DatingDirect.com Limited v. SADAMA
Claim Number: FA0812001239365
Complainant is DatingDirect.com
Limited (“Complainant”), represented by Adam Taylor, of Adlex
REGISTRAR AND DISPUTED DOMAIN NAME
The domain name at issue is <desidatingdirect.com>, registered with Tucows 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 December 19, 2008; the National Arbitration Forum received a hard copy of the Complaint on December 19, 2008.
On December 19, 2008, Tucows Inc. confirmed by e-mail to the National Arbitration Forum that the <desidatingdirect.com> domain name is registered with Tucows Inc. and that Respondent is the current registrant of the name. Tucows Inc. has verified that Respondent is bound by the Tucows 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 December 23, 2008, a Notification of Complaint and Commencement of Administrative Proceeding (the "Commencement Notification"), setting a deadline of January 12, 2009 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 January 16, 2009, 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 <desidatingdirect.com> domain name is confusingly similar to Complainant’s DATING DIRECT mark.
2. Respondent does not have any rights or legitimate interests in the <desidatingdirect.com> domain name.
3. Respondent registered and used the <desidatingdirect.com> domain name in bad faith.
B. Respondent failed to submit a Response in this proceeding.
Complainant, DatingDirect.com Limited, offers an international online dating agency service, and has traded under the DATING DIRECT mark since 1999. Complainant owns the <datingdirect.com> domain name in connection with its operations. Complainant registered its DATING DIRECT mark with the United Kingdom Intellectual Property Office (“UKIPO”) (Reg. No. 2,319,425 issued June 16, 2006).
Respondent registered the disputed <desidatingdirect.com> domain name on July 20, 2008. The disputed domain name resolves to a website that purports to offer competing dating 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.
The Panel finds that Complainant’s registration of its
DATING DIRECT mark with the UKIPO demonstrates its rights in the mark under
Policy ¶ 4(a)(i). 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 Royal Bank of Scot. Group plc, Direct Line Ins. plc, &
Privilege Ins. Co. Ltd. v. Demand Domains, c/o C.S.C., FA 714952 (Nat.
Arb. Forum August 2, 2006) (holding that registration of the PRIVILEGE mark
Respondent’s disputed <desidatingdirect.com>
domain name contains Complainant’s DATING DIRECT mark with the following
differences: (1) the space between the words has been removed; (2) the generic
top-level domain “.com” has been added; and (3) the generic word “desi” has
been added. The Panel notes that the
first two changes of the removal of the space and addition of the top-level
domain are irrelevant. See Bond & Co. Jewelers, Inc. v.
The Panel finds that Policy ¶ 4(a)(i) has been satisfied.
Complainant has alleged that Respondent lacks rights and legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. Based upon the allegations made in the Complaint, the Panel finds that Complainant has established a prima facie case pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(a)(ii), thus shifting the burden of proof to Respondent. Since Respondent has not responded to the Complaint, the Panel may presume that Respondent lacks rights and legitimate interests in the disputed domain name pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(a)(ii). However, the Panel in its discretion chooses to examine the record to determine whether Respondent has any rights or legitimate interests pursuant to the factors outlined in Policy ¶ 4(c). See AOL LLC v. Gerberg, FA 780200 (Nat. Arb. Forum Sept. 25, 2006) (“Complainant must make a prima facie showing that Respondent does not have rights or legitimate interest in the subject domain names, which burden is light. If Complainant satisfies its burden, then the burden shifts to Respondent to show that it does have rights or legitimate interest in the subject domain names.”); see also Hanna-Barbera Prods., Inc. v. Entm’t Commentaries, FA 741828 (Nat. Arb. Forum Aug. 18, 2006) (holding that the complainant must first make a prima facie case that the respondent lacks rights and legitimate interests in the disputed domain name under Policy ¶ 4(a)(ii) before the burden shifts to the respondent to show that it does have rights or legitimate interests in a domain name); see also Broadcom Corp. v. Ibecom PLC, FA 361190 (Nat. Arb. Forum Dec. 22, 2004) (“Respondent’s failure to respond to the Complaint functions as an implicit admission that [Respondent] lacks rights and legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. It also allows the Panel to accept all reasonable allegations set forth…as true.”).
