Amcore Financial, Inc. v. Neovert c/o Neovert Co.
Claim Number: FA0709001081260
Complainant is Amcore Financial, Inc. (“Complainant”), represented by Evan
Brown, 222 North LaSalle Street, Ste. 300, Chicago, IL 60601. Respondent is Neovert c/o Neovert Co. (“Respondent”),
REGISTRAR AND DISPUTED DOMAIN NAME
The domain name at issue is <amcoreonline.com>, registered with Enom, 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 September 21, 2007; the National Arbitration Forum received a hard copy of the Complaint on September 24, 2007.
On September 24, 2007, Enom, Inc. confirmed by e-mail to the National Arbitration Forum that the <amcoreonline.com> 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 October 1, 2007, a Notification of Complaint and Commencement of Administrative Proceeding (the "Commencement Notification"), setting a deadline of October 22, 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 26, 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 <amcoreonline.com> domain name is confusingly similar to Complainant’s AMCORE mark.
2. Respondent does not have any rights or legitimate interests in the <amcoreonline.com> domain name.
3. Respondent registered and used the <amcoreonline.com> domain name in bad faith.
B. Respondent failed to submit a Response in this proceeding.
Complainant, Amcore Financial, Inc., has provided banking and financial consulting services under the AMCORE mark since 1985. In connection with the provision of these services, Complainant holds a trademark registration with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) for the AMCORE mark (Reg. No. 1,407,054 issued August 26, 1986).
Respondent registered the <amcoreonline.com> domain name on January 2, 2004. Respondent’s disputed domain name resolves to a website that features links to Complainant’s competitors.
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 Complainant’s federal registration with the USPTO sufficiently establishes Complainant’s rights in the AMCORE mark pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(a)(i). See Vivendi Universal Games v. XBNetVentures Inc., FA 198803 (Nat. Arb. Forum Nov. 11, 2003) (“Complainant's federal trademark registrations establish Complainant's rights in the BLIZZARD mark.”); see also 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.”).
The Panel finds that Respondent’s <amcoreonline.com> domain name is confusingly similar to Complainant’s AMCORE mark under Policy ¶ 4(a)(i), as the disputed domain name contains the mark in its entirety, and adds the term “online” and the generic top-level domain “.com.” Such additions do not distinguish the disputed domain name from Complainant’s registered mark under the Policy. See Broadcom Corp. v. Domain Depot, FA 96854 (Nat. Arb. Forum Apr. 23, 2001) (finding the <broadcomonline.com> domain name is confusingly similar to the complainant’s BROADCOM mark); see also Gardline Surveys Ltd. v. Domain Fin. Ltd., FA 153545 (Nat. Arb. Forum May 27, 2003) (“The addition of a top-level domain is irrelevant when establishing whether or not a mark is identical or confusingly similar, because top-level domains are a required element of every domain name.”).
The Panel finds that Policy ¶ 4(a)(i) has been satisfied.
Complainant alleges that Respondent lacks rights and legitimate interests in the <amcoreonline.com> domain name. Under Policy ¶ 4(a)(ii), Complainant has the initial burden of proving this allegation, and then the burden shifts to Respondent once Complainant has made a prima facie case. The Panel finds that, in the present case, Complainant made a prima facie showing under the Policy. 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”); 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 has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. See Talk City, Inc. v. Robertson, D2000-0009 (WIPO Feb. 29, 2000) (“[Rule 14(b)] expressly provide[s] that the Panel ‘shall draw such inferences’ from the Respondent’s failure to comply with the rules ‘as it considers appropriate.”); 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.”). However, the Panel will examine the record to determine if Respondent has rights or legitimate interests under Policy ¶ 4(c).
Complainant asserts that Respondent is not authorized to use Complainant’s AMCORE mark and that Respondent is not associated with Complainant in any way. Furthermore, Respondent’s WHOIS information does not suggest that Respondent is commonly known by the <amcoreonline.com> domain name. The Panel thus finds that Respondent is not commonly known by the disputed domain name 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).
Respondent is using the disputed domain name to redirect Internet users to a website that features links to Complainant’s competitors. Respondent’s use of a domain name that is confusingly similar to Complainant’s AMCORE mark to redirect Internet users interested in Complainant’s services to a website that offers services in competition with Complainant is not a use in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(c)(i), or a legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the domain name pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(c)(iii). See Coryn Group, Inc. v. Media Insight, FA 198959 (Nat. Arb. Forum Dec. 5, 2003) (finding that the respondent was not using the domain names for a bona fide offering of goods or services nor a legitimate noncommercial or fair use because the respondent used the names to divert Internet users to a website that offered services that competed with those offered by the complainant under its marks); see also Glaxo Group Ltd. v. WWW Zban, FA 203164 (Nat. Arb. Forum Dec. 1, 2003) (finding that the respondent was not using the domain name within the parameters of Policy ¶ 4(c)(i) or (iii) because the respondent used the domain name to take advantage of the complainant's mark by diverting Internet users to a competing commercial site).
The Panel finds that Policy ¶ 4(a)(ii) has been satisfied.
Complainant alleged that Respondent acted in bad faith in registering and using a domain name that is confusingly similar to Complainant’s protected mark. Respondent is using the <amcoreonline.com> domain name to redirect Internet users to Respondent’s website that features links to competing services. The Panel finds that such use constitutes disruption and is evidence of bad faith registration and use under Policy ¶ 4(b)(iii). See S. Exposure v. S. Exposure, Inc., FA 94864 (Nat. Arb. Forum July 18, 2000) (finding the respondent acted in bad faith by attracting Internet users to a website that competes with the complainant’s business); see also Puckett v. Miller, D2000-0297 (WIPO June 12, 2000) (finding that the respondent diverted business from the complainant to a competitor’s website in violation of Policy ¶ 4(b)(iii)).
Based on the uncontested evidence presented by Complainant, the Panel infers that Respondent receives click-through fees for diverting Internet users to a website offering links to competing services. Respondent’s domain name incorporating Complainant’s mark may create confusion as to Complainant’s affiliation with, or sponsorship of, the disputed domain name and resulting website. Thus, Respondent’s use of the <amcoreonline.com> domain name amounts to bad faith registration and use pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(b)(iv). See Kmart v. Khan, FA 127708 (Nat. Arb. Forum Nov. 22, 2002) (finding that if the respondent profits from its diversionary use of the complainant’s mark when the domain name resolves to commercial websites and the respondent fails to contest the complaint, it may be concluded that the respondent is using the domain name in bad faith pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(b)(iv)); 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 <amcoreonline.com> domain name be TRANSFERRED from Respondent to Complainant.
Tyrus R. Atkinson, Jr., Panelist
Dated: November 9, 2007
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