National Westminster Bank plc v. Baca-bes limited c/o Keneth walters
Claim Number: FA0802001153498
Complainant is National Westminster Bank plc (“Complainant”), represented by James
A. Thomas, of Troutman Sanders LLP,
REGISTRAR AND DISPUTED DOMAIN NAME
The domain name at issue is <natwestpb.com>, registered with Enom, 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.
Judge Harold Kalina (Ret.) as Panelist.
Complainant submitted a Complaint to the National Arbitration Forum electronically on February 25, 2008; the National Arbitration Forum received a hard copy of the Complaint on February 27, 2008.
On February 25, 2008, Enom, Inc. confirmed by e-mail to the National Arbitration Forum that the <natwestpb.com> domain name is registered with Enom, Inc. and that Respondent is the current registrant of the name. Enom, Inc. has verified that Respondent is bound by the Enom, 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 March 4, 2008, a Notification of Complaint and Commencement of Administrative Proceeding (the "Commencement Notification"), setting a deadline of March 24, 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 April 2, 2008, pursuant to Complainant's request to have the dispute decided by a single-member Panel, the National Arbitration Forum appointed Judge Harold Kalina (Ret.) 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 <natwestpb.com> domain name is confusingly similar to Complainant’s NATWEST mark.
2. Respondent does not have any rights or legitimate interests in the <natwestpb.com> domain name.
3. Respondent registered and used the <natwestpb.com> domain name in bad faith.
B. Respondent failed to submit a Response in this proceeding.
Complainant, National Westminster Bank plc, has provided a full range of financial services to individuals and businesses under its NATWEST mark since 1968. Complainant has registered its NATWEST mark with multiple governmental agencies. Complainant provided evidence of several of its NATWEST mark registrations including: (1) the United Kingdom Intellectual Property Office (“UKIPO”), publication date January 2, 1975 (Reg. No. 1,021,601); (2) the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) on June 7, 1983 (Reg. No. 1,241,454); and (3) the Office of Harmonization for the Internal Market (“OHIM”) on April 18, 2006 (Reg. No. 4,319,067).
Respondent registered the disputed domain name on December 14, 2007. Respondent’s <natwestpb.com> domain name resolves to a website which mimics Complainant’s official website in the following manner: it incorporates a graphical scheme that is nearly identical to Complainant’s, it incorporates Complainant’s logo, and it contains links which are entitled in a manner identical to Complainant’s. Also, Respondent has listed contact information for “NatWest Private Bank” under its “About Us” link. In addition, Respondent’s website which resolves from the disputed domain name encourages Internet users to provide sensitive personal and financial information through the “Login” or “Access Account” links.
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 has provided extrinsic evidence of the registration of its NATWEST mark with the UKIPO, the USPTO and the OHIM. The Panel finds this evidence sufficiently establishes Complainant’s rights in its NATWEST mark pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(a)(i). See Janus Int’l Holding Co. v. Rademacher, D2002-0201 (WIPO Mar. 5, 2002) ("Panel decisions have held that registration of a mark is prima facie evidence of validity, which creates a rebuttable presumption that the mark is inherently distinctive."); see also Koninklijke KPN N.V. v. Telepathy Inc., D2001-0217 (WIPO May 7, 2001) (finding that the Policy does not require that the mark be registered in the country in which the respondent operates; therefore it is sufficient that the complainant can demonstrate a mark in some jurisdiction).
The Panel finds Policy ¶ 4(a)(i) has been satisfied.
Complainant has alleged that Respondent does not have rights or legitimate interest in the <natwestpb.com> domain name. Once Complainant makes a prima facie case in support of its allegations, the burden shifts to Respondent to prove it does have rights or legitimate interests pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(a)(ii). The Panel finds Complainant has established a prima facie case. Due to Respondent’s failure to respond to the Complaint, the Panel assumes Respondent does not have rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. The Panel, however, will examine the record to determine whether Respondent has rights or legitimate interests pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(c). 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, 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”).
