Citigroup Inc. v. Hakan Us c/o Registeria The Accredited Domain Registrar
Claim Number: FA0810001229597
Complainant is Citigroup
Inc. (“Complainant”), represented by Paul
D. McGrady, of Greenberg Traurig, LLP,
The domain name at issue is <citiaxess.com>, registered with Bizcn.com, 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.
Complainant submitted a Complaint to
the National Arbitration Forum electronically on
On October 20, 2008, Bizcn.com, Inc. confirmed by e-mail to the National Arbitration Forum that the <citiaxess.com> domain name is registered with Bizcn.com, Inc. and that Respondent is the current registrant of the name. Bizcn.com, Inc. has verified that Respondent is bound by the Bizcn.com, 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 October 29, 2008, a Notification of Complaint and Commencement of Administrative Proceeding (the "Commencement Notification"), setting a deadline of November 18, 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.
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 <citiaxess.com> domain name is confusingly similar to Complainant’s CITI mark.
2. Respondent does not have any rights or legitimate interests in the <citiaxess.com> domain name.
3. Respondent registered and used the <citiaxess.com> domain name in bad faith.
B. Respondent failed to submit a Response in this proceeding.
Complainant, Citigroup, Inc., is
one of the largest providers of credit card services in the world. It is also
the owner of a trademark registration with the United States Patent and
Trademark Office (“USPTO”) of the CITI mark for financial services (Reg. No.
1,181,467 issued December 8, 1981). On
The <citiaxess.com> domain name was registered
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 has established rights in the CITI mark pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(a)(i) through registration of the CITI mark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”). See Thermo Electron Corp. v. Xu, FA 713851 (Nat. Arb. Forum July 12, 2006) (holding that the complainants established rights in marks because the marks were registered with a trademark authority); see also VICORP Rests., Inc. v. Triantafillos, FA 485933 (Nat. Arb. Forum July 14, 2005) (“Complainant has established rights in the BAKERS SQUARE mark by registering it with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”).”).
domain name contains Complainant’s
The Panel concludes that Complainant has sufficiently established Policy ¶ 4(a)(i).
Under Policy ¶ 4(a)(ii),
Complainant must first establish a prima
facie case that Respondent lacks rights and legitimate interests in the
disputed domain name. Having found that Complainant has met this threshold, the
Panel looks to Respondent to satisfy the burden of proving that it does have
rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. See VeriSign Inc. v. VeneSign
However, Respondent has failed to reply to the Complaint. Therefore, although the Panel may presume that Respondent lacks rights and legitimate interests in the disputed domain name, the Panel will nonetheless proceed to examine the record in consideration of the elements listed under Policy ¶ 4(c). See American Express Co. v. Fang Suhendro, FA 129120 (Nat. Arb. Forum Dec. 30, 2002) (“[B]ased on Respondent's failure to respond, it is presumed that Respondent lacks all rights and legitimate interests in the disputed domain name.”); see also Vanguard Group, Inc. v. Collazo, FA 349074 (Nat. Arb. Forum Dec. 1, 2004) (finding that because Respondent failed to submit a Response, “Complainant’s submission has gone unopposed and its arguments undisputed. In the absence of a Response, the Panel accepts as true all reasonable allegations . . . unless clearly contradicted by the evidence.”).
The WHOIS information for the disputed domain name identifies Respondent under the “Hakan Us c/o Registeria The Accredited Domain Registrar” alias. Furthermore, Complainant contends that Respondent is not licensed or otherwise authorized to use the CITI mark in any way. Without any additional information in the record, the Panel finds that Respondent is not commonly known by the <citiaxess.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 Reese v. Morgan, FA 917029 (Nat. Arb. Forum Apr. 5, 2007) (concluding that the respondent was not commonly known by the <lilpunk.com> domain name as there was no evidence in the record showing that the respondent was commonly known by that domain name, including the WHOIS information as well as the complainant’s assertion that it did not authorize or license the respondent’s use of its mark in a domain name).
The <citiaxess.com> domain name resolves to a website that indicates that it is for sale. The Panel finds that this use on its own and without any further information constitutes 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 Williams-Sonoma, Inc. v. Fees, FA 937704 (Nat. Arb. Forum Apr. 25, 2007) (concluding that a respondent’s willingness to sell its domain name suggests that a respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in that domain name under Policy ¶ 4(a)(ii)); see also Vance Int’l, Inc. v. Abend, FA 970871 (Nat. Arb. Forum June 8, 2007) (finding the respondent’s attempt to sell the disputed domain name to the complainant who owned a trademark with which the domain name was confusingly similar constituted neither a bona fide offering of goods or services pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(c)(i) nor a legitimate noncommercial use pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(c)(iii)).
The Panel concludes that Complainant has sufficiently established Policy ¶ 4(a)(ii).
domain name resolves to a website displaying a banner indicating that the
disputed domain name is for sale. The website further indicates that it will
soon contain all the information about the “Citi Axess” credit card. The Panel
finds that this general offer to sell the disputed domain name, especially
without any further information from Respondent, sufficiently established that
Respondent registered and is using the <citiaxess.com> domain name
in bad faith pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(b)(i). See
T.R. World Gym-IP, LLC v. D’Addio, FA 956501 (Nat. Arb. Forum
The Panel also takes note of the date upon which the <citiaxess.com> domain name was registered. This was one day after Complainant entered into an agreement with a Turkish bank to provide the new “Citi Axess” credit card. Previous panels have considered the timing when a disputed domain name was registered to indicate opportunistic bad faith. Once again, without any further information in the record, the Panel considers this to be additional evidence of Respondent’s bad faith registration and use of the <citiaxess.com> domain name pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(a)(iii). See Thermo Electron Corp. v. Xu, FA 713851 (Nat. Arb. Forum July 12, 2006) (“If there had been any doubt as to bad faith, the fact that registration was on the same day the news leaked about the merger, which was put in evidence, is a compelling indication of bad faith that Respondent has to refute and which he has failed to do. The Panel finds a negative inference from this.”); see also Tech. Props., Inc. v. Hussain, FA 95411 (Nat. Arb. Forum Sept. 14, 2000) (“The Respondent took advantage of the public announcement that Tandy Corporation was changing its name to RadioShack by registering the domain names on the same day as a public announcement of a company’s name change. This is also evidence of bad faith.”).
The Panel concludes that Complainant has sufficiently established Policy ¶ 4(a)(iii).
Having established all three elements required under the ICANN Policy, the Panel concludes that relief shall be GRANTED.
Accordingly, it is Ordered that the <citiaxess.com> domain name be TRANSFERRED from Respondent to Complainant.
Dated: December 8, 2008
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