Zappos.com, Inc. v. Craig Pratka
Claim Number: FA0712001120105
Complainant is Zapos.com, Inc. (“Complainant”), represented by Sean
F. Heneghan, 31 Reading Hill Avenue, Melrose, MA, 02176. Respondent is Craig Pratka (“Respondent”),
REGISTRAR AND DISPUTED DOMAIN NAME
The domain name at issue is <zapoos.com>, registered with Moniker Online Services, Inc.
The undersigned certifies that she has acted independently and impartially and that to the best of her knowledge she has no known conflict in serving as Panelist in this proceeding. Hon. Carolyn Marks Johnson sits as Panelist.
Complainant submitted a Complaint to the National Arbitration Forum electronically December 17, 2007; the National Arbitration Forum received a hard copy of the Complaint December 20, 2007.
On December 21, 2007, Moniker Online Services, Inc. confirmed by e-mail to the National Arbitration Forum that the <zapoos.com> domain name is registered with Moniker Online Services, Inc. and that Respondent is the current registrant of the name. Moniker Online Services, Inc. verified that Respondent is bound by the Moniker Online Services, Inc. registration agreement and thereby has 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 28, 2007, a Notification of Complaint and Commencement of Administrative Proceeding (the "Commencement Notification"), setting a deadline of January 17, 2008, 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 January 23, 2008, pursuant to Complainant's request to have the dispute decided by a single-member Panel, the National Arbitration Forum appointed Hon. Carolyn Marks Johnson as Panelist.
Having reviewed the communications records, the Administrative Panel (the "Panel") finds that the National Arbitration Forum 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. The domain name that Respondent registered, <zapoos.com>, is confusingly similar to Complainant’s ZAPPOS mark.
2. Respondent has no rights to or legitimate interests in the <zapoos.com> domain name.
3. Respondent registered and used the <zapoos.com> domain name in bad faith.
B. Respondent failed to submit a Response in this proceeding.
Complainant, Zappos.com, Inc., is one of most successful retail services on the Internet. Complainant offers a wide-range of dress, casual and athletic shoes for both men and women. In addition to shoes, Complainant sells brand name apparel and accessories. Complainant owns several registrations for the ZAPPOS mark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) (i.e. Reg. No. 2,867,708 issued July 27, 2004).
Respondent registered the <zapoos.com> domain name January 19, 2007. Respondent’s disputed domain name resolves to a website containing third-party links to websites in direct competition with 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 will draw such inferences as the Panel 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 Complainant to 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 established with extrinsic proof in this proceeding that it has rights in the ZAPPOS mark pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(a)(i) through registration of the mark with the USPTO. 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.”).
Complainant contends that Respondent’s <zapoos.com> domain name is confusingly similar to Complainant’s
ZAPPOS mark. Respondent’s domain name
contains a misspelling by only one letter and adds the generic top-level domain
(“gTLD”) “.com.” The Panel finds that a
domain name which differs by one letter from a trademark is confusingly similar
pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(a)(i). See Belkin Components v.
Gallant, FA 97075 (Nat. Arb. Forum May 29, 2001) (finding the
<belken.com> domain name confusingly similar to the complainant's BELKIN
mark because the name merely replaced the letter “i” in the complainant's mark
with the letter “e”); see also State
Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co. v. Try Harder &
The Panel finds that Complainant satisfied Policy ¶ 4(a)(i).
Complainant contends that Respondent lacks all rights and legitimate interests in the <zapoos.com> domain name. Once Complainant makes a prima facie case in support of its allegations, the burden shifts to Respondent to prove that it does have rights or legitimate interests pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(a)(ii). The Panel finds in this case that Complainant established a prima facie case. See G.D. Searle v. Martin Mktg., FA 118277 (Nat. Arb. Forum Oct. 1, 2002) (“Because Complainant’s Submission constitutes a prima facie case under the Policy, the burden effectively shifts to Respondent. Respondent’s failure to respond means that Respondent has not presented any circumstances that would promote its rights or legitimate interests in the subject domain name under Policy ¶ 4(a)(ii).”); see also Do The Hustle, LLC v. Tropic Web, D2000-0624 (WIPO Aug. 21, 2000) (holding that, where the complainant has asserted that the respondent has no rights or legitimate interests with respect to the domain name, it is incumbent on the respondent to come forward with concrete evidence rebutting this assertion because this information is “uniquely within the knowledge and control of the respondent”).
