Jeff Gordon, Inc. v. John Zuccarini d/b/a Cupcake Patrol
Claim Number: FA0206000114627
Complainant is Jeff Gordon, Inc., Harrisburg, NC, USA (“Complainant”) represented by D. Blaine Sanders, of Robinson, Bradshaw & Hinson, P.A.. Respondent is John Zuccarini d/b/a Cupcake Patrol, Nassau, BAHAMAS (“Respondent”).
REGISTRAR AND DISPUTED DOMAIN NAME
The domain name at issue is <jeffgordan.com>, registered with Joker.com.
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 (the “Forum”) electronically on June 17, 2002; the Forum received a hard copy of the Complaint on June 17, 2002.
On June 20, 2002, Joker.com confirmed by e-mail to the Forum that the domain name <jeffgordan.com> is registered with Joker.com and that Respondent is the current registrant of the name. Joker.com has verified that Respondent is bound by the Joker.com 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 June 25, 2002, a Notification of Complaint and Commencement of Administrative Proceeding (the “Commencement Notification”), setting a deadline of July 15, 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 July 22, 2002, pursuant to Complainant’s request to have the dispute decided by a single-member Panel, the Forum appointed James A. Crary 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 <jeffgordan.com> domain name is confusingly similar to Complainant's JEFF GORDON mark.
Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name.
Respondent registered and used the disputed domain name in bad faith.
Respondent failed to submit a Response.
Complainant is Jeff Gordon, a highly successful Nascar Winston Cup Series Racecar Driver. Complainant has registered his name with the United States Patent and Trademark office as Registration Number 1,964,012. Complainant uses the JEFF GORDON mark in relation to assorted goods and services related to stock car racing including: sunglasses, jewelry, drinking glasses, mugs, water bottles, and key rings.
Respondent, a notorious cybersquatter known as John Zuccarini or Cupcake Patrol, registered the disputed domain name <jeffgordan.com> in May of 2000. Respondent is using the domain name to automatically divert Internet users to Respondent’s <amaturevideos.nl> pornographic website. Respondent has registered thousands of domain names that are misspellings of well-known service marks and trademarks, and has been the Respondent in numerous domain name disputes.
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 that it has rights in its JEFF GORDON mark through registration with the United States Patent and Trademark Office and subsequent continuous use. Respondent’s <jeffgordan.com> domain name is confusingly similar to Complainant’s mark because it is a common misspelling of Complainant’s name. Respondent merely replaced the “o” in GORDON with an “a.” The misspelling of a mark is not considered to create a distinct mark capable of overcoming a claim of confusing similarity. See Victoria’s Secret v. Zuccarini, FA 95762 (Nat. Arb. Forum Nov. 18, 2000) (finding that, by misspelling words and adding letters to words, a Respondent does not create a distinct mark but nevertheless renders it confusingly similar to Complainant’s marks); see also Hewlett-Packard Co. v. Zuccarini, FA 94454 (Nat. Arb. Forum May 30, 2000) (finding the domain name <hewlitpackard.com> to be identical or confusingly similar to Complainant’s HEWLETT-PACKARD mark).
The Panel finds that Policy ¶ 4(a)(i) has been satisfied.
Rights or Legitimate Interests
Respondent has failed to come forward with a Response and therefore it is presumed that Respondent has no 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 is using a domain name that is confusingly similar to Complainant’s JEFF GORDON mark in order to divert Internet users who accidentally misspell Complainant’s mark to Respondent’s pornographic website for Respondent’s commercial gain. This type of use is not considered to be 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 MatchNet plc v. MAC Trading, D2000-0205 (WIPO May 11, 2000) (finding that it is not a bona fide offering of goods or services to use a domain name for commercial gain by attracting Internet users to third party sites offering sexually explicit and pornographic material, where such use is calculated to mislead consumers and tarnish the Complainant’s mark); see also Encyclopaedia Brittanica, Inc. v. Zuccarini, D2000-0330 (WIPO June 7, 2000) (finding that fair use does not apply where the domain names are misspellings of Complainant's mark); see also Nat’l Football League Prop., Inc. v. One Sex Entm’t Co., D2000-0118 (WIPO Apr. 17, 2000) (finding that the Respondent had no rights or legitimate interests in the domain names <chargergirls.com> and <chargergirls.net> where the Respondent linked these domain names to its pornographic website).
Furthermore, Respondent is known to the Panel as John Zuccarini, and Cupcake Patrol, there is no evidence to the contrary. Respondent has not come forward with any evidence to prove that it is commonly known as JEFF GORDAN or <jeffgordan.com> and therefore, Respondent has failed to establish that it has rights or legitimate interests in the disputed 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 Respondent does not have rights in a domain name when Respondent is not known by the mark); see also Compagnie de Saint Gobain v. Com-Union Corp., D2000-0020 (WIPO Mar. 14, 2000) (finding no rights or legitimate interest where Respondent was not commonly known by the mark and never applied for a license or permission from Complainant to use the trademarked name).
The Panel finds that Policy ¶ 4(a)(ii) has been satisfied.
Registration and Use in Bad Faith
Respondent is engaging in “typosquatting,” this practice of “typosquatting” has been recognized as a bad faith use of a domain name under the UDRP. See e.g. Hewlett-Packard Co. v. Zuccarini, FA 94454 (Nat. Arb. Forum May 30, 2000) (awarding <hewlitpackard.com> a misspelling of HEWLETT-PACKARD to Complainant); see also Bama Rags, Inc. v. Zuccarini, FA 94380 (Nat. Arb. Forum May 8, 2000) (awarding <davemathewsband.com> and <davemattewsband.com>, common misspellings of DAVE MATTHEWS BAND to Complainant).
Furthermore, based on the fact that Respondent purposely registered a misspelling of Complainant’s mark it can be inferred that Respondent was on notice of Complainant’s rights in the JEFF GORDON mark when it registered the infringing domain name. Registration of an infringing domain name, despite notice of Complainant’s rights, is evidence of bad faith registration pursuant Policy ¶ 4(a)(iii). See Samsonite Corp. v. Colony Holding, FA 94313 (Nat. Arb. Forum Apr. 17, 2000) (finding that evidence of bad faith includes actual or constructive knowledge of a commonly known mark at the time of registration); see also Entrepreneur Media, Inc. v. Smith, 279 F.3d 1135, 1148 (9th Cir. Feb. 11, 2002) (finding that "[w]here an alleged infringer chooses a mark he knows to be similar to another, one can infer an intent to confuse").
Respondent is using the disputed domain name in order to divert Internet users looking for Complainant to Respondent’s pornographic website for Respondent’s commercial gain. This is evidence of bad faith use pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(b)(iv). See Youtv, Inc. v. Alemdar, FA 94243 (Nat. Arb. Forum Apr. 25, 2000) (finding bad faith where Respondent attracted users to his website for commercial gain and linked his website to pornographic websites); see also Geocities v. Geociites.com, D2000-0326 (WIPO June 19, 2000) (finding bad faith where the Respondent linked the domain name in question to websites displaying banner advertisements and pornographic material); 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).
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 shall be hereby granted.
Accordingly, it is Ordered that the domain name <jeffgordan.com> be transferred from Respondent to Complainant.
James A. Crary, Panelist
Dated: July 30, 2002
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