America Online, Inc. v. Cambridge
Claim Number: FA0204000110798
The Complainant is America Online, Inc., Dulles, VA (“Complainant”) represented by James R. Davis, of Arent Fox Kintner Plotkin & Kahn. The Respondent is Cambridge, Miami, FL (“Respondent”).
The domain name at issue is <instantmessenger.biz>, registered with Iholdings.com, Inc. d/b/a Dotregistrar.com.
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.
James Alan Crary 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 23, 2002; the Forum received a hard copy of the Complaint on April 25, 2002.
On April 25, 2002, a Notification of Complaint and Commencement of Administrative Proceeding (the “Commencement Notification”), setting a deadline of May 15, 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 May 29, 2002, pursuant to STOP Rule 6(b), the Forum appointed James Alan Crary 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 <instantmessenger.biz> domain name is identical to Complainant's INSTANT MESSENGER mark.
Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the <instantmessenger.biz> domain name.
Respondent registered the <instantmessenger.biz> domain name in bad faith.
No Response was received.
Complainant uses its INSTANT MESSENGER mark extensively at its website. Complainant’s INSTANT MESSENGER service is one of the world’s most popular and well-known Internet communications services. Complainant has submitted trademark applications for INSTANT MESSENGER to the United States Patent and Trademark Office on April 1, 1998 and June 4, 1998.
Respondent registered the disputed domain name on March 27, 2002. The Whois record for the domain name states “This Domain is for sale,” as its administrative contact address. The registrant e-mail is listed as “email@example.com.”
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 common law rights to the INSTANT MESSENGER mark because of its continuous and extensive use of the mark. Complainant’s INSTANT MESSENGER mark is identical to the <instantmessenger.biz> domain name.
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”).
Respondent has not come forward with any evidence that it is the owner of a trademark or service mark identical to the <instantmessenger.biz> domain name anywhere in the world. Therefore Respondent has not demonstrated any rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name pursuant to STOP Policy ¶ 4(c)(i). See Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce v. D3M Virtual Reality Inc. & D3M Domain Sales, AF-0336 (eResolution Sept. 23, 2000) (finding no rights or legitimate interests under the UDRP where no such right or interest is immediately apparent to the Panel and Respondent has not come forward to suggest any right or interest it may possess).
It may be inferred, based on Respondent’s WHOIS information that, Respondent registered the disputed domain name with the intent to selling the domain name. Registering a domain name solely for the purpose of selling it is not considered to be a bona fide offering of goods and services pursuant to STOP Policy ¶ 4(c)(ii). See Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Stork, D2000-0628 (WIPO Aug. 11, 2000) (finding Respondent’s conduct purporting to sell domain name suggests it has no legitimate use); see also J. Paul Getty Trust v. Domain 4 Sale & Co., FA 95262 (Nat. Arb. Forum Sept. 7, 2000) (finding rights or legitimate interests do not exist when one has made no use of the websites that are located at the domain names at issue, other than to sell the domain names for profit).
There is no evidence that Respondent is commonly known as INSTANT MESSENGER or <instantmessenger.biz> and based on the fame of Complainant’s mark it can be inferred that Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(c)(iii). See 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>); see also Nike, Inc. v. B. B. de Boer, D2000-1397 (WIPO Dec. 21, 2000) (finding no rights or legitimate interests where one “would be hard pressed to find a person who may show a right or legitimate interest” in a domain name containing Complainant's distinct and famous NIKE trademark).
The Panel finds that STOP Policy ¶ 4(a)(ii) has been satisfied.
It can be inferred, based on Respondent’s WHOIS information, that Respondent registered the domain name with the intent of selling it. The registration of a domain name solely for the purpose of selling it is considered to be bad faith. See American Anti-Vivisection Soc’y v. “Infa dot Net” Web Serv., FA 95685 (Nat. Arb. Forum Nov. 6, 2000) (finding that “general offers to sell the domain name, even if no certain price is demanded, are evidence of bad faith”); see also Wembley Nat’l Stadium Ltd. v. Thomson, D2000-1233 (WIPO Nov. 16, 2000) (finding bad faith based on the apparent willingness of the Respondent to sell the domain name in issue from the outset, albeit not at a price reflecting only the costs of registering and maintaining the name).
Based on the famous nature of Complainant’s INSTANT MESSENGER mark it can be inferred that Respondent was on notice as to Complainant’s rights when it registered the disputed domain name, and therefore Respondent’s registration of the domain name despite this notice is evidence of bad faith. See Samsonite Corp. v. Colony Holding, FA 94313 (Nat. Arb. Forum Apr. 17, 2000) (evidence of bad faith includes actual or constructive knowledge of commonly known mark at the time of registration); see also Victoria's Secret v. Hardin, FA 96694 (Nat Arb. Forum Mar. 31, 2001) (finding that, in light of the notoriety of Complainants' famous marks, Respondent had actual or constructive knowledge of the BODY BY VICTORIA marks at the time she registered the disputed domain name and such knowledge constitutes bad faith).
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 <instantmessenger.biz> be transferred from Respondent to Complainant and subsequent challenges under the STOP Policy against this domain name shall not be permitted.
James Alan Crary, Panelist
Dated: June 4, 2002
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