Given Respondent’s failure to respond to the Complaint, the Panel assumes that Respondent has no rights to or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. See Desotec N.V. v. Jacobi Carbons AB, D2000-1398 (WIPO Dec. 21, 2000) (finding that failing to respond allows a presumption that the complainant’s allegations are true unless clearly contradicted by the evidence); see also Talk City, Inc. v. Robertson, D2000-0009 (WIPO Feb. 29, 2000) (“Given Respondent’s failure to submit a substantive answer in a timely fashion, the Panel accepts as true all of the allegations of the complaint.”). However, the Panel chooses to examine the evidence on record against the applicable Policy ¶ 4(c) elements before making a final determination with regards to Respondent’s rights and legitimate interests.
Complainant contends that Respondent is neither commonly known by the <zapoos.com> domain name nor licensed to register domain names using the ZAPPOS mark. The Panel finds that without evidence suggesting otherwise, Respondent has not established rights or legitimate interests in the <zapoos.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).
Complainant contends that Respondent is using the <zapoos.com> domain name to attract Internet users to the associated website containing various links to competitors. The Panel finds that intentionally diverting Internet users to a competing website by using a domain name, which is confusingly similar to a complainant’s mark, is neither a bona fide offering of goods and services pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(c)(i) nor a legitimate noncommercial or fair use pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(c)(iii). See Glaxo Group Ltd. v. WWW Zban, FA 203164 (Nat. Arb. Forum Dec. 1, 2003) (finding that the respondent was not using the domain name within the parameters of Policy ¶ 4(c)(i) or (iii) because the respondent used the domain name to take advantage of the complainant's mark by diverting Internet users to a competing commercial site); see also Or. State Bar v. A Special Day, Inc., FA 99657 (Nat. Arb. Forum Dec. 4, 2001) (“Respondent's advertising of legal services and sale of law-related books under Complainant's name is not a bona fide offering of goods and services because Respondent is using a mark confusingly similar to the Complainant's to sell competing goods.”).
The Panel finds that Complainant satisfied Policy ¶ 4(a)(ii).
Complainant contends that Respondent is using the <zapoos.com> domain name in order to intentionally attract Internet users to its website by creating a likelihood of confusion with Complainant’s ZAPPOS mark and offering third-party links to competitor’s websites. The Panel infers that Respondent receives click-through fees for diverting Internet users to these websites. Therefore, pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(b)(iv), the Panel finds such use of the disputed domain name constitutes bad faith registration and use. See Associated Newspapers Ltd. v. Domain Manager, FA 201976 (Nat. Arb. Forum Nov. 19, 2003) (“Respondent's prior use of the <mailonsunday.com> domain name is evidence of bad faith pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(b)(iv) because the domain name provided links to Complainant's competitors and Respondent presumably commercially benefited from the misleading domain name by receiving ‘click-through-fees.’”); see also Drs. Foster & Smith, Inc. v. Lalli, FA 95284 (Nat. Arb. Forum Aug. 21, 2000) (finding bad faith where the respondent directed Internet users seeking the complainant’s site to its own website for commercial gain).
In addition, Respondent’s use of the <zapoos.com> domain name to directly compete with Complainant is further evidence of bad faith. The Panel finds that a registered domain name used primarily to disrupt the business of a competitor demonstrates bad faith regitration and use pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(b)(iii). See 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); see also EthnicGrocer.com, Inc. v. Latingrocer.com, FA 94384 (Nat. Arb. Forum July 7, 2000) (finding bad faith where the respondent’s sites pass users through to the respondent’s competing business).
The Panel finds that Complainant satisfied Policy ¶ 4(a)(iii).
Having established all three elements required under the ICANN Policy, the Panel concludes that relief shall be GRANTED.
Accordingly, it is Ordered that the <zapoos.com> domain name be TRANSFERRED from Respondent to Complainant.
Hon. Carolyn Marks Johnson, Panelist
Dated: February 6, 2008
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