Hachette Filipacchi Presse v. More Virtual Agency
Claim Number: FA0204000109745
Complainant is Hachette Filipacchi Presse, Levallois Perret, FRANCE (“Complainant”). Respondent is More Virtual Agency, Bonn, GERMANY (“Respondent”).
The domain name at issue is <premiere.biz>, registered with Key-Systems GMBH.
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.
Tyrus R. Atkinson, Jr, as Panelist.
Complainant has standing to file a Start-up Trademark Opposition Policy (“STOP”) Complaint, as it timely filed the required Intellectual Property (IP) Claim Form with the Registry Operator, NeuLevel. As an IP Claimant, Complainant timely noted its intent to file a STOP Complaint against Respondent with the Registry Operator, NeuLevel and with the National Arbitration Forum (the “Forum”).
Complainant submitted a Complaint to the Forum electronically on April 18, 2002; the Forum received a hard copy of the Complaint on April 23, 2002.
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 in compliance with paragraph 2(a) of the Rules for the Start-up Trademark Opposition Policy (the “STOP Rules”).
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 6, 2002, pursuant to STOP Rule 6(b), the Forum appointed Tyrus R. Atkinson, Jr., as the single 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 STOP Rules. Therefore, the Panel may issue its decision based on the documents submitted and in accordance with the STOP Policy, STOP Rules, the Forum’s STOP Supplemental Rules and any rules and principles of law that the Panel deems applicable, without the benefit of any Response from Respondent.
Transfer of the domain name from Respondent to Complainant.
The <premiere.biz> domain name is identical to Complainant's PREMIERE mark.
Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the <premiere.biz> domain name.
Respondent registered the <premiere.biz> domain name in bad faith.
Respondent failed to submit a Response.
Complainant owns numerous trademarks for the PREMIERE mark in France including Registration Numbers 1,218,629 and 1,714,081. Complainant is also the owner of trademark registrations in the United States including Registration Numbers 1,224,988 and 1,621,130. Complainant produces a well-known magazine under the PREMIERE mark that has been published since 1977 in France, United States, South Korea, Japan, Czech Republic, and Russia. Complainant also holds domain name registrations for <premiere.fr> and <premiere.com>.
Respondent registered the disputed domain name on March 27, 2002.
Paragraph 15(a) of the STOP 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 STOP Rules and draw such inferences it considers appropriate pursuant to paragraph 14(b) of the STOP Rules.
Paragraph 4(a) of the STOP Policy requires that the Complainant must prove each of the following three elements to obtain an order that a domain name should be transferred:
(1) the domain name is identical 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 or is being used in bad faith.
Due to the common authority of the ICANN policy governing both the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (“UDRP”) and these STOP proceedings, the Panel will exercise its discretion to rely on relevant UDRP precedent where applicable.
Under the STOP proceedings, a STOP Complaint may only be filed when the domain name in dispute is identical to a trademark or service mark for which a Complainant has registered an Intellectual Property (IP) claim form. Therefore, every STOP proceeding necessarily involves a disputed domain name that is identical to a trademark or service mark in which a Complainant asserts rights. The existence of the “.biz” generic top-level domain (gTLD) in the disputed domain name is not a factor for purposes of determining that a disputed domain name is not identical to the mark in which the Complainant asserts rights.
Complainant has established that it has rights in the PREMIERE mark through registration in the United States and France. Respondent’s <premiere.biz> domain name is identical to Complainant’s PREMIERE mark.
The Panel finds that STOP Policy ¶ 4(a)(i) has been satisfied.
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”).
There is no evidence on record, and Respondent has failed to come forward to prove that it has any trademark or service mark rights in PREMIERE or <premiere.biz>. Therefore, Respondent has not established that it has rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain pursuant to STOP Policy ¶ 4(c)(i). See Nat’l Acad. Of Recording Arts & Sci Inc. v. Lsites, FA 103059 (Nat. Arb. Forum Feb. 11, 2002) (finding that, because Respondent did not come forward with a Response, the Panel could infer that it had no trademark or service marks identical to <grammy.biz> and therefore had no rights or legitimate interests in the domain name).
