Com Net Inc. v. Viking Alpine Lodge & Ski Hire
Claim Number: FA0205000114282
Complainant is Com Net Inc., Wapakoneta, OH, USA (“Complainant”). Respondent is Viking Alpine Lodge & Ski Hire, Falls Creek, AUSTRALIA (“Respondent”).
The domain name at issue is <bright.biz>, registered with Domain People.
The undersigned certifies that he acted independently and impartially and, to the best of his knowledge, has no known conflict in serving as Panelist in this proceeding.
The Honorable Charles K. McCotter, Jr. (Ret.) 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 May 1, 2002; the Forum received a hard copy of the Complaint on May 15, 2002.
On May 29, 2002, a Notification of Complaint and Commencement of Administrative Proceeding (the “Commencement Notification”), setting a deadline of June 18, 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 July 17, 2002, pursuant to STOP Rule 6(b), the Forum appointed the Honorable Charles K. McCotter, Jr. (Ret.) 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 <bright.biz> domain name is identical to Complainant’s registered BRIGHT mark.
2. Respondent does not have any rights or legitimate interests in the <bright.biz> domain name.
3. Respondent registered <bright.biz> in bad faith.
B. Respondent failed to submit a Response in this proceeding.
Complainant owns U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) Reg. No. 2,087,084 for the BRIGHT mark registered August 12, 1997. Complainant uses the BRIGHT mark for providing multiple-user access to a global computer information network for the receipt, transfer and dissemination of information. Complainant’s first use of the mark is listed as December 1994.
Respondent registered the disputed domain name on March 27, 2002. Complainant’s investigation reveals that Respondent does not offer any products or services under the BRIGHT mark.
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 its rights in the BRIGHT mark through registration with the USPTO and continuous use of the mark since 1994.
Respondent’s <bright.biz> domain name is identical to Complainant’s BRIGHT mark. Respondent’s domain name reflects Complainant’s mark in its entirety, and emulates it in form and spelling.
Accordingly, the Panel finds that STOP Policy ¶ 4(a)(i) has been satisfied.
Respondent has failed to submit a Response in this proceeding. Therefore, it is presumed that Respondent lacks rights and legitimate interests in the <bright.biz> domain name. See Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce v. D3M Virtual Reality Inc. & D3M Domain Sales, AF-0336 (eResolution Sept. 23, 2000) (finding no rights or legitimate interests under the UDRP where no such right or interest is immediately apparent to the Panel and Respondent has not come forward to suggest any right or interest it may possess).
Furthermore, because Respondent failed to submit a Response, the Panel is permitted to make all reasonable 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”).
Complainant’s investigation has revealed that Respondent has yet to develop a purpose for the disputed domain name. Respondent has not provided evidence suggesting any demonstrable preparations to use <bright.biz> in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services pursuant to STOP Policy ¶ 4(c)(ii). Respondent has the burden of producing reliable and credible evidence that it registered the disputed domain name for a legitimate purpose. Respondent’s failure to support its registration with evidence signifying some right or legitimate interest in <bright.biz> implies that Respondent has none. See Gene Logic Inc. v. Bock, FA 103042 (Nat. Arb. Forum Mar. 4, 2002) (finding that in order to show rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name Respondent must establish with valid evidence “a course of business under the name, or at least significant preparation for use of the name prior to learning of the possibility of a conflict” with an IP Claimant); see also Woolworths plc. v. Anderson, D2000-1113 (WIPO Oct. 10, 2000) (finding that absent evidence of preparation to use the domain name for a legitimate purpose, the burden of proof lies with the Respondent to demonstrate that it has rights or legitimate interests).
Accordingly, the Panel finds that STOP Policy ¶ 4(a)(ii) has been satisfied.
The Panel has determined that Policy ¶ 4(a)(iii) has been satisfied.
Having established all three elements under the STOP Policy, the Panel concludes that relief should be hereby GRANTED.
Accordingly, it is Ordered that the <bright.biz> domain name be TRANSFERRED from Respondent to Complainant and that subsequent challenges under the STOP Policy against this domain name SHALL NOT be permitted.
The Honorable Charles K. McCotter, Jr. (Ret.), Panelist
Dated: July 23, 2002
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