AOL LLC v. DWNL Andrey
Claim Number: FA0807001216165
Complainant is AOL LLC (“Complainant”), represented by James
R. Davis, of Arent Fox LLP,
REGISTRAR AND DISPUTED DOMAIN NAME
The domain name at issue is <download-icq.net>, registered with Estdomains, Inc.
The undersigned certifies that he has acted independently and impartially and to the best of his knowledge has no known conflict in serving as Panelist in this proceeding.
Louis E. Condon as Panelist.
Complainant submitted a Complaint to the National Arbitration Forum electronically on July 17, 2008; the National Arbitration Forum received a hard copy of the Complaint on July 18, 2008.
On July 21, 2008, Estdomains, Inc. confirmed by e-mail to the National Arbitration Forum that the <download-icq.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").
24, 2008, a Notification of Complaint and Commencement of Administrative
Proceeding (the "Commencement Notification"), setting a deadline of
August 13, 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 August 19, 2008, pursuant to Complainant's request to have the dispute decided by a single-member Panel, the National Arbitration Forum appointed Louis E. Condon 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 <download-icq.net> domain name is confusingly similar to Complainant’s ICQ mark.
2. Respondent does not have any rights or legitimate interests in the <download-icq.net> domain name.
3. Respondent registered and used the <download-icq.net> domain name in bad faith.
B. Respondent failed to submit a Response in this proceeding.
Complainant, AOL LLC, is a leading provider of online entertainment services. One of their many popular brands is operated under the ICQ moniker. Through this brand, Complainant provides information in the field of personal advice, romance, general interest news, health, and technology via computer networks. Complainant owns several trademark registrations worldwide in the ICQ mark, including a trademark registration with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) (Reg. No. 2,411,657 issued Dec. 12, 2000).
Respondent registered the <download-icq.net> domain name on August 25, 2007. Respondent’s disputed domain name resolves to a website that features Complainant’s ICQ mark and related flower logo and offers downloadable software to Internet users connected to Respondent’s site.
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 established rights in the ICQ mark through
registration of the mark with the USPTO 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 Men’s Wearhouse, Inc. v. Wick, FA 117861 (Nat. Arb. Forum
Sept. 16, 2002) (“Under
domain name is confusingly similar to Complainant’s ICQ mark. The mere additions of the generic term “download”
along with a hyphen and a generic top-level domain (“gTLD”) such as “.net,” are
not a means of distinguishing a domain name from a well-known mark under Policy
¶ 4(a)(i). See Body Shop Int’l PLC v.
CPIC NET, D2000-1214 (WIPO Nov. 26, 2000) (finding that the domain
name <bodyshopdigital.com> is confusingly similar to the complainant’s
THE BODY SHOP trademark); see also Quixtar Inv., Inc. v. Smithberger,
D2000-0138 (WIPO Apr. 19, 2000) (finding that because the domain name
<quixtar-sign-up.com> incorporates in its entirety the complainant’s
distinctive mark, QUIXTAR, the domain name is confusingly similar); see also Health Devices Corp. v.
The Panel finds that Policy ¶ 4(a)(i) has been satisfied.
Complainant contends that Respondent does not have rights or legitimate interests in the <download-icq.net> domain name. In instances where a complainant has made a prima facie case, the burden shifts to the respondent to set forth evidence that it does possess rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. The Panel finds that, in the instant case, Complainant has made a prima facie case under Policy ¶ 4(a)(i). 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 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).”).
