American Airlines, Inc. v. Dan, Booker c/o Total Net Solutions
Claim Number: FA0809001224013
Complainant is American Airlines, Inc. (“Complainant”), represented by Kristin
Jordan Harkins, of Conley Rose, P.C.,
REGISTRAR AND DISPUTED DOMAIN NAME
The domain name at issue is <aavacatons.com>, registered with Moniker Online Services, 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.
Judge Harold Kalina (Ret.) as Panelist.
Complainant submitted a Complaint to the National Arbitration Forum electronically on September 10, 2008; the National Arbitration Forum received a hard copy of the Complaint on September 12, 2008.
On September 12, 2008, Moniker Online Services, Inc. confirmed by e-mail to the National Arbitration Forum that the <aavacatons.com> domain name is registered with Moniker Online Services, Inc. and that Respondent is the current registrant of the name. Moniker Online Services, Inc. has verified that Respondent is bound by the Moniker Online Services, 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").
On September 19, 2008, a Notification of Complaint and Commencement of Administrative Proceeding (the "Commencement Notification"), setting a deadline of October 9, 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 October 17, 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 <aavacatons.com> domain name is confusingly similar to Complainant’s AA.COM mark.
2. Respondent does not have any rights or legitimate interests in the <aavacatons.com> domain name.
3. Respondent registered and used the <aavacatons.com> domain name in bad faith.
B. Respondent failed to submit a Response in this proceeding.
Complainant, American Airlines, Inc., is one of the world’s largest airlines. In the course of business, Complainant has acquired extensive rights in numerous trademarks and service marks. Complainant owns a trademark registration in the AA.COM mark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) (Reg. No. 2,339,639 issued April 11, 2000).
Respondent registered the <aavacatons.com> domain name on January 3, 2005. Respondent’s domain name resolves to a website featuring competing vacation and travel-related services.
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 AA.COM mark through
registration of the mark with the USPTO.
The Panel finds that Complainant has established rights in the mark
under Policy ¶ 4(a)(i). See
Metro. Life Ins. Co. v. Bonds, FA
873143 (Nat. Arb. Forum Feb. 16, 2007) (finding that a
trademark registration adequately demonstrates a complainant’s rights in a mark
under Policy ¶ 4(a)(i)); see also
Complainant contends that Respondent’s <aavacatons.com> domain name is confusingly similar to Complainant’s AA.COM mark. The disputed domain name contains Complainant’s mark in its entirety and adds a misspelled version of the term “vacations,” a term with a direct relationship to Complainant’s business. The Panel finds that this distinction is insufficient in differentiating a domain name from a mark under Policy ¶ 4(a)(i). See Am. Express Co. v. MustNeed.com, FA 257901 (Nat. Arb. Forum June 7, 2004) (finding the respondent’s <amextravel.com> domain name confusingly similar to Complainant’s AMEX mark because the “mere addition of a generic or descriptive word to a registered mark does not negate” a finding of confusing similarity under Policy ¶ 4(a)(i)); see also Chanel, Inc. v. Cologne Zone, D2000-1809 (WIPO Feb. 22, 2001) (“CHANEL, the salient feature of the Domain Names, is identical to a mark in which Complainant has shown prior rights. The addition of the generic term, “perfumes” is not a distinguishing feature, and in this case seems to increase the likelihood of confusion because it is an apt term for Complainant’s business.”).
The Panel finds that Policy ¶ 4(a)(i) has been satisfied.
Complainant contends that Respondent lacks all rights and legitimate interests in the <aavacatons.com> domain name. In instances such as this, where Complainant has made a prima facie case under Policy ¶ 4(a)(ii), the burden shifts to Respondent to set forth concrete evidence that it does possess rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. 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”).
Complainant contends that Respondent is using the <aavacatons.com> domain name to operate websites containing various links to websites featuring competing vacation and travel-related services. The Panel infers from Respondent’s use of the disputed domain name that it is collecting click-through fees for each Internet user redirected to competing commercial websites. The Panel finds that Respondent’s operation of websites for the purpose of collecting click-through fees is neither a bona fide offering of goods or services pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(c)(i) nor a legitimate noncommercial or fair use pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(c)(iii). See ALPITOUR S.p.A. v. Ali Albloushi, FA 888651 (Nat. Arb. Forum Feb. 26, 2007) (rejecting the respondent’s contention of rights and legitimate interests in the <bravoclub.com> domain name as the respondent is merely using the domain name to operate a website containing links to various competing commercial websites, which is neither a bona fide offering of goods or services pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(c)(i) nor a legitimate noncommercial or fair use pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(c)(iii)); see also Black & Decker Corp. v. Clinical Evaluations, FA 112629 (Nat. Arb. Forum June 24, 2002) (holding that the respondent’s use of the disputed domain name to redirect Internet users to commercial websites, unrelated to the complainant and presumably with the purpose of earning a commission or pay-per-click referral fee did not evidence rights or legitimate interests in the domain name).
Moreover, Respondent has submitted no evidence that it is either commonly known by the disputed domain name or authorized to register domain names featuring Complainant’s STATE FARM mark. In the absence of such evidence, the Panel finds that Respondent has not established rights or legitimate interests pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(c)(ii). See 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); see also IndyMac Bank F.S.B. v. Eshback, FA 830934 (Nat. Arb. Forum December 7, 2006) (finding that the respondent failed to establish rights and legitimate interests in the <emitmortgage.com> domain name as the respondent was not authorized to register domain names featuring the complainant’s mark and failed to submit evidence of that it is commonly known by the disputed domain name).
The Panel finds that Policy ¶ 4(a)(ii) has been satisfied.
Complainant contends that Respondent is using the <aavacatons.com> domain name to operate websites that provides Internet users with links to various websites that offer competing vacation and travel-related services. The Panel finds that Respondent’s use of the disputed domain names constitute a disruption of Complainant’s business and evinces bad faith pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(b)(iii). See Puckett, Individually v. Miller, D2000-0297 (WIPO June 12, 2000) (finding that the respondent has diverted business from the complainant to a competitor’s website in violation of Policy ¶ 4(b)(iii)); see also EBAY, Inc. v. MEOdesigns, D2000-1368 (WIPO Dec. 15, 2000) (finding that the respondent registered and used the domain name <eebay.com> in bad faith where the respondent has used the domain name to promote competing auction sites).
Furthermore, Respondent’s use of the <aavacatons.com> domain name will likely cause confusion as to Complainant’s sponsorship of and affiliation with the resulting website. The Panel finds that use of confusingly similar domain names for Respondent’s own commercial gain is additional evidence of Respondent’s bad faith registration and use pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(b)(iv). See Perot Sys. Corp. v. Perot.net, FA 95312 (Nat. Arb. Forum Aug. 29, 2000) (finding bad faith where the domain name in question is obviously connected with the complainant’s well-known marks, thus creating a likelihood of confusion strictly for commercial gain); see also Anne of Green Gable Licensing Auth., Inc. v. Internetworks, AF-0109 (eResolution June 12, 2000) (finding that the respondent violated Policy ¶ 4(b)(iv) because the respondent admittedly used the complainant’s well-known mark to attract users to the respondent's website).
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 <aavacatons.com> domain name be TRANSFERRED from Respondent to Complainant.
Judge Harold Kalina (Ret.), Panelist
Dated: October 30, 2008
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