World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. v. IU OR
Claim Number: FA1611001701122
Complainant is World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. (“Complainant”), represented by Matthew C. Winterroth of World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc., Connecticut, USA. Respondent is IU OR (“Respondent”), Belgium.
REGISTRAR AND DISPUTED DOMAIN NAME
The domain name at issue is <wwe.promo>, registered with GoDaddy.com, LLC.
The undersigned certifies that he or she has acted independently and impartially and to the best of his or her knowledge has no known conflict in serving as Panelist in this proceeding.
Richard Hill as Panelist.
Complainant submitted a Complaint to the Forum electronically on November 2, 2016; the Forum received payment on November 2, 2016.
On November 3, 2016, GoDaddy.com, LLC confirmed by e-mail to the Forum that the <wwe.promo> domain name is registered with GoDaddy.com, LLC and that Respondent is the current registrant of the name. GoDaddy.com, LLC has verified that Respondent is bound by the GoDaddy.com, LLC registration agreement and has thereby agreed to resolve domain disputes brought by third parties in accordance with ICANN’s Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (the “Policy”).
On November 4, 2016, the Forum served the Complaint and all Annexes, including a Written Notice of the Complaint, setting a deadline of November 25, 2016 by which Respondent could file a Response to the Complaint, via e-mail to all entities and persons listed on Respondent’s registration as technical, administrative, and billing contacts, and to email@example.com. Also on November 4, 2016, the Written Notice of the Complaint, notifying Respondent of the e-mail 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.
Respondent did not submit a Response. However, Respondent sent E-Mails to the Forum on November 5 and 8, 2016, see below.
Having received no formal response from Respondent, the Forum transmitted to the parties a Notification of Respondent Default.
On November 19, 2016, pursuant to Complainant's request to have the dispute decided by a single-member Panel, the Forum appointed Richard Hill 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" through submission of Electronic and Written Notices, as defined in Rule 1 and Rule 2. 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.
Complainant states that it is an integrated media organization, a recognized leader in global entertainment, and a publicly traded company (NYSE: WWE) with a market capitalization of approximately USD$1.33 billion as of November 2016. Complainant began as the Capitol Wrestling Corporation in 1952, which promoted itself under the banner of the World Wide Wrestling Federation and later the World Wrestling Federation. In 1982 it was sold to Titan Sports company, which later changed its name to World Wrestling Federation Entertainment, and then to World Wrestling Entertainment in 2002. On April 7, 2011, to better reflect its global entertainment offerings, Complainant announced a new business model for future growth, including formally rebranding itself WWE. The mark WWE was registered in the United States in 2003. Complainant has spent many years and hundreds of millions of dollars to globally promote its goods and services under its WWE Marks. Complainant’s portfolio of businesses create and deliver original content 52 weeks a year to a global audience. It is committed to family-friendly content across all of its platforms including television programming, pay-per-view, digital media and publishing. Complainant’s programming is broadcast in more than 145 countries in 30 languages, and reaches more than 500 million homes worldwide. Complainant is a global brand, headquartered in Stamford CT, USA, with offices in New York, Los Angeles, London, Istanbul, Tokyo, Shanghai, Singapore and also in Mumbai, India. Complainant’s mark is famous.
According to Complainant, the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to the WWE mark because it contains the mark along with the generic top-level domain (“gTLD”) “.promo.”
Complainant alleges that Respondent is not commonly known by the disputed domain name as it has no permission to use the WWE mark and no association with Complainant. Respondent offered to sell the disputed domain name domain directly to Complainant via e-mail for US $900,000, an amount far in excess of the domain name’s fair market value. Respondent fails to provide a bona fide offering of goods or services or a legitimate noncommercial or fair use because the resolving website contains pay-per-click advertising including content identical to the legitimate content offered by Complainant.
Further, says Complainant, Respondent registered the disputed domain name in bad faith because it did so for the purpose of selling the domain name for profit and with actual or constructive knowledge of Complainant’s rights in the WWE mark. Respondent uses the disputed domain name in bad faith because the resolving website is an inactive website with no content.
Respondent failed to submit a formal Response in this proceeding. In its E-Mails to the Forum Respondent states, verbatim: “My domain is no working Properly and what is disputes issue .I want to use this domain for fair use who is WWE Company I don't know .But i do know i bought wwe.promo .Its my domain it no one can take this from me. How to file law suit again WWE and Godaddy and Suggestion”; and “First i want to tell you that i have no bad faith for this domain. For Diverting your traffic or anything .I always registered domain not posting my own name and details about me because i don't want to pay for privacy it cost 15$ something. That's why i hide all details about me because you know about haters. Now I read that all Complaint … What should i need to do to save my domain or sell you for a reasonable price. Take this domain how much you will pay me If any. Or what will happened to domain i don't know.”
