Yahoo! Inc. v. Val Sheynkman d/b/a Your Home Office Online
Claim Number: FA0806001211671
Complainant is Yahoo! Inc. (“Complainant”), represented by Mike
Rodenbaugh, of Rodenbaugh Law,
REGISTRAR AND DISPUTED DOMAIN NAME
The domain name at issue is <yhoo.com>, registered with Nettuner Corp. d/b/a Webmasters.com.
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.
Honorable Paul A. Dorf (Ret.) as Panelist.
Complainant submitted a Complaint to the National Arbitration Forum electronically on June 23, 2008; the National Arbitration Forum received a hard copy of the Complaint on June 25, 2008.
On June 24, 2008, Nettuner Corp. d/b/a Webmasters.com confirmed by e-mail to the National Arbitration Forum that the <yhoo.com> domain name is registered with Nettuner Corp. d/b/a Webmasters.com and that Respondent is the current registrant of the name. Nettuner Corp. d/b/a Webmasters.com has verified that Respondent is bound by the Nettuner Corp. d/b/a Webmasters.com 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").
30, 2008, a Notification of Complaint and Commencement of Administrative
Proceeding (the "Commencement Notification"), setting a deadline of
July 21, 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 firstname.lastname@example.org by e-mail.
Having received no response from Respondent, the National Arbitration Forum transmitted to the parties a Notification of Respondent Default.
On July 24, 2008, pursuant to Complainant's request to have the dispute decided by a single-member Panel, the National Arbitration Forum appointed Honorable Paul A. Dorf (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 <yhoo.com> domain name is confusingly similar to Complainant’s YAHOO! mark.
2. Respondent does not have any rights or legitimate interests in the <yhoo.com> domain name.
3. Respondent registered and used the <yhoo.com> domain name in bad faith.
B. Respondent failed to submit a Response in this proceeding.
Complainant, Yahoo! Inc., is a global Internet communications, media, and commerce company that delivers a branded network of comprehensive services. Complainant registered the YAHOO! mark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) (Reg. No. 2,040,222 issued Feb. 25, 1997) for use in its business.
Respondent registered the disputed domain name on September 29, 1997. The <yhoo.com> domain name currently resolves to a website containing third-party links in direct competition with Complainant’s business.
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 registered the YAHOO! mark with the USPTO, and therefore, established rights to the mark pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(a)(i). See Expedia, Inc. v. Tan, FA 991075 (Nat. Arb. Forum June 29, 2007) (“As the [complainant’s] mark is registered with the USPTO, [the] complainant has met the requirements of Policy ¶ 4(a)(i).”); see also Intel Corp. v. Macare, FA 660685 (Nat. Arb. Forum Apr. 26, 2006) (finding that the complainant had established rights in the PENTIUM, CENTRINO and INTEL INSIDE marks by registering the marks with the USPTO).
Complainant contends that the <yhoo.com> domain name is confusingly similar to the YAHOO! mark. Respondent’s common misspelling of Complainant’s YAHOO! mark is insufficient to create a distinction. In addition, because all domain names are required to have a top-level domain, Respondent’s use of the generic top-level domain (“gTLD”) “.com” does not distinguish the disputed domain name from Complainant’s registered mark. Therefore, the Panel finds that the <yhoo.com> domain name is confusingly similar to Complainant’s YAHOO! mark pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(a)(i). See Pomellato S.p.A v. Tonetti, D2000-0493 (WIPO July 7, 2000) (finding <pomellato.com> identical to the complainant’s mark because the generic top-level domain (gTLD) “.com” after the name POMELLATO is not relevant); see also Belkin Components v. Gallant, FA 97075 (Nat. Arb. Forum May 29, 2001) (finding the <belken.com> domain name confusingly similar to the complainant's BELKIN mark because the name merely replaced the letter “i” in the complainant's mark with the letter “e”); see also Neiman Marcus Group, Inc. v. Party Night, Inc., FA 114546 (Nat. Arb. Forum July 23, 2002) (finding that the <neimanmacus.com> domain name was a simple misspelling of the complainant’s NEIMAN MARCUS mark and was a classic example of typosquatting, which was evidence that the domain name was confusingly similar to the mark).
The Panel finds that Policy ¶ 4(a)(i) has been satisfied.
Complainant claims that Respondent has neither rights nor legitimate interests in the disputed domain name under Policy ¶ 4(a)(ii). Complainant has the initial burden of showing Respondent does not have any rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. Once Complainant has made a prima facie case showing that Respondent lacks rights and legitimate interests, the burden shifts to Respondent to show that it does have rights or legitimate interests in the <yhoo.com> domain name. 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). The Panel will examine the record to determine if Complainant has met its burden.
Complainant asserts that Respondent has never been authorized to use the YAHOO! mark, and that Respondent is not and has never been commonly known by the disputed domain name. Further, the WHOIS information does not indicate that Respondent is commonly known by the disputed domain name. Thus, the Panel finds that Respondent is not commonly known by the <yhoo.com> domain name pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(c)(ii). See 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); see also 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).
