Spherion Corporation v. Domain Services Rotterdam
Claim Number: FA0204000112456
Complainant is Spherion Corporation, Ft. Lauderdale, FL, USA (“Complainant”) represented by Rochelle M Ammiano. Respondent is Domain Services Rotterdam, Rotterdam, NETHERLANDS (“Respondent”).
The domain name at issue is <interim.biz>, 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. 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 26, 2002; the Forum received a hard copy of the Complaint on April 27, 2002.
On May 3, 2002, a Notification of Complaint and Commencement of Administrative Proceeding (the “Commencement Notification”), setting a deadline of May 23, 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 8, 2002, pursuant to STOP Rule 6(b), the Forum appointed James A. 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 <interim.biz> domain name is identical to Complainant's INTERIM mark.
Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the <interim.biz> domain name.
Respondent registered the <interim.biz> domain name in bad faith.
Respondent failed to respond.
Complainant holds a service mark for INTERIM registered on the Principal Register of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (Reg. No. 1.763,176). Complainant has used its INTERIM mark since 1976.
Respondent registered the disputed domain name on March 27, 2002. Respondent is not licensed by Complainant to use the INTERIM mark. Complainant’s investigation has found no evidence that Respondent owns a trademark or service mark for INTERIM or <interim.biz>.
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 in the INTERIM mark through registration on the Principal Register of the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Respondent’s <interim.biz> domain name is identical to Complainant’s INTERIM mark.
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”).
Complainant has established that it has rights to the INTERIM mark. Respondent has not come forward, and there is no evidence on record that proves that Respondent owns any trademark or service marks for INTERIM or <interim.biz>. Therefore Respondent has not established that it has any rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name pursuant to STOP Policy ¶ 4(c)(i). 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).
Due to Complainant’s longstanding use of the INTERIM mark, any use by Respondent of the <interim.biz> domain name will cause Internet users to be confused as to the source and sponsorship of the domain name. As a result, Respondent’s intended use of the disputed domain name is not considered to be a bona fide offering of goods or services pursuant to STOP Policy ¶ 4(c)(ii). See William L. Lyon & Assocs., Inc. v. Yata, FA 103043 (Nat. Arb. Forum March 21, 2002) (finding the Respondent’s “intent to trade [on] the goodwill of Complainant’s mark, by attracting Internet users confused as to the likely affiliation between Complainant and Respondent’s website” indicated the Respondent had no rights or legitimate interests pursuant to STOP Policy ¶ 4(c)(ii)); see also Credit Suisse Group o/b/o Winterthur Ins. Co. v. Pal-Ex Kft, FA 102971 (Nat. Arb. Forum Feb. 25, 2002) (“The use of another's trademark to attract users to Respondent's domain is not considered to be a bona fide offering of goods or services pursuant to STOP Policy ¶ 4(c)(ii)”).
There is no evidence, and Respondent has not come forward to establish that it is commonly known as INTERIM or <interim.biz>. Therefore Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name pursuant to STOP Policy ¶4(c)(iii). See CBS Broadcasting, Inc. v. LA-Twilight-Zone, D2000-0397 (WIPO June 19, 2000) (finding that Respondent has failed to demonstrate any rights or legitimate interests in the <twilight-zone.net> domain name since Complainant had been using the TWILIGHT ZONE mark since 1959); see also 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.
Based on the fact that Complainant’s mark is registered on the Principal Register of the United States Patent and Trademark Office and the nature of the STOP IP claim procedure, Respondent was on notice as to Complainant’s rights in the INTERIM mark when it registered <interim.biz>. Registration of the domain name, despite this notice, is evidence of bad faith registration. See Gene Logic Inc. v. Bock, FA 103042 (Nat. Arb. Forum Mar. 4, 2002) (finding that the unique nature of the STOP Policy and the notice given to Respondent regarding existing IP Claims identical to its chosen domain name precluded good faith registration of <genelogic.biz> when Respondent registered it with “full knowledge that his intended business use of this domain name was in direct conflict with a registered trademark of a known competitor in exactly the same field of business”); see also Gehl Co. v. Gehl, FA 102816 (Nat. Arb. Forum Jan. 30, 2002) (finding that the “long standing use and historic nature” of the Complainant’s GEHL mark put the Respondent on notice as to the existence of the mark, thereby making Respondent aware that it was infringing upon Complainant’s rights).
Furthermore, any use of the disputed domain name by Respondent will cause a likelihood of confusion as to the source, sponsorship and affiliation of the disputed domain name. It can be inferred that Respondent will use this confusion to its commercial advantage, and attract Complainant’s customers to Respondent’s website for its own commercial gain. This is evidence of bad faith use pursuant to STOP Policy ¶ 4(b)(iv). See Fluor Corp. v. Song, FA 102757 (Nat. Arb. Forum Jan. 31, 2002) (finding that, where the Respondent’s <fluor.biz> domain name was identical to the Complainant’s FLUOR mark, Internet users would likely believe an affiliation between the Respondent and Complainant); see also Pillsbury Co. v. Prebaked Scandinavia ab, FA 102970 (Nat. Arb. Forum Jan. 31, 2002) (finding registration of a domain name identical to Complainant’s mark to be in bad faith under STOP Policy ¶ 4(b)(iv) when use of the domain name would likely cause confusion as to the affiliation between Respondent and Complainant).
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 <interim.biz> be transferred from Respondent to Complainant and subsequent challenges under the STOP Policy against this domain name shall not be permitted.
James A. Crary, Panelist
Dated June 15, 2002
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