International Trademark Association, Inc. v. roddi dowpharma
Claim Number: FA1712001763382
Complainant is International Trademark Association, Inc. ("Complainant"), represented by Maury M. Tepper of Tepper & Eyster, PLLC, North Carolina, USA. Respondent is roddi dowpharma ("Respondent"), India.
REGISTRAR AND DISPUTED DOMAIN NAME
The domain name at issue is <inta2018.org>, registered with GoDaddy.com, LLC.
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.
David E. Sorkin as Panelist.
Complainant submitted a Complaint to the Forum electronically on December 18, 2017; the Forum received payment on December 18, 2017.
On December 19, 2017, GoDaddy.com, LLC confirmed by email to the Forum that the <inta2018.org> 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 December 20, 2017, the Forum served the Complaint and all Annexes, including a Written Notice of the Complaint, setting a deadline of January 9, 2018 by which Respondent could file a Response to the Complaint, via email to all entities and persons listed on Respondent's registration as technical, administrative, and billing contacts, and to firstname.lastname@example.org. Also on December 20, 2017, 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.
Having received no response from Respondent, the Forum transmitted to the parties a Notification of Respondent Default.
On January 11, 2018, pursuant to Complainant's request to have the dispute decided by a single-member Panel, the Forum appointed David E. Sorkin 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 is a not-for-profit global organization founded in 1878; it has been known as INTA or the International Trademark Association since 1993. Complainant states that it has more than 7,000 member organizations from more than 190 countries. Complainant owns trademark registrations for INTA in many countries, including a U.S. registration for INTA as a standard character mark.
More than 10,000 individuals registered for Complainant's 2017 annual meeting, and Complainant anticipates a similar number of registrants for its 2018 meeting. Registrants are given an opportunity to book hotel rooms at a conference rate when they register for the meeting.
Respondent registered the disputed domain name <inta2018.org> through a privacy registration service in November 2017. The domain name resolves to a web page that prominently states "INTA International Trademark Association 140th Annual Meeting." On the top right-hand corner of the page is a "Housing Request" form inviting users to book hotel rooms near the meeting venue. The page also includes other information about the meeting, and a disclaimer appears at the very bottom of the page. Complainant states that Respondent is not known by the INTA mark and has no affiliation or association with Complainant, and that Complainant has not consented to Respondent's use of the domain name.
Complainant contends on these grounds that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to a mark in which Complainant has rights; that Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name; and that the disputed domain name was registered and is being used in bad faith.
Respondent failed to submit a Response in this proceeding.
The Panel finds that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to a mark in which Complainant has rights; that Respondent lacks rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name; and that the disputed domain name was registered and is being used in bad faith.
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 <inta2018.org> corresponds to Complainant's registered INTA mark, adding only the year 2018 and the ".org" top-level domain. These additions do not substantially distinguish the domain name from Complainant's mark. See, e.g., Coachella Music Festival, LLC v. Md Opu Ahmed, FA 1738306 (Forum July 27, 2017) (finding <coachella2018.net> confusingly similar to COACHELLA); Federation Francaise De Tennis (FFT) v. WhoisGuard Protected, WhoisGuard, Inc. / Md Rubel Hossain, D2017-1045 (WIPO July 27, 2017) (finding <frenchopen2017.org> confusingly similar to FRENCH OPEN). The Panel finds that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to a mark in which Complainant has rights.
Under the Policy, Complainant must first make a prima facie case that Respondent lacks rights and legitimate interests in the disputed domain name, and then the burden shifts to Respondent to come forward with concrete evidence of such rights or legitimate interests. See Hanna-Barbera Prods., Inc. v. Entm't Commentaries, FA 741828 (Forum Aug. 18, 2006).
The disputed domain name incorporates Complainant's registered mark, and it is being used to attract Internet users to a website that appears to be associated with or authorized by Complainant but that markets hotel accommodations in competition with Complainant. Such use does not give rise to rights or legitimate interests. See, e.g., All England Lawn Tennis Club (Championships) Ltd. v. Ticketfinders International LLC, D2016-1445 (WIPO Sept. 2, 2016) (finding lack of rights or legitimate interests in use of <wimbledon2016.net> domain name for website containing information about tennis tournament and promoting the sale of tickets thereto).
Complainant has made a prima facie case that Respondent lacks rights and legitimate interests in the domain name, and Respondent has failed to come forward with any evidence of such rights or interests. Accordingly, the Panel finds that Complainant has sustained its burden of proving that Respondent lacks rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name.
Finally, Complainant must show that the disputed domain name was registered and is being used in bad faith. Under paragraph 4(b)(iii) of the Policy, bad faith may be shown by evidence that Respondent registered the disputed domain name "primarily for the purpose of disrupting the business of a competitor." Under paragraph 4(b)(iv), bad faith may be shown by evidence that "by using the domain name, [Respondent] intentionally attempted to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to [Respondent's] web site or other on-line location, by creating a likelihood of confusion with the complainant's mark as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation, or endorsement of [Respondent's] web site or location or of a product or service on [Respondent's] web site or location."
Respondent registered and is using a domain name that incorporates Complainant's trademark for a website that appears to be associated with or authorized by Complainant, and that solicits hotel bookings in competition with Complainant. This behavior is indicative of bad faith registration and use under paragraphs 4(b)(iii) and 4(b)(iv) of the Policy. See, e.g., Seiko Epson Corp. v. Ravi Singh, FA 1756508 (Forum Dec. 1, 2017) (finding bad faith registration and use where domain name incorporating trademark was used for commercial website promoting directly competing services). Respondent's use of a privacy registration service in an attempt to conceal his or her identity, though not itself dispositive, is a further indication of bad faith. See id. The Panel finds that the disputed domain name was registered and is being used in bad faith.
Having considered the three elements required under the ICANN Policy, the Panel concludes that relief shall be GRANTED.
Accordingly, it is Ordered that the <inta2018.org> domain name be TRANSFERRED from Respondent to Complainant.
David E. Sorkin, Panelist
Dated: January 15, 2018
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