Trans Global Tours, LLC v. Yong Li
Claim Number: FA0309000196166
Complainant is Trans Global Tours, LLC, Milwaukee, WI (“Complainant”) represented by Brian G. Gilpin, of Godfrey & Kahn, S.C., 780 North Water Street, Milwaukee, WI 53202 Respondent is Yong Li, PO Box 904, Beijing, China, 100029 (“Respondent”).
REGISTRAR AND DISPUTED DOMAIN NAME
The domain name at issue is <transglobalvacations.com>, registered with iHoldings.com, Inc. d/b/a Dotregistrar.com.
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.
James A. Carmody, Esq., as Panelist.
Complainant submitted a Complaint to the National Arbitration Forum (the "Forum") electronically on September 18, 2003; the Forum received a hard copy of the Complaint on September 18, 2003.
On Sepember 22, 2003, iHoldings.com, Inc. d/b/a Dotregistrar.com confirmed by e-mail to the Forum that the domain name <transglobalvacations.com> is registered with iHoldings.com, Inc. d/b/a Dotregistrar.com and that Respondent is the current registrant of the name. iHoldings.com, Inc. d/b/a Dotregistrar.com has verified that Respondent is bound by the iHoldings.com, Inc. d/b/a Dotregistrar.com registration agreement and has thereby agreed to resolve domain-name disputes brought by third parties in accordance with ICANN's Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (the "Policy").
On September 22, 2003, a Notification of Complaint and Commencement of Administrative Proceeding (the "Commencement Notification"), setting a deadline of October 13, 2003 by which Respondent could file a Response to the Complaint, was transmitted to Respondent via e-mail, post and fax, to all entities and persons listed on Respondent's registration as technical, administrative and billing contacts, and to firstname.lastname@example.org by e-mail.
Having received no Response from Respondent, using the same contact details and methods as were used for the Commencement Notification, the Forum transmitted to the parties a Notification of Respondent Default.
On October 20, 2003, pursuant to Complainant's request to have the dispute decided by a single-member Panel, the Forum appointed James A. Carmody, Esq., 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." 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.
A. Complainant makes the following assertions:
1. Respondent’s <transglobalvacations.com> domain name is confusingly similar to Complainant’s TRANS GLOBAL VACATIONS mark.
2. Respondent does not have any rights or legitimate interests in the <transglobalvacations.com> domain name.
3. Respondent registered and used the <transglobalvacations.com> domain name in bad faith.
B. Respondent failed to submit a Response in this proceeding.
Complainant holds a trademark registration with the United States Patent and Trademark Office for the TRANS GLOBAL VACATIONS mark (Reg. No. 2,305,504, registered on February 26, 2002) related to travel services for individuals, companies, and families. Complainant operates a website located at the <tgvacations.com> domain name.
Respondent registered the <transglobalvacations.com> domain name on July 28, 2002. Respondent is using the disputed domain name to redirect Internet users to <usseek.com>, an Internet search engine with pop-up advertisements.
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."
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(e), 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) 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.
Complainant has established rights in the TRANS GLOBAL VACATIONS mark through registration with the USPTO and continuous use of the mark since at least 2000.
Respondent’s <transglobalvacations.com> domain name is identical to Complainant’s TRANS GLOBAL VACATIONS mark because it incorporates Complainant’s entire mark and merely omits the spaces between the words. A lack of a space in a domain name does not substantially distinguish it from a mark spelled similarily. See Croatia Airlines v. Kwen Kijong, AF-0302 (eResolution Sept. 25, 2000) (finding that the domain name <croatiaairlines.com> is identical to Complainant's CROATIA AIRLINES trademark); see also Wembley Nat’l Stadium Ltd. v. Thomson, D2000-1233 (WIPO Nov. 16, 2000) (finding that the domain name <wembleystadium.net> is identical to the WEMBLEY STADIUM mark). Thus, the <transglobalvacations.com> domain name does not overcome a Policy ¶ 4(a)(i) analysis.
Accordingly, the Panel finds that Policy ¶ 4(a)(i) has been satisfied.
Moreover, Respondent has failed to invoke any circumstances that could demonstrate rights and legitimate interests in the domain name. When Complainant asserts a prima facie case against Respondent, the burden shifts to Respondent to show that it has rights or legitimate interests pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(a)(ii). See Do The Hustle, LLC v. Tropic Web, D2000-0624 (WIPO Aug. 21, 2000) (finding that once Complainant asserts that Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests with respect to the domain, the burden shifts to Respondent to provide credible evidence that substantiates its claim of rights and legitimate interests in the domain name); see also Parfums Christian Dior v. QTR Corp., D2000-0023 (WIPO Mar. 9, 2000) (finding that by not submitting a response, the Respondent has failed to invoke any circumstance that could demonstrate any rights or legitimate interests in the domain name).
