Liberty Mutual Insurance Company v.
Claim Number: FA0710001088008
Complainant is Liberty Mutual Insurance Company (“Complainant”), represented by Christopher
Sloan, of Liberty Mutual Insurance Company,
REGISTRAR AND DISPUTED DOMAIN NAME
The domain name at issue is <libertymutualloans.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.
Tyrus R. Atkinson, Jr., as Panelist.
Complainant submitted a Complaint to the National Arbitration Forum electronically on October 2, 2007; the National Arbitration Forum received a hard copy of the Complaint on October 5, 2007.
On October 3, 2007, Godaddy.com, Inc. confirmed by e-mail to the National Arbitration Forum that the <libertymutualloans.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 10, 2007, a Notification of Complaint and Commencement of Administrative Proceeding (the "Commencement Notification"), setting a deadline of October 30, 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 November 2, 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 <libertymutualloans.com> domain name is confusingly similar to Complainant’s LIBERTY MUTUAL mark.
2. Respondent does not have any rights or legitimate interests in the <libertymutualloans.com> domain name.
3. Respondent registered and used the <libertymutualloans.com> domain name in bad faith.
B. Respondent failed to submit a Response in this proceeding.
Complainant, Liberty Mutual Insurance Company, is an
insurance company which offers coverage in the property and casualty field,
with over 900 offices worldwide.
Complainant currently ranks 95 among the Fortune 100 list of largest
Respondent registered the <libertymutualloans.com> domain name on May 10, 2007. Until recently the <libertymutualloans.com> domain name posted a parked “under construction” website. Currently, Respondent’s disputed domain name resolves to a website that displays the Complainant’s mark and similar logo, and purports to offer services in direct competition with 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.
Complainant hold a trademark registration for the LIBERTY MUTUAL trademark with the USPTO. The Panel finds that this registration establishes Complainant’s rights pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(a)(i). 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 <libertymutualloans.com> domain name is confusingly similar to Complainant’s LIBERTY MUTUAL trademark as it includes the entire mark along with the generic term “loans.” The addition of this word does not negate the confusion over the connection of the disputed domain name with Complainant’s business under Policy ¶ 4(a)(i). See 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); see also Brown & Bigelow, Inc. v. Rodela, FA 96466 (Nat. Arb. Forum Mar. 5, 2001) (finding that the <hoylecasino.net> domain name is confusingly similar to the complainant’s HOYLE mark, and that the addition of “casino,” a generic word describing the type of business in which the complainant is engaged, does not take the disputed domain name out of the realm of confusing similarity).
Respondent’s <libertymutualloans.com> domain name also adds the generic top-level domain (“gTLD”) “.com.” The addition of a gTLD is not relevant in a Policy ¶ 4(a)(i) analysis. The Panel thus finds that the <libertymutualloans.com> domain name is confusingly similar to Complainant’s mark under Policy ¶ 4(a)(i). 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 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 Panel finds that Complainant satisfied Policy ¶ 4(a)(i).
Complainant asserts that Respondent lacks rights and legitimate interests in the <libertymutualloans.com> domain name. Complainant has the burden of proof for this allegation pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(a)(ii). Once Complainant has shown a prima facie case, the burden of proof shifts to Respondent. The Panel finds Complainant has met its burden. 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 respond to the Complaint allows the Panel to assume Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. See 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.”); see also Do the Hustle, LLC v. Tropic Web, D2000-0624 (WIPO Aug. 21, 2000) (“Failure of a respondent to come forward to [contest complainant’s allegations] is tantamount to admitting the truth of complainant’s assertions in this regard.”). Nonetheless, the Panel will examine the record to determine legitimate rights or interests under Policy ¶ 4(a)(ii).
Respondent’s WHOIS information does not suggest that Respondent is commonly known by the <libertymutualloans.com> domain name. Complainant has asserted that Respondent is not licensed or authorized to use the LIBERTY MUTUAL trademark for any purpose. Therefore, the Panel finds that Respondent is not commonly known by the disputed domain name under Policy ¶ 4(a)(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 Ian Schrager Hotels, L.L.C. v. Taylor, FA 173369 (Nat. Arb. Forum Sept. 25, 2003) (finding that without demonstrable evidence to support the assertion that a respondent is commonly known by a domain name, the assertion must be rejected).
Respondent’s disputed domain name resolves to a website that displays Complainant’s mark and similar logo as well as services in competition with Complaintant. The Panel presumes that Respondent is capitalizing on the goodwill of Complainant’s mark to conduct business. The Panel finds this is not a bona fide offering of goods or services under Policy ¶ 4(c)(i) or a legitimate non-commercial or fair use under Policy ¶ 4(c)(iii). See Bank of Am. Corp. v. Nw. Free Cmty. Access, FA 180704 (Nat. Arb. Forum Sept. 30, 2003) (“Respondent's demonstrated intent to divert Internet users seeking Complainant's website to a website of Respondent and for Respondent's benefit is not a bona fide offering of goods or services under Policy ¶ 4(c)(i) and it is not a legitimate noncommercial or fair use under Policy ¶ 4(c)(iii).”); see also MSNBC Cable, LLC v. Tysys.com, D2000-1204 (WIPO Dec. 8, 2000) (finding no rights or legitimate interests in the famous MSNBC mark where the respondent attempted to profit using the complainant’s mark by redirecting Internet traffic to its own website).
The Panel finds that Complainant satisfied Policy ¶ 4(a)(ii).
Respondent’s <libertymutualloans.com> domain name resolved to a commercial website that Complainant’s customers are likely to mistake as connected to Complainant’s business. In fact, Complainant has received calls from customers confused about the connection to the website. Respondent’s disputed domain name may offer legitimate loans to customers, however the Panel finds that the use of the LIBERTY MUTUAL trademark and similar logo is a showing of bad faith pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(b)(iv). See World Wrestling Fed’n Entm’t, Inc. v. Ringside Collectibles, D2000-1306 (WIPO Jan. 24, 2001) (concluding that the respondent registered and used the <wwfauction.com> domain name in bad faith because the name resolved to a commercial website that the complainant’s customers were likely to confuse with the source of the complainant’s products, especially because of the respondent’s prominent use of the complainant’s logo on the site); also see Computerized Sec. Sys., Inc. v. Hu, FA 157321 (Nat. Arb. Forum June 23, 2003) (finding that the respondent’s use of the <saflock.com> domain name to offer goods competing with the complainant’s illustrates the respondent’s bad faith registration and use of the domain name, evidence of bad faith registration and use pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(b)(iv)).
Respondent’s <libertymutualloans.com> domain
name redirects users to competing
businesses. The Panel finds Respondent’s disputed domain name is a competing
website with Complainant. See
The Panel finds that Complainant 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 <libertymutualloans.com> domain name be TRANSFERRED from Respondent to Complainant.
Tyrus R. Atkinson, Jr., Panelist
Dated: November 16, 2007
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