Respondent is using the <natwestpb.com> domain name to “pass itself off” as Complainant in order to defraud Complainant’s customers. Respondent’s domain name resolves to a website that imitates the NATWEST logo and graphic scheme, displays links to services entitled in a manner identical to Complainant’s, and attempts to obtain confidential account and password information by asking internet users to provide information at the “Login” or “Access Account” links. Complainant has alleged that Respondent was using this website to “phish” for confidential financial information in an attempt to defraud Complainant’s customers. The Panel finds Respondent’s attempt to pass itself off as Complainant and phish for customers’ confidential information is not a use in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(c)(i), or a legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the domain name pursuant to 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 Vivendi Universal Games v. Ballard, FA 146621 (Nat. Arb. Forum Mar. 13, 2002) (stating that where the respondent copied the complainant’s website in order to steal account information from the complainant’s customers, that the respondent’s “exploitation of the goodwill and consumer trust surrounding the BLIZZARD NORTH mark to aid in its illegal activities is prima facie evidence of a lack of rights and legitimate interests in the disputed domain name”).
Additionally, the record and WHOIS information, does not suggest Respondent is commonly known by the <natwestpb.com> domain name. Respondent is listed in the WHOIS information as “Baca-bes Limited” and “Kenneth Walters.” Also, the record indicates Complainant has not authorized Respondent to utilize its NATWEST mark. Thus, Respondent has not established rights or legitimate interes in the <natwestpb.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 RMO, Inc. v. Burbridge, FA 96949 (Nat. Arb. Forum May 16, 2001) (interpreting Policy ¶ 4(c)(ii) "to require a showing that one has been commonly known by the domain name prior to registration of the domain name to prevail").
The Panel finds Policy ¶ 4(a)(ii) has been satisfied.
Respondent is using the <natwestpb.com> domain name, which is confusingly similar to Complainant’s NATWEST mark, to phish for confidential information by imitating Complainant’s official website in order to fraudulently obtain Internet users’ confidential financial information. The Panel finds such use constitutes bad faith registration and use pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(a)(iii). See Juno Online Servs., Inc. v. Iza, FA 245960 (Nat. Arb. Forum May 3, 2004) (finding that using a domain name that “is confusingly similar to Complainant’s mark, redirects Internet users to a website that imitates Complainant’s billing website, and is used to fraudulently acquire personal information from Complainant’s clients” is evidence of bad faith registration and use); see also Capital One Fin. Corp. v. Howel, FA 289304 (Nat. Arb. Forum Aug. 11, 2004) (finding bad faith registration and use because the respondent used the domain name to redirect Internet users to a website that imitated the complainant’s website and to fraudulently acquire personal information from the complainant’s clients).
Respondent’s website resolving from the disputed domain name attempts to imitate Complainant’s official website in order to obtain Internet users confidential financial information. Respondent’s use of the disputed domain name creates a likelihood of confusion as to Complainant’s affiliation with the website. The Panel finds this is an attempt by Respondent to profit from the goodwill associated with Complainant’s NATWEST mark. Therefore, the Panel finds Respondent’s use of the domain name <natwestpb.com> domain name constitutes bad faith registration and use pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(b)(iv). See Am. Online, Inc. v. Fu, D2000-1374 (WIPO Dec. 11, 2000) (finding that the respondent violated Policy ¶ 4(b)(iv) by displaying the complainant’s mark on its website and offering identical services as those offered by the complainant); see also Identigene, Inc. v. Genetest Labs., D2000-1100 (WIPO Nov. 30, 2000) (finding bad faith where the respondent's use of the domain name at issue to resolve to a website where similar services are offered to Internet users is likely to confuse the user into believing that the complainant is the source of or is sponsoring the services offered at the site).
The Panel finds 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 <natwestpb.com> domain name be TRANSFERRED from Respondent to Complainant.
Judge Harold Kalina (Ret.), Panelist
Dated: April 15, 2008
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