craigslist, Inc. v. Register by Proxy
Claim Number: FA0710001087532
Complainant is craigslist, Inc. (“Complainant”), represented by William
Rava, of Perkins Coie LLP,
REGISTRAR AND DISPUTED DOMAIN NAME
The domain name at issue is <craiglist.com>, registered with Godaddy.com, 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.
The Honorable Charles K. McCotter, Jr. (Ret.) as Panelist.
Complainant submitted a Complaint to the National Arbitration Forum electronically on October 1, 2007; the National Arbitration Forum received a hard copy of the Complaint on October 3, 2007.
On October 2, 2007, Godaddy.com, Inc. confirmed by e-mail to the National Arbitration Forum that the <craiglist.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 October 4, 2007, a Notification of Complaint and Commencement of Administrative Proceeding (the "Commencement Notification"), setting a deadline of October 24, 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 November 1, 2007, pursuant to Complainant's request to have the dispute decided by a single-member Panel, the National Arbitration Forum appointed the Honorable Charles K. McCotter, Jr. (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 <craiglist.com> domain name is confusingly similar to Complainant’s CRAIGSLIST mark.
2. Respondent does not have any rights or legitimate interests in the <craiglist.com> domain name.
3. Respondent registered and used the <craiglist.com> domain name in bad faith.
B. Respondent failed to submit a Response in this proceeding.
Complainant, craigslist, Inc., was founded in 1995 by San Francisco resident Craig Newmark as an e-mail list of local San Francisco events, and has since grown into one of the largest, most highly recognized and widely used Internet services in the world.
From one city in 1995, Complainant’s services are now provided
under the CRAIGSLIST mark through specialized websites for more than four
hundred and fifty cities, including cities in all fifty states of the
Respondent’s <craiglist.com> domain name was registered on March 21, 2000 and resolves to adult-oriented content.
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 is not required to own a trademark application
to establish rights in the CRAIGSLIST mark under Policy ¶ 4(a)(i). See
British Broad. Corp. v. Renteria,
The Panel finds that Complainant established common law
rights in the CRAIGSLIST mark through continuous and extensive use of the mark
since 1995. Additionally, Complainant’s
website receives millions of visitors and millions of advertisement postings
per month by Complainant’s customers. As
a result of Complainant’s continuous and extensive use of the mark,
Complainant’s CRAIGSLIST mark has acquired secondary meaning sufficient to
establish common law rights in the mark under Policy ¶ 4(a)(i). See
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); see also Marty Taylor Homes, Inc. v. JNPR
Mgmt., FA 366170 (Nat. Arb. Forum
Respondent’s <craiglist.com> domain name is confusingly similar to Complainant’s CRAIGSLIST mark. Respondent’s domain name includes the dominant portions of Complainant’s CRAIGSLIST mark and omits the letter “s” and adds the generic top-level domain “.com” to Complainant’s mark. Such alterations to Complainant’s mark are insufficient to distinguish the disputed domain name from Complainant’s mark. Thus, the Panel finds that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to Complainant’s mark pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(a)(i). See Universal City Studios, Inc. v. HarperStephens, D2000-0716 (WIPO Sept. 5, 2000) (finding that deleting the letter “s” from the complainant’s UNIVERSAL STUDIOS STORE mark did not change the overall impression of the mark and thus made the disputed domain name confusingly similar to it); see also Busy Body, Inc. v. Fitness Outlet Inc., D2000-0127 (WIPO Apr. 22, 2000) ("[T]he addition of the generic top-level domain (gTLD) name ‘.com’ is . . . without legal significance since use of a gTLD is required of domain name registrants . . . .").
The Panels concludes that Complainant has satisfied Policy ¶ 4(a)(i).
Under Policy ¶ 4(a)(ii),
Complainant must initially make out a prima
facie case that Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the
domain at issue. See VeriSign Inc. Vene Sign,
Respondent has failed to submit a response to the Complaint. The Panel thus presumes that Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the <craiglist.com> domain name, but will still consider all available evidence with respect to the factors listed in Policy ¶ 4(c) before making this determination. 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 Bank of Am. Corp. v. McCall, FA 135012 (Nat. Arb. Forum Dec. 31, 2002) (“Respondent's failure to respond not only results in its failure to meet its burden, but also will be viewed as evidence itself that Respondent lacks rights and legitimate interests in the disputed domain name.”).
Nowhere in Respondent’s WHOIS information does it indicate that Respondent is commonly known by the <craiglist.com> domain name. There is also no other information in the record to indicate that Respondent is or ever has been known by the disputed domain name. Further, Respondent has not sought, nor has Complainant granted, a license or permission to use Complainant’s mark in any way. Therefore, the Panel finds that Respondent is not commonly known by the disputed domain name pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(c)(ii). See Gallup, Inc. v. Amish Country Store, FA 96209 (Nat. Arb. Forum Jan. 23, 2001) (finding that the respondent does not have rights in a domain name when the respondent is not known by the mark); 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).
The disputed domain name resolves 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 of the disputed domain names pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(c)(iii). See Paws, Inc. v. Zuccarini, FA 125368 (Nat. Arb. Forum Nov. 15, 2002) (holding that the use of a domain name that is confusingly similar to an established mark to divert Internet users to an adult-oriented website “tarnishes Complainant’s mark and does not evidence noncommercial or fair use of the domain name by a respondent”); see also Dipaolo v. Genero, FA 203168 (Nat. Arb. Forum Dec. 6, 2003) (“Diversion to pornography is not a bona fide offering of goods or services or a legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the domain name pursuant to Policy ¶¶ 4(c)(i) and (iii).”).
The disputed domain name resolves to an adult-oriented website. Absent any evidence to the contrary, the Panel finds that this constitutes bad faith registration and use pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(a)(iii). See 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 Wells Fargo & Co. v. Party Night Inc., FA 144647 (Nat. Arb. Forum Mar. 18, 2003) (finding that the respondent’s tarnishing use of the disputed domain names to redirect Internet users to adult-oriented websites was evidence that the domain names were being used in bad faith).
The <craiglist.com> domain name is confusingly
similar to Complainant’s CRAIGSLIST mark and resolves to an adult oriented website. The Panel assumes that such a website must
generate revenue for Respondent.
Consequently, the Panel finds further evidence of Respondent’s bad faith
registration and use of the disputed domain name pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(b)(iv). See Nationall Ass’n of Stock Car Auto
Racing, Inc. v. RMG Inc – BUY or LEASE by E-MAIL, D2001-1387 (WIPO Jan. 23,
2002) (“[I]t is now well known that pornographers rely on misleading domain
names to attract users by confusion, in order to generate revenue from
click-through advertising, mouse-trapping, and other pernicious online
marketing techniques.”); see also Qwest Comm’ns
Int’l Inc. v. Ling Shun Shing, FA 187431
(Nat. Arb. Forum
The Panels 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 <craiglist.com> domain name be TRANSFERRED from Respondent to Complainant.
The Honorable Charles K. McCotter, Jr. (Ret.), Panelist
Dated: November 15, 2007
Click Here to return to the main Domain Decisions Page.
Click Here to return to our Home Page
National Arbitration Forum