TechSmith Corporation v. snagit.net and P.Herceg
Claim Number: FA0210000128641
Complainant is TechSmith Corporation, Okemos, MI (“Complainant”) represented by James R. Duby, Jr., of Gallagher Duby, PLC. Respondent is snagit.net and P. Herceg Bethlehem, PA (“Respondent”).
REGISTRAR AND DISPUTED DOMAIN NAME
The domain name at issue is <snagit.net>, registered with TuCows, 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.
James P. Buchele as Panelist.
Complainant submitted a Complaint to the National Arbitration Forum (the “Forum”) electronically on October 17, 2002; the Forum received a hard copy of the Complaint on October 18, 2002.
On October 18, 2002, TuCows, Inc. confirmed by e-mail to the Forum that the domain name <snagit.net> 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 October 23, 2002, a Notification of Complaint and Commencement of Administrative Proceeding (the “Commencement Notification”), setting a deadline of November 12, 2002 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, using the same contact details and methods as were used for the Commencement Notification, the Forum transmitted to the parties a Notification of Respondent Default.
On December 5, 2002, pursuant to Complainant’s request to have the dispute decided by a single-member Panel, the Forum appointed James P. Buchele as Panelist.
Having reviewed the communications records, the Administrative Panel (the “Panel”) finds that the 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 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.
The <snagit.net> domain name is identical to Complainant's SNAGIT mark.
Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name.
Respondent registered and used the disputed domain name in bad faith.
Respondent failed to submit a Response.
Complainant registered its SNAGIT mark with the United States Patent and Trademark office on October 14, 1997 and it currently holds Registration Number 2,104,800. Complainant has also applied for trademark registration in the European Union. Complainant has used the trademark in commerce since 1991 in connection with the public distribution of its screen capture utility software. Complainant registered the domain name <snagit.com> in 1997.
Respondent registered the disputed domain name <snagit.net> on March 29, 2000. Respondent is using the disputed domain name to divert Internet users to <rewardminutes.com> where there is a website offering phone card, fax, pager and computer service plans.
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 the 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.
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 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.
Identical and/or Confusingly Similar
Complainant has established that it has rights in the SNAGIT mark through proof of continuous use since 1991 and trademark registration with the United States Patent and Trademark Office.
Respondent’s <snagit.net> domain name is identical to Complainant’s mark because it incorporates Complainant’s entire mark and merely adds the generic top-level domain “.net.” The addition of a generic top-level domain name does not create any distinguishing characteristics because it is a required element of every domain name. Therefore, the addition of a top-level domain does not overcome a Policy ¶ 4(a)(i) identical analysis. See Pomellato S.p.A v. Tonetti, D2000-0493 (WIPO July 7, 2000) (finding <pomellato.com> identical to Complainant’s mark because the generic top-level domain (gTLD) “.com” after the name POMELLATO is not relevant); see also Entrepreneur Media, Inc. v. Smith, 279 F.3d 1135, 1146 (9th Cir. Feb. 11, 2002) (“Internet users searching for a company’s [w]ebsite . . . assume, as a rule of thumb, that the domain name of a particular company will be the company name [or trademark] followed by ‘.com.’”).
The Panel finds that Policy ¶ 4(a)(i) has been satisfied.
Rights or Legitimate Interests
When Complainant asserts a prima facie case against Respondent, the burden of proof shifts to Respondent to show that it has rights or legitimate interests pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(a)(ii). Respondent has failed to respond; therefore it is assumed that Respondent lacks rights and legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. See Do The Hustle, LLC v. Tropic Web, D2000-0624 (WIPO Aug. 21, 2000) (finding that once Complainant asserts that Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the domain, the burden shifts to Respondent to provide credible evidence that substantiates its claim of rights and legitimate interests in the domain name); see also Parfums Christian Dior v. QTR Corp., D2000-0023 (WIPO Mar. 9, 2000) (finding that by not submitting a Response, Respondent has failed to invoke any circumstance which could demonstrate any rights or legitimate interests in the domain name).
Furthermore, because Respondent has not submitted a Response, it is appropriate for the Panel to accept all reasonable allegations and inferences in the Complaint as true. See Vertical Solutions Mgmt., Inc. v. webnet-marketing, inc., FA 95095 (Nat. Arb. Forum July 31, 2000) (failure to respond allows all reasonable inferences of fact in the allegations of Complainant to be deemed true); see also Charles Jourdan Holding AG v. AAIM, D2000-0403 (WIPO June 27, 2000) (finding it appropriate for the Panel to draw adverse inferences from Respondent’s failure to reply to the Complaint).
