Nervous Tattoo, Inc. v. wang zhong
Claim Number: FA0903001252935
Complainant is Nervous Tattoo, Inc. (“Complainant”), represented by J. Andrew Coombs, of J. Andrew Coombs, A Professional Corporation, California, USA. Respondent is wang zhong (“Respondent”), China.
REGISTRAR AND DISPUTED DOMAIN NAME
The domain name at issue is <edhardydiscount.com>, registered with Xin Net Technology Corporation.
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.
Sandra J. Franklin as Panelist.
Complainant submitted a Complaint to the National Arbitration Forum electronically on March 18, 2009; the National Arbitration Forum received a hard copy of the Complaint on March 19, 2009. . The Complaint was submitted in both Chinese and English.
On March 18, 2009, Xin Net Technology Corporation confirmed by e-mail to the National Arbitration Forum that the <edhardydiscount.com> domain name is registered with Xin Net Technology Corporation and that Respondent is the current registrant of the name. Xin Net Technology Corporation has verified that Respondent is bound by the Xin Net Technology Corporation 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 March 20, 2009, a Chinese language Notification of Complaint and Commencement of Administrative Proceeding (the "Commencement Notification"), setting a deadline of April 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 April 17, 2009, pursuant to Complainant's request to have the dispute decided by a single-member Panel, the National Arbitration Forum appointed Sandra J. Franklin 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.
Pursuant to Rule 11(a) the Panel determines that the language requirement has been satisfied through the Chinese language Complaint and Commencement Notification and, absent a Response, determines that the remainder of the proceedings may be conducted in English.
Complainant requests that the domain name be transferred from Respondent to Complainant.
A. Complainant makes the following assertions:
1. Respondent’s <edhardydiscount.com> domain name is confusingly similar to Complainant’s ED HARDY mark.
2. Respondent does not have any rights or legitimate interests in the <edhardydiscount.com> domain name.
3. Respondent registered and used the <edhardydiscount.com> domain name in bad faith.
B. Respondent failed to submit a Response in this proceeding.
Complainant, the exclusive licensee of Hardy Life, LLC, is a leading designer of luxury and fashion products. Complainant owns the rights to a number of trademark registrations around the world, including one with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) for the ED HARDY mark (Reg. No. 3,141,658 issued September 12, 2006), and one filed in China.
Respondent registered the <edhardydiscount.com> domain name on July 23, 2008. Respondent’s disputed domain name resolves to a website offering products in competition with Complainant and counterfeit versions of Complainant’s products.
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 has established rights in the ED HARDY mark for purposes of Policy ¶ 4(a)(i) through trademark registration with the USPTO and with Chinese authorities. See Metro. Life Ins. Co. v. Bonds, FA 873143 (Nat. Arb. Forum Feb. 16, 2007) (finding that a trademark registration adequately demonstrates a complainant’s rights in a mark under Policy ¶ 4(a)(i)); see also Paisley Park Enters. v. Lawson, FA 384834 (Nat. Arb. Forum Feb. 1, 2005) (finding that the complainant had established rights in the PAISLEY PARK mark under Policy ¶ 4(a)(i) through registration of the mark with the USPTO).
Respondent’s <edhardydiscount.com> domain name is confusingly similar to Complainant’s ED HARDY mark pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(a)(i). Respondent’s disputed domain name contains Complainant’s mark in its entirety, adds a generic term with an obvious relationship to Complainant’s business, and adds a generic top-level domain (“gTLD”). The Panel finds that generic terms, especially generic terms with an obvious relationship to a complainant’s business operation, that are added to a complainant’s registered mark create a 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 Christie’s Inc. v. Tiffany’s Jewelry Auction, Inc., D2001-0075 (WIPO Mar. 6, 2001) (finding that the domain name <christiesauction.com> is confusingly similar to the complainant's mark since it merely adds the word “auction” used in its generic sense). In addition, the Panel finds that the addition of a gTLD is irrelevant in distinguishing a disputed domain name from a registered 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 Busy Body, Inc. v. Fitness Outlet Inc., D2000-0127 (WIPO Apr. 22, 2000) ("[T]he addition of the generic top-level domain (gTLD) name ‘.com’ is . . . without legal significance since use of a gTLD is required of domain name registrants . . . ."). Therefore, Respondent’s disputed domain name is confusingly similar to Complainant’s ED HARDY mark pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(a)(i).
