Easy Trade Of Southwest Florida Inc. v. Smartidea Pte Ltd
Claim Number: FA0801001140925
Complainant is Easy Trade Of Southwest Florida Inc. (“Complainant”), represented by Clarke
D. Walton, of Walton Law Firm, P.C.,
REGISTRAR AND DISPUTED DOMAIN NAME
The domain name at issue is <option-intelligence.com>, registered with GoDaddy.com, 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.
John J. Upchurch as Panelist.
Complainant submitted a Complaint to the National Arbitration Forum electronically on January 29, 2008; the National Arbitration Forum received a hard copy of the Complaint on January 30, 2008.
On January 30, 2008, GoDaddy.om, Inc. confirmed by e-mail to the National Arbitration Forum that the <option-intelligence.com> domain name is registered with GoDaddy.com, Inc. and that Respondent is the current registrant of the name. GoDaddy.com, Inc. has verified that Respondent is bound by the GoDaddy.com, 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 February 13, 2008, a Notification of Complaint and Commencement of Administrative Proceeding (the "Commencement Notification"), setting a deadline of March 4, 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 email@example.com by e-mail.
Having received no response from Respondent, the National Arbitration Forum transmitted to the parties a Notification of Respondent Default.
On March 12, 2008, pursuant to Complainant's request to have the dispute decided by a single-member Panel, the National Arbitration Forum appointed John J. Upchurch 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 <option-intelligence.com> domain name is confusingly similar to Complainant’s OPTIONS-INTELLIGENCE mark.
2. Respondent does not have any rights or legitimate interests in the <option-intelligence.com> domain name.
3. Respondent registered and used the <option-intelligence.com> domain name in bad faith.
B. Respondent failed to submit a Response in this proceeding.
Complainant, Easy Trade Of Southwest Florida Inc, is an online provider of subscription information services focused on the securities industry. Complainant has used its OPTIONS-INTELLIGENCE mark for at least nine years in connection with its business. Complainant has filed a trademark application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) for the OPTIONS-INTELLIGENCE mark (Serial No. 77/197,415 filed June 5, 2007). Complainant also operates a website at the <options-intelligence.com> domain name.
Respondent registered the <option-intelligence.com> domain name on July 6, 2006. Respondent’s disputed domain name resolves to a website that imitates Complainant’s 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 does not yet possess a trademark registration for its OPTIONS-INTELLIGENCE mark, though it has filed an application with the USPTO. However, under the UDRP, should Complainant adequately demonstrate sufficient secondary meaning in its mark, a trademark registration with a governmental authority is unnecessary under Policy ¶ 4(a)(i). See SeekAmerica Networks Inc. v. Masood, D2000-0131 (WIPO Apr. 13, 2000) (finding that the Rules do not require that the complainant's trademark or service mark be registered by a government authority or agency for such rights to exist); see also Great Plains Metromall, LLC v. Creach, FA 97044 (Nat. Arb. Forum May 18, 2001) (“The Policy does not require that a trademark be registered by a governmental authority for such rights to exist.”).
Complainant has used its OPTIONS-INTELLIGENCE mark in connection with its online subscription information service focused on the securities industry for at least nine years. Complainant utilizes the <options-intelligence.com> domain name and has filed a trademark application with the USPTO for its mark. Additionally, Complainant has used its mark extensively and has acquired customers from all over the world. Thus, the Panel finds sufficient common law rights in the OPTIONS-INTELLIGENCE mark for the purposes of Policy ¶ 4(a)(i). See Keppel TatLee Bank v. Taylor, D2001-0168 (WIPO Mar. 28, 2001) (“[O]n account of long and substantial use of [KEPPEL BANK] in connection with its banking business, it has acquired rights under the common law.”); see also Nat’l Ass’n of Prof’l Baseball Leagues v. Zuccarini, D2002-1011 (WIPO Jan. 21, 2003) (finding that the complainant had provided evidence that it had valuable goodwill in the <minorleaguebaseball.com> domain name, establishing common law rights in the MINOR LEAGUE BASEBALL mark).
The <option-intelligence.com> domain name is confusingly similar to Complainant’s mark under Policy ¶ 4(a)(i) as the disputed domain name contains Complainant’s mark in its entirety with the deletion of the letter “s” from the first part of Complainant’s mark. This minor alteration, as well as the addition of the generic top-level domain “.com” does not adequately distinguish the disputed domain name from Complainant’s mark under Policy ¶ 4(a)(i). See Universal City Studios, Inc. v. HarperStephens, D2000-0716 (WIPO Sept. 5, 2000) (finding that deleting the letter “s” from the complainant’s UNIVERSAL STUDIOS STORE mark did not change the overall impression of the mark and thus made the disputed domain name confusingly similar to it); see also Isleworth Land Co. v. Lost in Space, SA, FA 117330 (Nat. Arb. Forum Sept. 27, 2002) ( “[I]t is a well established principle that generic top-level domains are irrelevant when conducting a Policy ¶ 4(a)(i) analysis.”).
The Panel finds that Policy ¶ 4(a)(i) has been satisfied.
