated Internet services under the Microsoft Network, MSN mark and offers consumers its related services through the <msn.com> domain name. Complainant has continuously used the MSN mark since then and currently holds registrations of the mark in numerous jurisdictions worldwide, including with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) (Reg. No. 2,418,517 issued January 9, 2001) and in the European Community (Reg. No. 1,488,857 issued March 27, 2001).
Respondent’s <videosdemsn.com> domain name was registered on March 15, 2004 and currently redirects Internet users to a Spanish adult-oriented website that resolves from the <greenshines.com> domain name. Respondent’s WHOIS information indicates the administrator to be “Videosdemns.com.”
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 has sufficiently established rights in the MSN mark under Policy ¶ 4(a)(i) through registration with the USPTO. 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 Janus Int’l Holding Co. v. Rademacher, D2002-0201 (WIPO Mar. 5, 2002) ("Panel decisions have held that registration of a mark is prima facie evidence of validity, which creates a rebuttable presumption that the mark is inherently distinctive.")
Respondent’s <videosdemsn.com> domain name contains Complainant’s MSN mark in its entirety and adds the generic and descriptive term “videos” and the Spanish term “de,” which translates to “from” in English. Thus the disputed domain name translated reads “Videos from MSN.” Lastly, the disputed domain name includes the generic top level domain (“gTLD”) “.com.” It is well established that the inclusion of a gTLD and generic terms that correspond with the services offered under a complainant’s mark do not negate a finding of confusing similarity. Therefore, pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(a)(i), the Panel finds that Respondent’s <videosdemsn.com> domain name is confusingly similar to Complainant’s MSN mark. 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 Space Imaging LLC v. Brownell, AF-0298 (eResolution Sept. 22, 2000) (finding confusing similarity where the respondent’s domain name combines the complainant’s mark with a generic term that has an obvious relationship to the complainant’s business).
The Panel concludes that Complainant has satisfied Policy ¶ 4(a)(i).
Under Policy ¶ 4(a)(ii), Complaint must first establish a prima facie case that Respondent has no rights or 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 as such the burden is 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 filed a response to the Complaint. Consequently, the Panel presumes that Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the <videosdemsn.com> domain name, but will still consider all the available evidence in consideration of the factors listed under 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 Am. Express Co. v. Fang Suhendro, FA 129120 (Nat. Arb. Forum Dec. 30, 2002) (“[B]ased on Respondent's failure to respond, it is presumed that Respondent lacks all rights and legitimate interests in the disputed domain name.”).
Respondent’s disputed domain name contains the MSN mark in its entirety. Even though Respondent’s WHOIS information indicates the administrator to be identified by exactly the same name as the disputed domain name, absent any evidence to the contrary, the Panel finds that Respondent is not commonly known by the disputed domain name pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(c)(ii). See Gestmusic Endemol, S.A. v. operaciontriunfo.us, FA 214337 (Nat. Arb. Forum Jan. 14, 2004) (“Though Respondent’s WHOIS information lists Respondent’s name as ‘o. operaciontriunfo.us’ and organization as ‘operaciontriunfo.us,’ there is no evidence before the Panel that Respondent was actually commonly known by the [<operaciontriunfo.us>] domain name.”); see also Yahoo! Inc. v. Dough, FA 245971 (Nat. Arb. Forum May 5, 2004) (finding that although “the WHOIS information for the <yasexhoo.com> domain name states that the registrant is YASEXHOO . . . this alone is insufficient to show that Respondent is commonly known by the domain name.”).
Respondent’s <videosdemsn.com> domain name redirects Internet users to an adult-oriented website. The Panel finds that this is 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 Target Brands, Inc. v. Bealo Group S.A., FA 128684 (Nat. Arb. Forum Dec. 17, 2002) (finding that use of the <targetstore.net> domain name to redirect Internet users to an adult-oriented website did not equate to a bona fide offering of goods or services under Policy ¶ 4(c)(i), or a legitimate noncommercial or fair use of a domain name under Policy ¶ 4(c)(iii)); see also Vivendi Universal Games v. Chang, FA 206328 (Nat. Arb. Forum Dec. 17, 2003) (finding that the respondent did not use a domain name in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services nor a legitimate noncommercial or fair use because the respondent used the domain name to divert Internet users seeking the complainant's goods or services to adult-oriented material and links).
The Panel concludes that Complainant has satisfied Policy ¶ 4(a)(ii).
Absent any evidence to the contrary, the Panel finds that Respondent’s diversion of Internet users to an adult-oriented website establishes the presumption that Respondent registered and is using the <videosdemsn.com> domain name in bad faith pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(a)(iii). See Ty, Inc. v. O.Z. Names, D2000-0370 (WIPO June 27, 2000) (finding that absent contrary evidence, linking the domain names in question to graphic, adult-oriented websites is evidence of bad faith); see also Six Continents Hotels, Inc. v. Nowak, D2003-0022 (WIPO Mar. 4, 2003) (“[W]hatever the motivation of Respondent, the diversion of the domain name to a pornographic site is itself certainly consistent with the finding that the Domain Name was registered and is being used in bad faith.”); see also Microsoft Corp. v. Horner, D2002-0029 (WIPO Feb. 27, 2002) (holding that the respondent’s use of the complainant’s mark to post pornographic photographs and to publicize hyperlinks to additional pornographic websites evidenced bad faith use and registration of the domain name).
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 <videosdemsn.com> domain name be TRANSFERRED from Respondent to Complainant.
Honorable Karl V. Fink (Ret.), Panelist
Dated: October 23, 2007
Click Here to return to the main Domain Decisions Page.
Click Here to return to our Home Page
National Arbitration Forum