Fossil, Inc. v. Vorpoj c/o N/A
Claim Number: FA0710001099471
Complainant is Fossil, Inc. (“Complainant”), represented by Molly
Buck Richard, of Richard Law Group, Inc.,
REGISTRAR AND DISPUTED DOMAIN NAME
The domain name at issue is <fossilladieswatch.com>, registered with Estdomains, Inc.
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.
Honorable Paul A. Dorf (Ret.) as Panelist.
Complainant submitted a Complaint to
the National Arbitration Forum electronically on
On October 25, 2007, a Notification of Complaint and Commencement of Administrative Proceeding (the "Commencement Notification"), setting a deadline of November 14, 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 not received a sufficient response from Respondent, the National Arbitration Forum transmitted to the parties a Notification of Respondent Default.
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 <fossilladieswatch.com> domain name is confusingly similar to Complainant’s FOSSIL mark.
2. Respondent does not have any rights or legitimate interests in the <fossilladieswatch.com> domain name.
3. Respondent registered and used the <fossilladieswatch.com> domain name in bad faith.
B. Respondent failed to submit a Response in this proceeding.
Complainant, Fossil, Inc., has
continuously used the FOSSIL mark in connection with watches and other retail
products for over twenty years.
Complainant has registered the FOSSIL mark in numerous jurisdictions
worldwide, including in
Respondent’s <fossilladieswatch.com> domain name was registered on September 14, 2007 and resolves to a website containing various links to third-parties, most of which offer products in direct competition with those sold under Complainant’s FOSSIL mark.
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."
As electronic submission was made from an email address listed on Respondent’s contact information indicating Respondent’s intent to discontinue use and delete the disputed domain name. There was no hard-copy submitted and the statement did not contain a certification in accordance with ICANN Rule 5(b)(viii). The Panel finds this to constitute an insufficient response. See Six Continents Hotels, Inc. v. Nowak, D2003-0022 (WIPO Mar. 4, 2003) (holding that the respondent’s failure to submit a hard copy of the response and its failure to include any evidence to support a finding in its favor placed the respondent in a de facto default posture, permitting the panel to draw all appropriate inferences stated in the complaint); see also Talk City Inc. v. Robertson, D2000-0009 (WIPO Feb. 29, 2000) (concluding that no weight would be afforded to the facts alleged in the respondent’s deficient submission, partly because it “did not contain any certification that the information contained in the e-mail was, ‘to the best of Respondent’s knowledge complete and accurate’” in accordance with Rule 5(b)(viii)).
In view of Respondent's failure to submit a sufficient 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 pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(a)(i) through registration with both the TDIP and the USPTO. See Janus Int’l Holding Co. v. Rademacher, D2002-0201 (WIPO Mar. 5, 2002) ("Panel decisions have held that registration of a mark is prima facie evidence of validity, which creates a rebuttable presumption that the mark is inherently distinctive."); see also U.S. Office of Pers. Mgmt. v. MS Tech. Inc., FA 198898 (Nat. Arb. Forum Dec. 9, 2003) (“[O]nce the USPTO has made a determination that a mark is registrable, by so issuing a registration, as indeed was the case here, an ICANN panel is not empowered to nor should it disturb that determination.”).
Respondent’s <fossilladieswatch.com> domain name contains Complainant’s FOSSIL mark in its entirety and then includes the generic terms “ladies” and “watch,” and the generic top-level domain (“gTLD”) “.com.” It is well-established that the addition of a gTLD is irrelevant to a Policy ¶ 4(a)(i) analysis, and moreover, that the inclusion of generic terms that describe the Complainant’s business does not distinguish a disputed domain name. As a result, the Panel finds that Respondent’s disputed domain name is confusingly similar to Complainant’s 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 L.L. Bean, Inc. v. ShopStarNetwork, FA 95404 (Nat. Arb. Forum Sept. 14, 2000) (finding that combining the generic word “shop” with the complainant’s registered mark “llbean” does not circumvent the complainant’s rights in the mark nor avoid the confusing similarity aspect of the ICANN Policy).
The Panel concludes that Complainant has sufficiently established 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. As such, the Panel presumes that Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name, but will still consider all the 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 BIC Deutschland GmbH & Co. KG v. Tweed, D2000-0418 (WIPO June 20, 2000) (“By not submitting a response, Respondent has failed to invoke any circumstance which could demonstrate, pursuant to ¶ 4(c) of the Policy, any rights or legitimate interests in the domain name”).
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. Moreover,
Complainant has never granted Respondent permission to use the FOSSIL mark in
any way. Consequently, the Panel finds
that Respondent is not commonly known by the <fossilladieswatch.com>
domain name pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(c)(ii). See Am. W. Airlines, Inc. v.
Paik, FA 206396 (Nat. Arb. Forum
Respondent’s <fossilladieswatch.com> domain name resolves to a website featuring various links to third-parties, most of whom are direct competitors of Complainant. 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 Golden Bear Int’l, Inc. v. Kangdeock-ho, FA 190644 (Nat. Arb. Forum Oct. 17, 2003) (“Respondent's use of a domain name confusingly similar to Complainant’s mark to divert Internet users to websites unrelated to Complainant's business does not represent a bona fide offering of goods or services under Policy ¶ 4(c)(i) or a legitimate noncommercial or fair use under Policy ¶ 4(c)(iii).”); see also Ameritrade Holdings Corp. v. Polanski, FA 102715 (Nat. Arb. Forum Jan. 11, 2002) (finding that the respondent’s use of the disputed domain name to redirect Internet users to a financial services website, which competed with the complainant, was not a bona fide offering of goods or services).
The Panel concludes that Complainant has sufficiently established Policy ¶ 4(a)(ii).
The <fossilladieswatch.com> domain name
resolves to a website featuring various links to third-party competitors of
Complainant. The Panel finds this
attempt at disrupting Complainant’s business to establish Respondent’s bad
faith registration and use of the disputed domain name pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(b)(iii). See S. Exposure
v. S. Exposure, Inc., FA 94864 (Nat. Arb. Forum
Moreover, Respondent is presumed to be commercially benefiting from the various hyper-links through the use of “click-through” fees. The Panel finds that Respondent’s commercial benefit from a confusingly similar competing domain name to be further evidence of Respondent’s bad faith registration and use pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(b)(iv). See Amazon.com, Inc. v. Shafir, FA 196119 (Nat. Arb. Forum Nov. 10, 2003) (“As Respondent is using the domain name at issue in direct competition with Complainant, and giving the impression of being affiliated with or sponsored by Complainant, this circumstance qualifies as bad faith registration and use of the domain name pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(b)(iv).”); 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 sufficiently established 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 <fossilladieswatch.com> domain name be TRANSFERRED from Respondent to Complainant.
Honorable Paul A. Dorf, (Ret.), Panelist
Dated: December 3, 2007
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