The Gingiss Group Inc. v. Garystux.com
Claim Number: FA0204000109524
Complainant is The Gingiss Group Inc., Van Nuys, CA, USA (“Complainant”) represented by William J. Kindt. Respondent is Garystux.com, Belize City, BELIZE (“Respondent”).
REGISTRAR AND DISPUTED DOMAIN NAME
The domain name at issue is <garystux.com>, registered with Bulkregister.
The undersigned certifies that she has acted independently and impartially and to the best of her knowledge has no known conflict in serving as Panelist in this proceeding.
Sandra Franklin as Panelist.
Complainant submitted a Complaint to the National Arbitration Forum (the “Forum”) electronically on April 11, 2002; the Forum received a hard copy of the Complaint on April 26, 2002.
On April 12, 2002, Bulkregister confirmed by e-mail to the Forum that the domain name <garystux.com> is registered with Bulkregister and that Respondent is the current registrant of the name. Bulkregister has verified that Respondent is bound by the Bulkregister 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 May 1, 2002, a Notification of Complaint and Commencement of Administrative Proceeding (the “Commencement Notification”), setting a deadline of May 21, 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 June 3, 2002, pursuant to Complainant’s request to have the dispute decided by a single-member Panel, the Forum appointed Sandra Franklin 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 <garystux.com> domain name is confusingly similar to Complainant's GARY’S TUX SHOPS mark.
Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name.
Respondent registered and used the disputed domain name in bad faith.
Respondent failed to submit a Response.
Complainant operates 170 retail locations under its GARY’S TUX SHOPS mark. Complainant uses its GARY’S TUX SHOPS mark on all of its publications and advertisements. Complainant has filed Fictitious Business Name statements in California, Nevada, Arizona, Hawaii, Oregon and Washington. Complainant operates a website at <garystuxshops.com>.
Respondent registered the disputed domain name on April 21, 1997. Respondent is currently using the domain name to display pornography.
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 that it has common law rights to its GARY’S TUX SHOPS mark. The ICANN Policy is “broad in scope” in that “the reference to a trademark or service mark ‘in which the Complainant has rights’ means that ownership of a registered mark is not required–unregistered or common law trademark or service mark rights will suffice” to support a domain name Complaint under the Policy. McCarthy on Trademarks and Unfair Competition, § 25:74.2, Vol. 4 (2000). Furthermore, Respondent’s <garystux.com> domain name is confusingly similar to Complainant’s mark because it incorporates most of Complainant’s mark and merely omits the word “shop.” The omission of one word from Complainant’s mark does not create a distinct mark capable of overcoming a claim of confusing similarity. See WestJet Air Center, Inc. v. West Jets LLC, FA 96882 (Nat. Arb. Forum Apr. 20, 2001) (finding that the <westjets.com> domain name is confusingly similar to Complainant’s mark, where Complainant holds the WEST JET AIR CENTER mark); see also Wellness Int’l Network, LTD v. Apostolics.com, FA 96189 (Nat. Arb. Forum Jan. 16, 2001) (finding that the domain name <wellness-international.com> is confusingly similar to Complainant’s “Wellness International Network”).
The Panel finds that Policy ¶ 4(a)(i) has been satisfied.
Rights or Legitimate Interests
Respondent has failed to come forward with a Response and therefore it is presumed that Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in 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).
Furthermore, when Respondent fails to submit a Response the Panel is permitted to make all inferences in favor of Complainant. See 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”).
Respondent is currently using the disputed domain to display pornography. The use of a domain name confusingly similar to Complainant’s mark to display pornography is not considered to be a bona fide offering of goods or services pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(c)(i), or a legitimate noncommercial or fair use pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(c)(iii). See Nat’l Football League Prop., Inc. v. One Sex Entm't. Co., D2000-0118 (WIPO Apr. 17, 2000) (finding that the Respondent had no rights or legitimate interests in the domain names <chargergirls.com> and <chargergirls.net> where the Respondent linked these domain names to its pornographic website); 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).
Respondent provided the name “Garystux.com” when it registered the disputed domain name, but it has not come forward with any evidence to establish that it has ever been known by this name. Therefore Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the 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 Respondent does not have rights in a domain name when 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 Respondent was not commonly known by the mark and never applied for a license or permission from Complainant to use the trademarked name).
The Panel finds that Policy ¶ 4(a)(ii) has been satisfied.
Registration and Use in Bad Faith
Respondent has been using the disputed domain name in order to display pornography. This type of activity tarnishes Complainant’s mark and is therefore considered to be evidence of bad faith use. See MatchNet plc. v. MAC Trading, D2000-0205 (WIPO May 11, 2000) (finding that the association of a confusingly similar domain name with a pornographic website can constitute bad faith); see also 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). Furthermore, based on the fact that the domain name has been used only for pornography it can be inferred that Respondent registered the domain name with the intention of tarnishing Complainant’s mark. Therefore the disputed domain name was registered in bad faith. See CCA Indus., Inc. v. Dailey, D2000-0148 (WIPO Apr. 26, 2000) (finding that “this association with a pornographic web site can itself constitute bad faith”); see also CBS Broadcasting, Inc. v. LA-Twilight-Zone, D2000-0397 (WIPO June 19, 2000) (finding bad faith where Respondent failed to provide any evidence to controvert Complainant's allegation that it registered the domain name in bad faith and where any future use of the domain name would do nothing but cause confusion with Complainant’s mark, except in a few limited noncommercial or fair use situations, which were not present).
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 shall be hereby granted.
Accordingly, it is Ordered that the domain name <garystux.com> be transferred from Respondent to Complainant.
Sandra Franklin, Panelist
Dated: June 17, 2002
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