Complainant owns rights in the mark WWE dating back to 2003.
The disputed domain name was registered in 2016.
Complainant has not licensed or otherwise authorized Respondent to use its mark.
Respondent offered to sell the disputed domain name for a price in excess of out of pocket costs.
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."
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.
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(f), 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 (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.”).
The disputed domain name is identical to Complainant’s WWE mark because it contains the mark along with the gTLD “.promo.” See Chex Systems, Inc. v. Mark Heinrich, FA 1578916 (Forum Oct. 8, 2014) (finding that “Respondent clearly took advantage of the “.systems” new top-level domain to make a domain name that is effectively identical to the trademark.”); see also World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. v. emad ibrahim / this domain is for sale, FA 1579757 (Nat. Arb. Forum Oct. 13, 2014) (finding confusing similarity where the <wwe.org> domain name in dispute contains the identical WWE mark of the complainant, with the gTLD a functional element of the domain name under a confusing similarity analysis); see also Trip Network Inc. v. Alviera, FA 914943 (Forum Mar. 27, 2007) (concluding that the affixation of a gTLD to a domain name is irrelevant to a Policy ¶ 4(a)(i) analysis).
Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name as Respondent been not been authorized by Complainant to use the WWE mark, nor is Respondent commonly known by the disputed domain name: the WHOIS information of record identifies Respondent as “IU OR.” WHOIS information can support a finding that the respondent is not commonly known by the disputed domain name. See State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company v. Dale Anderson, FA1504001613011 (Forum May 21, 2015) (concluding that because the WHOIS record lists “Dale Anderson” as the registrant of the disputed domain name, the respondent was not commonly known by the <statefarmforum.com> domain name pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(c)(ii)); see also Navistar International Corporation v. N Rahmany, FA1505001620789 (Forum June 8, 2015) (finding that the respondent was not commonly known by the disputed domain name where the complainant had never authorized the respondent to incorporate its NAVISTAR mark in any domain name registration). The Panel therefore finds under Policy ¶ 4(c)(ii) that Respondent has not been commonly known by the disputed domain name.
Complainant alleges that Respondent fails to use the disputed domain name to provide a bona fide offering of goods or services or a legitimate noncommercial or fair use because the resolving website contains pay-per-click advertising including content identical to the legitimate content offered by Complainant. Complainant has not provided screenshots to substantiate this argument. An unsupported assertion is not sufficient to establish a violation of the Policy. Thus the Panel does not consider this argument to be relevant.
Complainant provides evidence showing that Respondent contacted Complainant and offered to sell the disputed domain name for $900,000 and threatened to sell the domain name to a third party if Complainant would not pay. As discussed below, this constitutes bad faith use of the disputed domain name.
Legitimate rights or bona fide use do not exist when there is deliberate infringement of another’s rights. See The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc. and PNC Bank, N.A. v. Azra Khan, D2002‑0701 (WIPO, Sept. 6, 2002). Accordingly, the Panel finds that Respondent does not have rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name.
Respondent (who did not formally reply to Complainant’s contentions) has not presented any plausible explanation for its use of Complainant’s mark. Respondent limits its informal reply to a bald assertion, not supported by any evidence or arguments, denying bad faith use. The Panel is not persuaded by Respondent’s unsupported assertion. In accordance with paragraph 14(b) of the Rules, the Panel shall draw such inferences from Respondent’s failure to reply as it considers appropriate. Accordingly, the Panel finds that Respondent did not have a legitimate use in mind when registering the disputed domain name.
Indeed, as noted above, Respondent used the disputed domain name in bad faith because it offered to sell it for $900,000 and threatened to sell the domain name to a third party if Complainant would not pay. This constitutes bad faith registration and use according to Policy ¶ 4(b)(i). See Citigroup Inc. v. Kevin Goodman, FA1506001623939 (Forum July 11, 2015) (holding that the evidence showed that the respondent registered the disputed domain name primarily for the purpose of transferring it for a profit and demonstrates the respondent’s bad faith registration and use of the disputed domain name pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(b)(i).); see also World Wrestling Federation Entertainment, Inc. v. Michael Bosman, D1999-0001 (WIPO, Jan. 14, 2000) (“Because respondent offered to sell the domain name to complainant “for valuable consideration in excess of” any out-of-pocket costs directly related to the domain name, respondent has “used” the domain name in bad faith as defined in the Policy.”). Thus the Panel finds that Respondent registered and used the disputed domain name in bad faith pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(b)(iii).
Having established all three elements required under the ICANN Policy, the Panel concludes that relief shall be GRANTED.
Accordingly, it is Ordered that the <wwe.promo> domain name be TRANSFERRED from Respondent to Complainant.
Richard Hill, Panelist
Dated: November 30, 2016
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