State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company v. Moser, Troy
Claim Number: FA1902001829743
Complainant is State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company ("Complainant"), represented by Nathan Vermillion of State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company, Illinois, USA. Respondent is Troy Moser ("Respondent"), Arizona, USA.
REGISTRAR AND DISPUTED DOMAIN NAMES
The domain names at issue are <statefarmstadiumseating.com>, <statefarmstadiumjobs.com>, and <statefarmstadiumtickets.com>, registered with Network Solutions, 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 February 14, 2019; the Forum received payment on February 14, 2019.
On February 15, 2019, Network Solutions, LLC confirmed by email to the Forum that the <statefarmstadiumseating.com>, <statefarmstadiumjobs.com>, and <statefarmstadiumtickets.com> domain names are registered with Network Solutions, LLC and that Respondent is the current registrant of the names. Network Solutions, LLC has verified that Respondent is bound by the Network Solutions, 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 February 18, 2019, the Forum served the Complaint and all Annexes, including a Written Notice of the Complaint, setting a deadline of March 11, 2019 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, email@example.com, and firstname.lastname@example.org. Also on February 18, 2019, 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 parties received no response from Respondent, the Forum transmitted to the a Notification of Respondent Default.
On March 13, 2019, 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 names be transferred from Respondent to Complainant.
Complainant is a nationally known company engaged in the insurance and financial services industries. Complainant began using the STATE FARM mark in 1930, and owns various trademark registrations for STATE FARM and related marks in the United States, Canada, and elsewhere.
Respondent registered the disputed domain names <statefarmstadiumseating.com>, <statefarmstadiumjobs.com>, and <statefarmstadiumtickets.com> on September 4, 2018. The domain names resolve to web pages that consist of what appear to be pay-per-click links. Complainant states that Respondent is not associated with, affiliated with, or sponsored by Complainant; that Complainant has not authorized Respondent to register the disputed domain names or to use Complainant's STATE FARM mark; and that Respondent is not commonly known by the disputed domain names.
Complainant contends on the above grounds that the disputed domain names <statefarmstadiumseating.com>, <statefarmstadiumjobs.com>, and <statefarmstadiumtickets.com> are confusingly similar to its STATE FARM mark; that Respondent lacks rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain names; and that the disputed domain names were registered and are being used in bad faith.
Respondent failed to submit a Response in this proceeding.
The Panel finds that each of the disputed domain names is confusingly similar to a mark in which Complainant has rights; that Respondent lacks rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain names; and that the disputed domain names were registered and are 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 Management, 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.").
Each of the <statefarmstadiumseating.com>, <statefarmstadiumjobs.com>, and <statefarmstadiumtickets.com> domain names incorporate Complainant's registered STATE FARM trademark, omitting the space and adding “stadium” and other generic terms, along with the ".com" top-level domain. These additions do not substantially diminish the similarity between the domain name and Complainant's mark. See, e.g., State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co. v. Dahlcolor c/o Robert Dahl, FA 1233291 (Forum Dec. 23, 2008) (finding <statefarmstadium.com> confusingly similar to STATE FARM); State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co. v. Richard Pierce, FA 94808 (Forum June 6, 2000) (finding <statefarmjobs.com> confusingly similar to STATE FARM). Accordingly, the Panel considers the disputed domain names to be confusingly similar to Complainant's registered mark.
Under the Policy, the Complainant must first make a prima facie case that the Respondent lacks rights and legitimate interests in the disputed domain names, and then the burden shifts to the Respondent to come forward with concrete evidence of such rights or legitimate interests. See Hanna-Barbera Productions, Inc. v. Entertainment Commentaries, FA 741828 (Forum Aug. 18, 2006).
The disputed domain names all incorporate Complainant's registered mark without authorization. Respondent does not appear to have made any active use of the domain names, other than for web pages consisting solely of advertising links (which the Panel infers to be the registrar's default parking pages). Such use does not give rise to rights or legitimate interests for purposes of the Policy. See, e.g., Toronto-Dominion Bank v. Anthony Cinelli, FA 1716316 (Forum Mar. 7, 2017) (finding lack of rights or interests based upon registrar-generated default parking page).
Complainant has made a prima facie case that Respondent lacks rights and legitimate interests in the domain names, 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 names.
Finally, Complainant must show that the disputed domain names were registered and are being used in bad faith. Under paragraph 4(b)(i) of the Policy, bad faith may be shown by evidence that a domain name was acquired "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 [Respondent's] documented out-of-pocket costs directly related to the domain name." 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 three domain names that incorporate Complainant's well-known mark, and their only apparent use is for pages consisting of advertising links, likely generated automatically by the registrar. In the absence of any explanation from Respondent, the Panel considers it reasonable to infer that Respondent registered the domain name intending to use it in a manner calculated to create and exploit confusion with Complainant's mark, most likely either by selling the domain name or by using it to attract Internet users seeking Complainant, and that Respondent is maintaining the domain name for that purpose. See, e.g., State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co. v. ReachLocal Hostmaster, FA 1762154 (Forum Jan. 8, 2018) (finding bad faith under paragraph 4(b)(i) or 4(b)(iv) where domain name incorporating STATE FARM mark resolved to blank page or error message); State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co. v. Tulip Trading Co., FA 1769529 (Forum Feb. 23, 2018) (finding bad faith under paragraph 4(b)(iii) and 4(b)(iv) where domain name incorporating STATE FARM mark was used to display links to third-party websites, including complainant's competitors). The Panel finds on this basis that Respondent registered and is using the disputed domain names 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 <statefarmstadiumseating.com>, <statefarmstadiumjobs.com>, and <statefarmstadiumtickets.com> domain names be TRANSFERRED from Respondent to Complainant.
David E. Sorkin, Panelist
Dated: March 14, 2019
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