Linden Research, Inc. v. Domain Drop S.A.
Claim Number: FA0710001089130
Complainant is Linden Research, Inc. (“Complainant”), represented by Tsan
Abrahamson, of Cobalt LLP, Cobalt LLP,
REGISTRAR AND DISPUTED DOMAIN NAME
The domain name at issue is <teensecondlife.com>, registered with Domaindoorman, LLC.
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 October 3, 2007; the National Arbitration Forum received a hard copy of the Complaint on October 8, 2007.
On October 5, 2007, Domaindoorman, LLC confirmed by e-mail to the National Arbitration Forum that the <teensecondlife.com> domain name is registered with Domaindoorman, LLC and that Respondent is the current registrant of the name. Domaindoorman, LLC has verified that Respondent is bound by the Domaindoorman, LLC 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 17, 2007, a Notification of Complaint and Commencement of Administrative Proceeding (the "Commencement Notification"), setting a deadline of November 6, 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 9, 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 <teensecondlife.com> domain name is confusingly similar to Complainant’s SECOND LIFE mark.
2. Respondent does not have any rights or legitimate interests in the <teensecondlife.com> domain name.
3. Respondent registered and used the <teensecondlife.com> domain name in bad faith.
B. Respondent failed to submit a Response in this proceeding.
Complainant, Linden Research, Inc., is the creator, owner, and operator of the popular online 3-D virtual world known as the Second Life world. The Second Life world launched in June 2003, and Complainant has used the mark since May 2002. The SECOND LIFE mark was registered with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) on April 13, 2004 (Reg. No. 2,832,935). In February 2005, Linden Research developed and launched the Teen Second Life version of the Second Life world using the <teen.secondlife.com> domain name.
Respondent, Domain Drop S.A., registered the <teensecondlife.com> domain name on
October 5, 2007. Respondent is using the
disputed domain name to advertise links to adult-oriented websites. Respondent has previously been ordered by UDRP
panels to transfer the domain name registrations of at least two other domain
names that were found to be infringing upon the complainants’ trademarks. See United Refining
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 registered the SECOND LIFE mark with the USPTO, thus establishing rights to the mark 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 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.”).
The Panel finds Respondent’s <teensecondlife.com> domain name confusingly similar to Complainant’s SECOND LIFE mark. The addition of the generic word “teen” does not distinguish the disputed domain name from Complainant’s mark because “teen” describes a specific product offered by Complainant. Further, the addition of the generic top-level domain (“gTLD”) “.com” does not distinguish the marks because all domain names are required to have a generic top-level domain. 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 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 finds that Policy ¶ 4(a)(i) has been satisfied.
Complainant asserts that Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the <teensecondlife.com> domain name. Complainant has the initial burden of showing that Respondent lacks rights and legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. Once Complainant makes a prima facie case supporting its assertion that Respondent does not have rights or legitimate interests, the burden shifts to Respondent to show that it does have rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. The Panel finds that Complainant has demonstrated that Respondent lacks rights and legitimate interests, and thus has made a prima facie case pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(a)(ii). See Compagnie Generale des Matieres Nucleaires v. Greenpeace Int’l, D2001-0376 (WIPO May 14, 2001) (“Proving that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Domain Name requires the Complainant to prove a negative. For the purposes of this sub paragraph, however, it is sufficient for the Complainant to show a prima facie case and the burden of proof is then shifted on to the shoulders of Respondent. In those circumstances, the common approach is for respondents to seek to bring themselves within one of the examples of paragraph 4(c) or put forward some other reason why they can fairly be said to have a relevant right or legitimate interests in respect of the domain name in question.”); see also Woolworths plc. v. Anderson, D2000-1113 (WIPO Oct. 10, 2000) (finding that, absent evidence of preparation to use the domain name for a legitimate purpose, the burden of proof lies with the respondent to demonstrate that it has rights or legitimate interests).
Based on Respondent’s failure to answer the Complaint, the Panel presumes that Respondent lacks all rights and 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 Desotec N.V. v. Jacobi Carbons AB, D2000-1398 (WIPO Dec. 21, 2000) (finding that failing to respond allows a presumption that the complainant’s allegations are true unless clearly contradicted by the evidence). Despite Respondent’s failure to answer, the Panel will examine the evidence in the record to determine if Respondent has rights or legitimate interests under Policy ¶ 4(c).
Complainant contends that Respondent has never been and is not commonly known by the <teensecondlife.com> domain name. The WHOIS information does not indicate that Respondent is or has been currently known by the disputed domain name. Therefore, the Panel concludes that Respondent is not commonly known by the disputed 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 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).
Additionally, Respondent uses the disputed domain name to advertise adult-oriented websites. This Panel finds that such use does not constitute a bona fide offering of goods and services under Policy ¶ 4(c)(i) or a legitimate noncommercial or fair use under 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 Brown & Bigelow, Inc. v. Rodela, FA 96466 (Nat. Arb. Forum Mar. 5, 2001) (finding that infringing on another's well-known mark to provide a link to an adult-oriented site is not a legitimate or fair use).
The Panel finds that Policy ¶ 4(a)(ii) has been satisfied.
Respondent’s use of the disputed domain name to advertise adult-oriented content is in itself evidence of registration and use 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 Youtv, Inc. v. Alemdar, FA 94243 (Nat. Arb. Forum Apr. 25, 2000) (finding bad faith where the respondent attracted users to his website for commercial gain and linked his website to pornographic websites).
Additionally, Complainant asserts that Respondent is using the disputed domain name to commercially benefit as a result of the likely confusion between Complainant’s SECOND LIFE mark and the <teensecondlife.com> domain name. The disputed domain name is capable of creating confusion as to Complainant’s source, sponsorship, affiliation, and endorsement. The Panel, therefore, finds that Respondent’s use of the disputed domain name to commercial benefit by advertising links to adult-oriented websites constitutes bad faith registration and use pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(b)(iv). See Qwest Comm’ns Int’l Inc. v. Ling Shun Shing, FA 187431 (Nat. Arb. Forum Oct. 6, 2003) (“Respondent has attempted to commercially benefit from the misleading <qwestwirless.com> domain name by linking the domain name to adult oriented websites, gambling websites, and websites in competition with Complainant. Respondent’s attempt to commercially benefit from the misleading domain name is evidence of bad faith pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(b)(iv).”); see also G.D. Searle & Co. v. Celebrex Drugstore, FA 123933 (Nat. Arb. Forum Nov. 21, 2002) (finding that the respondent registered and used the domain name in bad faith pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(b)(iv) because the respondent was using the confusingly similar domain name to attract Internet users to its commercial website).
In addition, Respondent has registered domain names
incorporating others’ famous names and marks, and has been the respondent is
several UDRP decisions in which the disputed domain name was transferred from
Respondent to the complainant in that case.
See United Refining
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 <teensecondlife.com> domain name be TRANSFERRED from Respondent to Complainant.
Honorable Karl V. Fink (Ret.), Panelist
Dated: November 20, 2007
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