The Panel finds that Policy ¶ 4(a)(i) has been satisfied.
Complainant asserts that Respondent lacks all rights and legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. If Complainant makes a prima facie case in support of its allegations, the burden shifts to Respondent to prove that rights and legitimate interests exist pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(a)(ii). The Panel finds that Complainant has establised a prima facie case. 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 Clerical Med. Inv. Group Ltd. v. Clericalmedical.com, D2000-1228 (WIPO Nov. 28, 2000) (finding that, under certain circumstances, the mere assertion by the complainant that the respondent has no right or legitimate interest is sufficient to shift the burden of proof to the respondent to demonstrate that such a right or legitimate interest does exist).
Complainant contends that Respondent is neither commonly known by, nor licensed to register, the disputed domain name. Respondent’s WHOIS information identifies Respondent as “wang zhong.” The Panel finds that Respondent’s failure to respond to the Complaint and the WHOIS information both demonstrate that Respondent is not commonly known by the disputed domain name. Therefore, pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(c)(ii), Respondent lacks rights and legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. See G.D. Searle & Co. v. Cimock, FA 126829 (Nat. Arb. Forum Nov. 13, 2003) (“Due to the fame of Complainant’s mark there must be strong evidence that Respondent is commonly known by the disputed domain name in order to find that Respondent has rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(c)(ii). However, there is no evidence on record, and Respondent has not come forward with any proof to establish that it is commonly known as CELEBREXRX or <celebrexrx.com>.”); see also 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).
Respondent is using the disputed domain name to offer clothing products in direct competition with Complainant as well as counterfeit versions of Complainant’s products. The Panel finds that Respondent’s use of the disputed domain name is neither a bona fide offering of goods or services under Policy ¶ 4(c)(i) nor a legitimate noncommercial or fair use under 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 See Hewlett-Packard Co. v. Inversiones HP Milenium C.A., FA 105775 (Nat. Arb. Forum Apr. 12, 2002) (“Respondent’s use of the confusingly similar domain name [<hpmilenium.com>] to sell counterfeit versions of Complainant’s [HP] products is not a bona fide offering of goods or services pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(c)(i).”).
The Panel finds that Policy ¶ 4(a)(ii) has been satisfied.
Respondent is using the <edhardydiscount.com> domain name, which is confusingly similar to Complainant’s ED HARDY mark, to sell competing and counterfeit products of Complainant. The Panel finds that such use disrupts Complainant’s business and constitutes bad faith registration and use pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(b)(iii). See G.D. Searle & Co. v. Celebrex Cox-2 Vioxx.com, FA 124508 (Nat. Arb. Forum Oct. 16, 2002) (“Unauthorized use of Complainant’s CELEBREX mark to sell Complainant’s products represents bad faith use under Policy ¶ 4(b)(iii).”); see also Caterpillar Inc. v. Vine, FA 97097 (Nat. Arb. Forum June 22, 2001) (“Respondent registered each of the disputed domain names in order to gain customers and to disrupt Complainant's business of authorizing dealers to sell its CATERPILLAR equipment.”).
Complainant asserts that Respondent’s use of the <edhardydiscount.com> domain name in order to sell counterfeit merchandise using Complainant’s trademark constitutes bad faith registration and use. The Panel finds that the use of a confusingly similar domain name in order to commercially benefit is evidence of bad faith registration and use pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(b)(iv). Respondent has created a likelihood of confusion and benefitted by selling competing and counterfeit products. See Compaq Info. Techs. Group, L.P. v. Waterlooplein Ltd., FA 109718 (Nat. Arb. Forum May 29, 2002) (finding that the respondent’s use of the <compaq-broker.com> domain name to sell the complainant’s products “creates a likelihood of confusion with Complainant's COMPAQ mark as to the source, sponsorship, or affiliation of the website and constituted bad faith pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(b)(iv)”); see also Hunter Fan Co. v. MSS, FA 98067 (Nat. Arb. Forum Aug. 23, 2001) (finding bad faith where the respondent used the disputed domain name to sell the complainant’s products without permission and mislead Internet users by implying that the respondent was affiliated with the complainant).
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 <edhardydiscount.com> domain name be TRANSFERRED from Respondent to Complainant.
Sandra J. Franklin, Panelist
Dated: May 1, 2009
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