national arbitration forum





Water Environment Federation v. ACWF

Claim Number: FA0711001109535



Complainant is Water Environment Federation (“Complainant”), represented by James K. Sullivan, 601 Wythe Street, Alexandria, VA 22314.  Respondent is ACWF (“Respondent”), 750 First Street NE Suite 1030, Washington, DC 20002.



The domain names at issue are <>, <>, <>, <> and <> registered with Network Solutions, 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.


James A. Carmody, Esq., as Panelist.



Complainant submitted a Complaint to the National Arbitration Forum electronically on November 15, 2007; the National Arbitration Forum received a hard copy of the Complaint on November 15, 2007.


On November 15, 2007, Network Solutions, Inc. confirmed by e-mail to the National Arbitration Forum that the <>, <>, <>, <> and <> domain names are registered with Network Solutions, Inc. and that Respondent is the current registrant of the names.  Network Solutions, Inc. has verified that Respondent is bound by the Network Solutions, Inc. 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 December 5, 2007, a Notification of Complaint and Commencement of Administrative Proceeding (the "Commencement Notification"), setting a deadline of December 26, 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,,, and by e-mail.


Having received no response from Respondent, the National Arbitration Forum transmitted to the parties a Notification of Respondent Default.


On December 29, 2007, pursuant to Complainant's request to have the dispute decided by a single-member Panel, the National Arbitration Forum appointed James A. Carmody, Esq., 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 names be transferred from Respondent to Complainant.



A.  Complainant makes the following assertions:


1.      Respondent’s <>, <>, <>, <> and <> domain names are identical or confusingly similar to Complainant’s WORLD WATER MONITORING DAY mark.


2.      Respondent does not have any rights or legitimate interests in the <>, <>, <>, <> and <> domain names.


3.      Respondent registered and used the <>, <>, <>, <> and <> domain names in bad faith.


B.  Respondent failed to submit a Response in this proceeding.



Complainant, Water Environment Federation, is an organization which operates World Water Monitoring Day (WWMD), which is an international outreach program that builds public awareness and involvement in protecting worldwide water resources.  Complainant obtained rights in the WORLD WATER MONITORING DAY mark through a grant agreement transferring those rights from America’s Clean Water Foundation to Complainant on July 27, 2006.


Respondent, America’s Clean Water Foundation, is an organization that dissolved in 2006.  Respondent formerly held the rights to the WORLD WATER MONITORING DAY mark and transferred them to Complainant.  Respondent is not currently using the disputed domain names.  Instead, Complainant has used the disputed domain names to operate websites containing information on its World Water Monitoring Day events after being legally granted the disputed domain names in 2006. 


The Grant Agreement (Agreement) was signed by representatives of Complainant and Respondent on July 27, 2006.  The Agreement grants Complainant “. . . all rights, title and interest in and to the Program, including but not limited to copyright, all rights subsumed thereunder, and all other intellectual property rights, including all extensions and renewals thereof.”  In addition, the Agreement further provides delivery of items connected with the program including but not limited to “. . .the ‘’ website . . . and all other related material.”  Finally, the Agreement provides that Respondent “. . . agrees to waive any and all moral rights relating to the Program, including but not limited to, any and all rights of identification of authorship and any and all rights of approval, restriction or limitation on use, and subsequent modifications.”



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.


Outside the Scope of the UDRP: Contractual Business Dispute


The Panel finds that this is a contractual dispute outside the scope of the UDRP.  Complainant and Respondent have signed a contractual business agreement transferring the related rights and material (including the disputed domain names) of this Program from Respondent to Complainant.  The UDRP is narrowly tailored to deal with issues of cybersquatting.  Since Respondent rightfully obtained the disputed domain names during the time they were a functional organization holding the WORLDWIDE WATER MONITORING DAY mark, there is no issue of cybersquatting here.  The issue is whether Respondent breached the contractual Agreement by not transferring the disputed domain names and the appropriate forum for this contractual dispute is with a court.  See Discover New England v. Avanti Group, Inc. FA 123886 (Nat. Arb. Forum Nov. 6, 2002) (finding the dispute outside the scope of the UDRP because the dispute centered on the interpretation of contractual language and whether or not a breach occurred);  see also, LLC v. Poploff, D2000-1470 (WIPO Jan. 5, 2001) (refusing to transfer the domain name and stating that the ICANN Policy does not apply because attempting “to shoehorn what is essentially a business dispute between former partners into a proceeding to adjudicate cybersquatting is, at its core, misguided, if not a misuse of the Policy”).  Therefore, the Panel denies Complainant’s requested relief and Complainant is free to bring this contractual dispute before a court. 



Having found that this contractual dispute is outside the scope of the UDRP, the Panel concludes that relief shall be DENIED.



James A. Carmody, Esq., Panelist

Dated:  January 9, 2008



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