GGP UK Limited v. Media Services World Inc. and Internet Services
Claim Number: FA0711001106066
Complainant is GGP UK Limited (“Complainant”), represented by David
Powell, of Stevens Hewlett & Perkins, 1
REGISTRAR AND DISPUTED DOMAIN NAME
The domain name at issue is <mountfield.com>, registered with Dotster.
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.
Honorable Karl V. Fink (Ret.), as Panelist.
Complainant submitted a Complaint to the National Arbitration Forum electronically on November 2, 2007; the National Arbitration Forum received a hard copy of the Complaint on November 2, 2007.
On November 2, 2007, Dotster confirmed by e-mail to the National Arbitration Forum that the <mountfield.com> domain name is registered with Dotster and that Respondent is the current registrant of the name. Dotster has verified that Respondent is bound by the Dotster 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 November 13, 2007, a Notification of Complaint and Commencement of Administrative Proceeding (the "Commencement Notification"), setting a deadline of December 3, 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 December 7, 2007, pursuant to Complainant's request to have the dispute decided by a single-member Panel, the National Arbitration Forum appointed Honorable Karl V. Fink (Ret.) 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 <mountfield.com> domain name is identical to Complainant’s MOUNTFIELD mark.
2. Respondent does not have any rights or legitimate interests in the <mountfield.com> domain name.
3. Respondent registered and used the <mountfield.com> domain name in bad faith.
B. Respondent failed to submit a Response in this proceeding.
Complainant, GGP UK Limited, has marketed the
Respondent registered the <mountfield.com> domain name on August 5, 1997. Respondent is currently using the disputed domain name to display links to websites, some of which compete with Complainant’s products. Respondent has previously been ordered by UDRP panels to transfer the domain name registration of at least one other domain name found to be infringing upon the complainant’s trademark. See Peter Jerie v. Internet Services a/k/a Media Services World Inc., FA 894108 (Nat. Arb. Forum Mar. 7, 2007) (transferring the <livescore.org> domain name to the complainant).
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 registered the MOUNTFIELD mark with the UKIPO and the NIPO, and therefore, the Panel finds Complainant has established rights to the mark under Policy ¶ 4(a)(i). See Innomed Techs., Inc. v. DRP Servs., FA 221171 (Nat. Arb. Forum Feb. 18, 2004) (“Registration of the NASAL-AIRE mark with the USPTO establishes Complainant's rights in the mark.”); see also Vivendi Universal Games v. XBNetVentures Inc., FA 198803 (Nat. Arb. Forum Nov. 11, 2003) (“Complainant's federal trademark registrations establish Complainant's rights in the BLIZZARD mark.”).
The Panel finds that the <mountfield.com> domain name is identical to the MOUNTFIELD mark under Policy ¶ 4(a)(i) because the disputed domain name incorporates Complainant’s entire mark. Respondent’s addition of the generic top-level domain (“gTLD”) “.com” does not sufficiently distinguish the disputed domain name from the MOUNTFIELD mark because all domain names are required to have a top-level domain. See Pomellato S.p.A v. Tonetti, D2000-0493 (WIPO July 7, 2000) (finding <pomellato.com> identical to the complainant’s mark because the generic top-level domain (gTLD) “.com” after the name POMELLATO is not relevant); see also Entrepreneur Media, Inc. v. Smith, 279 F.3d 1135, 1146 (9th Cir. 2002) (“Internet users searching for a company’s Web site often assume, as a rule of thumb, that the domain name of a particular company will be the company name or trademark followed by ‘.com.’”).
The Panel finds that Policy ¶ 4(a)(i) has been satisfied.
Complainant contends that Respondent lacks all rights and legitimate interests in the <mountfield.com> domain name. Complainant must first present a prima facie case establishing that Respondent lacks all rights and legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. Once Complainant has met the burden and made a prima facie case supporting the assertion that Respondent lacks rights and legitimate interests, the burden shifts to Respondent to show that it does have rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. The Panel finds that Complainant has demonstrated that Respondent lacks rights and legitimate interests, and thus made a prima facie case pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(a)(ii). See Compagnie Generale des Matieres Nucleaires v. Greenpeace Int’l, D2001-0376 (WIPO May 14, 2001) (“Proving that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Domain Name requires the Complainant to prove a negative. For the purposes of this sub paragraph, however, it is sufficient for the Complainant to show a prima facie case and the burden of proof is then shifted on to the shoulders of Respondent. In those circumstances, the common approach is for respondents to seek to bring themselves within one of the examples of paragraph 4(c) or put forward some other reason why they can fairly be said to have a relevant right or legitimate interests in respect of the domain name in question.”); see also Clerical Med. Inv. Group Ltd. v. Clericalmedical.com, D2000-1228 (WIPO Nov. 28, 2000) (finding that, under certain circumstances, the mere assertion by the complainant that the respondent has no right or legitimate interest is sufficient to shift the burden of proof to the respondent to demonstrate that such a right or legitimate interest does exist).