Respondent is using the disputed domain name <snagit.net> to divert Internet users to <rewardminutes.com>. This website offers Internet users phone card, fax, pager and computer service plans. The use of Complainant’s trademark as a means of diverting Internet users to Respondent’s website is not considered to be a use in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(c)(i), or a legitimate noncommercial or fair use pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(c)(ii). See MSNBC Cable, LLC v. Tysys.com, D2000-1204 (WIPO Dec. 8, 2000) (finding no rights or legitimate interests in the famous MSNBC mark where Respondent attempted to profit using Complainant’s mark by redirecting Internet traffic to its own website); see also Household Int’l, Inc. v. Cyntom Enter., FA 95784 (Nat. Arb. Forum Nov. 7, 2000) (inferring that Respondent registered the domain name <householdbank.com>, which incorporates Complainants HOUSEHOLD BANK mark, with hopes of attracting Complainant’s customers and thus finding no rights or legitimate interests).
Furthermore, there is no evidence on record that Respondent is commonly known by SNAGIT or <snagit.net>. Although Respondent’s WHOIS information says that its name is SNAGIT.NET, the disputed domain name diverts Internet users to <rewardminutes.com>, a website that does not use SNAGIT or SNAGIT.NET to identify Respondent’s business or services. That being the only evidence before the Panel, and Complainant having established a prima facie case, Respondent has failed to meets its burden of proof and therefore has not established that it has rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(c)(ii). See Broadcom Corp. v. Intellifone Corp., FA 96356 (Nat. Arb. Forum Feb. 5, 2001) (finding no rights or legitimate interests because Respondent is not commonly known by the disputed domain name or using the domain name in connection with a legitimate or fair use); see also Hartford Fire Ins. Co. v. Webdeal.com, Inc., FA 95162 (Nat. Arb. Forum Aug. 29, 2000) (finding that Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in domain names because it is not commonly known by Complainant’s marks and Respondent has not used the domain names in connection with a bona fide offering of goods and services or for a legitimate noncommercial or fair use).
The Panel finds that Policy ¶ 4(a)(ii) has been satisfied.
Registration and Use in Bad Faith
Respondent is using the disputed domain name, identical to Complainant’s mark, in order to divert Internet users to a website that offers communication services for sale. It can be inferred that Respondent is making a profit either from the sales generated at this website, or from the amount of Internet traffic it diverts to <rewardminutes.com>. Respondent therefore, registered and used the disputed domain name in order to create a likelihood of confusion for its own commercial gain. This behavior is evidence of bad faith registration and use pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(b)(iv). See Kmart v. Kahn, FA 127708 (Nat. Arb. Forum Nov. 22, 2002) (finding that if Respondent profits from its diversionary use of Complainant's mark when the domain name resolves to commercial websites and Respondent fails to contest the Complaint, it may be concluded that Respondent is using the domain name in bad faith pursuant to Policy 4(b)(iv)); see also Drs. Foster & Smith, Inc. v. Lalli, FA 95284 (Nat. Arb. Forum Aug. 21, 2000) (finding bad faith where Respondent directed Internet users seeking Complainant’s site to its own website for commercial gain).
Based on the fact that Respondent registered the disputed domain name in order to divert Internet users to <rewardminutes.com> for its own commercial gain, it can be inferred that Respondent had knowledge of Complainant’s mark and registered the disputed domain name because it knew that Complainant’s mark would attract Internet traffic. Registration of an infringing domain name, despite actual knowledge of Complainant’s rights, is evidence of bad faith registration pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(a)(iii). See Digi Int’l v. DDI Sys., FA 124506 (Nat. Arb. Forum Oct. 24, 2002) (holding that “there is a legal presumption of bad faith, when Respondent reasonably should have been aware of Complainant’s trademarks, actually or constructively”); see also Entrepreneur Media, Inc. v. Smith, 279 F.3d 1135, 1148 (9th Cir. Feb. 11, 2002) (finding that "[w]here an alleged infringer chooses a mark he knows to be similar to another, one can infer an intent to confuse").
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 the requested relief shall be hereby granted.
Accordingly, it is Ordered that the domain name <snagit.net> be transferred from Respondent to Complainant.
James P. Buchele, Panelist
Dated: December 9, 2002
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