Harrah's Las Vegas, Inc. v. Grand Slam Co.
Claim Number: FA0205000114339
Complainant is Harrah's Las Vegas, Inc., Las Vegas, NV, USA (“Complainant”) represented by David J. Stewart, of Alston & Bird, LLP. Respondent is Grand Slam Co., Chopsticks Town, THAILAND.
REGISTRAR AND DISPUTED DOMAIN NAME
The domain name at issue is <wwwharrahs.com>, registered with Tucows, Inc.
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.
Judge Harold Kalina (Ret.) as Panelist.
Complainant submitted a Complaint to the National Arbitration Forum (the “Forum”) electronically on May 20, 2002; the Forum received a hard copy of the Complaint on May 21, 2002.
On May 21, 2002, Tucows, Inc. confirmed by e-mail to the Forum that the domain name <wwwharrahs.com> is registered with Tucows, Inc. and that Respondent is the current registrant of the name. Tucows, Inc. has verified that Respondent is bound by the Tucows, 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 May 22, 2002, a Notification of Complaint and Commencement of Administrative Proceeding (the “Commencement Notification”), setting a deadline of June 11, 2002 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, 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 30, 2002, pursuant to Complainant’s request to have the dispute decided by a single-member Panel, the Forum appointed Judge Harold Kalina (Ret.) as 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 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 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.
The <wwwharrahs.com> domain name is confusingly similar to Complainant’s HARRAH’S mark.
Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the <wwwharrahs.com> domain name.
Respondent registered and used the <wwwharrahs.com> domain name in bad faith.
Respondent failed to submit a Response in this proceeding.
Complainant owns numerous registrations with the United States Patent and Trademark Office for the HARRAH’s mark (Reg. Nos. 1,067,887, 1,237,716, 2,176,952, and 2,268,340). Complainant also owns Reg. Nos. SM5424, SM1004, 160317 and 160792 issued by the Trademark Board of Thailand for the HARRAH’S mark.
Complainant is one of the largest casino entertainment companies in the world. Complainant offers services for wagering on a variety of games and sporting events held around the world, including football, soccer, baseball, basketball, and other sports.
Complainant has been using the HARRAH’S mark since 1937. Complainant has extensively promoted the HARRAH’S mark nationally and internationally for its goods and services throughout the years. As a result of Complainant’s promotions and longstanding use of the HARRAH’S mark, the mark is one of the most well respected and readily recognized marks in the casino entertainment industry.
Respondent registered the <wwwharrahs.com> domain name on March 27, 2000. Respondent uses the domain name to re-direct Internet users to <worldwidegamble.com>, which offers casino gaming and sportsbook services.
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 the 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.
Paragraph 4(a) of the Policy requires that the 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 the Respondent is identical or confusingly similar 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 and is being used in bad faith.
Identical and/or Confusingly Similar
Complainant has established its rights to the HARRAH’S mark through registration with the United States Patent and Trademark Office and the Trademark Board of Thailand.
Respondent’s <wwwharrahs.com> domain name contains Complainant’s entire HARRAH’S mark with the addition of three consecutive “w’s.” When attempting to access a website, Internet users type in “www,” which stands for World Wide Web, followed by a period prior to typing in a domain name. If an Internet user forgets to type the period between the “www” and the domain name, which is a common mistake, they will be re-routed to Respondent’s gambling website. Because of the potential of a common mistake, Respondent’s domain name is confusingly similar to Complainant’s mark. See Bank of Am. Corp. v. InterMos, FA 95092 (Nat. Arb. Forum Aug. 1, 2000) (finding that Respondent’s domain name <wwwbankofamerica.com> is confusingly similar to Complainant’s registered trademark BANK OF AMERICA because it “takes advantage of a typing error (eliminating the period between the www and the domain name) that users commonly make when searching on the Internet”).
Accordingly, the Panel finds that Policy ¶ 4(a)(i) has been satisfied.
Rights or Legitimate Interests
In light of Complainant’s assertion that Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name and Respondent’s failure to respond, the Panel may presume Respondent has no such 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 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”).
