James R. Glidewell Dental Ceramics, Inc. v. JJ Siepierski / LÄªF DENTAL
Claim Number: FA1902001828216
Complainant is James R. Glidewell Dental Ceramics, Inc. (“Complainant”), represented by Charles Fowler, California, USA. Respondent is JJ Siepierski / LÄªF DENTAL (“Respondent”), New York, USA.
REGISTRAR AND DISPUTED DOMAIN NAME
The domain name at issue is <glidewell.dental>, registered with 1API GmbH.
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.
Debrett G. Lyons as Panelist.
Complainant submitted a Complaint to the Forum electronically on February 1, 2019; the Forum received payment on February 1, 2019.
On February 4, 2019, 1API GmbH confirmed by e-mail to the Forum that the <glidewell.dental> domain name is registered with 1API GmbH and that Respondent is the current registrant of the name. 1API GmbH has verified that Respondent is bound by the 1API GmbH 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 February 7, 2019, the Forum served the Complaint and all Annexes, including a Written Notice of the Complaint, setting a deadline of February 27, 2019 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 February 7, 2019, 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 March 1, 2019, pursuant to Complainant's request to have the dispute decided by a single-member Panel, the Forum appointed Debrett G. Lyons 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 asserts trademark rights in GLIDEWELL and alleges that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to its trademark.
Complainant alleges that Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name.
Complainant alleges that Respondent registered and used the disputed domain name in bad faith.
Respondent failed to submit a Response in this proceeding.
The factual findings pertinent to the decision in this case are that:
1. Complainant sells dental laboratory products by reference to the name GLIDEWELL LABORATORIES.
2. the disputed domain name was registered on August 18, 2014 and resolves to a website which links to goods sold in competition with Complainant; and
3. there is no commercial agreement between the parties and Complainant has not authorized Respondent to use its trademark or to register any domain name incorporating its trademark.
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 based on 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.
Paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Policy requires a two-fold enquiry - a threshold investigation into whether a complainant has rights in a trademark, followed by an assessment of whether the disputed domain name is identical or confusingly similar to that trademark.
It is well established by decisions under this Policy that a trademark registered with a national authority is evidence of trademark rights.[i] Complainant does not hold a national trademark registration but paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Policy does not distinguish between registered and unregistered trademark rights and here Complainant asserts unregistered or common law trademark rights in the business name, GLIDEWELL LABORATORIES, by reason of public use of that name since 1970. Further, Complainant asserts that the name GLIDEWELL LABORATORIES has been commonly truncated to GLIDEWELL and claims common law trademark rights in that term.
Common law trademark rights may be established through use and public recognition of a name such that it has come to acquire secondary meaning.[ii] The WIPO Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions, Third Edition (“the WIPO Overview”)[iii], asks at paragraph 1.3: “What does a complainant need to show to successfully assert unregistered or common law trademark rights? ” The consensus viewpoint of panelists includes the following statement:
“Specific evidence supporting assertions of acquired distinctiveness should be included in the complaint; conclusory allegations of unregistered or common law rights, even if undisputed in the particular UDRP case, would not normally suffice to show secondary meaning.
Complainant states that it has traded under the name GLIDEWELL LABORATORIES since 1970 and currently has more than 3000 employees at its Newport Beach, California facilities. Provided with the Complaint are examples of use of the names GLIDEWELL LABORATORIES and GLIDEWELL from the period spanning 1992 to 2014. It is stated that during the period from January 1, 2009 to December 31, 2013 many millions of dollars were spent promoting the Complainant’s goods by way of sales catalogues, emails and mailouts, advertising in magazines and journals, and trade show exhibits. The Panel further notes the Complainant is the owner of over 40 domain names all including the name GLIDEWELL.
Absent challenge from Respondent, the Panel finds that Complainant has done enough to establish common law trademark rights. Since the disputed domain name merely adds that gTLD, “.dental”, to the trademark, the Panel finds the disputed domain name is legally identical to the trademark.
The Complainant has established the first element of the Policy.
Paragraph 4(c) of the Policy states that any of the following circumstances, in particular but without limitation, if found by the Panel to be proved based on its evaluation of all evidence presented, shall demonstrate rights or legitimate interests to a domain name for purposes of paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy:
(i) before any notice to you of the dispute, your use of, or demonstrable preparations to use, the domain name or a name corresponding to the domain name in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services; or
(iii) you are making a legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the domain name, without intent for commercial gain to misleadingly divert consumers or to tarnish the trade mark or service mark at issue.
