Google Inc. v. Billy Domains c/o Billy Renau
Claim Number: FA0801001139230
Complainant is Google Inc. (“Complainant”), represented by James
L. Vana, of Perkins Coie LLP,
REGISTRAR AND DISPUTED DOMAIN NAME
The domain name at issue is <googlead.com>, registered with Active Insider, Inc.
The undersigned certifies that he or she has acted independently and impartially and to the best of his or her knowledge has no known conflict in serving as Panelist in this proceeding.
James A Crary as Panelist.
Complainant submitted a Complaint to the National Arbitration Forum electronically on January 18, 2008; the National Arbitration Forum received a hard copy of the Complaint on January 21, 2008.
On January 24, 2008, Active Insider, Inc confirmed by e-mail to the National Arbitration Forum that the <googlead.com> domain name is registered with Active Insider, Inc and that Respondent is the current registrant of the name. Active Insider, Inc has verified that Respondent is bound by the Active Insider, Inc registration agreement and has thereby agreed to resolve domain-name disputes brought by third parties in accordance with ICANN's Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (the "Policy").
On January 31, 2008, a Notification of Complaint and Commencement of Administrative Proceeding (the "Commencement Notification"), setting a deadline of February 20, 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 firstname.lastname@example.org by e-mail.
Having received no response from Respondent, the National Arbitration Forum transmitted to the parties a Notification of Respondent Default.
On February 27, 2008, pursuant to Complainant's request to have the dispute decided by a single-member Panel, the National Arbitration Forum appointed James A. Crary as Panelist.
Having reviewed the communications records, the Administrative Panel (the "Panel") finds that the National Arbitration Forum has 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. Respondent’s <googlead.com> domain name is confusingly similar to Complainant’s GOOGLE mark.
2. Respondent does not have any rights or legitimate interests in the <googlead.com> domain name.
3. Respondent registered and used the <googlead.com> domain name in bad faith.
B. Respondent failed to submit a Response in this proceeding.
Complainant, Google Inc., is one of the most popular Internet search services in the world. Complainant’s search engine uses advanced search technology created by Stanford Ph.D. candidates in 1997 to provide a comprehensive array of search tools to access stock quotes, maps, and news headlines. Complainant has registered numerous marks for use in the provision of its Internet search services, including the GOOGLE mark registered with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) (Reg. No. 2,954,071 issued May 24, 2005).
Respondent registered the <googlead.com> domain name on September 15, 2007. Respondent’s disputed domain name does not currently resolve to an active website.
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 draw such inferences it 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 that Complainant must 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 provides evidence of numerous trademark registrations with the USPTO including the well-known GOOGLE mark. The Panel finds that Complainant’s registration establishes Complainant’s rights in the mark pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(a)(i). 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 <googlead.com> domain name is confusingly similar to Complainant’s GOOGLE mark. Respondent’s domain name wholly incorporates Complainant’s mark and adds the letters “ad,” a common abbreviation for the term “advertisement,” as well as the generic top-level domain (“gTLD”) “.com.” The Panel finds that neither characteristic is sufficient to distinguish a domain name from a well-known mark under Policy ¶ 4(a)(i). See Kelson Physician Partners, Inc. v. Mason, CPR003 (CPR 2000) (finding that <kelsonmd.com> is identical or confusingly similar to the complainant’s federally registered service mark, KELSON); see also Magnum Piering, Inc. v. Mudjackers, D2000-1525 (WIPO Jan. 29, 2001) (finding that the generic term “INC” does not change the confusing similarity); see also Gardline Surveys Ltd. v. Domain Fin. Ltd., FA 153545 (Nat. Arb. Forum May 27, 2003) (“The addition of a top-level domain is irrelevant when establishing whether or not a mark is identical or confusingly similar, because top-level domains are a required element of every domain name.”).
The Panel finds that Policy ¶ 4(a)(i) has been satisfied.
Complainant established common law rights in this proceeding and contends that Respondent lacks any rights to or legitimate interests in the <googlead.com> domain name. Where Complainant makes a prima facie case under Policy ¶ 4(a)(ii), the burden shifts to Respondent to set forth concrete evidence that it does possess rights to or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. See Compagnie Generale des Matieres Nucleaires v. Greenpeace Int’l, D2001-0376 (WIPO May 14, 2001) (“Proving that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Domain Name requires the Complainant to prove a negative. For the purposes of this sub paragraph, however, it is sufficient for the Complainant to show a prima facie case and the burden of proof is then shifted on to the shoulders of Respondent. In those circumstances, the common approach is for respondents to seek to bring themselves within one of the examples of paragraph 4(c) or put forward some other reason why they can fairly be said to have a relevant right or legitimate interests in respect of the domain name in question.”); 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”).
Complainant contends that the disputed domain name, <googlead.com>, does not currently resolve to a website containing content. Without evidence of demonstrable preparations to use the disputed domain name for any purpose whatsoever, the Panel finds that Respondent’s use is not a bona fide offering of goods or services pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(c)(i) or a legitimate noncommercial or fair use pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(c)(iii). See Flor-Jon Films, Inc. v. Larson, FA 94974 (Nat. Arb. Forum July 25, 2000) (finding that the respondent’s failure to develop the site demonstrates a lack of legitimate interest in the domain name); see also AT&T Corp. v. Domains by Brian Evans, D2000-0790 (WIPO Sept. 27, 2000) (finding no rights or legitimate interests where the respondent did not provide any documentation on the existence of its alleged company that might show what the company’s business was, or how the company’s years of existence, if it ever existed, might mesh with the complainant’s trademark claims).
Complainant contends that Respondent is neither commonly known by the <googlead.com> domain name nor authorized to register domain names featuring Complainant’s GOOGLE mark in any way. Absent evidence suggesting otherwise, the Panel finds that Respondent has not established rights to or legitimate interests in accordance with Policy ¶ 4(c)(ii). See Compagnie de Saint Gobain v. Com-Union Corp., D2000-0020 (WIPO Mar. 14, 2000) (finding no rights or legitimate interest where the respondent was not commonly known by the mark and never applied for a license or permission from the complainant to use the trademarked name); see also Charles Jourdan Holding AG v. AAIM, D2000-0403 (WIPO June 27, 2000) (finding no rights or legitimate interests where (1) the respondent is not a licensee of the complainant; (2) the complainant’s prior rights in the domain name precede the respondent’s registration; (3) the respondent is not commonly known by the domain name in question).
The Panel finds that Complainant satisfied Policy ¶ 4(a)(ii).
Finally, Complainant alleges that Respondent registered and used the disputed domain name in bad faith. The disputed domain name does not currently resolve to an active website. Respondent presented no evidence of preparations to use the disputed domain name. For these reasons, the Panel finds that Respondent registered and used the disputed domain name in bad faith pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(a)(iii). See Clerical Med. Inv. Group Ltd. v. Clericalmedical.com, D2000-1228 (WIPO Nov. 28, 2000) (finding that merely holding an infringing domain name without active use can constitute use in bad faith); see also Caravan Club v. Mrgsale, FA 95314 (Nat. Arb. Forum Aug. 30, 2000) (finding that the respondent made no use of the domain name or website that connects with the domain name, and that such lack of use permits an inference of registration and use in bad faith).
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 <googlead.com> domain name be TRANSFERRED from Respondent to Complainant.
James A. Crary, Panelist
Dated: March 12, 2008
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