block.one v. Negalize Interactive Things
Claim Number: FA1807001798280
Complainant is block.one (“Complainant”), represented by Sarah E. Bro of McDermott Will & Emery LLP, California, USA. Respondent is Negalize Interactive Things (“Respondent”), Brazil.
REGISTRAR AND DISPUTED DOMAIN NAME
The domain name at issue is <blck.one>, registered with NameCheap, 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.
Bruce E. Meyerson as Panelist.
Complainant submitted a Complaint to the Forum electronically on July 24, 2018; the Forum received payment on July 24, 2018.
On July 24, 2018, NameCheap, Inc. confirmed by e-mail to the Forum that the <blck.one> domain name is registered with NameCheap, Inc. and that Respondent is the current registrant of the name. NameCheap, Inc. has verified that Respondent is bound by the NameCheap, Inc. 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 July 26, 2018, the Forum served the Complaint and all Annexes, including a Written Notice of the Complaint, setting a deadline of August 15, 2018 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Also on July 26, 2018, 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.
Having received no response from Respondent, the Forum transmitted to the parties a Notification of Respondent Default.
On August 17, pursuant to Complainant's request to have the dispute decided by a single-member Panel, the Forum appointed Bruce E. Meyerson 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.
1. Complainant has common law rights in the BLOCK.ONE mark. Respondent’s <blck.one>[i] domain name is confusingly similar to Complainant’s mark as it wholly includes Complainant’s mark, removing the letter “o” and turning the ONE portion into a generic top-level-domain (“gTLD”).
2. Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the <blck.one> domain name. Respondent is not commonly known by the domain name, nor has Complainant authorized, licensed, or otherwise permitted Respondent to use the mark.
3. Respondent also does not use the domain name in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services or legitimate noncommercial or fair use. Rather, Respondent passes off as Complainant and promotes a list of affiliated businesses that compete with Complainant’s business.
4. Respondent is also engaged in typosquatting.
5. Respondent registered and uses the <blck.one> domain name in bad faith. Respondent has offered to sell the domain name to Complainant for an amount in excess of the out-of-pocket costs of registration.
6. Respondent disrupts Complainant’s business and intentionally attracts, for commercial gain, Internet users who mistakenly believe Respondent is Complainant.
Respondent failed to submit a Response in this proceeding.
Complainant holds common law rights for the BLOCK.ONE mark. Respondent’s domain name is confusingly similar to Complainant’s BLOCK.ONE mark. Complainant has established that Respondent lacks rights or legitimate interests in the use of the <blck.one> domain name and that Respondent registered and uses the domain name 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.”).
Complainant has common law rights in the BLOCK.ONE mark. Registration of a mark with the USPTO is unnecessary where a complainant can demonstrate common law rights in the mark. See Microsoft Corporation v. Story Remix / Inofficial, FA 1734934 (Forum July 10, 2017) (“The Policy does not require a complainant to own a registered trademark prior to a respondent’s registration if it can demonstrate established common law rights in the mark.”). Common law rights in a mark can be demonstrated by the secondary meaning in a mark through such evidence as continuous use, ownership of an identical domain name, advertising, media and consumer recognition, and more. See Marquette Golf Club v. Al Perkins, 1738263 (Forum July, 27, 2017) (finding that Complainant had established its common law rights in the MARQUETTE GOLF CLUB mark with evidence of secondary meaning, including “longstanding use; evidence of holding an identical domain name; media recognition; and promotional material/advertising.”). Since August 2016 Complainant has used the BLOCK.ONE mark in interstate commerce in connection with goods and services related to blockchain-based technologies, consulting, and software development; further, Complainant has owned the <block.one> domain name since August 2016. Because Respondent does not dispute Complainant’s assertion of common law rights in the BLOCK.ONE mark, the Panel accepts Complainant’s assertion that the BLOCK.ONE mark has acquired secondary meaning, thus creating common law rights pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(a)(i).
Next, Complainant argues that Respondent’s <blck.one> domain name is confusingly similar to Complainant’s mark as it wholly includes Complainant’s mark, removing the letter “o” and turning the ONE portion into a gTLD. Similar changes in a registered mark have failed to sufficiently distinguish a domain name for the purposes of Policy ¶4(a)(i). See Twitch Interactive, Inc. v. zhang qin, FA 1626511 (Forum Aug. 4, 2015) (“The relevant comparison then resolves to the trademark, TWITCH, with the term, ‘titch,’ which, as can be readily seen, merely removes the letter ‘w’ from the trademark. In spite of that omission the compared integers remain visually and aurally very similar and so Panel finds them to be confusingly similar for the purposes of the Policy.”); see also Dell Inc. v. Protection of Private Person / Privacy Protection, FA 1681432 (Forum Aug. 1, 2016) (“A TLD (whether a gTLD, sTLD or ccTLD) is disregarded under a Policy ¶ 4(a)(i) analysis because domain name syntax requires TLDs.”). The Panel therefore finds that the <blck.one> domain name is confusingly similar to the BLOCK.ONE mark under Policy ¶4(a)(i).