Respondent is using the disputed domain name to divert Internet users to an Internet search engine with pop-up advertisements. This type of use is not a use in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(c)(i), nor a legitimate noncommercial or fair use pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(c)(iii). See Pioneer Hi-Bred Int’l Inc. v. Chan, FA 154119 (Nat. Arb. Forum May 12, 2003) (finding that Respondent did not have rights or legitimate interests in a domain name that used Complainant’s mark and redirected Internet users to website that pays domain name registrants for referring those users to its search engine and pop-up advertisements); see also Big Dog Holdings, Inc. v. Day, FA 93554 (Nat. Arb. Forum Mar. 9, 2000) (finding no legitimate use when Respondent was diverting consumers to its own website by using Complainant’s trademarks).
Respondent has not come forward with any evidence to establish that it is commonly known as TRANS GLOBAL VACATIONS or <transglobalvacations.com>. As a result, the Panel infers that Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(c)(ii). See Gallup Inc. v. Amish Country Store, FA 96209 (Nat. Arb. Forum Jan. 23, 2001) (finding that Respondent does not have rights in a domain name when Respondent is not known by the mark); see also Victoria’s Secret v. Asdak, FA 96542 (Nat. Arb. Forum Feb. 28, 2001) (finding sufficient proof that Respondent was not commonly known by a domain name confusingly similar to Complainant’s VICTORIA’S SECRET mark because of Complainant’s well-established use of the mark).
Accordingly, the Panel finds that Policy ¶ 4(a)(ii) has been satisfied.
Respondent is using the disputed domain name to divert Internet users to <usseek.com>, an Internet search engine. The Panel infers that Respondent is making a profit from the Internet traffic that is diverted to this website. Respondent is therefore using a domain name identical to Complainant’s mark to create Internet user confusion for its own commercial benefit, which is evidence of bad faith registration and use pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(b)(iv). See Kmart v. Khan, FA 127708 (Nat. Arb. Forum Nov. 22, 2002) (finding that if Respondent profits from its diversionary use of Complainant's mark when the domain name resolves to commercial websites and Respondent fails to contest the Complaint, it may be concluded that Respondent is using the domain name in bad faith pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(b)(iv)); see also Bank of America Corp. v. Out Island Props., Inc., FA 154531 (Nat. Arb. Forum June 3, 2003) (stating that “[s]ince the disputed domain names contain entire versions of Complainant’s marks and are used for something completely unrelated to their descriptive quality, a consumer searching for Complainant would become confused as to Complainant’s affiliation with the resulting search engine website” in holding that the domain names were registered and used in bad faith pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(b)(iv)).
Furthermore, Complainant’s TRANS GLOBAL VACATIONS mark is distinctive. See Janus Int’l Holding Co. v. Rademacher, D2002-0201 (WIPO Mar. 5, 2002) (finding that Panel decisions have held that registration of a mark is prima facie evidence of validity, which creates a rebuttable presumption that the mark is inherently distinctive. Respondent has the burden of refuting this assumption). Registration of a domain name identical to Complainant’s mark, despite actual knowledge of Complainant’s rights, is evidence of bad faith registration pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(a)(iii). See Digi Int’l v. DDI Sys., FA 124506 (Nat. Arb. Forum Oct. 24, 2002) (holding that “there is a legal presumption of bad faith, when Respondent reasonably should have been aware of Complainant’s trademarks, actually or constructively”); see also Samsonite Corp. v. Colony Holding, FA 94313 (Nat. Arb. Forum Apr. 17, 2000) (finding that evidence of bad faith includes actual or constructive knowledge of a commonly known mark at the time of registration).
Thus, the Panel finds that Policy ¶ 4(a)(iii) has been satisfied.
Having established all three elements required under the ICANN Policy, the Panel concludes that relief shall be GRANTED.
Accordingly, it is Ordered that the <transglobalvacations.com> domain name be TRANSFERRED from Respondent to Complainant.
James A. Carmody, Esq., Panelist
Dated: November 1, 2003
Click Here to return to the main Domain Decisions Page.
Click Here to return to our Home Page