Bank of America Corporation v. Tak Ume domains for sale

Claim Number:  FA0304000154528



Complainant is Bank of America Corporation, Charlotte, NC (“Complainant”) represented by Larry C. Jones of Alston & Bird LLP. Respondent is Tak Ume domains for sale, Los Angeles, CA (“Respondent”).



The domain name at issue is <> registered with Go Daddy Software, 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.


John J. Upchurch as Panelist.



Complainant submitted a Complaint to the National Arbitration Forum (the "Forum") electronically on April 14, 2003; the Forum received a hard copy of the Complaint on April 14, 2003.


On April 14, 2003, Go Daddy Software, Inc. confirmed by e-mail to the Forum that the domain name <> is registered with Go Daddy Software, Inc. and that Respondent is the current registrant of the name. Go Daddy Software, Inc. has verified that Respondent is bound by the Go Daddy Software, 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 April 17, 2003, a Notification of Complaint and Commencement of Administrative Proceeding (the "Commencement Notification"), setting a deadline of May 7, 2003 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 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 May 15, 2003, pursuant to Complainant's request to have the dispute decided by a single-member Panel, the Forum appointed John J. Upchurch 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.



A.  Complainant makes the following assertions:


1.      Respondent’s <> domain name is confusingly similar to Complainant’s BANK OF AMERICA mark.


2.      Respondent does not have any rights or legitimate interests in the <> domain name.


3.      Respondent registered and used the <> domain name in bad faith.


B.  Respondent failed to submit a Response in this proceeding.



Complainant holds a trademark registration with United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) for the BANK OF AMERICA mark (Reg. No. 853,860 registered on July 30, 1968) in relation to commercial, savings, loan, trust departments and credit financing banking services. Complainant operates a website at <> in conjunction with its financial services.


Respondent registered the <> domain name on October 2, 2002. Respondent is using the disputed domain name to redirect Internet traffic to <>, a website that describes itself as the world’s best online marketplace.



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.


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.


Identical and/or Confusingly Similar


Complainant has established that it has rights in the BANK OF AMERICA mark through registration with the USPTO and continuous use in commerce.


Respondent’s <> domain name is confusingly similar to the Complainant’s mark because the disputed domain name incorporates the entire mark and merely adds “www-” to the beginning and the generic top-level domain (gTLD) to the end of Complainant’s mark. By adding “www-” to the beginning of the mark, Respondent has not sufficiently distinguished its domain name from the mark because the addition of “www-” simply capitalizes on a common misspelling by substituting a hyphen for a period. See Bank of Am. Corp. v. InterMos, FA 95092 (Nat. Arb. Forum Aug. 1, 2000) (finding that Respondent’s domain name <> is confusingly similar to Complainant’s registered trademark BANK OF AMERICA because it “takes advantage of a typing error (eliminating the period between the www and the domain name) that users commonly make when searching on the Internet”); see also Dana Corporation v. $$$ This Domain Name Is For Sale $$$, FA 117328 (Nat. Arb. Forum Nov. 19, 2002) (finding Respondent's <> domain name confusingly similar to Complainant's registered DANA mark because Complainant's mark remains the dominant feature). Moreover, Panels have consistently found that the addition of a gTLD to the end of a mark is irrelevant for the purposes of Policy ¶ 4(a)(i). See Pomellato S.p.A v. Tonetti, D2000-0493 (WIPO July 7, 2000) (finding <> identical to Complainant’s mark because the generic top-level domain (gTLD) “.com” after the name POMELLATO is not relevant); see also Blue Sky Software Corp. v. Digital Sierra Inc., D2000-0165 (WIPO Apr. 27, 2000) (holding that the domain name <> is identical to Complainant’s registered ROBOHELP trademark, and that the "addition of .com is not a distinguishing difference").


The Panel finds that Complainant has established Policy ¶ 4(a)(i).


