Nike, Inc. v. Dennis Gonzales
Claim Number: FA0803001169744
Complainant is Nike, Inc. (“Complainant”), represented by Margo
REGISTRAR AND DISPUTED DOMAIN NAME
The domain name at issue is <nikesky.com>, registered with Xin Net Technology Corporation.
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.
Sandra J. Franklin as Panelist.
Complainant submitted a Complaint to
the National Arbitration Forum electronically on
2, 2008, a Notification of Complaint and Commencement of Administrative
Proceeding (the "Commencement Notification"), setting a deadline of
April 22, 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.
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 <nikesky.com> domain name is confusingly similar to Complainant’s NIKE mark.
2. Respondent does not have any rights or legitimate interests in the <nikesky.com> domain name.
3. Respondent registered and used the <nikesky.com> domain name in bad faith.
B. Respondent failed to submit a Response in this proceeding.
Complainant designs, manufactures, and markets a broad range of athletic footwear, apparel and equipment under the NIKE mark, which Complainant registered with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) on November 2, 1982 (Reg. No. 1,214,930).
Respondent registered the <nikesky.com> domain name on October 19, 2004. Based on the evidence presented by Complainant, it appears that the disputed domain name resolves to a website that purports to sell Complainant’s products.
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.
The Panel finds that Complainant has established rights in the NIKE mark for purposes of Policy ¶ 4(a)(i). See Vivendi Universal Games v. XBNetVentures Inc., FA 198803 (Nat. Arb. Forum Nov. 11, 2003) (“Complainant's federal trademark registrations establish Complainant's rights in the BLIZZARD mark.”); see also Smart Design LLC v. Hughes, D2000-0993 (WIPO Oct. 18, 2000) (holding that ICANN Policy ¶ 4(a)(i) does not require the complainant to demonstrate ‘exclusive rights,’ but only that the complainant has a bona fide basis for making the complaint in the first place).
Respondent’s <nikesky.com> domain name is confusingly similar to its NIKE mark. The <nikesky.com> domain name differs from Complainant’s mark in three ways: (1) the generic
term “SKY” has been added to the end of the mark; and (2) the generic top-level
domain (“gTLD”) “.com” has been added.
The Panel finds that these changes do not minimize or eliminate the
resulting likelihood of confusion, and so Respondent’s disputed domain name is
not sufficiently distinguished from Complainant’s mark pursuant to Policy ¶
4(a)(i). See Arthur Guinness Son & Co. (
The Panel finds that Policy ¶ 4(a)(i) has been satisfied.
Complainant contends that Respondent lacks all rights and legitimate interests in the <nikesky.com> domain name. Under Policy ¶ 4(a)(ii), after the complainant makes a prima facie case against the respondent, the respondent then has the burden of showing evidence that it does have rights and legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. Complainant has made a prima facie case under Policy ¶ 4(a)(ii). 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 once the complainant asserts that the respondent has no rights or legitimate interests with respect to the domain, the burden shifts to the respondent to provide “concrete evidence that it has rights to or legitimate interests in the domain name at issue”).
Complainant contends that Respondent is not commonly known by the <nikesky.com> domain name nor have they ever been the owner or licensee of the NIKE mark. The WHOIS record for the disputed domain name lists the Respondent as “Dennis Gonzales.” This evidence, along with the fact that Respondent has failed to show any evidence contrary to Complainant’s contentions, compels the Panel to find that Respondent is not commonly known as <nikesky.com> pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(c)(ii). See Wells Fargo & Co. v. Onlyne Corp. Services11, Inc., FA 198969 (Nat. Arb. Forum Nov. 17, 2003) (“Given the WHOIS contact information for the disputed domain [name], one can infer that Respondent, Onlyne Corporate Services11, is not commonly known by the name ‘welsfargo’ in any derivation.”); see also Ian Schrager Hotels, L.L.C. v. Taylor, FA 173369 (Nat. Arb. Forum Sept. 25, 2003) (finding that without demonstrable evidence to support the assertion that a respondent is commonly known by a domain name, the assertion must be rejected); see also Am. Express Co. v. Fang Suhendro, FA 129120 (Nat. Arb. Forum Dec. 30, 2002) (“[B]ased on Respondent's failure to respond, it is presumed that Respondent lacks all rights and legitimate interests in the disputed domain name.”).
Complainant presents evidence that suggests that Respondent maintains a website at <nikesky.com> that offers Complainant’s products for sale. The Panel finds that this use of the domain name <nikesky.com> is neither a bona fide offering of goods or services under Policy ¶ 4(c)(i) nor a legitimate noncommercial or fair use under Policy ¶ 4(c)(iii). See Nike, Inc. v. Dias, FA 135016 (Nat. Arb. Forum Jan. 7, 2002) (finding no bona fide offering of goods or services where the respondent used the complainant’s mark without authorization to attract Internet users to its website, which offered both the complainant’s products and those of the complainant’s competitors); see Chanel, Inc. v. Cologne Zone, D2000-1809 (WIPO Feb. 22, 2001) (finding that use of the complainant’s mark to sell the complainant’s perfume, as well as other brands of perfume, is not bona fide use); see also Pitney Bowes Inc. v. Ostanik, D2000-1611 (WIPO Jan. 24, 2001) (finding no rights or legitimate interests in the <pitneybowe.com> domain name where the respondent purports to resell original Pitney Bowes equipment on its website, as well as goods of other competitors of the complainant).
The Panel finds that Policy ¶ 4(a)(ii) has been satisfied.
Respondent is using the disputed domain name to divert
Internet customers from Complainant’s website to Respondent’s website, through
the confusion caused by the similarity between the NIKE mark and the <nikesky.com> domain name. The Panel finds that Respondent’s use of the
disputed domain name disrupts Complainant’s business, and is evidence of
registration and use in bad faith pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(b)(iii).
Complainant also presents evidence that suggests that Respondent is gaining commercially through this diversion, both through click-through fees and through attempting to sell Complainant’s products. The Panel finds that this is an intentional use of the disputed domain name for commercial gain through a likelihood of confusion with Complainant’s mark, and so, pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(b)(iv), this use is also evidence of registration and use in bad faith. See Associated Newspapers Ltd. v. Domain Manager, FA 201976 (Nat. Arb. Forum Nov. 19, 2003) (“Respondent's prior use of the <mailonsunday.com> domain name is evidence of bad faith pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(b)(iv) because the domain name provided links to Complainant's competitors and Respondent presumably commercially benefited from the misleading domain name by receiving ‘click-through-fees.’”); see also World Wrestling Fed’n Entm’t, Inc. v. Ringside Collectibles, D2000-1306 (WIPO Jan. 24, 2001) (concluding that the respondent registered and used the <wwfauction.com> domain name in bad faith because the name resolved to a commercial website that the complainant’s customers were likely to confuse with the source of the complainant’s products, especially because of the respondent’s prominent use of the complainant’s logo on the site); see also Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc. v. Clelland, FA 198018 (Nat. Arb. Forum Nov. 10, 2003) (“Respondent used <land-cruiser.com> to advertise its business, which sold goods in competition with Complainant. This establishes bad faith as defined in Policy ¶ 4(b)(iv).”).
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 relief shall be GRANTED.
Accordingly, it is Ordered that the <nikesky.com> domain name be TRANSFERRED from Respondent to Complainant.
Sandra J. Franklin, Panelist
Dated: May 5, 2008
Click Here to return to the main Domain Decisions Page.
Click Here to return to our Home Page
National Arbitration Forum