The disputed domain name is identical to Complainant’s mark and any use of <premiere.biz> by Respondent will cause Internet users to be confused as to the source, sponsorship and affiliation of the domain name. This type of use is not considered to be a bona fide offering of goods or services and therefore Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name pursuant to STOP Policy ¶ 4(c)(ii). See William L. Lyon & Assocs., Inc. v. Yata, FA 103043 (Nat. Arb. Forum March 21, 2002) (finding the Respondent’s “intent to trade [on] the goodwill of Complainant’s mark, by attracting Internet users confused as to the likely affiliation between Complainant and Respondent’s website” indicated the Respondent had no rights or legitimate interests pursuant to STOP Policy ¶ 4(c)(ii)); see also Peachtree Software v. Scarponi, FA 102781 (Nat. Arb. Forum Jan. 23, 2002) (finding that Respondent’s intended use of the <peachtree.biz> domain name to provide information and services related to Complainant’s PEACHTREE product, but without Complainant’s authorization, would cause customer confusion and was not a bona fide offering of goods or services).
Respondent is known to the Panel as “More Virtual Agency,” and there is no evidence that Respondent is also commonly known as PREMIERE or <premiere.biz>. Therefore Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name pursuant to STOP Policy ¶ 4(c)(iii). See CBS Broadcasting, Inc. v. LA-Twilight-Zone, D2000-0397 (WIPO June 19, 2000) (finding that Respondent has failed to demonstrate any rights or legitimate interests in the <twilight-zone.net> domain name since Complainant had been using the TWILIGHT ZONE mark since 1959); see also Nat’l Acad. Of Recording Arts & Sci Inc. v. Lsites, FA 103059 (Nat. Arb. Forum Feb. 11, 2002) (finding that the famous nature of Complainant’s GRAMMY mark prevented Respondent from being commonly known by <grammy.biz>).
The Panel finds that STOP Policy ¶ 4(a)(ii) has been satisfied.
Based on the fame of Complainant’s mark it can be inferred that Respondent intends to use the domain name to attract Complainant’s customers to Respondent’s website for Respondent’s commercial gain. This type of use is evidence of bad faith pursuant to STOP Policy ¶ 4(b)(iv). See Fluor Corp. v. Song, FA 102757 (Nat. Arb. Forum Jan. 31, 2002) (finding that, where the Respondent’s <fluor.biz> domain name was identical to the Complainant’s FLUOR mark, Internet users would likely believe an affiliation between the Respondent and Complainant); see also Pillsbury Co. v. Prebaked Scandinavia ab, FA 102970 (Nat. Arb. Forum Jan. 31, 2002) (finding registration of a domain name identical to Complainant’s mark to be in bad faith under STOP Policy ¶ 4(b)(iv) when use of the domain name would likely cause confusion as to the affiliation between Respondent and Complainant).
Furthermore, Respondent had knowledge of Complainant’s rights in the PREMIERE mark when it registered the disputed domain name. Registration of a domain name identical to Complainant’s mark, despite this knowledge, is evidence of bad faith registration. See Gehl Co. v. Gehl, FA 102816 (Nat. Arb. Forum Jan. 30, 2002) (finding that the “long standing use and historic nature” of the Complainant’s GEHL mark put the Respondent on notice as to the existence of the mark, thereby making Respondent aware that it was infringing upon Complainant’s rights); see also Samsonite Corp. v. Colony Holding, FA 94313 (Nat. Arb. Forum Apr. 17, 2000) (evidence of bad faith includes actual or constructive knowledge of a commonly known mark at the time of registration).
The Panel finds that STOP Policy ¶ 4(a)(iii) has been satisfied.
Having established all three elements required under the Start-up Trademark Opposition Policy, the Panel concludes that relief shall be hereby granted.
Accordingly, it is Ordered that the domain name <premiere.biz> be transferred from Respondent to Complainant.
Tyrus R. Atkinson, Jr., Panelist
Dated: June20, 2002
Click Here to return to the main Domain Decisions Page.
Click Here to return to our Home Page