Respondent uses the <wwwharrahs.com> domain name to re-direct Internet users searching for Complainant to another website, <worldwidegamble.com>. The website Respondent re-directs users to offers gambling services similar to those services offered by Complainant. Due to Respondent’s use of the <wwwharrahs.com> domain name, Respondent does not have rights and legitimate interests in the domain name pursuant to Policy ¶¶ 4(c)(i) and (c)(iii). See Toronto-Dominion Bank v. Karpachev, 188 F.Supp.2d 110, 114 (D.Mass 2002) (finding that, because the Respondent's sole purpose in selecting the domain names was to cause confusion with the Complainant's website and marks, it's use of the names was not in connection with the offering of goods or services or any other fair use); see also MSNBC Cable, LLC v. Tysys.com, D2000-1204 (WIPO Dec. 8, 2000) (finding no rights or legitimate interests in the famous MSNBC mark where Respondent attempted to profit using the Complainant’s mark by redirecting Internet traffic to its own website); 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).
Respondent is not commonly known as WWWHARRAHS or <wwwharrahs.com>; Respondent is only known to this Panel as Grand Slam Co. Complainant never authorized or licensed Respondent to use the HARRAH’S mark. Hence, Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the domain name pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(c)(ii). See Compagnie de Saint Gobain v. Com-Union Corp., D2000-0020 (WIPO Mar. 14, 2000) (finding no rights or legitimate interests where Respondent was not commonly known by the mark and never applied for a license or permission from 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) Respondent is not a licensee of Complainant; (2) Complainant’s prior rights in the domain name precede Respondent’s registration; (3) Respondent is not commonly known by the domain name in question).
Accordingly, the Panel finds that Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name, thus, Policy ¶ 4(a)(ii) has been satisfied.
Registration and Use in Bad Faith
In light of the fame and notoriety that Complainant’s HARRAH’S mark enjoys, it is inconceivable that Respondent could have registered <wwwharrahs.com> without knowledge of Complainant’s rights in the HARRAH’S mark. Therefore, Respondent’s registration constitutes bad faith. See Victoria's Secret v. Hardin, FA 96694 (Nat Arb. Forum Mar. 31, 2001) (finding that, in light of the notoriety of Complainants' famous marks, Respondent had actual or constructive knowledge of the BODY BY VICTORIA marks at the time she registered the disputed domain name and such knowledge constituted bad faith); see also Paws, Inc. v. Odie, FA 96206 (Nat. Arb. Forum Jan. 8, 2001) ("Given the uniqueness and the extreme international popularity of the [ODIE] mark, the Respondent knew or should have known that registering the domain name in question would infringe upon the Complainant's goodwill").
Furthermore, it is evident Respondent knew of the goodwill Complainant’s mark had established because Respondent used the infringing domain name to divert Internet users to its gambling website, which is an industry Complainant is famous for. Respondent’s use attracts Internet users who mistakenly forget the period after the “www,” for commercial gain, by using a domain name that is confusingly similar to Complainant’s HARRAH’S mark. Respondent’s domain name fails to distinguish its gambling website services from Complainant’s services. Therefore, Respondent’s use of the domain name amounts to bad faith use under Policy ¶ 4(b)(iv). See Victoria's Secret v. Hardin, FA 96694 (Nat Arb. Forum Mar. 31, 2001) (finding that, in light of the notoriety of Complainants' famous marks, Respondent had actual or constructive knowledge of the BODY BY VICTORIA marks at the time she registered the disputed domain name and such knowledge constituted bad faith); see also Drs. Foster & Smith, Inc. v. Lalli, FA 95284 (Nat. Arb. Forum Aug. 21, 2000) (finding bad faith where the Respondent directed Internet users seeking the Complainant’s site to its own website for commercial gain); see also State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co. v. Northway, FA 95464 (Nat. Arb. Forum Oct. 11, 2000) (finding that the Respondent registered the domain name <statefarmnews.com> in bad faith because Respondent intended to use Complainant’s marks to attract the public to the web site without permission from Complainant).
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 the requested relief should be hereby GRANTED.
Accordingly, it is Ordered that the <wwwharrahs.com> domain name be TRANSFERRED from Respondent to Complainant.
Judge Harold Kalina (Ret.)
Dated: July 8, 2002
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