Colorado Mountain Junior College District v.
Claim Number: FA0711001108530
Complainant is Colorado Mountain Junior College District (“Complainant”), represented by Julie
S. Hanson, of Beattie Chadwick & Houpt LLP,
REGISTRAR AND DISPUTED DOMAIN NAME
The domain name at issue is <coloradomountaincollege.com>, registered with Intercosmos Media Group, Inc. d/b/a Directnic.com.
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 November 28, 2007, a Notification of Complaint and Commencement of Administrative Proceeding (the "Commencement Notification"), setting a deadline of December 18, 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.
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:
domain name is identical to Complainant’s
2. Respondent does not have any rights or legitimate interests in the <coloradomountaincollege.com> domain name.
3. Respondent registered and used the <coloradomountaincollege.com> domain name in bad faith.
B. Respondent failed to submit a Response in this proceeding.
Complainant, Colorado Mountain Junior College District, is a
public junior college district that is separate from the
registered the <coloradomountaincollege.com>
domain name on
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.
To assert rights in a mark, Complainant need not demonstrate
Complainant asserts sufficient evidence to establish common law rights in the mark to grant standing under the UDRP pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(a)(i). Complainant alleges that the mark has become distinct due to its usage in connection with Complainant’s educational and related services for almost forty years. The Panel thus finds that Complainant’s use of the mark, in connection with its USPTO registration, adequately establishes its rights for the purposes of Policy ¶ 4(a)(i) dating back to before the registration of the disputed domain name. See also Keppel TatLee Bank v. Taylor, D2001-0168 (WIPO Mar. 28, 2001) (“[O]n account of long and substantial use of [KEPPEL BANK] in connection with its banking business, it has acquired rights under the common law.”); see also Tuxedos By Rose v. Nunez, FA 95248 (Nat. Arb. Forum Aug. 17, 2000) (finding common law rights in a mark where its use was continuous and ongoing, and secondary meaning was established); see also Fishtech, Inc. v. Rossiter, FA 92976 (Nat. Arb. Forum Mar. 10, 2000) (finding that the complainant has common law rights in the mark FISHTECH that it has used since 1982).
Respondent’s <coloradomountaincollege.com> domain name is identical to Complainant’s COLORADO MOUNTAIN COLLEGE MARK under Policy ¶ 4(a)(i), as the addition of the generic top-level domain “.com” is irrelevant to such an analysis. 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 Isleworth Land Co. v. Lost in Space, SA, FA 117330 (Nat. Arb. Forum Sept. 27, 2002) ( “[I]t is a well established principle that generic top-level domains are irrelevant when conducting a Policy ¶ 4(a)(i) analysis.”).
The Panel finds that Policy ¶ 4(a)(i) has been satisfied.
Complainant alleges that Respondent lacks rights and legitimate interests in the <coloradomountaincollege.com> domain name. Complainant has set forth a sufficient prima facie case, thus the burden shifts to Respondent to prove that it has rights or legitimate interests under Policy ¶ 4(a)(ii). See 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); see also 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.”).
Respondent’s failure to respond to the Complaint allows the Panel to infer that Respondent lacks rights or legitimate interests in the <coloradomountaincollege.com> domain name. See Broadcom Corp. v. Ibecom PLC, FA 361190 (Nat. Arb. Forum Dec. 22, 2004) (“Respondent’s failure to respond to the Complaint functions as an implicit admission that [Respondent] lacks rights and legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. It also allows the Panel to accept all reasonable allegations set forth…as true.”); see also Wild West Domains, Inc. v. Jung, D2004-0243 (WIPO May 18, 2004) (“It can be inferred that by defaulting Respondent showed nothing else but an absolute lack of interest in the Domain Name . . . . It is incumbent on Respondent to contribute to the fact-finding and if contrary to that, it rather incurs in default, there is nothing that the Panel could do to discuss in its benefit.”). However, the Panel will examine all evidence in the record to determine if Respondent does have rights or legitimate interests pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(c).