Complainant need only make out a prima facie case that Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name, after which the onus shifts to Respondent to rebut that case by demonstrating that it has those rights or interests.[iv]
The publicly available WHOIS information identifies the domain name holder as “JJ Siepierski / LÄªF DENTAL” and so there is no prima facie evidence that Respondent might be commonly known by the disputed domain name. There is no evidence that Respondent has any trademark rights. Complainant submits that Respondent has not used the domain name in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services since the domain name resolves to a webpage at <https://evolvedentistry.com> that advertises dental laboratory products such as dental mill and dental implant products which directly compete with Complainant’s business under the trademark. The Panel finds that such use does not constitute a bona fide offering of goods or services.[v]
The Panel finds that Complainant has made a prima facie case that Respondent lacks rights or a legitimate interest in the disputed domain name and that, in the absence of a Response, the onus which then fell to Respondent to show rights or legitimate interest has not been discharged. The Complainant has accordingly satisfied the second element of the Policy.
Complainant must prove on the balance of probabilities both that the disputed domain name was registered in bad faith and used in bad faith. Further guidance is found in paragraph 4(b) of the Policy, which sets out four circumstances, any one of which is taken to be evidence of the registration and use of a domain name in bad faith if established.
The four specified circumstances are:
‘(i) circumstances indicating that the respondent has registered or acquired the domain name primarily for the purpose of selling, renting, or otherwise transferring the domain name registration to the complainant who is the owner of the trademark or service mark or to a competitor of that complainant, for valuable consideration in excess of the respondent’s documented out-of-pocket costs directly related to the domain name; or
(ii) the respondent has registered the domain name in order to prevent the owner of the trademark or service mark from reflecting the mark in a corresponding domain name, provided that respondent has engaged in a pattern of such conduct; or
(iii) the respondent has registered the domain name primarily for the purpose of disrupting the business of a competitor; or
(iv) by using the domain name, respondent has intentionally attempted to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to respondent’s website 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 the respondent’s website or location or of a product or service on the site or location.’
The Panel finds that Respondent’s conduct falls under paragraph 4(b)(iv) above. The Panel has already found the domain name to be identical to the trademark. Confusion is inevitable. The resolving website exists for commercial gain. The Panel finds registration and use in bad faith and so the final element of the Policy has been established.[vi]
Having established all three elements required under the ICANN Policy, the Panel concludes that relief shall be GRANTED.
Accordingly, it is Ordered that the <glidewell.dental> domain name be TRANSFERRED from Respondent to Complainant.
Debrett G. Lyons, Panelist
Dated: March 7, 2019
[i] See, for example, State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co. v. Periasami Malain, FA 705262 (Forum June 19, 2006) (“Complainant’s registrations with the United States Patent and Trademark Office of the trademark, STATE FARM, establishes its rights in the STATE FARM mark pursuant to Policy, paragraph 4(a)(i).”)
[ii] See, for example, Goodwin Procter LLP v. Amritpal Singh, FA 1736062 (Forum July 18, 2017) holding that complainant demonstrated its common law rights in the GOODWIN mark through evidence of “long time continuous use of the mark, significant related advertising expenditures, as well as other evidence of the mark’s having acquired secondary meaning.”; Copper Wire Stripper Limited v. Joe Williams / BLUEDOGINTERNATIONALINC, FA 1604460 (Forum Apr. 4, 2015) finding complainant failed to establish secondary meaning where no evidence was provided with respect to sales under the mark and money spent promoting the mark; CW & Associates Consulting and Recruiting Inc. v. Lynda Pitchford / ITSR, FA 1619758 (Forum June 29, 2015) finding complainant failed to establish common law rights, stating, “Complainant has failed to provide evidence of any sales figures or advertising expenditures or any indication of the extent of use aside from what may be implied from the business name registration and placement of the name(s) on social media. There is no evidence to show that the public is aware of the claimed marks at all, much less a public association of the claimed ETS marks with the Complainant. Mere use of social media alone is not acceptable proof of secondary meaning, a/k/a/ acquired distinctiveness, in the mind of the general public.”
[iii] See <http://www.wipo.int/amc/en/domains/search/overview3.0>
[iv] See, for example, Do The Hustle, LLC v. Tropic Web, D2000‑0624 (WIPO Aug. 21, 2000).
[v] See 24 Hour Fitness USA, Inc. v. 24HourNames.com-Quality Domains For Sale, FA 187429 (Forum Sep. 26, 2003) holding that Respondent’s use of the <24hrsfitness.com>, <24-hourfitness.com> and <24hoursfitness.com> to redirect Internet users to a website featuring advertisements and links to complainant’s competitors could not be considered a bona fide offering of goods or services or a legitimate noncommercial or fair use; see also Glaxo Group Ltd. v. WWW Zban, FA 203164 (Forum Dec. 1, 2003) finding that the respondent was not using the domain name within the parameters of Policy ¶ 4(c)(i) or (iii) because the respondent used the domain name to take advantage of the complainant's mark by diverting Internet users to a competing commercial site.
[vi] See Compaq Info. Techs. Group, L.P. v. Waterlooplein Ltd., FA 109718 (Forum May 29, 2002) finding that use of the <compaq-broker.com> domain name to sell the respondent’s products “creates a likelihood of confusion with Complainant's COMPAQ mark as to the source, sponsorship, or affiliation of the website and constituted bad faith pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(b)(iv)”.
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