Mattel, Inc. v. John Zuccarini a/k/a Cupcake Patrol
Claim Number: FA0204000109048
Complainant is Mattel, Inc., El Segundo, CA (“Complainant”) represented by William Dunnegan, of Perkins & Dunnegan. Respondent is John Zuccarini a/k/a Cupcake Patrol, Atlanta, GA (“Respondent”).
REGISTRAR AND DISPUTED DOMAIN NAME
The domain name at issue is <shopmatel.com>, registered with Joker.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.
The Honorable Charles K. McCotter, Jr. (Ret.) as Panelist.
Complainant submitted a Complaint to the National Arbitration Forum (the “Forum”) electronically on April 3, 2002; the Forum received a hard copy of the Complaint on April 8, 2002.
On April 10, 2002, Joker.com confirmed by e-mail to the Forum that the domain name <shopmatel.com> is registered with Joker.com and that Respondent is the current registrant of the name. Joker.com has verified that Respondent is bound by the Joker.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 April 11, 2002, a Notification of Complaint and Commencement of Administrative Proceeding (the “Commencement Notification”), setting a deadline of May 1, 2002 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, using the same contact details and methods as were used for the Commencement Notification, the Forum transmitted to the parties a Notification of Respondent Default.
On May 15, 2002, pursuant to Complainant’s request to have the dispute decided by a single-member Panel, the Forum appointed the Honorable Charles K. McCotter, Jr. (Ret.) as Panelist.
Having reviewed the communications records, the Administrative Panel (the “Panel”) finds that the 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 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.
The disputed domain name <shopmatel.com> is confusingly similar to MATTEL, a registered trademark in which Complainant holds rights.
Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name.
Respondent registered and used the disputed domain name in bad faith.
Respondent did not submit a Response in this proceeding.
Complainant registered the MATTEL trademark on July 30, 1963 in the United States Patent and Trademark Office as Reg. No. 753,681 in connection with the following goods: card, board, and parlor games; toys—namely music boxes, pull toys, music maker books, “GeTars and Ukes,” and dolls. Complainant markets its products online at <shopmattel.com>.
Respondent registered the disputed domain name on January 30, 2000, and has used the domain name to redirect Internet users to a pornographic website. Complainant has also provided evidence that Respondent is a known cybersquatter who has registered over 5,500 domain names resembling other popular businesses and trademarks.
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 the 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.
Paragraph 4(a) of the Policy requires that the 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 the Respondent is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which the Complainant has rights; and
(2) the 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.
Identical and/or Confusingly Similar
Complainant has established its rights in the MATTEL mark through registration with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and continuous subsequent use.
The disputed domain name is confusingly similar to Complainant’s mark as it merely omits the letter “t” from the mark and adds the generic term “shop.” The omission of a letter does not distinguish the domain name from Complainant’s mark so as to defeat a claim of confusing similarity; both MATTEL and “matel” sound phonetically similar. See Hewlett-Packard Co. v. Cupcake City, FA 93562 (Nat. Arb. Forum Apr. 7, 2000) (finding that a domain name which is phonetically identical to Complainant’s mark satisfies ¶ 4(a)(i) of the Policy); see also YAHOO! Inc. v. Murray, D2000-1013 (WIPO Nov. 17, 2000) (finding that the domain name <yawho.com> is confusingly similar to the Complainant’s YAHOO mark).
Further, the addition of the term “shop” does not significantly alter the impression of Complainant’s mark, especially considering that Complaint hosts a website at <shopmattel.com>. See Space Imaging LLC v. Brownwell, 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 Yahoo! Inc. v. Casino Yahoo, Inc., D2000-0660 (WIPO Aug. 24, 2000) (finding the domain name <casinoyahoo.com> is confusingly similar to Complainant’s mark).
Accordingly, the Panel finds that Policy ¶ 4(a)(i) has been satisfied.
Rights or Legitimate Interests
Complainant has established its rights to and interests in the MATTEL mark. Because Respondent has not submitted a Response in this matter, the Panel may presume it has no such rights or interests in respect of the disputed domain name. See Pavillion Agency, Inc. v. Greenhouse Agency Ltd., D2000-1221 (WIPO Dec. 4, 2000) (finding that Respondents’ failure to respond can be construed as an admission that they have no legitimate interest in the domain names).
Respondent has used the disputed domain name to redirect Internet users seeking Complainant’s youth-oriented website to a site featuring pornography. Such is not a bona fide offering of goods or services pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(c)(i) nor a legitimate noncommercial or fair use pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(c)(iii). See 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 a pornographic site is not a legitimate or fair use); see also MatchNet plc. v. MAC Trading, D2000-0205 (WIPO May 11, 2000) (finding that it is not a bona fide offering of goods or services to use a domain name for commercial gain by attracting Internet users to third party sites offering sexually explicit and pornographic material where such use is calculated to mislead consumers and to tarnish the Complainant’s mark).
There is no evidence Respondent is commonly known by the disputed domain name pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(c)(ii). See Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce v. D3M Virtual Reality Inc., AF-0336 (eResolution Sept. 23, 2000) (finding no rights or legitimate interests where no such right or interest was immediately apparent to the Panel and Respondent did not come forward to suggest any right or interest it may have possessed).
The Panel finds that Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name; thus, Policy ¶ 4(a)(ii) has been satisfied.
Registration and Use in Bad Faith
Respondent registered and used the disputed domain name, which is confusingly similar to Complainant’s mark and domain name, to redirect Internet users to its own commercial pornographic website. This demonstrates bad faith pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(b)(iv). See 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); see also Reuters Ltd. v. Global Net 2000, Inc., D2000-0441 (WIPO July 13, 2000) (finding bad faith where the Respondent attracted users to a website sponsored by the Respondent and created confusion with the Complainant’s mark as to the source, sponsorship, or affiliation of that website).
Complainant is a well-known company in the children’s toy industry. By associating pornography with a confusingly similar variation of Complainant’s mark, Respondent is tarnishing the image and goodwill associated with the mark. Such behavior evidences bad faith under the Policy. See MatchNet plc. v. MAC Trading, supra (finding that the association of a confusingly similar domain name with a pornographic website can constitute bad faith); see also Brown & Bigelow, Inc. v. Rodela, supra (use of another's well-known mark to provide a link to a pornographic site is evidence of bad faith registration and use).
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 the requested relief should be hereby granted.
Accordingly, it is Ordered that the <shopmatel.com> domain name be transferred from Respondent to Complainant.
The Honorable Charles K. McCotter, Jr. (Ret.), Panelist
Dated: May 22, 2002
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