Broadcom Corporation v. Broadcom GmbH
Claim Number: FA0204000112592
Complainant is Broadcom Corporation, Irvine, CA, USA (“Complainant”) represented by Gary J. Nelson, of Christie, Parker & Hale LLP. Respondent is Broadcom GmbH, Industriegebiet Brandweihe, GERMANY (“Respondent”) represented by Michael Duessel.
The domain name at issue is <broadcom.biz>, registered with Schlund + Partner AG.
The undersigned certifies that she has acted independently and impartially and to the best of her knowledge, has no known conflict in serving as Panelist in this proceeding.
Anne M. Wallace, Q.C., 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 27, 2002; the Forum received a hard copy of the Complaint on May 1, 2002.
On May 2, 2002, a Notification of Complaint and Commencement of Administrative Proceeding (the “Commencement Notification”), setting a deadline of May 22, 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”).
A timely Response was received and determined to be complete on May 21, 2002.
Complainant’s Additional Submission was timely received and determined to be complete on May 29, 2002.
On June 20, 2002, pursuant to STOP Rule 6(b), the Forum appointed Anne M. Wallace, Q.C. as the single Panelist.
In addition to submissions referred to, the Panelist made certain rulings referred to in this decision which rulings resulted in some further representations by both parties. These will be discussed below under Parties’ Contentions.
Transfer of the domain name from Respondent to Complainant.
Complainant has three registered United States trademarks and five United States trade mark applications pending for the trademark BROADCOM. Complainant also has European Union registrations for the BROADCOM trademark. Date of first use of the BROADCOM trademark in the United States was November 1994. Complainant is in the business of providing integrated circuits, computer hardware and software in the field of digital broadband communications. Complainant develops and supplies integrated circuits for a number of the most significant broadband communications markets, including the markets for cable set-top boxes, cable modems, high-speed local, metropolitan and wide area networks, home networking, Voice-over Internet Protocol, residential broadband gateways, direct broadcast satellite and terrestrial digital broadcast, optical networking, digital subscriber lines and wireless communications. Complainant reports that its revenue for the year ending 2001 was $961,800,000. All of Complainant’s products and services are associated with its BROADCOM trademark.
Complainant submits that Respondent is not the owner or beneficiary of a trade or service mark for BROADCOM. Complainant has European Community trademarks for BROADCOM which are enforceable in every country in the European Community, including Respondent’s home country, Germany. Complainant claims Respondent has not shown any demonstrable preparations to use the domain name or a name corresponding to BROADCOM in connection with a bona fide offering of goods and services before notice of this dispute. Complainant claims Respondent has not been commonly known as BROADCOM. Complainant claims that Respondent’s business Broadcom GmbH is a sham. Complainant’s Google search for Broadcom GmbH produced no results. The domain name connected with Respondent’s contact e-mail address, <broadcom.de>, redirects Internet users to an unrelated commercial web hosting company. Complainant asserts that since neither Broadcom GmbH nor <broadcom.biz> are in use by Respondent, Respondent cannot be commonly known by that name.
Complainant further submits that even if Respondent did make preparations to use the name, such use by Respondent would be unlawful because it would dilute Complainant’s mark.
In light of my findings below, I need not deal with Complainant’s allegations of bad faith.
In its Response, Respondent acknowledges that Complainant has rights in the trademark BROADCOM in relation to computer hardware, integrated circuits and software for integrated circuits, electrical and scientific apparatus, paper goods and printed matter.
Respondent began business using the name Broadcom GmbH in January of 2001. The company was registered in the Country Court, City of Weiden, Germany and has a regular entry on the trademark register of the City of Weiden, Germany. Respondent began using the internet mail address <broadcom.de> in the year 2000. The company has had a web site since 2000 as well. The web site has been temporarily unavailable because Respondent is relocating to a new business building.
Respondent is in the business of consulting, business development and direct marketing. Respondent also works with equity stake and provides waste management services. Respondent’s business involves making business connections. Respondent chose BROADCOM to stand for broad, wide communication between companies. Respondent’s business does not compete in any way with Complainant. As such, Respondent argues that its use of BROADCOM in no way conflicts with Complainant’s trademark.