Respondent’s use of the <coloradomountaincollege.com> domain name diverts Internet users to Respondent’s website which features links to websites containing educational courses and programs in direct competition with Complainant. Respondent presumably earns referral fees from advertisers listed on Respondent’s website. Respondent’s use fails to constitute a bona fide offering of goods or services under Policy ¶ 4(c)(i), or a legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the domain name under Policy ¶ 4(c)(iii). See eBay Inc. v. Hong, D2000-1633 (WIPO Jan. 18, 2001) (stating that the respondent’s use of the complainant’s entire mark in domain names makes it difficult to infer a legitimate use); see also Yahoo! Inc. v. Web Master, FA 127717 (Nat. Arb. Forum Nov. 27, 2002) (finding that the respondent’s use of a confusingly similar domain name to operate a pay-per-click search engine, in competition with the complainant, 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).
Respondent offers no evidence to support any inference that Respondent is known by the <coloradomountaincollege.com> domain name, nor that Respondent has acquired a license to use Complainant’s mark. Respondent has therefore failed to establish rights or legitimate interests in the <coloradomountaincollege.com> domain name under Policy ¶ 4(c)(ii). See G.D. Searle & Co. v. Cimock, FA 126829 (Nat. Arb. Forum Nov. 13, 2003) (“Due to the fame of Complainant’s mark there must be strong evidence that Respondent is commonly known by the disputed domain name in order to find that Respondent has rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(c)(ii). However, there is no evidence on record, and Respondent has not come forward with any proof to establish that it is commonly known as CELEBREXRX or <celebrexrx.com>.”); see also Ian Schrager Hotels, L.L.C. v. Taylor, FA 173369 (Nat. Arb. Forum Sept. 25, 2003) (finding that without demonstrable evidence to support the assertion that a respondent is commonly known by a domain name, the assertion must be rejected); see also Compagnie de Saint Gobain v. Com-Union Corp., D2000-0020 (WIPO Mar. 14, 2000) (finding no rights or legitimate interest where the respondent was not commonly known by the mark and never applied for a license or permission from the complainant to use the trademarked name).
The Panel finds that Policy ¶ 4(a)(ii) has been satisfied.
Respondent registered the <coloradomountaincollege.com> domain name to attempt to earn commercial gain by attracting Internet users to Respondent’s website. Respondent’s offering of links to educational websites unrelated to Complainant’s educational services constitutes a competitive disruption of Complainant’s business under Policy ¶ 4(b)(iii). See Tribeca Film Ctr., Inc. v. Brusasco-Mackenzie, D2000-1772 (WIPO Apr. 10, 2001) (rejecting the Mission KwaSizabantu approach and holding that “a respondent can ‘disrupt the business of a competitor’ only if it offers goods or services that can compete with or rival the goods or services offered by the trademark owner”); see also S. Exposure v. S. Exposure, Inc., FA 94864 (Nat. Arb. Forum July 18, 2000) (finding that the respondent registered the domain name in question to disrupt the business of the complainant, a competitor of the respondent).
Respondent’s use of Complainant’s mark in its <coloradomountaincollege.com> domain name creates a likelihood of confusion regarding affiliation, endorsement, or sponsorship for Internet users searching for Complainant’s educational and related services. Given that Respondent commercially benefits from advertisers’ referral fees due to its use of the disputed domain name, the Panel concludes that Respondent has registered the website in bad faith. See MathForum.com, LLC v. Weiguang Huang, D2000-0743 (WIPO Aug. 17, 2000) (finding bad faith under Policy ¶ 4(b)(iv) where the respondent registered a domain name confusingly similar to the complainant’s mark and the domain name was used to host a commercial website that offered similar services offered by the complainant under its mark); see also Perot Sys. Corp. v. Perot.net, FA 95312 (Nat. Arb. Forum Aug. 29, 2000) (finding bad faith where the domain name in question is obviously connected with the complainant’s well-known marks, thus creating a likelihood of confusion strictly for commercial gain); see also Identigene, Inc. v. Genetest Labs., D2000-1100 (WIPO Nov. 30, 2000) (finding bad faith where the respondent's use of the domain name at issue to resolve to a website where similar services are offered to Internet users is likely to confuse the user into believing that the complainant is the source of or is sponsoring the services offered at the site).
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 <coloradomountaincollege.com> domain name be TRANSFERRED from Respondent to Complainant.
Honorable Paul A. Dorf (Ret.), Panelist
Dated: January 7, 2008
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