Claim Number: FA0812001239513
Complainant is Charlotte Center City Partners (“Complainant”), represented by Candice
Langston, of Charlotte Center City Partners,
REGISTRAR AND DISPUTED DOMAIN NAME
The domain name at issue is <charlottecentercity.com>, registered with Godaddy.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.
Honorable Karl V. Fink (Ret.) as Panelist.
Complainant submitted a Complaint to the National Arbitration Forum electronically on December 21, 2008; the National Arbitration Forum received a hard copy of the Complaint on December 26, 2008.
On December 22, 2008, Godaddy.com, Inc. confirmed by e-mail to the National Arbitration Forum that the <charlottecentercity.com> domain name is registered with Godaddy.com, Inc. and that the Respondent is the current registrant of the name. Godaddy.com, Inc. has verified that Respondent is bound by the Godaddy.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 January 6, 2009, a Notification of Complaint and Commencement of Administrative Proceeding (the “Commencement Notification”), setting a deadline of January 26, 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.
A timely Response was received and determined to be complete on January 26, 2009.
On February 4, 2009, pursuant to Complainant’s request to have the dispute decided by a single-member Panel, the National Arbitration Forum appointed Honorable Karl V. Fink (Ret.) as Panelist.
Complainant requests that the domain name be transferred from Respondent to Complainant.
The Respondent’s domain name charlottecentercity.com is identical to the Complainant’s domain name (and trade name) of charlottecentercity.org with the exception of the extension.
The Complainant was formed by local business and government leaders
(under the name of Uptown Development Corporation in 1979) to facilitate and
promote the economic and cultural development of the urban core of
The Respondent has no rights or legitimate interest in the disputed
domain name. It was registered in 2004;
almost seven years after the Complainant first used “
Respondent has never used the domain name “
Respondent has never been commonly known by the name “
Respondent is not making legitimate noncommercial or fair use of “
The domain name is registered and being used in bad faith.
On October 6, 2008 an email was sent informing the Respondent of the Complainant’s desire to obtain the domain name and offering to reimburse any direct costs associated with purchasing the domain name. On October 10, 2008, Larry Bowens, from the Respondent’s company, spoke with Valerie L. Risch and stated that they would not be willing to transfer or sell the domain name to the Complainant.
Respondent registered and is using the disputed domain name to intentionally attempt to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to its websites to promote its web design, marketing, and hosting firm.
The complainant does not claim that it is the exclusive resource for
all activities that occur within the area known as
The Respondent registered the domain name, CharlotteCenterCity.com (the “Domain Name” or the “Disputed Domain Name”) on or about September 3, 2006. The Respondent purchased the Domain Name from a third-party previous registrant who had it listed for sale on BuyDomains.com. According to the Whois archive records, the previous registrant created and registered the Domain Name on or about November 11, 2004.
Complainant could have registered the Domain Name, at any time prior to
its original creation on or about November 11, 2004. The Complainant in 1997 changed its name to
The Respondent decided to register the Domain Name in order to build a
portal site that focused on the huge growth area of the city which is called
Complainant has no trademark or service mark and the Complainant does not allege that it does.
Without a trademark or service mark upon which to base a UDRP Complaint, the Complainant must be dismissed. The Complainant is misusing the UDRP in order to get the .com version of a domain name that it wants.
In the absence of registration of the mark, a Complainant must
establish common law trademark rights by demonstrating sufficiently strong
identification of is mark with the public showing the mark has acquired
secondary meaning. It is next to
impossible to establish common law trademark rights and secondary meaning in
the geographical location such as “
Complainant is not alleging that it has a trademark for Charlotte Center City Partners, nor does it claim that the Domain Name is confusingly similar with such a term. The Domain Name is nearly identical to a geographical location, and not confusingly similar with the Complainant’s corporate name.
The use of a geographic identification in a domain name is analogous to the use of a generic descriptive term in a domain name. It has been long held that where a domain name is generic, the first person to register it in good faith is entitled to the domain name. This is considered a “legitimate interest.”
The Respondent has an inherent legitimate interest in what is a clearly
a descriptive and common term denoting a particular place. Countless persons unaffiliated with the
Complainant regularly and freely use the term “
Respondent has prepared to use the Domain Name in connection with its
planned directory web site about
Without the Complainant having trademark rights, it is impossible for the Respondent to have registered the Domain Name in bad faith; to find otherwise would render the UDRP absolutely meaningless.
Generic and descriptive words and phrases will generally not be transferred to a Complainant even when a Complainant has a trademark.
There is no evidence that the Respondent registered the domain name in order to interfere with the Complaint, nor is there any evidence that the Respondent has engaged in a pattern of such conduct, nor is there any evidence of any attempt to sell the domain name to the Complainant.
The fact that the subject domain name is composed solely of a common generic descriptive geographical place name phrase weighs heavily against a finding of bad faith. Absent direct proof that a descriptive term domain name was registered solely for the purpose of profiting from the Complainant’s trademark rights, there can be no finding of bad faith registration and use.
The Respondent requests that the Panel make a finding of Reverse Domain Name Hijacking against the Complainant, pursuant to Rule 15(e) of the Rules. The complainant has used the Policy in bad faith in an attempt to deprive a registered domain-name holder of a domain name.
For the reasons set forth below, the Panel finds that Complainant has not established that it is entitled to the relief requested.
Paragraph 15(a) of the Rules for Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (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.”
Paragraph 4(a) of the Policy requires that the 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 the Respondent is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which the Complainant has rights;
(2) the 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.
highlights the fact that Complainant does not have a registered trademark or
service mark in the
Complainant has failed to satisfy Policy ¶ 4(a)(i).
Because the Panel concludes that Complainant has not satisfied Policy ¶
4(a)(i) because it has failed to establish rights in
Reverse Domain Name Hijacking
the Panel has found that Complainant has failed to satisfy its burden under the
Policy, this does not necessarily require a finding of reverse domain name
hijacking on behalf of Complainant in bringing the instant claim.
The Panel finds that reverse domain hijacking has not been proven.
Complainant having failed to established all three elements required under the ICANN Policy, the Panel concludes that relief shall be DENIED.
Accordingly, it is Ordered that the <charlottecentercity.com> domain name REMAIN with Respondent.
Honorable Karl V. Fink (Ret.), Panelist
Dated: February 25, 2009
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