AOL LLC v. Umbeke Membe c/o Deleting domain
Claim Number: FA0710001093926
Complainant is AOL LLC (“Complainant”), represented by Blake
R. Bertagna, of Arent Fox LLP,
REGISTRAR AND DISPUTED DOMAIN NAME
The domain name at issue is <aimprofile.com>, registered with eNom.
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 12, 2007; the National Arbitration Forum received a hard copy of the Complaint on October 15, 2007.
On October 19, 2007, eNom confirmed by e-mail to the National Arbitration Forum that the <aimprofile.com> domain name is registered with eNom and that Respondent is the current registrant of the name. eNom has verified that Respondent is bound by the eNom 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 22, 2007, a Notification of Complaint and Commencement of Administrative Proceeding (the "Commencement Notification"), setting a deadline of November 13, 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 16, 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 <aimprofile.com> domain name is confusingly similar to Complainant’s AIM mark.
2. Respondent does not have any rights or legitimate interests in the <aimprofile.com> domain name.
3. Respondent registered and used the <aimprofile.com> domain name in bad faith.
B. Respondent failed to submit a Response in this proceeding.
Complainant, AOL LLC, has continuously used the AIM mark since 1997 in connection with software, computer and Internet-related communications, goods and services. Specifically, Complainant has registered the AIM mark for computer and electronic mail and messaging services with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) (Reg. No. 2,423,367 issued January 23, 2001). Since 1997, Complainant has operated and offered its services under the AIM mark on the website that resolves from the <aim.com> domain name.
Respondent’s <aimprofile.com> domain name was registered on July 19, 2007 and resolves to a commercial website that provides links to various third-party websites, many of which offer services in competition with those offered under Complainant’s mark. Many of these links to third-parties prominently display Complainant’s mark, displaying both “Aim Profile” and “Aim Chat Room.”
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 has sufficiently established its rights in the
AIM mark pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(a)(i) through
registration with the USPTO. See
Respondent’s <aimprofile.com> domain name contains Complainant’s AIM mark in its entirety and then includes the generic top-level domain (“gTLD”) “.com” and the generic term “profile” which describes the services offered under Complainant’s AIM mark. Profiles are used as a part of the computer and electronic messaging services offered under Complainant’s mark. It is well-established that the inclusion of a gTLD and a generic term that describes the services offered under Complainant’s mark does not distinguish a disputed domain name under the Policy. Accordingly, the Panel finds that Respondent’s <aimprofile.com> domain name is confusingly similar to Complainant’s AIM mark pursuant to 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 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).
The Panel concludes that Complainant has satisfied Policy ¶ 4(a)(i).
Under Policy ¶ 4(a)(ii),
Complainant must first establish a prima
facie case that Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the
disputed domain name. See VeriSign Inc. v. VeneSign
Respondent has failed to submit a Response to the Complaint. Consequently, the Panel presumes that Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name but will still consider all the available evidence in light of the factors listed under Policy ¶ 4(c). 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 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).
Nowhere in Respondent’s WHOIS information or elsewhere in the record does it indicate that Respondent is or ever was commonly known by the disputed domain name. Further, Respondent has never sought, nor has Complainant granted permission for the AIM mark to be used by Respondent in any way. Absent any evidence to the contrary, the Panel finds 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 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).
domain name contains Complainant’s mark in its entirety and resolves to a
commercial website that displays links to various third-party websites, many of
which offer services in direct competition with those offered under
Complainant’s AIM mark. The Panel finds
this to be neither 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 TM Acquisition Corp. v. Sign Guards,
FA 132439 (Nat. Arb. Forum Dec. 31, 2002) (finding that the respondent’s
diversionary use of the complainant’s marks to send Internet users to a website
which displayed a series of links, some of which linked to the complainant’s
competitors, was not a bona fide offering of goods or services); see also 24 Hour Fitness USA, Inc. v. 24HourNames.com-Quality Domains For
The Panel concludes that Complainant has satisfied Policy ¶ 4(a)(ii).
Respondent’s <aimprofile.com> domain name resolves to a website featuring various links to third-parties, many of which offer services in direct competition with Complainant. The Panel finds this to establish Respondent’s bad faith registration and use of the disputed domain name in an attempt to disrupt Complainant’s business in violation of Policy ¶ 4(b)(iii). See Disney Enters., Inc. v. Noel, FA 198805 (Nat. Arb. Forum Nov. 11, 2003) (“Respondent registered a domain name confusingly similar to Complainant's mark to divert Internet users to a competitor's website. It is a reasonable inference that Respondent's purpose of registration and use was to either disrupt or create confusion for Complainant's business in bad faith pursuant to Policy ¶¶ 4(b)(iii) [and] (iv).”); see also 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).
Moreover, besides Respondent’s <aimprofile.com> domain name being confusingly similar to Complainant’s mark, many of the links on Respondent’s webpage display Complainant’s mark prominently, such as “Aim Profile” and “Aim Chat Room.” The Panel finds that this gives the impression that Respondent’s website is affiliated with Complainant’s mark. Further, Respondent is presumed to commercially benefit from this through the use of “click-through” fees. The Panel finds that all of this is further evidence of Respondent’s bad faith registration and use of the disputed domain name demonstrating Respondent’s intent to commercially benefit from a confusingly similar domain name pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(b)(iv). See Identigene, Inc. v. Genetest Labs., D2000-1100 (WIPO Nov. 30, 2000) (finding bad faith where the respondent's use of the domain name at issue to resolve to a website where similar services are offered to Internet users is likely to confuse the user into believing that the complainant is the source of or is sponsoring the services offered at the site); see also Associated Newspapers Ltd. v. Domain Manager, FA 201976 (Nat. Arb. Forum Nov. 19, 2003) (“Respondent's prior use of the <mailonsunday.com> domain name is evidence of bad faith pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(b)(iv) because the domain name provided links to Complainant's competitors and Respondent presumably commercially benefited from the misleading domain name by receiving ‘click-through-fees.’”).
The Panel 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 <aimprofile.com> domain name be TRANSFERRED from Respondent to Complainant.
Tyrus R. Atkinson, Jr., Panelist
Dated: November 28, 2007
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