Citadel Investment Group L.L.C., and its related entity, KCG IP Holdings, LLC v. xinshengkeji
Claim Number: FA0905001261533
Complainant is Citadel Investment Group L.L.C., and its related entity, KCG IP Holdings, LLC (“Complainant”), represented by Paul D. McGrady, of Greenberg Traurig, LLP, Illinois, USA. Respondent is xinshengkeji (“Respondent”), China.
REGISTRAR AND DISPUTED DOMAIN NAME
The domain name at issue is <citadelhk.com>, registered with Beijing Innovative Linkage Technology Ltd. d/b/a Dns.
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 May 6, 2009; the National Arbitration Forum received a hard copy of the Complaint on May 8, 2009.The Complaint was submitted in both Chinese and English.
On May 13, 2009, Beijing Innovative Linkage Technology Ltd. d/b/a Dns confirmed by e-mail to the National Arbitration Forum that the <citadelhk.com> domain name is registered with Beijing Innovative Linkage Technology Ltd. d/b/a Dns and that Respondent is the current registrant of the name. Beijing Innovative Linkage Technology Ltd. d/b/a Dns has verified that Respondent is bound by the Beijing Innovative Linkage Technology Ltd. d/b/a Dns 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 May 21, 2009, a Notification of Complaint and Commencement of Administrative Proceeding (the "Commencement Notification"), setting a deadline of June 10, 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 June 12, 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 <citadelhk.com> domain name is confusingly similar to Complainant’s CITADEL mark.
2. Respondent does not have any rights or legitimate interests in the <citadelhk.com> domain name.
3. Respondent registered and used the <citadelhk.com> domain name in bad faith.
B. Respondent failed to submit a Response in this proceeding.
Complainant, Citadel Investment Group LLC, and KCG IP Holdings LLC, operate an alternative investment institution. Complainant has registered its CITADEL mark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office ("USPTO") (Reg. No. 3,213,943 issued February 27, 2007).
Respondent registered the disputed domain name on October 4, 2008. The disputed domain name resolves to a website that offers competing financial 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:
(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 provided evidence of the registration of its CITADEL mark with the USPTO. The Panel finds this registration sufficiently establishes Complainant's rights in its mark under Policy ¶ 4(a)(i). 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 Renaissance Hotel Holdings, Inc. v. Renaissance Cochin, FA 932344 (Nat. Arb. Forum Apr. 23, 2007) (finding that it does not matter whether the complainant has registered its trademark in the country in which the respondent resides, only that it can establish rights in some jurisdiction).
Respondent's disputed domain name contains Complainant's CITADEL mark with the addition of the geographical acronym "hk," which stands for Hong Kong, a geographical location Complainant operates in, and the addition of the generic top-level domain ".com." The Panel finds neither of these alterations sufficiently distinguish the disputed domain name from Complainant's mark. Thus, the Panel finds the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to Complainant's mark under Policy ¶ 4(a)(i). See InfoSpace, Inc. v. domains Asia Ventures, FA 198909 (Nat. Arb. Forum Nov. 10, 2003) (“Internet users may believe that the website located at the <dogpileuk.com> domain name is run by a United Kingdom branch or affiliate of Complainant. . . . Consequently, the Panel finds that the geographic identifier “uk” does not significantly distinguish Respondent’s domain name from Complainant’s mark under Policy ¶ 4(a)(ii).”); see also MFI UK Ltd. v. Jones, D2003-0102 (WIPO May 8, 2003) (finding the <mfiuk.com> domain name confusingly similar to the complainant’s MFI mark because the addition of the letters “UK” were merely a common designation for the United Kingdom); see also Reese v. Morgan, FA 917029 (Nat. Arb. Forum Apr. 5, 2007) (finding that the mere addition of the generic top-level domain “.com” is insufficient to differentiate a disputed domain name from a mark).
The Panel finds Policy ¶ 4(a)(i) has been satisfied.
Complainant has alleged Respondent does not have rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. Complainant is required to establish a prima facie case in support of its allegations and then the burden shifts to Respondent to prove it possesses rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. See Do The Hustle, LLC v. Tropic Web, D2000-0624 (WIPO Aug. 21, 2000) (holding that once the complainant asserts that the respondent has no rights or legitimate interests with respect to the domain, the burden shifts to the respondent to provide “concrete evidence that it has rights to or legitimate interests in the domain name at issue”). The Panel finds Complainant has adequately established a prima facie case. Because Respondent failed to respond to the Complaint, the Panel may assume Respondent does not possess rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. See American Express Co. v. Fang Suhendro, FA 129120 (Nat. Arb. Forum Dec. 30, 2002) (“[B]ased on Respondent's failure to respond, it is presumed that Respondent lacks all rights and legitimate interests in the disputed domain name.”). The Panel, however, will examine the record to determine whether Respondent possesses rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(c).
Complainant asserts Respondent is using the disputed domain name to offer financial services in competition with Complainant. The Panel finds Respondent’s use of the disputed domain name is not a bona fide offering of goods under Policy ¶ 4(c)(i), or 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 Am. Int’l Group, Inc. v. Benjamin, FA 944242 (Nat. Arb. Forum May 11, 2007) (finding that the respondent’s use of a confusingly similar domain name to advertise real estate services which competed with the complainant’s business did not constitute a bona fide offering of goods or services under Policy ¶ 4(c)(i), or a legitimate noncommercial or fair use under Policy ¶ 4(c)(iii))).
The WHOIS information lists Respondent as “xinshengkeji.” The record provides no evidence supporting the conclusion that Respondent is or ever has been commonly known by the disputed domain name. Thus, the Panel finds that Respondent is not commonly known by the disputed domain name under Policy ¶ 4(c)(ii). See Gallup, Inc. v. Amish Country Store, FA 96209 (Nat. Arb. Forum Jan. 23, 2001) (finding that the respondent does not have rights in a domain name when the respondent is not known by the mark); see also Ian Schrager Hotels, L.L.C. v. Taylor, FA 173369 (Nat. Arb. Forum Sept. 25, 2003) (finding that without demonstrable evidence to support the assertion that a respondent is commonly known by a domain name, the assertion must be rejected).
The Panel finds Policy ¶ 4(a)(ii) has been satisfied.
Respondent is using the disputed domain name to disrupt Complainant’s business through the operation of a website that offers competing financial services. The Panel finds Respondent has engaged in bad faith registration and use pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(b)(iii). See Instron Corp. v. Kaner, FA 768859 (Nat. Arb. Forum Sept. 21, 2006) (finding that the respondent registered and used the disputed domain names in bad faith pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(b)(iii) by using the disputed domain names to operate websites that compete with the complainant’s business); see also 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).”).
Respondent has engaged in its use of the confusingly similar disputed domain name presumably with the intent to profit from its creation of a likelihood of confusion as to Complainant’s affiliation with the disputed domain name. The Panel presumes Respondent is profiting from offering competing financial services on the website resolving from the confusingly similar disputed domain name. Therefore, the Panel finds Respondent has engaged in bad faith registration and use pursuant to 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 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 <citadelhk.com> domain name be TRANSFERRED from Respondent to Complainant.
Sandra J. Franklin, Panelist
Dated: June 24, 2009
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