Diners Club International Ltd. v. hui zhang c/o
Claim Number: FA0810001231889
Complainant is Diners Club International Ltd., represented by Paul
D. McGrady, of Greenberg Traurig, LLP,
REGISTRAR AND DISPUTED DOMAIN NAMES
The domain names at issue are <dinersclubus.info> and <dinersclubus.org>, registered with HiChina Web Solutions Limited.
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 October 31, 2008; the National Arbitration Forum received a hard copy of the Complaint on October 31, 2008.
On November 2, 2008, HiChina Web Solutions Limited confirmed by e-mail to the National Arbitration Forum that the <dinersclubus.info> and <dinersclubus.org> domain names are registered with HiChina Web Solutions Limited and that Respondent is the current registrant of the names. HiChina Web Solutions Limited has verified that Respondent is bound by the HiChina Web Solutions Limited 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 November 10, 2008, a Notification of Complaint and Commencement of Administrative Proceeding (the "Commencement Notification"), setting a deadline of December 1, 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 and 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 December 8, 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.
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 names be transferred from Respondent to Complainant.
A. Complainant makes the following assertions:
1. Respondent’s <dinersclubus.info> and <dinersclubus.org> domain names are confusingly similar to Complainant’s DINERS CLUB mark.
2. Respondent does not have any rights or legitimate interests in the <dinersclubus.info> and <dinersclubus.org> domain name.
3. Respondent registered and used the <dinersclubus.info> and <dinersclubus.org> domain name in bad faith.
B. Respondent failed to submit a Response in this proceeding.
Complainant, Diners Club International Ltd., is a leading provider of financial services to individuals, small businesses, and large corporations through a number of channels of trade, including credit cards. Complainant owns a trademark registration for the DINERS CLUB mark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) (Reg. No. 828,013 issued April 25, 1967).
Respondent registered the disputed domain names on June 18, 2006. The disputed domain names resolve to websites displaying links to third-party websites offering credit card services in competition with Complainant.
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 DINERS CLUB mark
pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(a)(i) through registration of the mark with the
USPTO. 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 Men’s
Wearhouse, Inc. v. Wick, FA 117861 (Nat. Arb. Forum Sept. 16, 2002) (“Under
Complainant contends that Respondent’s <dinersclubus.info> and <dinersclubus.org> domain names are confusingly similar to Complainant’s DINERS CLUB mark pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(a)(i). Respondent’s disputed domain names contain Complainant’s mark in its entirety, the geographic term “us,” and either the generic top-level domain (“gTLD”) “.info” or “.org.” The Panel finds that a disputed domain name that contains a complainant’s established mark and adds a geographic term fails to prevent a confusing similarity between the disputed domain name and the registered mark. See Net2phone Inc. v. Netcall SAGL, D2000-0666 (WIPO Sept. 26, 2000) (finding that the respondent’s domain name <net2phone-europe.com> is confusingly similar to the complainant’s mark because “the combination of a geographic term with the mark does not prevent a domain name from being found confusingly similar"); see also VeriSign, Inc. v. Tandon, D2000-1216 (WIPO Nov. 16, 2000) (finding confusing similarity between the complainant’s VERISIGN mark and the <verisignindia.com> and <verisignindia.net> domain names where the respondent added the word “India” to the complainant’s mark). In addition, the Panel finds that the addition of a gTLD is irrelevant in finding a domain name to be identical or confusingly similar to a complainant’s mark. See Rollerblade, Inc. v. McCrady, D2000-0429 (WIPO June 25, 2000) (finding that the top level of the domain name such as “.net” or “.com” does not affect the domain name for the purpose of determining whether it is identical or confusingly similar); see also Nev. State Bank v. Modern Ltd. – Cayman Web Dev., FA 204063 (Nat. Arb. Forum Dec. 6, 2003) (“It has been established that the addition of a generic top-level domain is irrelevant when considering whether a domain name is identical or confusingly similar under the Policy.”). Therefore, the Panel finds the disputed domain names are confusingly similar to Complainants DINERS CLUB mark pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(a)(i).
The Panel finds that Policy ¶ 4(a)(i) has been satisfied.
Complainant contends that Respondent lacks all rights and legitimate interests in the disputed domain names. Once Complainant makes a prima facie case in support of its allegations, the burden shifts to Respondent to prove that it does have rights or legitimate interests pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(a)(ii). The Panel finds in this case that Complainant has established a prima facie case. 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).”).
Due to Respondent’s failure to respond to the Complaint, the Panel may assume that Respondent does not have rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain names. See Desotec N.V. v. Jacobi Carbons AB, D2000-1398 (WIPO Dec. 21, 2000) (finding that failing to respond allows a presumption that the complainant’s allegations are true unless clearly contradicted by the evidence); see also Talk City, Inc. v. Robertson, D2000-0009 (WIPO Feb. 29, 2000) (“Given Respondent’s failure to submit a substantive answer in a timely fashion, the Panel accepts as true all of the allegations of the complaint.”). However, the Panel chooses to examine the evidence on record against the applicable Policy ¶ 4(c) elements before making a final determination with regards to Respondent’s rights and legitimate interests.
Complainant contends that Respondent is neither commonly known by the disputed domain names nor licensed to register domain names using the DINERS CLUB mark. Respondent’s WHOIS information lists Respondent as “hui zhang,” thus providing no affirmative evidence that Respondent is commonly known by the disputed domain names. Therefore, the Panel finds that Respondent has not established rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain names 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 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.”).
Complainant argues that Respondent’s disputed domain names contain links to third-party websites offering credit cards services in competition with Complainant. The Panel finds that this type of use of the disputed domain names is neither a bona fide offering of goods and services pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(c)(i), nor a legitimate noncommercial or fair use pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(c)(iii). See DLJ Long Term Inv. Corp. v. BargainDomainNames.com, FA 104580 (Nat. Arb. Forum Apr. 9, 2002) (“Respondent is not using the disputed domain name in connection with a bona fide offering of goods and services because Respondent is using the domain name to divert Internet users to <visual.com>, where services that compete with Complainant are advertised.”); see also Ameritrade Holdings Corp. v. Polanski, FA 102715 (Nat. Arb. Forum Jan. 11, 2002) (finding that the respondent’s use of the disputed domain name to redirect Internet users to a financial services website, which competed with the complainant, was not a bona fide offering of goods or services).
The Panel finds that Policy ¶ 4(a)(ii) has been satisfied.
The Panel finds that Respondent’s registration and use of the disputed domain names to operated websites displaying links to Complainant’s competitors constitutes a disruption of Complainant’s business and qualifies as bad faith registration and use pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(b)(iii). See 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); see also 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).
Respondent’s use of the disputed domain names in order to intentionally
attract Internet users to its website by creating a strong possiblity of
confusion with Complainant’s DINERS CLUB mark and offering links to competing
websites is further evidence of bad faith.
The Panel infers that Respondent receives click-through fees for
diverting Internet users to such websites.
Therefore, pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(b)(iv), the Panel finds this use of
the disputed domain names constitutes bad faith registration and use. See
Luck's Music Library v. Stellar
Artist Mgmt., FA 95650 (Nat. Arb. Forum Oct. 30, 2000) (finding that the
respondent engaged in bad faith use and registration by using domain names that
were identical or confusingly similar to the complainant’s mark to redirect
users to a website that offered services similar to those offered by the
complainant); see also State Fair of
The Panel finds that ¶ 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 <dinersclubus.info> and <dinersclubus.org> domain names be TRANSFERRED from Respondent to Complainant.
Tyrus R. Atkinson, Jr., , Panelist
Dated: December 22, 2008
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