AOL LLC v. NA a/k/a Kateryna Chernychenko
Claim Number: FA0804001177320
Complainant is AOL LLC (“Complainant”), represented by James
R. Davis, of Arent Fox PLLC,
REGISTRAR AND DISPUTED DOMAIN NAME
The domain name at issue is <icqporn.net>, registered with Estdomains, 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.
Tyrus R. Atkinson, Jr., as Panelist.
Complainant submitted a Complaint to the National Arbitration Forum electronically on April 10, 2008; the National Arbitration Forum received a hard copy of the Complaint on April 11, 2008.
On April 11, 2008, Estdomains, Inc. confirmed by e-mail to the National Arbitration Forum that the <icqporn.net> domain name is registered with Estdomains, Inc. and that Respondent is the current registrant of the name. Estdomains, Inc. has verified that Respondent is bound by the Estdomains, 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").
14, 2008, a Notification of Complaint and Commencement of Administrative
Proceeding (the "Commencement Notification"), setting a deadline of
May 5, 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 May 12, 2008, pursuant to Complainant's request to have the dispute decided by a single-member Panel, the National Arbitration Forum appointed Tyrus R. Atkinson, Jr., 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 <icqporn.net> domain name is confusingly similar to Complainant’s ICQ mark.
2. Respondent does not have any rights or legitimate interests in the <icqporn.net> domain name.
3. Respondent registered and used the <icqporn.net> domain name in bad faith.
B. Respondent failed to submit a Response in this proceeding.
Complainant, AOL LLC, provides a variety of online communications services under its ICQ mark. Complainant first registered its ICQ mark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) on December 12, 2000 (Reg. No. 2,411,657).
Respondent registered the <icqporn.net> domain name on February 2, 2008. Respondent is currently using the disputed domain name to resolve to a website which displays adult-oriented content.
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 evidence of the registration of its mark with the USPTO on December 12, 2000. The Panel finds this evidence is sufficient to establish Complainant’s rights in its ICQ 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 KCTS Television Inc. v. Get-on-the-Web Ltd., D2001-0154 (WIPO Apr. 20, 2001) (holding that it does not matter for the purpose of paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Policy whether the complainant’s mark is registered in a country other than that of the respondent’s place of business).
Respondent’s <icqporn.net> domain name fully incorporates Complainant’s ICQ mark with the addition of the generic term “porn,” and the generic top-level domain (“gTLD”) “.net.” The additions of a generic term and gTLD do not detract from the distinctive portion of the disputed domain name, which is Complainant’s ICQ mark. Therefore, the Panel finds Respondent’s <icqporn.net> domain name is confusingly similar to Complainant’s ICQ mark pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(a)(i). See Am. Online, Inc. v. GSD Pty. Ltd., FA 169083 (Nat. Arb. Forum Sept. 2, 2003) (finding that the <icqporn.com> domain name was confusingly similar to the complainant's ICQ mark under Policy ¶ 4(a)(i)); see also Mattel, Inc. v. firstname.lastname@example.org, FA 187609 (Nat. Arb. Forum Oct. 6, 2003) (“Respondent has merely added the descriptive word ‘porn’ to Complainant's registered BARBIE mark, and the addition of this word does not create a notable distinction between Complainant's mark and the domain name currently in dispute.”); see also Rollerblade, Inc. v. McCrady, D2000-0429 (WIPO June 25, 2000) (finding that the top level of the domain name such as “.net” or “.com” does not affect the domain name for the purpose of determining whether it is identical or confusingly similar).
The Panel finds Policy ¶ 4(a)(i) has been satisfied.
Complainant has alleged Respondent does not possess rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. Complainant must present a prima facie case to support these allegations before the burden shifts to Respondent to prove it does have rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. The Panel finds Complainant has presented an adequate prima facie case to support its allegations, and Respondent has failed to respond to these proceedings. Therefore, the Panel may conclude Respondent does not possess rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. The Panel, however, will examine the record and determine if Respondent has rights or legitimate interests pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(c). See 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”); see also Desotec N.V. v. Jacobi Carbons AB, D2000-1398 (WIPO Dec. 21, 2000) (finding that failing to respond allows a presumption that the complainant’s allegations are true unless clearly contradicted by the evidence).
Respondent’s <icqporn.net> domain name resolves to a website which displays adult-oriented content. The Panel finds this use 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 pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(c)(iii). See Am. Online, Inc. v. Boch, FA 209902 (Nat. Arb. Forum Dec. 22, 2003) (“Respondent uses <aol-x.com> in connection with pornographic material, which is not a bona fide offering of goods or services, nor a legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the domain name, pursuant to Policy ¶¶ 4(c)(i) [and] (iii).”); see also Dipaolo v. Genero, FA 203168 (Nat. Arb. Forum Dec. 6, 2003) (“Diversion to pornography is not a bona fide offering of goods or services or a legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the domain name pursuant to Policy ¶¶ 4(c)(i) and (iii).”).
Also, Respondent does not appear to be commonly known by the <icqporn.net> domain name. The WHOIS information reflects Respondent is known as “NA,” and “Kateryna Chernychenko,” and the record indicates Complainant has not authorized Respondent to use its ICQ mark. Therefore, the Panel finds Respondent is not commonly known by the disputed domain name and thus has not established rights or legitimate interests pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(c)(ii). See 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"); see also Tercent Inc. v. Lee Yi, FA 139720 (Nat. Arb. Forum Feb. 10, 2003) (stating “nothing in Respondent’s WHOIS information implies that Respondent is ‘commonly known by’ the disputed domain name” as one factor in determining that Policy ¶ 4(c)(ii) does not apply).
The Panel finds Policy ¶ 4(a)(ii) has been satisfied.
Respondent’s disputed domain name resolves to a website
which displays adult-oriented material. Respondent
presumably receives compensation for displaying this content. Respondent’s use of the confusingly similar <icqporn.net> domain name to display
adult-oriented conduct creates Internet user confusion as to Complainant’s
affiliation with the website content.
Respondent is attempting to profit from the goodwill in Complainant’s
ICQ mark. Therefore, the Panel finds
Respondent’s use is evidence of bad faith registration and use pursuant to
Policy ¶ 4(b)(iv).
Additionally, the Panel finds Respondent’s use of the disputed domain name to display adult-oriented content is also evidence of bad faith registration and use in and of itself pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(a)(iii). See Wells Fargo & Co. v. Party Night Inc., FA 144647 (Nat. Arb. Forum Mar. 18, 2003) (finding that the respondent’s tarnishing use of the disputed domain names to redirect Internet users to adult-oriented websites was evidence that the domain names were being used in bad faith); see also Microsoft Corp. v. Horner, D2002-0029 (WIPO Feb. 27, 2002) (holding that the respondent’s use of the complainant’s mark to post adult-oriented photographs and to publicize hyperlinks to additional adult-oriented websites evidenced bad faith use and registration of the domain name).
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 <icqporn.net> domain name be TRANSFERRED from Respondent to Complainant.
Tyrus R. Atkinson, Jr., Panelist
Dated: May 26, 2008
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