Respondent is using the <yhoo.com> domain name to advertise links to third-party competitors. The Panel finds that such use is not a bona fide offering of goods or services under Policy ¶ 4(c)(i) or a legitimate noncommercial or fair use under Policy ¶ 4(c)(iii). See DLJ Long Term Inv. Corp. v. BargainDomainNames.com, FA 104580 (Nat. Arb. Forum Apr. 9, 2002) (“Respondent is not using the disputed domain name in connection with a bona fide offering of goods and services because Respondent is using the domain name to divert Internet users to <visual.com>, where services that compete with Complainant are advertised.”); see also Ameritrade Holdings Corp. v. Polanski, FA 102715 (Nat. Arb. Forum Jan. 11, 2002) (finding that the respondent’s use of the disputed domain name to redirect Internet users to a financial services website, which competed with the complainant, was not a bona fide offering of goods or services).
Furthermore, the Panel finds that the <yhoo.com> domain name is a typosquatted version of Complainant’s mark. Under Policy ¶ 4(a)(ii), this typosquatting further indicates Respondent’s lack of rights and legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. See IndyMac Bank F.S.B. v. Ebeyer, FA 175292 (Nat. Arb. Forum Sept. 19, 2003) (finding that the respondent lacked rights and legitimate interests in the disputed domain names because it “engaged in the practice of typosquatting by taking advantage of Internet users who attempt to access Complainant's <indymac.com> website but mistakenly misspell Complainant's mark by typing the letter ‘x’ instead of the letter ‘c’”); see also LTD Commodities LLC v. Party Night, Inc., FA 165155 (Nat. Arb. Forum Aug. 14, 2003) (finding that the <ltdcommadities.com>, <ltdcommmodities.com>, and <ltdcommodaties.com> domain names were intentional misspellings of Complainant's LTD COMMODITIES mark and this “‘typosquatting’ is evidence that Respondent lacks rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain names”).
The Panel finds that Complainant has met the initial burden of showing that Respondent lacks rights and legitimate interests, and therefore has made a prima facie case under Policy ¶ 4(a)(ii). Therefore, the Panel finds that Policy ¶ 4(a)(ii) has been satisfied.
The Panel finds that Respondent’s use of the <yhoo.com> domain name to commercially gain by advertising links to competing services constitutes bad faith registration and use under Policy ¶ 4(b)(iii). See Disney Enters., Inc. v. Noel, FA 198805 (Nat. Arb. Forum Nov. 11, 2003) (“Respondent registered a domain name confusingly similar to Complainant's mark to divert Internet users to a competitor's website. It is a reasonable inference that Respondent's purpose of registration and use was to either disrupt or create confusion for Complainant's business in bad faith pursuant to Policy ¶¶ 4(b)(iii) [and] (iv).”); see also S. Exposure v. S. Exposure, Inc., FA 94864 (Nat. Arb. Forum July 18, 2000) (finding the respondent acted in bad faith by attracting Internet users to a website that competes with the complainant’s business).
Complainant contends that Respondent is using the <yhoo.com> domain name for commercial gain by advertising links to competing services, and benefiting from the likely confusion between Complainant’s mark and the disputed domain name. The Panel finds that the similarity between the disputed domain name and the YAHOO! mark are likely to create confusion as to Complainant’s source, sponsorship, affiliation, or endorsement of the website that resolves from the disputed domain name, which constitutes bad faith registration and use under Policy ¶ 4(b)(iv). See AltaVista Co. v. Krotov, D2000-1091 (WIPO Oct. 25, 2000) (finding bad faith under Policy ¶ 4(b)(iv) where the respondent’s domain name resolved to a website that offered links to third-party websites that offered services similar to the complainant’s services and merely took advantage of Internet user mistakes); see also Gardens Alive, Inc. v. D&S Linx, FA 203126 (Nat. Arb. Forum Nov. 20, 2003) (“Respondent registered and used the <my-seasons.com> domain name in bad faith pursuant to Policy ¶¶ 4(b)(iii) and (iv) because Respondent is using a domain name that is confusingly similar to the MYSEASONS mark for commercial benefit by diverting Internet users to the <thumbgreen.com> website, which sells competing goods and services.”).
Finally, the typosquatted <yhoo.com> domain name also indicates that Respondent registered and is using the disputed domain name in bad faith under Policy ¶ 4(a)(iii). See Zone Labs, Inc. v. Zuccarini, FA 190613 (Nat. Arb. Forum Oct. 15, 2003) (“Respondent’s registration and use of [the <zonelarm.com> domain name] that capitalizes on the typographical error of an Internet user is considered typosquatting. Typosquatting, itself is evidence of bad faith registration and use pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(a)(iii).”); see also Dermalogica, Inc. v. Domains to Develop, FA 175201 (Nat. Arb. Forum Sept. 22, 2003) (finding that the <dermatalogica.com> domain name was a “simple misspelling” of the complainant's DERMALOGICA mark which indicated typosquatting and bad faith pursuant to Policy 4 ¶ (a)(iii)).
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 <yhoo.com> domain name be TRANSFERRED from Respondent to Complainant.
Honorable Paul A. Dorf (Ret.), Panelist
Dated: August 7, 2008
Click Here to return to the main Domain Decisions Page.
Click Here to return to our Home Page
National Arbitration Forum