RGB Spectrum v. RGB Vídeo-instal.lacinons S.A.
Claim Number: FA0204000112463
Complainant is RGB Spectrum, Alameda, CA, USA (“Complainant”). Respondent is RGB Video-instal.lacinons S.A., Barcelona, SPAIN (“Respondent”).
The domain name at issue is <rgb.biz>, registered with Nominalia Internet SL.
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 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 6, 2002, a Notification of Complaint and Commencement of Administrative Proceeding (the “Commencement Notification”), setting a deadline of May 28, 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 24, 2002, pursuant to STOP Rule 6(b), the Forum appointed James A. Carmody, Esq., 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.
1. Respondent’s <rgb.biz> domain name is identical to Complainant’s RGB mark.
2. Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the <rgb.biz> domain name.
3. Respondent registered the <rgb.biz> domain name in bad faith.
B. Respondent failed to submit a Response.
Complainant is the owner of U.S. Trademark Reg. No. 1,702,902 issued July 28, 1992 for the initials RGB in a logo. Complainant has been involved in the development and sale of audio-video products internationally since 1988, including the sale of such products in Respondent’s country, Spain. During this time Complainant has maintained an international sales presence with advertising and trade shows promoted under the RGB mark. Complainant has operated from the <rgb.com> domain name since 1995.
Respondent registered <rgb.biz> on March 27, 2002. Respondent is an audio-visual company that sells equipment and similar products as Complainant. Respondent has been using the disputed domain in connection with a website that showcases audio-visual products on its website.
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 that it has rights in the RGB mark through registration with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and subsequent continuous use of the mark. Respondent’s <rgb.biz> domain name is identical to Complainant’s RGB mark in form and spelling.
Accordingly, the Panel finds that STOP Policy ¶4(a)(i) has been satisfied.
Respondent has failed to come forward with a Response. Therefore, it is presumed that Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. See Pavillion Agency, Inc. v. Greenhouse Agency Ltd., D2000-1221 (WIPO Dec. 4, 2000) (finding that Respondents’ failure to respond can be construed as an admission that they have no legitimate interest in the domain names). Furthermore, when Respondent fails to submit a Response the Panel is permitted to make all inferences in favor of Complainant. See Vertical Solutions Mgmt., Inc. v. Webnet-Marketing, inc., FA 95095 (Nat. Arb. Forum July 31, 2000) (failure to respond allows all reasonable inferences of fact in the allegations of Complainant to be deemed true).
Respondent has not come forward to proffer any evidence that it has rights in the RGB mark anywhere in the world. Therefore, Respondent has not established rights or legitimate interests in the <rgb.biz> domain name under 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).
Respondent is using the disputed domain name identical to Complainant’s mark to divert Internet users interested in Complainant’s products and services to Respondent’s competing website. Respondent’s unauthorized use of the goodwill associated with Complainant’s mark to sell competing products is illegitimate and does not constitute a bona fide offering of goods or services under STOP Policy ¶ 4(c)(ii). See 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)”); see also Chip Merch., Inc. v. Blue Star Elec., D2000-0474 (WIPO Aug. 21, 2000) (finding that the disputed domain names were confusingly similar to Complainant’s mark and that Respondent’s use of the domain names to sell competing goods was illegitimate and not a bona fide offering of goods).
There is no evidence on the record, nor has Respondent come forward to establish that it is commonly known by the <rgb.biz> domain name pursuant to STOP Policy ¶ 4(c)(iii). Respondent is not a licensee or authorized agent of Complainant. See Broadcom Corp. v. Intellifone Corp., FA 96356 (Nat. Arb. Forum Feb. 5, 2001) (finding no rights or legitimate interests because Respondent is not commonly known by the disputed domain name or using the domain name in connection with a legitimate or fair use); see also Compagnie de Saint Gobain v. Com-Union Corp., D2000-0020 (WIPO Mar. 14, 2000) (finding no rights or legitimate interest where Respondent was not commonly known by the mark and never applied for a license or permission from Complainant to use the trademarked name).
The Panel finds that STOP Policy ¶4(a)(ii) has been satisfied.
There are unrefuted circumstances indicating that Respondent registered the domain name primarily for the purpose of disrupting the business of Complainant, a competitor offering similar products and services. As previously stated, Respondent’s website sells equipment and products similar to Complainant’s. Respondent’s registration and use of the disputed domain name represent bad faith under STOP Policy ¶ 4(b)(iii). Internet users will likely believe there is an affiliation between Respondent’s website and Complainant’s mark. Respondent commercially benefits from the confusion it generates. See S. Exposure v. S. Exposure, Inc., FA 94864 (Nat. Arb. Forum July 18, 2000) (finding that Respondent registered the domain name in question to disrupt the business of Complainant, a competitor of Respondent); see also Surface Prot. Indus., Inc. v. Webposters, D2000-1613 (WIPO Feb. 5, 2001) (finding that, given the competitive relationship between Complainant and Respondent, Respondent likely registered the contested domain name with the intent to disrupt Complainant's business and create user confusion).
Furthermore, Respondent’s registration of a mark identical to Complainant’s exhibits opportunistic bad faith under STOP Policy ¶ 4(b)(iv). Respondent is attempting to commercially benefit by ensnaring Internet users in search of Complainant’s products and services. Confusion among users is even more likely because Respondent is offering nearly identical products as Complainant. See 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); see also State Fair of Texas v. Granbury.com, FA 95288 (Nat. Arb. Forum Sept. 12, 2000) (finding bad faith where Respondent registered the domain name <bigtex.net> to infringe on Complainant’s goodwill and attract Internet users to Respondent’s website).
The Panel finds that STOP Policy ¶ 4(a)(iii) has been satisfied.
Having established all three elements required under the STOP Policy, the Panel concludes that relief shall be hereby GRANTED.
Accordingly, it is Ordered that the domain name <rgb.biz> be TRANSFERRED from Respondent to Complainant and that subsequent challenges under the STOP Policy against this domain SHALL NOT be permitted.
James A. Carmody, Esq., Panelist
Dated: June 27, 2002
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