Respondent submitted several documents which were largely in the German language, which documents purported to be the record of the company registration in Germany and business and banking documents evidencing the existence of the company and the fact the company does carry on business in Germany.
Respondent’s business involves establishing and developing business contacts for which the .biz domain name is appropriate. In 2002, Respondent has established business connections with companies in Hong Kong and Macau. Respondent plans to build up an international website in the English language, to get more international recognition than the .de domain it also holds.
While acknowledging Complainant’s mark, Respondent submits it has a legitimate interest in the <broadcom.biz> domain and that it was merely the “lucky winner” in the drawing for the domain name.
Because of my findings below, I need not address Respondent’s submissions on bad faith.
This dispute has involved several additional submissions and some additional rulings from the Panel. On May 28, 2002, the Forum received a submission from Complainant.
As outlined above, Respondent had submitted some exhibits which are in the German language. Complainant submitted and this Panel agrees that the language of this proceeding, pursuant to STOP Rule 11(a) is English. Complainant further submits that in these circumstances a certified translation of the documents should have been submitted. Complainant, therefore, objected to the introduction of these documents.
Respondent submitted that the documents in question are scans of original correspondence and a certification of Respondent’s corporate name. Respondent argued that the documents show letterheads of a bank and other companies with whom Respondent has conducted business and that a translation is not required to make those observations. Respondent is not relying on the content of the documents, but rather on their existence. Nevertheless, Respondent requested permission to submit a certified translation of the documents into English.
I reviewed the parties’ submissions and the documents in question. While the content of the documents is not in the English language, Respondent is correct that it is clear from the documents that they are documents evidencing communications between Respondent and others. The dates on the documents are also identifiable. I felt, however, that it would not be fair to Complainant for the Panel to rely on documents in a language other than English without Complainant having had the opportunity to review those documents in detail. That being the case, I felt it was important that Complainant and the Panel have access to an English translation. By my Order of July 2, 2002, Respondent, therefore, was given seven days to submit certified translations of the documents into the English language. Complainant was then given an additional four days from receipt of the translations to make any additional arguments Complainant wished to make with respect to those documents.
Under the General Powers of the Panel, STOP Rule 10, it is important that the parties be given a fair opportunity to present their case. For that to happen in this case, I felt the translation of the documents must be provided so Complainant could properly respond to Respondent’s documents. Also, while the Panel is charged with the responsibility to ensure that the proceeding takes place with due expedition, this situation was an exceptional circumstance which justified an extension of the normal time fixed by the Rules.
On July 8, 2002, Respondent submitted certified translations of three documents including the company registration in the German County Court, a bank statement and a supplier’s invoice.
On July 12, 2002, Complainant responded with several additional arguments. One of the documents filed with Respondent’s initial response was not translated. Complainant asks that the Panel not consider that document (the “Crouset Document”) in making its decision. I have not considered that document. One of the translations, a document from Baustoff-Keller appears to be a translation, not of the document originally submitted in evidence, but of another document. The dates and invoice numbers differ from the original exhibit to the translation.
Complainant submitted that the purported English translation of the Baustoff document casts serious doubts on the veracity of the representations made by the Respondent in its original Response because of discrepancies between Respondent’s alleged business purpose and the business purposes evidence from the English translated document. Respondent says it is in the business of consulting, business development and direct marketing. The invoice shows purchases of colored concrete and mortar materials, which Complainant submits do not reflect a consulting and business development business.
Complainant also questions the validity of the Respondent’s exhibit which reflects registration of the company Broadcom GmbH with the District Court of Weiden, Germany. Complainant argues that this document cannot be relied on because it lacks any officially identifying information such as a Court’s official letterhead or the official seal of the court. While the English translation has the date along with signature and seal of the Court, the registration document has no similar certification. Complainant also questions the validity of the signature that does appear on the registration because of its placement on the document. Complainant points out that the original document does not have an official date, registration number, address for the company, purpose of the company, name of managing director or fully-liable partner and power of procuration. Complainant says the German document does not, on its face, resemble an official registration of a company with a Court of Law, nor does it contain any official self-authenticating indicia of authenticity.
Complainant goes on to argue that even if the documents are authentic, most of Respondent’s evidence is irrelevant because Respondent was not the owner or beneficiary of a trade or service mark that is identical to the domain name before any notice of the dispute. Respondent had actual notice of Complainant’s IP claim in September 2001. The Baustoff document is dated December 14, 2001, which is after Respondent received notice of Complainant’s IP claims.