The Panel finds no evidence within the record with which to conclude that Respondent is commonly known by the disputed domain name. Respondent is listed in the WHOIS information as “SADAMA,” and Complainant contends that Respondent is not authorized or licensed to use the DATING DIRECT mark. Therefore, without evidence to the contrary, the Panel finds that Respondent lacks rights and legitimate interests under Policy ¶ 4(c)(ii). See St. Lawrence Univ. v. Nextnet Tech, FA 881234 (Nat. Arb. Forum Feb. 21, 2007) (concluding a respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in a disputed domain name where there is no evidence in the record indicating that the respondent is commonly known by the disputed domain name); see also Instron Corp. v. Kaner, FA 768859 (Nat. Arb. Forum Sept. 21, 2006) (finding that the respondent was not commonly known by the <shoredurometer.com> and <shoredurometers.com> domain names because the WHOIS information listed Andrew Kaner c/o Electromatic a/k/a Electromatic Equip't as the registrant of the disputed domain names and there was no other evidence in the record to suggest that the respondent was commonly known by the domain names in dispute).
Respondent’s disputed domain name resolves to a website that features directly competitive dating services. The Panel finds that this competitive use via a confusingly similar disputed domain name is not a bona fide offering of goods or services under Policy ¶ 4(c)(i) or a legitimate noncommercial or fair use pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(c)(iii). See Computerized Sec. Sys., Inc. v. Hu, FA 157321 (Nat. Arb. Forum June 23, 2003) (“Respondent’s appropriation of [Complainant’s] SAFLOK mark to market products that compete with Complainant’s goods does not constitute a bona fide offering of goods and services.”); see also Diners Club Int’l Ltd. v. Car in Won Australia pty Ltd, FA 338427 (Nat. Arb. Forum Nov. 10, 2004) (“Since Complainant and Respondent both offer credit card accounts for sale, the Panel finds that Respondent is using the domain names to offer strictly competing services with Complainant, which would be legitimate had Respondent not incorporated Complainant’s mark in a confusingly similar domain name to accomplish this end.”).
The Panel finds that Policy ¶ 4(a)(ii) has been satisfied.
The Panel finds that Respondent’s directly competing resolving website demonstrates a textbook example of disruption of a complainant’s business operations. In this instance, Respondent is seeking to claim the potential customers of Complainant. This constitutes sufficient evidence of bad faith registration and use of the disputed domain name under Policy ¶ 4(b)(iii). See DatingDirect.com Ltd. v. Aston, FA 593977 (Nat. Arb. Forum Dec. 28, 2005) (“Respondent is appropriating Complainant’s mark to divert Complainant’s customers to Respondent’s competing business. The Panel finds this diversion is evidence of bad faith registration and use pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(b)(iii).”); see also EthnicGrocer.com, Inc. v. Unlimited Latin Flavors, Inc., FA 94385 (Nat. Arb. Forum July 7, 2000) (finding that the minor degree of variation from the complainant's marks suggests that the respondent, the complainant’s competitor, registered the names primarily for the purpose of disrupting the complainant's business).
Moreover, Respondent has created a likelihood of confusion for commercial gain as to Complainant’s potential source or affiliation of the disputed domain name and corresponding website. The Panel finds that Respondent has therefore registered and used the disputed domain name in bad faith under Policy ¶ 4(b)(iv). See Nokia Corp. v. Private, D2000-1271 (WIPO Nov. 3, 2000) (finding bad faith registration and use pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(b)(iv) where the domain name resolved to a website that offered similar products as those sold under the complainant’s famous mark); see also Busy Body, Inc. v. Fitness Outlet, Inc., D2000-0127 (WIPO Apr. 22, 2000) (finding bad faith pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(b)(iv) because the respondent and the complainant were in the same line of business and the respondent was using a domain name confusingly similar to the complainant’s FITNESS WAREHOUSE mark to attract Internet users to its <efitnesswarehouse.com> domain name).
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 <desidatingdirect.com> domain name be TRANSFERRED from Respondent to Complainant.
Judge Harold Kalina (Ret.), Panelist
January 30, 2009
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