National Arbitration Forum




Metropolitan Opera Association, Inc. v. Texas International Property Associates-NA NA

Claim Number: FA0807001214237



Complainant is Metropolitan Opera Association, Inc. (“Complainant”), represented by Emily Mechem, of Arent Fox LLP, Washington, DC, USA.  Respondent is Texas International Property Associates-NA NA (“Respondent”), represented by Gary Wayne Tucker, of Law Office of Gary Wayne Tucker, Texas, USA.



The domain name at issue is <>, registered with Budgetnames.



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 July 7, 2008; the National Arbitration Forum received a hard copy of the Complaint on July 8, 2008.


On July 9, 2008, Budgetnames confirmed by e-mail to the National Arbitration Forum that the <> domain name is registered with Budgetnames and that the Respondent is the current registrant of the name.  Budgetnames has verified that Respondent is bound by the Budgetnames 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 July 9, 2008, a Notification of Complaint and Commencement of Administrative Proceeding (the “Commencement Notification”), setting a deadline of July 29, 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 by e-mail.


A timely Response was received and determined to be complete on July 29, 2008.


On August 6, 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.



Complainant requests that the domain name be transferred from Respondent to Complainant.



A. Complainant

Complainant, also known as The Metropolitan Opera or simply “the Met,” is the most widely heard and known opera company in the world.  Founded in 1883, the Met is America’s largest classical music organization and is home for creative and talented artists, including singers, conductors, composers, orchestra musicians, stage directors, designers, visual artists, choreographers, and dancers from around the world.  More than 800,000 people attend the performances in the opera house during the season, and millions more experience the Met through advanced new media distribution initiatives and state-of-the-art technology.  Met owns a radio broadcast series, now in its 77th year, that is the longest-running classical music series in American broadcast history.  Since at least as early as 1973, Complainant first used MET as a trademark in connection with opera related goods and services.  Today, Complainant owns and uses in commerce the trademark MET and marks containing MET or METROPOLITAN (collectively, the “MET marks”), in connection with its opera services.  Complainant owns the following U.S. trademark registrations for the MET Marks:  MET, issued October 9, 1984;  MET TITLES, issued February 11, 1997;  GREAT ARTISTS AT THE MET, issued October 9, 1984; METROPOLITAN OPERA issued January 22, 1985.  As result of Complainant’s longstanding and extensive use, advertising, and marketing of the MET marks through a wide variety of media, including the Internet, these marks have acquired tremendous commercial strength and goodwill, have come immediately to identify the source of Complainant’s goods and services, and are well-known in the United States and around the world.  Respondent registered the Domain Name on January 30, 2005, many years after Complainant’s adoption and first use of the MET Marks, and over 100 years since the MET was established.  Respondent’s website at <> is a commercial website that provides links to a number of third party opera-related websites related to Complainant’s business.  On June 12, 2008, Complainant’s general counsel sent a cease-and-desist letter to Respondent asserting Complainant’s rights in the MET Marks and objecting to Respondent’s unauthorized registration and commercial use of the infringing Domain Name.  The Domain Name is identical or confusingly similar to the MET Marks. Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the domain name.  Respondent registered and used the Domain Name in bad faith.


B. Respondent

Respondent agrees to the relief requested by Complainant in this case.  This is not an admission to the three elements of 4(a) of the Policy but rather an offer of “unilateral consent to transfer” as prior panels have deemed it.  Respondent requests that the Panel order the immediate transfer of the disputed domain name.



1.      Complainant has rights in its METROPOLITAN OPERA Marks and its other MET marks as result of registrations with the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

2.      Respondent’s domain name, <> is confusingly similar to Complainant’s Marks.

3.      Respondent has consented to transfer the disputed domain name to Complainant and requests this Panel immediately transfer the domain name to Complainant.



Paragraph 15(a) of the Rules for Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (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.”


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;

(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.


In a case of this nature where there is no dispute between the parties and where Respondent has no objection to Complainant’s request for relief and, in fact, requests the Panel to grant the relief requested by Complainant, there is no need for a formal analysis of the three elements noted above. See Boehringer Ingelheim Int’l GmbH v. Modern Ltd-Cayman Web Dev., FA133625 (Nat. Arb. Forum Jan. 9, 2003 (transferring the domain name registration where the respondent stipulated to the transfer).  See also Malev Hungarian Airlines, Ltd. v. Vertical Axis Inc., FA212653 (Nat. Arb. Forum Jan. 13, 2004) “In this case, the parties have both asked for the domain name to be transferred to the Complainant…Since the requests of the parties in this case are identical, the Panel has no scope to do anything other than to recognize the common request, and it has no mandate to make findings of fact or of compliance (or not) with the Policy.”).  See also Disney Enters., Inc. v. Morales, FA47591 (Nat. Arb. Forum June 24, 2005) (“[U]nder such circumstances, where Respondent has agreed to comply with Complainant’s request, the Panel felt it to be expedient and judicial to forego the traditional UDRP analysis and order the transfer of the domain names.”).  The Panel is aware that the “consent to transfer” approach is considered by some panels as a way for cybersquatters to avoid adverse findings against them. See Graebel Van Lines, Inc. v. Tex Int’l Prop. Assoc., FA1195954 (Nat. Arb. Forum July 17, 2008).  For the sake of judicial economy, this Panel will not take that approach in this case.



Both Complainant and Respondent having requested that the disputed domain name to be transferred from Respondent to Complainant and this agreement to transfer not being in violation of the ICANN Policy, the Panel concludes that relief shall be GRANTED.


Accordingly, it is Ordered that the <> domain name be TRANSFERRED from Respondent to Complainant.




Tyrus R. Atkinson, Jr., Panelist
Dated: August 20, 2008





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