State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company v. cyberlistings c/o Admin PrivateRegContact
Claim Number: FA0810001230462
Complainant is State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company (“Complainant”), represented by Debra
J. Monke, of State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance
REGISTRAR AND DISPUTED DOMAIN NAME
The domain name at issue is <autoinsurance-statefarm.com>, registered with Melbourne It, Ltd. d/b/a Internet Names Worldwide.
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.
James A Crary as Panelist.
Complainant submitted a Complaint to the National Arbitration Forum electronically on October 22, 2008; the National Arbitration Forum received a hard copy of the Complaint on October 22, 2008.
On October 23, 2008, Melbourne It, Ltd. d/b/a Internet Names Worldwide confirmed by e-mail to the National Arbitration Forum that the <autoinsurance-statefarm.com> domain name is registered with Melbourne It, Ltd. d/b/a Internet Names Worldwide and that Respondent is the current registrant of the name. Melbourne It, Ltd. d/b/a Internet Names Worldwide has verified that Respondent is bound by the Melbourne It, Ltd. d/b/a Internet Names Worldwide 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 28, 2008, a Notification of Complaint and Commencement of Administrative Proceeding (the "Commencement Notification"), setting a deadline of November 17, 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.
On November 21, 2008, pursuant to Complainant's request to have the dispute decided by a single-member Panel, the National Arbitration Forum appointed James A Crary 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 <autoinsurance-statefarm.com> domain name is confusingly similar to Complainant’s STATE FARM mark.
2. Respondent does not have any rights or legitimate interests in the <autoinsurance-statefarm.com> domain name.
3. Respondent registered and used the <autoinsurance-statefarm.com> domain name in bad faith.
B. Respondent failed to submit a Response in this proceeding.
Complainant, State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company, holds several trademark registrations with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) for the STATE FARM mark (i.e., Reg. No. 1,979,585 issued June 11, 1996) in connection with their automobile insurance operations.
Respondent registered the <autoinsurance-statefarm.com>
domain name on April 16, 2008.
Respondent is using the disputed domain name as an unrelated index
directory for a company by the name of “BizInc
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’s registration of its STATE FARM mark with the USPTO is sufficient to establish Complainant’s rights in the mark pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(a)(i). See Innomed Techs., Inc. v. DRP Servs., FA 221171 (Nat. Arb. Forum Feb. 18, 2004) (“Registration of the NASAL-AIRE mark with the USPTO establishes Complainant's rights in the mark.”); see also 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.”).
domain name adds the terms “auto” and “insurance” and a hyphen to the beginning
of Complainant’s STATE FARM mark and adds to the end the generic top-level
domain “.com.” Complainant’s business
sells auto insurance. Adding generic
terms to a mark, especially when they describe Complainant’s business, is
insufficient to dispel confusing similarity between the disputed domain name
and the mark. See Space Imaging LLC v.
Brownell, AF-0298 (eResolution Sept. 22, 2000) (finding confusing
similarity where the respondent’s domain name combines the complainant’s mark
with a generic term that has an obvious relationship to the complainant’s
business); see also Marriott Int’l, Inc. v. Café au lait,
FA 93670, (Nat. Arb. Forum Mar. 13, 2000) (finding that the respondent’s domain
name <marriott-hotel.com> is confusingly similar to the complainant’s
MARRIOTT mark). A generic top-level
domain, such as “.com,” is irrelevant to analysis under 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). The use of a hyphen in the disputed domain
name is also irrelevant to the determination of confusing similarity pursuant
to Policy ¶ 4(a)(i).
See Health Devices Corp. v.
The Panel finds that Complainant has satisfied Policy ¶ 4(a)(i).
The initial burden under Policy ¶ 4(a)(ii) is on Complainant to prove that Respondent does not have any rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. Once Complainant has made a prima facie case, the burden shifts to Respondent to show that it does have rights or legitimate interests pursuant to the directions provided in Policy ¶ 4(c). 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 Do The Hustle, LLC v. Tropic Web, D2000-0624 (WIPO Aug. 21, 2000) (holding that once the complainant asserts that the respondent has no rights or legitimate interests with respect to the domain, the burden shifts to the respondent to provide “concrete evidence that it has rights to or legitimate interests in the domain name at issue”). The Panel finds that Complainant has presented a prima facie case, and the Panel now chooses to consider whether an evaluation of all the evidence demonstrates rights or legitimate interests for Respondent under Policy ¶ 4(c).
The Panel finds no evidence in the record suggesting that Respondent is commonly known by the <autoinsurance-statefarm.com> domain name. Complainant asserts that Respondent has no license or agreement with Complainant authorizing Respondent to use the STATE FARM mark, and the WHOIS information identifies Respondent as “cyberlistings c/o Admin PrivateRegContact.” Thus, Respondent has not established rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name under 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 Am. W. Airlines, Inc. v. Paik, FA 206396 (Nat. Arb. Forum Dec. 22, 2003) (“Respondent has registered the domain name under the name ‘Ilyoup Paik a/k/a David Sanders.’ Given the WHOIS domain name registration information, Respondent is not commonly known by the [<awvacations.com>] domain name.”).
Respondent is using the disputed domain name as an index site for another business. The links are unrelated to Complainant’s business. The resolving website could result in confusion of Internet users as to Complainant’s relationship with the resolving website. This is not a use in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(c)(i), or a legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the disputed domain name pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(c)(iii). See eBay Inc. v. Hong, D2000-1633 (WIPO Jan. 18, 2001) (stating that the respondent’s use of the complainant’s entire mark in domain names makes it difficult to infer a legitimate use); see also Seiko Kabushiki Kaisha v. CS into Tech, FA 198795 (Nat. Arb. Forum Dec. 6, 2003) (“Diverting customers, who are looking for products relating to the famous SEIKO mark, to a website unrelated to the mark is not a bona fide offering of goods or services under Policy ¶ 4(c)(i), nor does it represent a noncommercial or fair use under Policy ¶ 4(c)(iii).”).
The Panel finds that Complainant has satisfied Policy ¶ 4(a)(ii).
Respondent registered and is using the <autoinsurance-statefarm.com> domain name in bad faith pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(b)(iv), because Respondent is using Complainant’s STATE FARM mark to attract Internet users to a website that lists links unrelated to Complainant’s business. This is evidence that Respondent is attempting to profit by creating a likelihood of confusion between Complainant’s mark and Respondent’s disputed domain name and resolving website. See Amazon.com, Inc. v. Shafir, FA 196119 (Nat. Arb. Forum Nov. 10, 2003) (“As Respondent is using the domain name at issue in direct competition with Complainant, and giving the impression of being affiliated with or sponsored by Complainant, this circumstance qualifies as bad faith registration and use of the domain name pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(b)(iv).”); see also Am. Univ. v. Cook, FA 208629 (Nat. Arb. Forum Dec. 22, 2003) (“Registration and use of a domain name that incorporates another's mark with the intent to deceive Internet users in regard to the source or affiliation of the domain name is evidence of bad faith.”).
The Panel finds that Complainant has satisfied 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 <autoinsurance-statefarm.com> domain name be TRANSFERRED from Respondent to Complainant.
James A Crary, Panelist
Dated: December 5, 2008
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