National Arbitration Forum

 

DECISION

 

Mt. Vernon Mills, Inc. v. River City Holdings

Claim Number: FA1005001325214

 

PARTIES

Complainant is Mt. Vernon Mills, Inc. (“Complainant”), represented by Douglas W. Kim, of McNair Law Firm, P.A., South Carolina, USA.  Respondent is River City Holdings (“Respondent”), represented by Karen G. Biagi, of Evans & Hackett, PLLC, Tennessee, USA.

 

REGISTRAR AND DISPUTED DOMAIN NAMES 

The domain names at issue are <textraw.net> and <textraw.org> (“the Domain Names”), registered with Godaddy.com, Inc.

 

PANEL

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.

 

Alan L. Limbury, as Panelist.

 

PROCEDURAL HISTORY

Complainant submitted electronically to the National Arbitration Forum on May 18, 2010 a Complaint and on May 24, 2010 an Amended Complaint.

 

On May 18, 2010, Godaddy.com, Inc. confirmed by e-mail to the National Arbitration Forum that the Domain Names are registered with Godaddy.com, Inc. and that Respondent is the current registrant of the Domain Names.  Godaddy.com, Inc. has verified that Respondent is bound by the Godaddy.com, 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 May 25, 2010, the Forum served the Amended Complaint and all Annexes, including a Written Notice of the Complaint, setting a deadline of June 14, 2010 by which Respondent could file a Response to the Amended Complaint, via e-mail to all entities and persons listed on Respondent’s registration as technical, administrative, and billing contacts, and to postmaster@textraw.net and postmaster@textraw.org.  Also on May 25, 2010, the Written Notice of the Complaint, notifying Respondent of the email addresses served and the deadline for a Response, was transmitted to Respondent via post and fax, to all entities and persons listed on Respondent’s registration as technical, administrative and billing contacts.

 

A timely Response was received and determined to be complete on June 14, 2010.

 

Complainant’s Additional Submission was received on June 18, 2010 and deemed to be in compliance with Supplemental Rule 7.

 

Respondent’s Additional Submission was received on June 23, 2010 and deemed to be in compliance with Supplemental Rule 7.

 

On June 25, 2010, pursuant to Complainant’s request to have the dispute decided by a single-member Panel, the National Arbitration Forum appointed Alan L. Limbury as Panelist.

 

RELIEF SOUGHT

Complainant requests that the domain names be transferred from Respondent to Complainant.

 

PARTIES’ CONTENTIONS

 

A. Complainant

Complainant claims rights in the trademark TEXTRAW in connection with artificial straw products. It says the Domain Names are identical to that mark and that Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the Domain Names, which were registered and are being used in bad faith.

 

B. Respondent

Respondent asserts rights of its own in the TEXTRAW mark and denies all of Complainant’s assertions.

 

FINDINGS

The parties entered into an agreement on March 16, 2009 which expired on March 15, 2010. The Domain Names were registered by Respondent during the course of that agreement. Now Complainant and Respondent both assert rights to the TEXTRAW mark, to the exclusion of the other.

 

The day after filing the Complaint, on May 19, 2010, Complainant commenced court proceedings against Respondent and others in the Court of Common Pleas, Greenville County, South Carolina, C.A. No. 2010-CP-23-4101 in connection with and relating to, inter alia, the TEXTRAW trademark and the Domain Names (“the Court Proceedings”). Damages are claimed in respect of Respondent’s use of the Domain Names and its refusal to transfer them to Complainant, although no order is sought for their transfer to Complainant.

 

By Notice filed on May 26, 2010, Complainant is currently opposing before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board of the United States Patent and Trademark Office an application by Respondent to register the mark TEXTRAW (“the Opposition Proceedings”).

 

Respondent states that in both proceedings it intends to dispute Complainant’s rights and to assert Respondent’s ownership of the TEXTRAW mark and of the Domain Names.

Paragraph 18(a) of the Rules gives the Panel discretion to suspend or terminate a UDRP proceeding where the Domain Name is the subject of other legal proceedings. Since the issue as to whether either party has rights in the TEXTRAW mark will be determined in one or both of the Court Proceedings and the Opposition Proceedings and is critical to the outcome of this Administrative Proceeding, it is inappropriate for this Panel to determine that issue under the ICANN Policy.   See e.g. Family Watchdog LLC v. Lester Schweiss, WIPO Case No. D2008-0183 and Knipping Kozijnen B.V. v. R.T.P. Hanssen, WIPO Case No. D2006-0622.

DECISION

Accordingly, the Panel concludes that relief shall be DENIED, without prejudice to any refiled Complaint Complainant may wish to bring following the determination of the Court Proceedings and/or the Opposition Proceedings.

 

 

 

Alan L. Limbury, Panelist
Dated: July 1, 2010

 

 

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