DECISION

Hardy Diesel & Equipment Inc. v China Diesel Generators

Claim Number: FA0102000096636

PARTIES

The Complainant is Hardy Diesel & Equipment Inc., Jamul, CA, USA ("Complainant") represented by Eric J. Prosser, of Peterson & Price. The Respondent is China Diesel Generators, Bergman, AR, USA ("Respondent").

REGISTRAR AND DISPUTED DOMAIN NAME

The domain name at issue is "chinadiesel.net" registered with Network Solutions.

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 a panelist in this proceeding.

Hon. James A. Carmody, as Panelist.

PROCEDURAL HISTORY

Complainant submitted a Complaint to the National Arbitration Forum (the "Forum") electronically on February 12, 2001; the Forum received a hard copy of the Complaint on February 15, 2001.

On February 14, 2001, Network Solutions confirmed by e-mail to the Forum that the domain name "chinadiesel.net" is registered with Network Solutions and that the Respondent is the current registrant of the name. Network Solutions has verified that Respondent is bound by the Network Solutions 5.0 registration agreement and has thereby agreed to resolve domain-name disputes brought by third parties in accordance with ICANNís Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (the "Policy").

On February 15, 2001, a Notification of Complaint and Commencement of Administrative Proceeding (the "Commencement Notification"), setting a deadline of March 7, 2001 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 Respondentís registration as technical, administrative and billing contacts, and to postmaster@chinadiesel.net 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 March 20, 2001, pursuant to Complainantís request to have the dispute decided by a One Member panel, the Forum appointed the Hon. James A. Carmody as Panelist.

Respondent submitted a late Response along with a Petition for Consideration of Response on March 19, 2001, twelve days after the Response deadline set by the Rules. On March 20, 2001 Respondent made an additional submission that was not in compliance with the Forumís Supplemental Rule 7. All documents were forwarded to the Administrative Panel (the "Panel") for action and for a determination on admissibility under Rule 10 of the Rules for Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (the "Rules").

Having reviewed the communications records, the Panel finds that the Forum has discharged its responsibility under Rule 2(a) "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 Forumís Supplemental Rules and any rules and principles of law that the Panel deems applicable, without the benefit of any Response from the Respondent.

RELIEF SOUGHT

The Complainant requests that the domain name be transferred from the Respondent to the Complainant.

PARTIESí CONTENTIONS

A. Complainant

Complainant alleges the following:

    1. Respondentís domain name, chinadiesel.net, is virtually identical to Complainantís registered mark, CHINA DIESEL.
    2. Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name.
    3. Respondent registered and used the disputed domain name in bad faith.

B. Respondent

This Panelist finds that the Forum made six separate efforts to give Respondent actual notice of this proceeding through the Commencement Notice using the e-mail, facsimile and U.S. postal addresses listed by Respondent with Network Solutions. Respondent has not submitted a timely response in this matter.

FINDINGS

Complainant, Hardy Diesel & Equipment Inc., owns the registered mark CHINA DIESEL, which it has used continuously since 1979 in connection with the sale of various diesel machinery imported from China. Complainant also maintains a registration for the domain name "chinadiesel.com" and has used its web site to sell and market, among other things, diesel generators and diesel powered tractors.

Respondent, David Hall d.b.a. China Diesel Generators, is Complainantís former customer. Respondent registered its domain name three years after Complainant registered its domain name. Currently, Respondent offers products that are identical to Complainantís via the disputed domain name. On September 1, 1999, Complainant sent Respondent a Cease and Desist letter, to no avail. On October 6, 1999, Respondent spoke with Complainantís counsel via telephone and agreed it would change its domain name to the generic phrase "Chinese Diesel." To date, Respondent has failed to comply with the proposed agreement.

The Panel considered the Petition for Consideration of Response submitted by Respondent and found it to be without merit under the circumstances.

DISCUSSION

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.

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 the Respondent is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which the Complainant has rights;

(2) the 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

Complainantís rights are evidenced by its registered mark, CHINA DIESEL. Respondentís domain name, chinadiesel.net, is identical to Complainantís well-established mark. See American Golf Corp. v. Perfect Web Corp., D2000-0908 (WIPO Oct. 23, 2000) (finding that the domain name <americangolf.net> is identical and confusingly similar to Complainantís AMERICAN GOLF marks); Nike, Inc. v. Coleman, D2000-1120 (WIPO Nov. 6, 2000) (finding that the domain name <nike.net> is identical to the Complainantís famous NIKE mark); see also 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).

The Panel finds that Policy ∂ 4(a)(i) has been satisfied.

Rights or Legitimate Interests

Although Respondentís company name is consistent with the disputed domain name, there is no evidence to support Respondentís rights. Accordingly, Respondent is not authorized or licensed to use Complainantís mark, which Complainant has used in commerce since 1979. See AT&T Corp. v. Domains by Brian Evans, D2000-0790 (WIPO Sept. 27, 2000) (finding no rights or legitimate interests where Respondent does not provide any documentation on the existence of its company, that might show what the companyís business was or years of existence, to counter Complainantís trademark claims); see also State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co. v. LaFaive, FA 95407 (Nat. Arb. Forum Sept. 27, 2000) (finding that "unauthorized providing of information and services under a mark owned by a third party cannot be said to be the bona fide offering of goods or services").

In addition, Respondent asserted no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name, which entitles the Panel to conclude it has no such rights or legitimate interests in the domain name. See Pavillion Agency, Inc. v. Greenhouse Agency Ltd., D2000-1221 (WIPO Dec. 4, 2000) (finding that "Respondentsí failure to respond can be construed as an admission that they have no legitimate interest in the Domain Names"); 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).

Consequently, the Panel finds that Policy ∂ 4(a)(ii) has been sufficiently satisfied.

Registration and Use in Bad Faith

It is apparent that Respondentís use of the disputed domain name is to intentionally attract Internet users to its web site, strictly for commercial gain, via a likelihood of confusion with Complainantís well-established mark. See Perot Sys. Corp. v. Perot.net, FA 95312 (Nat. Arb. Forum Aug. 29, 2000) (finding bad faith where the domain name in question is obviously connected with the Complainantís well known marks, thus creating a likelihood of confusion strictly for commercial gain); see also State Fair of Texas v. Granbury.com, FA 95288 (Nat. Arb. Forum Sept. 12, 2000) (finding bad faith where the Respondent registered the domain name <bigtex.net> to infringe on the Complainantís good will and attract Internet users to the Respondentís web site).

Moreover, since Respondent was Complainantís former customer, it had to have been aware of Complainantís mark prior to registering the disputed domain name. See Kraft Foods (Norway) v. Wide, D2000-0911 (WIPO Sept. 23, 2000) (finding that the fact "that the Respondent chose to register a well known mark to which he has no connections or rights indicates that he was in bad faith when registering the domain name at issue"); see also Reuters Ltd. v. Teletrust IPR Ltd., D2000-0471 (WIPO Sept. 8, 2000) (finding that the Respondent demonstrated bad faith where the Respondent was aware of the Complainantís famous mark when registering the domain name as well as aware of the deception and confusion that would inevitably follow if he used the domain names).

Therefore, the Panel finds that Policy ∂ 4(a)(iii) has been satisfied.

DECISION

Having established all three elements required under ICANN Policy, the Panel concludes that the requested relief shall be and is hereby granted.

Accordingly, it is Ordered that the domain name, chinadiesel.net, be transferred from Respondent to Complainant.

 

Hon. James A. Carmody, Panelist

Dated: March 27, 2001

 

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