Complainant’s European Community registration for BROADCOM was registered January 22, 2001 thereby giving Respondent constructive notice of Complainant’s rights. Respondent’s exhibits are all dated after this time.
Upon receipt of Complainant’s submissions with respect to the exhibits, on July 18, 2002, I directed that Respondent be permitted two days to reply to the submission. On July 20, Respondent made its last submission. Respondent says that he forgot to submit the Crouzet document for translation. With respect to the Baustoff document, Respondent submits that he accidentally gave a different invoice to the translator. He submits that Respondent has hundreds of invoices from Baustoff. The invoices are for building materials for Respondent’s new business premises and were submitted to demonstrate that Respondent carries on business and that suppliers tender invoices to Respondent, Broadcom GmbH.
Respondent also expressed a willingness to provide the additional translations. I have decided that will not be allowed and that this proceeding must come to an end.
Respondent submitted that their evidence has demonstrated bona fide use of the company name. Respondent began business in earnest in January 2001. The name and trademark was registered shortly thereafter. The official registration has been provided and Respondent asserts that this is the official document from the Court in Weiden and that if Complainant questions the validity of the document, they can check with the Court themselves for a fee of about $10 US. Respondent is offended by the suggestion that the documents are not authentic.
The Panel finds that the domain name <broadcom.biz> is identical to a trademark in which Complainant has rights. The Panel further finds that Respondent has rights and legitimate interests in the domain name.
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.”
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.
The evidence filed by the Complainant does establish rights in the trademark BROADCOM. It owns United States and European Union trademark registrations for the trademark and has used the mark since as early as November of 1994.
The domain name in question, <broadcom.biz>, is identical to Complainant’s mark within the meaning of the STOP Policy.
The detail of Respondent’s submissions about its business is set out above and I will not repeat it all here. Respondent has registered the company name and trademark Broadcom GmbH with the County Court in Weiden, Germany. This occurred in March 2001. Respondent began using <broadcom.de> for its Internet mail in the year 2000, and began doing business using the BROADCOM name in January 2001. I can find nothing in the verification of the company registration that leads me to believe, on the face of it, that the document is not an authentic document of the Court in Weiden. Without evidence like verification from the German authorities that the document is not bona fide, I have no reason to question the validity of the document. I therefore accept the document as evidence of the existence and registration of Broadcom GmbH. The evidence also establishes that Respondent was using <broadcom.de> as its internet mail address as early as the year 2000.
Both the registration of the company and the use of the .de domain name pre-date the September 2001 registration of Complainant’s IP claim.
Complainant has rights in the trademark BROADCOM in relation to computer hardware, integrated circuits and software for integrated circuits, electrical and scientific apparatus, paper goods and printed matter. Respondent’s business is consulting, business development and direct marketing.
Respondent’s name Broadcom Gmbh (“GmbH” translates “Limited”) is identical to both of the domain names Respondent currently holds, i.e., <broadcom.de> and <broadcom.biz>. There is no evidence before me to contradict Respondent’s assertion that the name was chosen because of the nature of the Respondent’s business involving broad communications. While it is unclear from the evidence whether Respondent’s registration in Weiden is more than a company registration and indeed is some form of trademark registration, it is clear that Respondent was already using the BROADCOM name in its business before it received notice of this dispute. I am satisfied on the evidence before me that Respondent’s business is a legitimate business and that Respondent’s business is different from the business carried on by Complainant and the uses for which Complainant has acquired trademark registrations for BROADCOM.
Lastly, even if Respondent has not yet acquired any trademark or service marks in the name (a point on which I will not specifically rule in this case), Respondent has submitted sufficient evidence to demonstrate that it is commonly known by the name BROADCOM.
In these circumstances, I am satisfied that Respondent does have rights to and legitimate interests in the domain name <broadcom.biz>.
In light of my findings above, I need not deal with the allegations of bad faith.
The Complaint is hereby dismissed and subsequent challenges to this domain name, as against the Respondent, under the STOP Policy shall not be permitted against this domain name.
Anne M. Wallace, Q.C., Panelist
Dated: July 26, 2002
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