Rights or Legitimate Interests


Respondent has not submitted a Response to the Panel for this proceeding. Thus, the Panel accepts all reasonable allegations and inferences in the Complaint as true. See Desotec N.V. v. Jacobi Carbons AB, D2000-1398 (WIPO Dec. 21, 2000) (finding that failing to respond allows a presumption that Complainant’s allegations are true unless clearly contradicted by the evidence); see also Ziegenfelder Co. v. VMH Enter., Inc., D2000-0039 (WIPO Mar. 14, 2000) (drawing two inferences based on the Respondent’s failure to respond: (1) the Respondent does not deny the facts asserted by the Complainant, and (2) the Respondent does not deny conclusions which the Complainant asserts can be drawn from the facts).


Furthermore, due to Respondent’s failure to respond, the Panel may presume that it lacks all rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. See 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); see also Pavillion Agency, Inc. v. Greenhouse Agency Ltd., D2000-1221 (WIPO Dec. 4, 2000) (finding that Respondents’ failure to respond can be construed as an admission that they have no legitimate interest in the domain names).


Respondent is using the <> domain name to divert Internet traffic to <>, a website that describes itself as the world’s best online marketplace. The use of a domain name confusingly similar to a registered trademark with the intent to divert Internet users to an online retail website is neither a bona fide offering of goods or services under Policy ¶ 4(c)(i) nor a legitimate noncommercial or fair use under Policy ¶ 4(c)(iii). See MSNBC Cable, LLC v., D2000-1204 (WIPO Dec. 8, 2000) (finding no rights or legitimate interests in the famous MSNBC mark where Respondent attempted to profit using the Complainant’s mark by redirecting Internet traffic to its own website); see also Kosmea Pty Ltd. v. Krpan, D2000-0948 (WIPO Oct. 3, 2000) (finding no rights in the domain name where Respondent has an intention to divert consumers of Complainant’s products to Respondent’s site by using Complainant’s mark).


Moreover, Respondent has offered the Panel no proof and there is no evidence in the record that indicates that Respondent is commonly known by either WWW-BANK OF AMERICA or  <>. Therefore, Respondent has failed to establish any 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 Medline, Inc. v. Domain Active Pty. Ltd., FA 139718 (Nat. Arb. Forum Feb. 6, 2003) (“Considering the nonsensical nature of the [<>] domain name and its similarity to Complainant’s registered and distinctive [MEDLINE] mark, the Panel concludes that Policy ¶ 4(c)(ii) does not apply to Respondent”).


Accordingly, the Panel finds that Policy ¶ 4(a)(ii) has been established.


Registration and Use in Bad Faith


It can be inferred that Respondent had knowledge of Complainant’s BANK OF AMERICA mark when Respondent registered the <> domain name because the disputed domain name is a misspelling of Complainant’s mark. Registration of a domain name, despite knowledge of Complainant’s rights, is evidence of bad faith registration and use pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(a)(iii). See 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"); see also Samsonite Corp. v. Colony Holding, FA 94313 (Nat. Arb. Forum Apr. 17, 2000) (finding that evidence of bad faith includes actual or constructive knowledge of a commonly known mark at the time of registration).


Respondent’s registration and use of the disputed domain name demonstrates a practice commonly referred to as “typosquatting.” This practice diverts Internet users who misspell Complainant’s mark to a website apparently owned by Respondent for Respondent’s commercial gain. “Typosquatting” has been recognized as evidencing bad faith registration and use under Policy ¶ 4(b)(iv). See Marie Claire Album v. Geoffrey Blakely, D2002-1015 (WIPO Dec. 23, 2002) (holding that the letters "www" are not distinct in the "Internet world" and thus Respondent 's <> domain name is confusingly similar to Complainant's MARIE CLAIRE trademark); see also Bama Rags, Inc. v. Zuccarini, FA 94380 (Nat. Arb. Forum May 8, 2000) (awarding <> and <>, common misspellings of DAVE MATTHEWS BAND to Complainant).


The Panel finds that Complainant has established Policy ¶ 4(a)(iii).



Having established all three elements required under ICANN Policy, the Panel concludes that relief shall be GRANTED.


Accordingly, it is Ordered that the <> domain name be TRANSFERRED from Respondent to Complainant.





John J. Upchurch , Panelist

Dated:  May 19, 2003





Click Here to return to the main Domain Decisions Page.


Click Here to return to our Home Page