Whitney National Bank v. Whitney Jackson
Claim Number: FA0901001240637
Complainant is Whitney
National Bank (“Complainant”), represented by Raymond G. Areaux, of Carver, Darden, Koretzky, Tessier, Finn,
Blossman & Areaux, LLC, Louisiana, USA.
Respondent is Whitney Jackson (“Respondent”),
REGISTRAR AND DISPUTED DOMAIN NAME
The domain name at issue is <whitneybaker.com>, registered with Fastdomain 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.
Tyrus R. Atkinson, Jr., as Panelist.
Complainant submitted a Complaint to the National Arbitration Forum electronically on December 31, 2008; the National Arbitration Forum received a hard copy of the Complaint on January 2, 2009.
On January 8, 2009, Fastdomain Inc. confirmed by e-mail to the National Arbitration Forum that the <whitneybaker.com> domain name is registered with Fastdomain Inc. and that Respondent is the current registrant of the name. Fastdomain Inc. has verified that Respondent is bound by the Fastdomain 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 , a Notification of Complaint and
Commencement of Administrative Proceeding (the "Commencement
Notification"), setting a deadline of February 9, 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 February 12, 2009, 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 name be transferred from Respondent to Complainant.
A. Complainant makes the following assertions:
1. Respondent’s <whitneybaker.com> domain name is confusingly similar to Complainant’s WHITNEY mark.
2. Respondent does not have any rights or legitimate interests in the <whitneybaker.com> domain name.
3. Respondent registered and used the <whitneybaker.com> domain name in bad faith.
B. Respondent failed to submit a Response in this proceeding.
Complainant, Whitney National Bank, has used the WHITNEY
mark in connection with its banking services since its inception in 1883. Complainant operates in
Respondent registered the disputed <whitneybaker.com> domain name on October 20, 2008. The disputed domain name does not resolve to an active website.
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.
Pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(a)(i), the Panel finds that Complainant’s registration of the WHITNEY mark with the USPTO confers sufficient rights in the mark upon Complainant. See Microsoft Corp. v. Burkes, FA 652743 (Nat. Arb. Forum Apr. 17, 2006) (“Complainant has established rights in the MICROSOFT mark through registration of the mark with the USPTO.”); see also Expedia, Inc. v. Tan, FA 991075 (Nat. Arb. Forum June 29, 2007) (“As the [complainant’s] mark is registered with the USPTO, [the] complainant has met the requirements of Policy ¶ 4(a)(i).”).
Respondent’s disputed <whitneybaker.com> domain name contains Complainant’s WHITNEY
mark and adds: (1) the generic term “baker;” and (2)
the generic top-level domain “.com.” The
Panel finds that the addition of a gTLD is irrelevant. 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). The Panel notes that it does not matter
whether or not the term “baker” is a misspelling of “banker,” which refers to
Complainant’s business, or is merely what it looks to be—i.e. the generic
culinary profession, “baker.” It is sufficient
that Complainant’s longstanding mark is the dominant element in the disputed
domain name, and that therefore the disputed domain name is confusingly similar
to Complainant’s mark under Policy ¶ 4(a)(i). See Arthur
Guinness Son & Co. (
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.”).
Complainant argues that the WHOIS information lists Respondent as “Whitney Jackson,” and that Respondent is not commonly known by the disputed domain name. The Panel notes that despite the presence of “Whitney” in the WHOIS listing, Respondent’s failure to respond signifies a lack of evidence that would corroborate this identity. Therefore, the Panel finds that Respondent lacks rights and legitimate interests under Policy ¶ 4(c)(ii). See Yoga Works, Inc. v. Arpita, FA 155461 (Nat. Arb. Forum June 17, 2003) (finding that the respondent was not “commonly known by” the <shantiyogaworks.com> domain name despite listing its name as “Shanti Yoga Works” in its WHOIS contact information because there was “no affirmative evidence before the Panel that the respondent was ever ‘commonly known by’ the disputed domain name prior to its registration of the disputed domain name”); see also City News & Video v. Citynewsandvideo, FA 244789 (Nat. Arb. Forum May 5, 2004) (“Although Respondent’s WHOIS information lists its name as ‘citynewsandvideo,’ there is no evidence before the Panel to indicate that Respondent is, in fact, commonly known by the disputed domain name <citynewsandvideo.com> pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(c)(ii).”).
Respondent’s disputed domain name resolves to an inactive website. Previous panels have held that an inactive holding of a disputed domain name evidences a lack of rights and legitimate interests under Policy ¶ 4(a)(ii). See, e.g., Pharmacia & Upjohn AB v. Romero, D2000-1273 (WIPO Nov. 13, 2000) (finding no rights or legitimate interests where the respondent failed to submit a response to the complaint and had made no use of the domain name in question); see also TMP Int’l, Inc. v. Baker Enters., FA 204112 (Nat. Arb. Forum Dec. 6, 2003) (“[T]he Panel concludes that Respondent's [failure to make an active use] of the domain name does not establish rights or legitimate interests pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(a)(ii).”). Therefore, the Panel finds that Respondent lacks rights and legitimate interests under Policy ¶ 4(a)(ii).
The Panel finds that Policy ¶ 4(a)(ii) has been satisfied.
The Panel is not limited to the enumerated Policy ¶ 4(b) factors when conducting its bad faith analysis. The Panel may look to the totality of the circumstances. See Do The Hustle, LLC v. Tropic Web, D2000-0624 (WIPO Aug. 21, 2000) (“[T]he examples [of bad faith] in Paragraph 4(b) are intended to be illustrative, rather than exclusive.”).
The Panel finds that Respondent’s inactive holding of the disputed domain name evidences Respondent’s bad faith registration and use under Policy ¶ 4(a)(iii). See DCI S.A. v. Link Commercial Corp., D2000-1232 (WIPO Dec. 7, 2000) (concluding that the respondent’s [failure to make an active use] of the domain name satisfies the requirement of ¶ 4(a)(iii) of the Policy); see also Telstra Corp. v. Nuclear Marshmallows, D2000-0003 (WIPO Feb. 18, 2000) (“[I]t is possible, in certain circumstances, for inactivity by the Respondent to amount to the domain name being used in bad faith.”).
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 <whitneybaker.com> domain name be TRANSFERRED from Respondent to Complainant.
Tyrus R. Atkinson, Jr., Panelist
Dated: February 26, 2009
Click Here to return to the main Domain Decisions Page.
Click Here to return to our Home Page
National Arbitration Forum