Complainant contends that Respondent is using the <download-icq.net> domain name to operate a website that displays Complainant’s ICQ mark and accompanying flower logo, as well as offer Respondent’s own software for download. The Panel finds that Respondent’s attempts to pass itself off as Complainant in order to provide Internet users with Respondent’s own products is not a use of the <download-icq.net> domain name 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. Int’l Group, Inc. v. Busby, FA 156251 (Nat. Arb. Forum May 30, 2003) (finding that the respondent attempts to pass itself off as the complainant online, which is blatant unauthorized use of the complainant’s mark and is evidence that the respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name); see also Crow v. LOVEARTH.net, FA 203208 (Nat. Arb. Forum Nov. 28, 2003) (“It is neither a bona fide offerings [sic] of goods or services, nor an example of a legitimate noncommercial or fair use under Policy ¶¶ 4(c)(i) & (iii) when the holder of a domain name, confusingly similar to a registered mark, attempts to profit by passing itself off as Complainant . . . .”).
Complainant further contends that Respondent is not commonly known by the <download-icq.net> domain name. The WHOIS information for the disputed domain name lists the registrant as “DWNL Andrey.” The Panel finds that without evidence to the contrary, Respondent is not commonly known by the <download-icq.net> domain name under 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).
The Panel finds that Policy ¶ 4(a)(ii) has been satisfied.
Complainant contends that the website resolving from Respondent’s <download-icq.net> domain name prominently displays Complainant’s ICQ mark and accompanying flower design. What is more, Respondent offers Internet users software for download, a product with such a close relation to Complainant that Internet users are likely to be confused as to the source and sponsorship of the content. The Panel finds that Respondent is attempting to capitalize on this confusion through commercial gain. As a result, Respondent has registered and used the <download-icq.net> domain name in bad faith pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(b)(iv). See Am. Online, Inc. v. Fu, D2000-1374 (WIPO Dec. 11, 2000) (finding that the respondent violated Policy ¶ 4(b)(iv) by displaying the complainant’s mark on its website and offering identical services as those offered by the complainant); see also Identigene, Inc. v. Genetest Labs., D2000-1100 (WIPO Nov. 30, 2000) (finding bad faith where the respondent's use of the domain name at issue to resolve to a website where similar services are offered to Internet users is likely to confuse the user into believing that the complainant is the source of or is sponsoring the services offered at the site).
Moreover, Complainant contends that Respondent’s use shows its intent to disrupt Complainant’s business by using Complainant’s well-known mark to provide Internet users with competing services. The Panel agrees with Complainant and finds that Respondent’s activities show further evidence of bad faith registration and use under Policy ¶ 4(b)(iii). See Lambros v. Brown, FA 198963 (Nat. Arb. Forum Nov. 19, 2003) (finding that the respondent registered a domain name primarily to disrupt its competitor when it sold similar goods as those offered by the complainant and “even included Complainant's personal name on the website, leaving Internet users with the assumption that it was Complainant's business they were doing business with”); 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).
Finally, Respondent’s <download-icq.net> domain name prominently displays Complainant’s ICQ and flower logo. The Panel finds that Respondent was intentionally attempting to pass itself off as Complainant, and such is evidence of bad faith registration and use under Policy ¶ 4(a)(iii). See Am. Int’l Group, Inc. v. Busby, FA 156251 (Nat. Arb. Forum May 30, 2003) (finding that the disputed domain name was registered and used in bad faith where the respondent hosted a website that “duplicated Complainant’s mark and logo, giving every appearance of being associated or affiliated with Complainant’s business . . . to perpetrate a fraud upon individual shareholders who respected the goodwill surrounding the AIG mark”); see also Am. Online, Inc. v. Miles, FA 105890 (Nat. Arb. Forum May 31, 2002) (“Respondent is using the domain name at issue to resolve to a website at which Complainant’s trademarks and logos are prominently displayed. Respondent has done this with full knowledge of Complainant’s business and trademarks. The Panel finds that this conduct is that which is prohibited by Paragraph 4(b)(iv) of the Policy.”).
The Panel finds that Policy ¶ 4(a)(iii) has been satisfied.
Complainant having established all three elements required under the ICANN Policy, the Panel concludes that relief should be GRANTED.
Accordingly, it is Ordered that the <download-icq.net> domain name be TRANSFERRED from Respondent to Complainant.
Louis E. Condon Panelist
Dated: September 2, 2008
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