NCR Corporation v. Swarthmore Associates LLC
Claim Number: FA0204000112462
Complainant is NCR Corporation, Dayton, OH ( “Complainant “) represented by Paul Martin. Respondent is Swarthmore Associates LLC, Pacific Palisades, AL (“Respondent”).
The domain name at issue is <ncr.biz>, registered with PSI-Japan, 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 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 6, 2002, pursuant to STOP Rule 6(b), the Forum appointed Hon. Carolyn Marks Johnson 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.
Complainant seeks transfer of the domain name from Respondent to Complainant.
A. Complainant makes the following allegations:
The <ncr.biz> domain name is identical to Complainant's NCR mark. Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the <ncr.biz> domain name. Respondent registered the <ncr.biz> domain name in bad faith.
B. Respondent failed to submit a Response in this proceeding.
Complainant registered its NCR mark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office as Registration Numbers 148,174; 366,404; 368,485 and 744,221, among others. These trademarks are in relation to automatic banking machines, periodicals, computer hardware, business equipment, paper and inkpads. Complainant has held a trademark for NCR since 1921. Complainant also holds registrations for <ncr.com> and <ncr.info>.
Respondent registered the disputed domain name on March 27, 2002. Respondent is not licensed by Complainant to use the NCR mark. Complainant’s investigation found no evidence of any trademarks or service marks owned by Respondent for NCR.
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 Complainant's undisputed representations pursuant to paragraphs 5(e), 14(a) and 15(a) of the STOP Rules and shall infer such findings as it considers appropriate pursuant to paragraph 14(b) of the STOP Rules.
Paragraph 4(a) of the STOP Policy requires that 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 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 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 Complainant asserts rights.
Complainant established in this proceeding that it has rights to NCR through its numerous trademark and service mark registrations with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. The Respondent’s domain name <ncr.biz> domain name is identical to Complainant’s NCR 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”).
No evidence in the record suggests that Respondent owns a trademark or service mark for NCR or <ncr.biz> and Respondent has not come forward to present any such evidence. Therefore Respondent has not established that it has 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 Respondent had no trademark or service marks identical to <grammy.biz> and therefore had no rights or legitimate interests in the domain name).
It can be inferred that Respondent's planned use of a domain name identical to Complainant's mark is to divert Internet users interested in Complainant’s services to Respondent's website. The intended use of a domain name identical to Complainant's mark to divert Internet users to Respondent's website is not considered 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 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)”).
No evidence in the record suggests and Respondent has not come forward to establish evidence to show that Respondent is commonly known by the <ncr.biz> domain name pursuant to STOP Policy ¶ 4(c)(iii). See Great S. Wood Pres., Inc. v. TFA Assocs., FA 95169 (Nat. Arb. Forum Aug. 5, 2000) (finding that Respondent was not commonly known by the domain name <greatsouthernwood.com> where Respondent linked the domain name to <bestoftheweb.com>); see also 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).
The Panel finds that STOP Policy ¶ 4(a)(ii) has been satisfied.
It can be inferred, based on the fact that Complainant is already present on the Internet and based on the fact that Respondent has no rights in the NCR mark, that Respondent registered the disputed domain name in order to prevent Complainant from reflecting its mark in another corresponding domain name. This is evidence of bad faith registration and use pursuant to STOP Policy ¶ 4(b)(ii). See Peachtree Software v. Scarponi, FA 102781 (Nat. Arb. Forum Jan. 23, 2002) (finding bad faith under STOP Policy ¶ 4(b)(ii), noting that it was reasonable to conclude that Respondent registered <peachtree.biz> with the intent to prevent Complainant from reflecting its PEACHTREE mark in a corresponding domain name, given Respondent's knowledge of Complainant's mark and Respondent's lack of rights or interests in the mark).
Furthermore, it can be inferred that Respondent registered the disputed domain name in order to attempt to benefit from Complainant’s goodwill by creating a likelihood of confusion as to the source, sponsorship and affiliation of Respondent’s website at <ncr.biz>. 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 that an affiliation existed between 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 an 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 <ncr.biz> be transferred from Respondent to Complainant and subsequent challenges under the STOP Policy against this domain name shall not be permitted.
Hon. Carolyn Marks Johnson, Panelist
Dated: June 20, 2002.
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