TM Acquisition Corp. v. Peter Carrington d/b/a Party Night, Inc.
Claim Number: FA0207000116764
Complainant is TM Acquisition Corp., Las Vegas, NV, USA (“Complainant”) represented by Kathryn S. Geib. Respondent is Party Night, Inc., Amsterdam, THE NETHERLANDS (“Respondent”).
REGISTRAR AND DISPUTED DOMAIN NAME
The domain name at issue is <jacksonhewit.com>, registered with Key-Systems GmbH.
The undersigned certifies that he as acted independently and impartially and to the best of his knowledge has no known conflict in serving as Panelist in this proceeding.
Hon. Ralph Yachnin as Panelist.
Complainant submitted a Complaint to the National Arbitration Forum (the “Forum”) electronically on July 18, 2002; the Forum received a hard copy of the Complaint on July 19, 2002.
On August 6, 2002, Key-Systems GmbH confirmed by e-mail to the Forum that the domain name <jacksonhewit.com> is registered with Key-Systems GmbH and that Respondent is the current registrant of the name. Key-Systems GmbH has verified that Respondent is bound by the Key-Systems GmbH 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 August 6, 2002, a Notification of Complaint and Commencement of Administrative Proceeding (the “Commencement Notification”), setting a deadline of August 26, 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 September 12, 2002, pursuant to Complainant’s request to have the dispute decided by a single-member Panel, the Forum appointed Hon. Ralph Yachnin 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 <jacksonhewit.com> domain name is confusingly similar to Complainant's JACKSON HEWITT 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 holds a registered trademark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office for JACKSON HEWITT (Reg. No. 2,138,700) in relation to tax preparation. Complainant is also the owner of four other trademarks registered with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, incorporating the JACKSON HEWITT name. Complainant is a franchiser of a system of business for the promotion and assistance of independently owned and operated tax return preparation offices, designed to enable such offices to compete more effectively in the tax return preparation market. Complainant has offered tax return preparation services under the JACKSON HEWITT mark since 1987. Presently, Complainant’s services are available in 47 states at 3,816 locations.
Complainant has expended over 8 million dollars in the promotion and advertising of its JACKSON HEWITT mark in association with its tax preparation business. Complainant operates a website located at <jacksonhewitt.com>.
Respondent registered the disputed domain name, <jacksonhewit.com>, on March 10, 2002. Respondent is using the disputed domain name in order to automatically link Internet users to a pornographic website located at <hanky-panky-college.com>.
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 the JACKSON HEWITT mark through registration and continuous use since 1987. Respondent’s <jacksonhewit.com> domain name is confusingly similar to Complainant’s mark because it incorporates Complainant’s entire mark and merely omits the letter “t” at the end of HEWITT. The omission of a single letter from Complainant’s mark does not 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 the domain name confusingly similar to Complainant’s marks); see also Compaq Info. Techs. Group, L.P. v. Seocho , FA 103879 (Nat. Arb. Forum Feb. 25, 2002) (finding that the domain name <compq.com> is confusingly similar to Complainant’s COMPAQ mark because the omission of the letter “a” in the domain name does not significantly change the overall impression of the 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’s only use of the disputed domain name is to hyperlink Internet users to pornographic websites. This type of use is not considered to create rights or legitimate interests because it is not 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 Nat’l Football League Prop., Inc. v. One Sex Entm’t Co., D2000-0118 (WIPO Apr. 17, 2000) (finding that Respondent had no rights or legitimate interests in the domain names <chargergirls.com> and <chargergirls.net> where Respondent linked these domain names to its pornographic website); see also Brown & Bigelow, Inc. v. Rodela, FA 96466 (Nat. Arb. Forum Mar. 5, 2001) (finding that infringing on another's well-known mark to provide a link to a pornographic site is not a legitimate or fair use); see also 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 to tarnish Complainant’s mark).
Furthermore, there is no evidence on record, and Respondent has not come forward to offer any proof that it is commonly known as JACKSON HEWIT or <jacksonhewit.com>. 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 using a domain name that is confusingly similar to Complainant’s mark in order to divert Internet users to a pornographic website located at <hanky-panky-college.com>. This type of use is considered to be evidence of bad faith registration and use pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(a)(iii). See Ty, Inc. v. O.Z. Names, D2000-0370 (WIPO June 27, 2000) (finding that absent contrary evidence, linking the domain names in question to graphic, adult-oriented websites is evidence of bad faith); see also CCA Indus., Inc. v. Dailey, D2000-0148 (WIPO Apr. 26, 2000) (finding that “this association with a pornographic web site can itself constitute bad faith”).
Respondent is engaging in a practice called 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).
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 <jacksonhewit.com> be transferred from Respondent to Complainant.
Hon. Ralph Yachnin, Panelist
Justice, Supreme Court, NY (Ret.)
Dated: September 13, 2002
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