Google Inc. v. Ekonzult Ekonzult
Claim Number: FA0910001292232
Complainant is Google
Inc. (“Complainant”), represented by Eric
Ball, of Fenwick West LLP,
REGISTRAR AND DISPUTED DOMAIN NAME
The domain name at issue is <googlemark.org>, 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.
Hon. Karl V. Fink (Ret) as Panelist.
Complainant submitted a Complaint to the National Arbitration Forum electronically on October 29, 2009; the National Arbitration Forum received a hard copy of the Complaint on October 30, 2009.
On October 30, 2009, Tucows, Inc. confirmed by e-mail to the National Arbitration Forum that the <googlemark.org> domain name 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 November 3, 2009, a Notification of Complaint and Commencement of Administrative Proceeding (the "Commencement Notification"), setting a deadline of November 23, 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 firstname.lastname@example.org by e-mail.
Having received no response from Respondent, the National Arbitration Forum transmitted to the parties a Notification of Respondent Default.
On December 2, 2009, pursuant to Complainant's request to have the dispute decided by a single-member Panel, the National Arbitration Forum appointed Hon. Karl V. Fink (Ret) 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 <googlemark.org> domain name is confusingly similar to Complainant’s GOOGLE mark.
2. Respondent does not have any rights or legitimate interests in the <googlemark.org> domain name.
3. Respondent registered and used the <googlemark.org> domain name in bad faith.
B. Respondent failed to submit a Response in this proceeding.
Complainant, Google Inc., since its creation in 1997, has become one of the largest, most highly recognized, and widely used Internet search service in the world. Complainant operates its search engine under the GOOGLE mark. Complainant holds numerous registrations of the GOOGLE mark with various governmental trademark authorities throughout the world, including the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) (e.g., Reg. No. 2,806,075 issued January 20, 2004).
Respondent, Ekonzult Ekonzult, registered the <googlemark.org> domain name on November 11, 2005. The disputed domain name resolves to a website that imitates Complainant’s website. Specifically, the resolving website displays Complainant’s mark, color scheme, and a search engine.
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 is satisfied with Complainant’s showing of rights in the GOOGLE mark through its numerous registrations of the mark with various governmental trademark authorities throughout the world, including the USPTO (e.g., Reg. No. 2,806,075 issued January 20, 2004). Therefore, the Panel finds that Complainant has established rights in the GOOGLE mark under Policy ¶ 4(a)(i). See Google, Inc. v. DktBot.org, FA 286993 (Nat. Arb. Forum Aug. 4, 2004) (finding that the complainant had established rights in the GOOGLE mark through its holding of numerous trademark registrations around the world); see also Janus Int’l Holding Co. v. Rademacher, D2002-0201 (WIPO Mar. 5, 2002) ("Panel decisions have held that registration of a mark is prima facie evidence of validity, which creates a rebuttable presumption that the mark is inherently distinctive.").
The Panel finds that Respondent’s <googlemark.org> domain name is confusingly similar under Policy ¶ 4(a)(i). The disputed domain name contains Complainant’s entire GOOGLE mark, adds the generic term “mark,” and adds a generic top-level domain (“gTLD”). Previous panels have found that neither the addition of a generic term nor the addition of gTLD to a mark sufficiently distinguishes a disputed domain name from that mark. See Oki Data Ams., Inc. v. ASD, Inc., D2001-0903 (WIPO Nov. 6, 2001) (“[T]he fact that a domain name wholly incorporates a Complainant’s registered mark is sufficient to establish identity [sic] or confusing similarity for purposes of the Policy despite the addition of other words to such marks”); see also Arthur Guinness Son & Co. (Dublin) Ltd. v. Healy/BOSTH, D2001-0026 (WIPO Mar. 23, 2001) (finding confusing similarity where the domain name in dispute contains the identical mark of the complainant combined with a generic word or term); see also Trip Network Inc. v. Alviera, FA 914943 (Nat. Arb. Forum Mar. 27, 2007) (concluding that the affixation of a gTLD to a domain name is irrelevant to a Policy ¶ 4(a)(i) analysis). Accordingly, the Panel finds that none of Respondent’s additions to Complainant’s GOOGLE mark suficiently distinguish the <googlemark.org> domain name from Complainant’s mark. Thus, the Panel finds that the <googlemark.org> domain name is confusingly similar to Complainant’s GOOGLE mark under Policy ¶ 4(a)(i).