The Panel finds Complainant has satisfied Policy ¶ 4(a)(i).
Complainant alleges that Respondent holds no rights or legitimate interests in the <blck.one> domain name. This allegation must be supported with a prima facie showing by Complainant under Policy ¶ 4(a)(ii). After a complainant successfully makes a prima facie case, a respondent is faced with the burden of proving it does have rights or legitimate interests in the domain name. In Swedish Match UK Ltd. v. Admin, Domain, FA 873137 (Forum Feb. 13, 2007), the panel held that when a complainant produces a prima facie case, the burden of proof then shifts to the respondent to demonstrate its rights or legitimate interests in the domain name under Policy ¶ 4(c); see also Compagnie Generale des Matieres Nucleaires v. Greenpeace Int’l, D2001-0376 (WIPO May 14, 2001) (“For the purposes of this sub paragraph, however, it is sufficient for the Complainant to show a prima facie case and the burden of proof is then shifted on to the shoulders of Respondent. In those circumstances, the common approach is for respondents to seek to bring themselves within one of the examples of paragraph 4(c) or put forward some other reason why they can fairly be said to have a relevant right or legitimate interests in respect of the domain name in question.”). The Panel holds that Complainant has made a prima facie case.
Complainant contends that Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the <blck.one> domain name. Where a response is lacking, relevant information includes the WHOIS and any other assertions by a complainant regarding the nature of its relationship with a respondent. See Amazon Technologies, Inc. v. Suzen Khan / Nancy Jain / Andrew Stanzy, FA 1741129 (Forum Aug. 16, 2017) (finding that respondent had no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain names when the identifying information provided by WHOIS was unrelated to the domain names or respondent’s use of the same). The WHOIS information as provided by the Registrar identifies “Negalize Interactive Things” as the registrant. There is no evidence in the record to show that Respondent has ever been legitimately known by the BLOCK.ONE mark. See 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). Complainant alleges, without contradiction, that Respondent has never been legitimately affiliated with Complainant, has never been known by the <blck.one> domain name prior to its registration, and Complainant has not given Respondent permission to use the <blck.one> domain name. Accordingly, the Panel holds that Respondent is not commonly known by the <blck.one> domain name under Policy ¶ 4(c)(ii).
Next, Complainant asserts Respondent fails to use the <blck.one> domain name in connection with a bona fide offer of goods and services or for a noncommercial or otherwise fair use. Instead, the record shows that Respondent passes off as Complainant and provides a list and links to Complainant’s competitors for Respondent’s presumed commercial gain. Such use is not considered a bona fide offer per Policy ¶ 4(c)(i) or a noncommercial or otherwise fair use per Policy ¶ 4(c)(iii). See H-D U.S.A., LLC v. Yoshihiro Nakazawa, FA 1736477 (Forum July 21, 2017) (“A complainant can use assertions of passing off and offering competing goods or services to evince a lack of a bona fide offering of goods or services or a legitimate noncommercial or fair use.”). Complainant provides screenshot evidence of the links to Complainant’s competitors present on the resolving webpage for the <blck.one> domain. The Panel agrees with Complainant and holds that Respondent lacks rights and legitimate interests in the <blck.one> domain name.
The Panel finds Complainant has satisfied Policy ¶ 4(a)(ii).
Complainant has provided evidence that Respondent offered to sell the <blck.one> domain name to Complainant. The Panel considers this proof of bad faith registration per Policy ¶ 4(b)(i). See George Weston Bakeries Inc. v. McBroom, FA 933276 (Forum Apr. 25, 2007) (concluding that the respondent registered and was using the <gwbakeries.mobi> domain name in bad faith according to Policy ¶ 4(b)(i) where it offered it for sale for far more than its estimated out-of-pocket costs it incurred in initially registering the disputed domain name).
Next, Complainant claims that Respondent registered and uses the <blck.one> domain name in bad faith because the resolving webpage displays links to Complainant’s competitors. Offering links to competing products or services can demonstrate bad faith under Policy ¶ 4(b)(iii) where a respondent registers a domain name that is confusingly similar to the mark of another. See Health Republic Insurance Company v. Above.com Legal, FA1506001622088 (Forum July 10, 2015) (“The use of a domain name’s resolving website to host links to competitors of a complainant shows intent to disrupt that complainant’s business, thereby showing bad faith in use and registration under Policy ¶ 4(b)(iii).”). Complainant provides screenshot evidence of Respondent’s links to competitors of Complainant present on the resolving website for the <blck.one> domain name. Consequently, the Panel holds that Respondent’s disruption of Complainant’s business shows bad faith by Respondent according to Policy ¶ 4(b)(iii).
The Panel finds Complainant has satisfied Policy ¶ 4(a)(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 <blck.one> domain name be TRANSFERRED from Respondent to Complainant.
Bruce E. Meyerson, Panelist
Dated: August 21, 2018
[i]Respondent registered the <blck.one> domain name on December 6, 2017.
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