Wynn Resorts Holdings, LLC v. Cathy Osborne
Claim Number: FA0804001178424
Complainant is Wynn Resorts Holdings, LLC (“Complainant”), represented by Tyler
Andrews, of Greenberg Traurig,
REGISTRAR AND DISPUTED DOMAIN NAME
The domain name at issue is <wynnvegas.net>, registered with Melbourne It, Ltd. d/b/a Internet Names Worldwide.
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 April 15, 2008; the National Arbitration Forum received a hard copy of the Complaint on April 16, 2008.
On April 22, 2008, Melbourne It, Ltd. d/b/a Internet Names Worldwide confirmed by e-mail to the National Arbitration Forum that the <wynnvegas.net> domain name is registered with Melbourne It, Ltd. d/b/a Internet Names Worldwide and that Respondent is the current registrant of the name. Melbourne It, Ltd. d/b/a Internet Names Worldwide has verified that Respondent is bound by the Melbourne It, Ltd. d/b/a Internet Names Worldwide 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").
24, 2008, a Notification of Complaint and Commencement of Administrative
Proceeding (the "Commencement Notification"), setting a deadline of
May 14, 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 22, 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 <wynnvegas.net> domain name is confusingly similar to Complainant’s WYNN mark.
2. Respondent does not have any rights or legitimate interests in the <wynnvegas.net> domain name.
3. Respondent registered and used the <wynnvegas.net> domain name in bad faith.
B. Respondent failed to submit a Response in this proceeding.
Complainant, Wynn Resorts Holdings LLC, operates one of the
most successful hotel and casinos in the world.
Respondent registered the <wynnvegas.net> domain name on December 16, 2006. Respondent’s disputed domain name resolves to a blank website template.
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 asserts rights in the WYNN mark through its registration with the USPTO but Complainant has failed to provide evidence of trademark registration. However, trademark registration is not necessary in order to confer rights. See SeekAmerica Networks Inc. v. Masood, D2000-0131 (WIPO Apr. 13, 2000) (finding that the Rules do not require that the complainant's trademark or service mark be registered by a government authority or agency for such rights to exist); see also Great Plains Metromall, LLC v. Creach, FA 97044 (Nat. Arb. Forum May 18, 2001) (“The Policy does not require that a trademark be registered by a governmental authority for such rights to exist.”).
However, the Panel finds that Complainant’s use of the WYNN mark in association with the popular and successful WYNN hotel and casino since 2003, Complainant has established common law rights in the WYNN mark pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(a)(i). See S.A. Bendheim Co., Inc. v. Hollander Glass, FA 142318 (Nat. Arb. Forum Mar. 13, 2003) (holding that the complainant established rights in the descriptive RESTORATION GLASS mark through proof of secondary meaning associated with the mark); see also Tuxedos By Rose v. Nunez, FA 95248 (Nat. Arb. Forum Aug. 17, 2000) (finding common law rights in a mark where its use was continuous and ongoing, and secondary meaning was established).
Complainant asserts that Respondent’s <wynnvegas.net> domain name is confusingly similar to Complainant’s WYNN mark pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(a)(ii). Respondent’s disputed domain name contains Complainant’s mark it its entirety, adds the geographic location “vegas,” and adds the generic top-level domain “.net.” The Panel finds that a disputed domain name that contains a complainant’s mark and adds a geographic location, especially the location of the Complainant’s operation as is the case here, creates a confusing similarity between the disputed domain name and mark pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(a)(i). See CMGI, Inc. v. Reyes, D2000-0572 (WIPO Aug. 8, 2000) (finding that the domain name <cmgiasia.com> is confusingly similar to the complainant’s CMGI mark). In addition, the Panel finds that the addition of a gTLD is irrelevant in distinguishing a disputed domain name from a mark. See Busy Body, Inc. v. Fitness Outlet Inc., D2000-0127 (WIPO Apr. 22, 2000) ("[T]he addition of the generic top-level domain (gTLD) name ‘.com’ is . . . without legal significance since use of a gTLD is required of domain name registrants . . . ."). Therefore, pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(a)(i), the Panel finds that Respondent’s <wynnvegas.net> domain name is confusingly similar to Complainant’s WYNN mark.
