Sterling Jewelers Inc. v. Kwok Lung Man
Claim Number: FA0204000110807
Complainant is Sterling Jewelers Inc., Akron, OH, USA (“Complainant”) represented by Larry J Gradisher. Respondent is Kwok Lung Man, Victoria, BC, CANADA (“Respondent”).
The domain name at issue is <kay.biz>, registered with Tucows, Inc.
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.
Judge Harold Kalina (Ret.) 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 24, 2002; the Forum received a hard copy of the Complaint on April 24, 2002.
On May 6, 2002, a Notification of Complaint and Commencement of Administrative Proceeding (the “Commencement Notification”), setting a deadline of May 28, 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 25, 2002, pursuant to STOP Rule 6(b), the Forum appointed Judge Harold Kalina (Ret.) 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 domain name <kay.biz> is identical to Complainant’s KAY mark.
Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the <kay.biz> domain name.
Respondent registered the <kay.biz> domain name in bad faith.
Respondent failed to submit a Response in this proceeding.
Complainant is the owner of the following U.S. Service/Trademark Registrations: KAY (U.S. Reg. No. 748,204); KAY (U.S. Reg. No. 2,047,920); and KAY JEWELERS (U.S. Reg. No. 2,222,703). Complainant has consistently used KAY and KAY JEWELERS for many years in connection with jewelry store services.
Respondent registered the <kay.biz> domain name on March 27, 2002 and has made no apparent use of it.
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 its rights to the KAY mark through registration with the United States Patent and Trademark Office and subsequent continuous use. Respondent’s <kay.biz> domain name incorporates Complainant’s entire KAY mark with nothing more than the generic top-level domain “.biz.” Therefore, Respondent’s domain name is identical to Complainant’s KAY mark.
The Panel finds that STOP Policy ¶ 4(a)(i) has been satisfied.
The Panel may presume Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the <kay.biz> domain name because Respondent has not submitted a Response in this proceeding. 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 Vertical Solutions Mgmt., Inc. v. Webnet-Marketing, Inc., FA 95095 (Nat. Arb. Forum July 31, 2000) (failure to respond allows all reasonable inferences of fact in the allegations of Complainant to be deemed true).
Respondent has provided no evidence of ownership rights in a trade or service mark that is identical to <kay.biz> pursuant to STOP Policy ¶ 4(c)(i), nor that it has used or shown demonstrable preparations to use <kay.biz> in connection with a bona fide offering of goods and services pursuant to STOP Policy ¶ 4(c)(ii). As such, the Panel finds that no such rights or legitimate interests exist. 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); see also Woolworths plc. v. Anderson, D2000-1113 (WIPO Oct. 10, 2000) (finding that absent evidence of preparation to use the domain name for a legitimate purpose, the burden of proof lies with the Respondent to demonstrate that it has rights or legitimate interests); see also Gene Logic Inc. v. Bock, FA 103042 (Nat. Arb. Forum Mar. 4, 2002) (finding that in order to show rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name Respondent must establish with valid evidence “a course of business under the name, or at least significant preparation for use of the name prior to learning of the possibility of a conflict” with an IP Claimant).
Complainant’s investigations did not uncover any evidence of prior use of the name KAY by the Respondent. Respondent is not commonly known as KAY or <kay.biz> and is only known to this Panel as Kwok Lung Man. Therefore, STOP Policy ¶ 4(c)(iii) has not been satisfied. See Gallup Inc. v. Amish Country Store, FA 96209 (Nat. Arb. Forum Jan. 23, 2001) (finding that Respondent does not have rights in domain name when Respondent is not known by the mark).
The Panel finds that STOP Policy ¶ 4(a)(ii) has been satisfied, and that Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name.
The Panel finds that STOP Policy ¶ 4(a)(iii) has been satisfied.
Having established all three elements required under the STOP Policy, the Panel concludes that relief shall be hereby granted.
Accordingly, it is Ordered that the <kay.biz> domain name be transferred from Respondent to Complainant, and that subsequent challenges under the STOP Policy against this domain name shall not be permitted.
Judge Harold Kalina (Ret.), Panelist
Dated: June 27, 2002
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