Complainant has alleged that Respondent does not have rights or legitimate interests in the <option-intelligence.com> domain name. Once Complainant makes a prima facie case in support of its allegations, the burden shifts to Respondent to prove that it does have rights or legitimate interests pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(a)(ii). The Panel finds that Complainant has established a prima facie case. Due to Respondent’s failure to respond to the Complaint, the Panel may assume that Respondent does not have rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. See G.D. Searle v. Martin Mktg., FA 118277 (Nat. Arb. Forum Oct. 1, 2002) (“Because Complainant’s Submission constitutes a prima facie case under the Policy, the burden effectively shifts to Respondent. Respondent’s failure to respond means that Respondent has not presented any circumstances that would promote its rights or legitimate interests in the subject domain name under Policy ¶ 4(a)(ii).”); see also Do The Hustle, LLC v. Tropic Web, D2000-0624 (WIPO Aug. 21, 2000) (holding that once the complainant asserts that the respondent has no rights or legitimate interests with respect to the domain, the burden shifts to the respondent to provide “concrete evidence that it has rights to or legitimate interests in the domain name at issue”). However, the Panel will examine the record to determine whether Respondent has rights or legitimate interests under Policy ¶ 4(c).
The record and WHOIS information indicate no evidence suggesting Respondent is commonly known by the <option-intelligence.com> domain name. There is no evidence in the record that Respondent is authorized to use Complainant’s mark. Thus, Respondent has not established rights or legitimate interests in the <option-intelligence.com> domain name pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(c)(ii). See Gallup, Inc. v. Amish Country Store, FA 96209 (Nat. Arb. Forum Jan. 23, 2001) (finding that the respondent does not have rights in a domain name when the respondent is not known by the mark); see also Ian Schrager Hotels, L.L.C. v. Taylor, FA 173369 (Nat. Arb. Forum Sept. 25, 2003) (finding that without demonstrable evidence to support the assertion that a respondent is commonly known by a domain name, the assertion must be rejected).
The evidence indicates that Respondent is using the <option-intelligence.com> domain name to pass itself off as Complainant. Such use is neither a bona fide offering of goods and services in accordance with Policy ¶ 4(c)(i), nor a legitimate noncommercial or fair use under Policy ¶ 4(c)(iii). See Am. Int’l Group, Inc. v. Busby, FA 156251 (Nat. Arb. Forum May 30, 2003) (finding that the respondent attempts to pass itself off as the complainant online, which is blatant unauthorized use of the complainant’s mark and is evidence that the respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name); see also Crow v. LOVEARTH.net, FA 203208 (Nat. Arb. Forum Nov. 28, 2003) (“It is neither a bona fide offerings [sic] of goods or services, nor an example of a legitimate noncommercial or fair use under Policy ¶¶ 4(c)(i) & (iii) when the holder of a domain name, confusingly similar to a registered mark, attempts to profit by passing itself off as Complainant . . . .”).
The Panel finds that Policy ¶ 4(a)(ii) has been satisfied.
Respondent is using the <option-intelligence.com> domain name in bad faith pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(b)(iv) because Respondent is using Complainant’s mark to attract Internet users to a website which imitates Complainant’s website, presumably for Respondent’s own commercial gain. This conduct is evidence that Respondent is attempting to profit by giving the impression of being affiliated with Complainant, in violation of Policy ¶ 4(b)(iv). See Am. Univ. v. Cook, FA 208629 (Nat. Arb. Forum Dec. 22, 2003) (“Registration and use of a domain name that incorporates another's mark with the intent to deceive Internet users in regard to the source or affiliation of the domain name is evidence of bad faith.”); see also Amazon.com, Inc. v. Shafir, FA 196119 (Nat. Arb. Forum Nov. 10, 2003) (“As Respondent is using the domain name at issue in direct competition with Complainant, and giving the impression of being affiliated with or sponsored by Complainant, this circumstance qualifies as bad faith registration and use of the domain name pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(b)(iv).”).
Finally, Respondent’s use of the <option-intelligence.com> domain name to attempt to pass itself off as Complainant indicates bad faith registration and use under Policy ¶ 4(a)(iii). See Monsanto Co. v. Decepticons, FA 101536 (Nat. Arb. Forum Dec. 18, 2001) (finding that the respondent's use of <monsantos.com> to misrepresent itself as the complainant and to provide misleading information to the public supported a finding of bad faith); see also Am. Int’l Group, Inc. v. Busby, FA 156251 (Nat. Arb. Forum May 30, 2003) (finding that the disputed domain name was registered and used in bad faith where the respondent hosted a website that “duplicated Complainant’s mark and logo, giving every appearance of being associated or affiliated with Complainant’s business . . . to perpetrate a fraud upon individual shareholders who respected the goodwill surrounding the AIG mark”).
The Panel finds that Policy ¶ 4(a)(iii) has been satisfied.
Having established all three elements required under the ICANN Policy, the Panel concludes that relief shall be GRANTED.
Accordingly, it is Ordered that the <option-intelligence.com> domain name be TRANSFERRED from Respondent to Complainant.
John J. Upchurch, Panelist
Dated: March 26, 2008
National Arbitration Forum