Because Respondent failed to answer the Complaint, the Panel presumes that Respondent lacks all rights and legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. See Parfums Christian Dior v. QTR Corp., D2000-0023 (WIPO Mar. 9, 2000) (finding that by not submitting a response, the respondent has failed to invoke any circumstance which could demonstrate any rights or legitimate interests in the domain name); see also Pavillion Agency, Inc. v. Greenhouse Agency Ltd., D2000-1221 (WIPO Dec. 4, 2000) (finding that the respondents’ failure to respond can be construed as an admission that they have no legitimate interest in the domain names). Nevertheless, the Panel will examine all evidence in the record to determine if Respond has any rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name under Policy ¶ 4(c).
Complainant contends that Respondent is not commonly known by the <mountfield.com> domain name. Complainant also asserts that Respondent does not have any affiliation, association, or business relationship with Complainant, and has never been authorized to use the MOUNTFIELD mark. Moreover, the WHOIS information does not indicate that Respondent is commonly known by the disputed domain name. Therefore, the Panel finds that Respondent is not commonly known by the disputed domain name under 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 Gallup, Inc. v. Amish Country Store, FA 96209 (Nat. Arb. Forum Jan. 23, 2001) (finding that the respondent does not have rights in a domain name when the respondent is not known by the mark).
In addition, Respondent is using the disputed domain name to display links to websites, some of which offer products that compete with Complainant’s product. The Panel concludes that such use is not 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 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 Coryn Group, Inc. v. Media Insight, FA 198959 (Nat. Arb. Forum Dec. 5, 2003) (finding that the respondent was not using the domain names for a bona fide offering of goods or services nor a legitimate noncommercial or fair use because the respondent used the names to divert Internet users to a website that offered services that competed with those offered by the complainant under its marks).
The Panel finds that Policy ¶ 4(a)(ii) has been satisfied.
Respondent uses the <mountfield.com> domain name to advertise links to websites that offer products competing with Complainant’s product, and commercially benefits from the likely confusion between Complainant’s mark and the disputed domain name. The disputed domain name is capable of creating confusion as to Complainant’s source, sponsorship, affiliation, or endorsement of the website that resolves from the disputed domain name. The Panel finds that Respondent’s use of the disputed domain name thus constitutes evidence of registration and use in bad faith under Policy ¶ 4(b)(iv). See Am. Univ. v. Cook, FA 208629 (Nat. Arb. Forum Dec. 22, 2003) (“Registration and use of a domain name that incorporates another's mark with the intent to deceive Internet users in regard to the source or affiliation of the domain name is evidence of bad faith.”); see also Am. Online, Inc. v. Tencent Commc’ns Corp., FA 93668 (Nat. Arb. Forum Mar. 21, 2000) (finding bad faith where the respondent registered and used a domain name confusingly similar to the complainant’s mark to attract users to a website sponsored by the respondent).
In addition, Respondent’s use of the disputed domain name to advertise links to products competing with Complainant’s products demonstrates bad faith registration and use under 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).
Finally, Respondent has been the respondent is at least one other UDRP decision in which the dispute domain name was transferred from Respondent to the complainant in that case. See Peter Jerie v. Internet Services a/k/a Media Services World Inc., FA 894108 (Nat. Arb. Forum Mar. 7, 2007). The Panel finds that this pattern of behavior is further evidence of registration and use in bad faith pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(b)(ii). See Nat’l Abortion Fed’n v. Dom 4 Sale, Inc., FA 170643 (Nat. Arb. Forum Sept. 9, 2003) (finding bad faith pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(b)(ii) because the domain name prevented the complainant from reflecting its mark in a domain name and the respondent had several adverse decisions against it in previous UDRP proceedings, which established a pattern of cybersquatting); see also Arai Helmet Americas, Inc. v. Goldmark, D2004-1028 (WIPO Jan. 22, 2005 ((finding that “Respondent has registered the disputed domain name, <aria.com>, to prevent Complainant from registering it” and taking notice of another UDRP proceeding against the respondent to find that “this is part of a pattern of such registrations”).
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 relief shall be GRANTED.
Accordingly, it is Ordered that the <mountfield.com> domain name be TRANSFERRED from Respondent to Complainant.
Honorable Karl V. Fink (Ret.), Panelist
Dated: December14, 2007
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