The Panel finds that Policy ¶ 4(a)(i) has been satisfied.
Pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(a)(ii), Complainant must make a prima facie showing that Respondent lacks rights and legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. Once Complainant makes such a showing, the burden then shifts to Respondent and Respondent must establish that it has rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. The Panel finds that Complainant has sufficiently made its prima facie showing under Policy ¶ 4(a)(ii). The burden now shifts to Respondent, from which no response was received. See Intel Corp. v. Macare, FA 660685 (Nat. Arb. Forum Apr. 26, 2006) (finding the “complainant must first make a prima facie case that [the] respondent lacks rights and legitimate interests in the disputed domain names under Policy ¶ 4(a)(ii), and then the burden shifts to [the] respondent to show it does have rights or legitimate interests.”); see also G.D. Searle v. Martin Mktg., FA 118277 (Nat. Arb. Forum Oct. 1, 2002) (“Because Complainant’s Submission constitutes a prima facie case under the Policy, the burden effectively shifts to Respondent. Respondent’s failure to respond means that Respondent has not presented any circumstances that would promote its rights or legitimate interests in the subject domain name under Policy ¶ 4(a)(ii).”). Although Respondent has failed to allege that it has rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name, the Panel elects to examine the record under Policy ¶ 4(c).
domain name resolves to a
website that features Complainant’s mark, Complainant’s color scheme, and a
search engine. The Panel finds that
Respondent is attempting to pass itself off as Complainant, which is not 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). See Kmart
Furthermore, Respondent is listed in the WHOIS information as “Ekonzult Ekonzult,” which does not indicate that Respondent is commonly known by the <googlemark.org> domain name. Respondent has not offered any evidence to suggest that Policy ¶ 4(c)(ii) applies in this case. Moreover, Complainant alleges that it has not authorized Respondent to use the GOOGLE mark. Therefore, the Panel finds that Respondent is not commonly known by the disputed domain name under Policy ¶ 4(c)(ii). See Coppertown Drive-Thru Sys., LLC v. Snowden, FA 715089 (Nat. Arb. Forum July 17, 2006) (concluding that the respondent was not commonly known by the <coppertown.com> domain name where there was no evidence in the record, including the WHOIS information, suggesting that the respondent was commonly known by the disputed domain name); see also Reese v. Morgan, FA 917029 (Nat. Arb. Forum Apr. 5, 2007) (concluding that the respondent was not commonly known by the <lilpunk.com> domain name as there was no evidence in the record showing that the respondent was commonly known by that domain name, including the WHOIS information as well as the complainant’s assertion that it did not authorize or license the respondent’s use of its mark in a domain name).
The Panel finds that Policy ¶ 4(a)(ii) has been satisfied.
Since Respondent registered the <googlemark.org> domain name on November 11, 2005, the disputed domain name resolves to website that is very similar to Complainant’s website, including mimicking Complainant’s color scheme. The Panel finds that Respondent’s attempt to pass itself off as Complainant is evidence of bad faith registration and use under Policy ¶ 4(b)(iv). See Am. Online, Inc. v. Miles, FA 105890 (Nat. Arb. Forum May 31, 2002) (“Respondent is using the domain name at issue to resolve to a website at which Complainant’s trademarks and logos are prominently displayed. Respondent has done this with full knowledge of Complainant’s business and trademarks. The Panel finds that this conduct is that which is prohibited by Paragraph 4(b)(iv) of the Policy.”); see also Target Brands, Inc. v. JK Internet Servs., FA 349108 (Nat. Arb. Forum Dec. 14, 2004) (finding bad faith because the respondent not only registered Complainant’s famous TARGET mark, but “reproduced . . . Complainant’s TARGET mark . . . [and] added Complainant’s distinctive red bull’s eye [at the domain name] . . . to a point of being indistinguishable from the original.”).
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 <googlemark.org> domain name be TRANSFERRED from Respondent to Complainant.
Hon. Karl V. Fink (Ret) Panelist
Dated: December 16, 2009
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