The Panel finds that Policy ¶ 4(a)(i) has been satisfied.
Complainant asserts that Respondent lacks all rights and legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. If a complainant makes a prima facie case in support of its allegations, the burden shifts to the respondent to prove that rights or legitimate interests exist pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(a)(ii). In this case, the Panel finds that Complainant has established a prima facie case and the burden is shifted to Respondent. See Compagnie Generale des Matieres Nucleaires v. Greenpeace Int’l, D2001-0376 (WIPO May 14, 2001) (“Proving that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Domain Name requires the Complainant to prove a negative. For the purposes of this sub paragraph, however, it is sufficient for the Complainant to show a prima facie case and the burden of proof is then shifted on to the shoulders of Respondent. In those circumstances, the common approach is for respondents to seek to bring themselves within one of the examples of paragraph 4(c) or put forward some other reason why they can fairly be said to have a relevant right or legitimate interests in respect of the domain name in question.”); see also Clerical Med. Inv. Group Ltd. v. Clericalmedical.com, D2000-1228 (WIPO Nov. 28, 2000) (finding that, under certain circumstances, the mere assertion by the complainant that the respondent has no right or legitimate interest is sufficient to shift the burden of proof to the respondent to demonstrate that such a right or legitimate interest does exist).
By failing to respond to the Complaint, the Panel assumes that Respondent does not have rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. See Broadcom Corp. v. Ibecom PLC, FA 361190 (Nat. Arb. Forum Dec. 22, 2004) (“Respondent’s failure to respond to the Complaint functions as an implicit admission that [Respondent] lacks rights and legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. It also allows the Panel to accept all reasonable allegations set forth…as true.”); see also Law Soc’y of Hong Kong v. Domain Strategy, Inc., HK-0200015 (ADNDRC Feb. 12, 2003) (“A respondent is not obligated to participate in a domain name dispute . . . but the failure to participate leaves a respondent vulnerable to the inferences that flow naturally from the assertions of the complainant and the tribunal will accept as established assertions by the complainant that are not unreasonable.”). However, the Panel will examine the evidence on record against the applicable ¶ 4(c) elements before making a final determination with regards to Respondent’s rights and legitimate interests.
Complainant contends that Respondent is neither commonly known by, nor licensed to register the <wynnvegas.net> domain name. Respondent’s WHOIS information identifies Respondent as “Cathy Osborne,” thus giving no affirmative evidence that Respondent is commonly known by the disputed domain name. Therefore, pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(c)(ii), Respondent lacks rights and legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. 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 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).
Complainant claims that Respondent has failed to make an active use of the <wynnvegas.net> domain name where it resolves to a blank website template. The Panel finds that Respondent’s failure to make an active use of the disputed domain name is neither a bona fide offering of goods and services pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(c)(i), nor a legitimate noncommercial or fair use pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(c)(iii). See Vestel Elektronik Sanayi ve Ticaret AS v. Kahveci, D2000-1244 (WIPO Nov. 11, 2000) (“Merely registering the domain name is not sufficient to establish rights or legitimate interests for purposes of paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy.”); see also Flor-Jon Films, Inc. v. Larson, FA 94974 (Nat. Arb. Forum July 25, 2000) (finding that the respondent’s failure to develop the site demonstrates a lack of legitimate interest in the domain name).
The Panel finds that Policy ¶ 4(a)(ii) has been satisfied.
Complainant asserts that Respondent’s failure to actively use the disputed domain name is evidence of bad faith. The Panel finds that Respondent’s inactive use of the <wynnvegas.net> domain name is evidence of bad faith registration and use pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(a)(iii). See Cruzeiro Licenciamentos Ltda. v. Sallen, D2000-0715 (WIPO Sept. 6, 2000) (“Mere inactive use of a domain name can qualify as bad faith if the domain name owner’s conduct creates the impression that the name is for sale.”); see also Mondich v. Brown, D2000-0004 (WIPO Feb. 16, 2000) (holding that the respondent’s failure to develop its website in a two year period raises the inference of registration in bad faith).
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 <wynnvegas.net> domain name be TRANSFERRED from Respondent to Complainant.
Judge Harold Kalina (Ret.), Panelist
Dated: June 4, 2008
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