Allianz of America Corporation v. Lane Bond d/b/a Allianzcorp
Claim Number: FA0604000690796
Complainant is Allianz of America Corporation (“Complainant”), represented by Rita A. O'Keeffe, of Leonard, Street and Deinard, 150 South Fifth Street, Suite 2300, Minneapolis, MN 55402. Respondent is Lane Bond d/b/a Allianzcorp (“Respondent”), Tverskaya d.1-1, Moscow, Moskovskaya oblast 157333, RU.
REGISTRAR AND DISPUTED DOMAIN NAME
The domain name at issue is <allianzcorp.biz>, registered with Direct Information Pvt Ltd d/b/a Publicdomainregistr.
The undersigned certifies that he or she has acted independently and impartially and to the best of his or her knowledge has no known conflict in serving as Panelist in this proceeding.
James A. Crary as Panelist.
Complainant submitted a Complaint to the National Arbitration Forum electronically on April 25, 2006; the National Arbitration Forum received a hard copy of the Complaint on April 26, 2006.
On April 26, 2006, Direct Information Pvt Ltd d/b/a Publicdomainregistr confirmed by e-mail to the National Arbitration Forum that the <allianzcorp.biz> domain name is registered with Direct Information Pvt Ltd d/b/a Publicdomainregistr and that Respondent is the current registrant of the name. Direct Information Pvt Ltd d/b/a Publicdomainregistr has verified that Respondent is bound by the Direct Information Pvt Ltd d/b/a Publicdomainregistr 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 May 4, 2006, a Notification of Complaint and Commencement of Administrative Proceeding (the "Commencement Notification"), setting a deadline of May 24, 2006 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 email@example.com by e-mail.
Having received no response from Respondent, the National Arbitration Forum transmitted to the parties a Notification of Respondent Default.
On May 30, 2006, pursuant to Complainant's request to have the dispute decided by a single-member Panel, the National Arbitration Forum appointed James A. Crary as Panelist.
Having reviewed the communications records, the Administrative Panel (the "Panel") finds that the National Arbitration 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 National Arbitration 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 <allianzcorp.biz> domain name is confusingly similar to Complainant’s ALLIANZ mark.
2. Respondent does not have any rights or legitimate interests in the <allianzcorp.biz> domain name.
3. Respondent registered and used the <allianzcorp.biz> domain name in bad faith.
B. Respondent failed to submit a Response in this proceeding.
Complainant, Allianz of America Corporation, has continuously used the ALLIANZ mark in connection with insurance and financial services since 1890. Complainant holds numerous trademark registrations for the ALLIANZ mark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) (Reg. No. 2,145,557 issued March 24, 1998; Reg. No. 2,256,628 issued June 29, 1999; Reg. No. 2,391,129 issued October 3, 2000; Reg. No. 2,392,939 issued October 10, 2000).
Respondent registered the <allianzcorp.biz> domain name on January 14, 2006. Respondent’s website at the disputed domain name prominently displays Complainant’s ALILANZ mark and offers Internet users a job as a payment processing manager at Respondent’s company. Respondent’s website also prompts Internet users to enter their personal information, including bank account numbers. Complainant claims that Respondent’s website is allegedly part of an international money laundering scheme aimed at defrauding Internet users of their personal and financial information.
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. 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 (Nat. Arb. 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.”).
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 ALLIANZ mark pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(a)(i), because it has registered the mark with the USPTO. See Innomed Techs., Inc. v. DRP Servs., FA 221171 (Nat. Arb. Forum Feb. 18, 2004) (“Registration of the NASAL-AIRE mark with the USPTO establishes Complainant's rights in the mark.”); see also Koninklijke KPN N.V. v. Telepathy Inc., D2001-0217 (WIPO May 7, 2001) (finding that the Policy does not require that the mark be registered in the country in which the respondent operates; therefore it is sufficient that the complainant can demonstrate a mark in some jurisdiction).
Respondent’s <allianzcorp.biz> domain name is confusingly similar to Complainant’s ALLIANZ mark because it contains the entire registered mark and merely adds the term “corp” and the generic top-level domain (“gTLD”) “.biz.” Neither addition sufficiently differentiates the disputed domain name from Complainant’s mark, and therefore, Respondent’s <allianzcorp.biz> domain name is confusingly similar to the ALLIANZ mark pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(a)(i). See PG&E Corp. v. Anderson, D2000-1264 (WIPO Nov. 22, 2000) (finding that “Respondent does not by adding the common descriptive or generic terms ‘corp’, ‘corporation’ and ‘2000’ following ‘PGE’, create new or different marks in which it has rights or legitimate interests, nor does it alter the underlying [PG&E] mark held by Complainant”); see also L.L. Bean, Inc. v. ShopStarNetwork, FA 95404 (Nat. Arb. Forum Sept. 14, 2000) (finding that combining the generic word “shop” with the complainant’s registered mark “llbean” does not circumvent the complainant’s rights in the mark nor avoid the confusing similarity aspect of the ICANN Policy); see also Busy Body, Inc. v. Fitness Outlet Inc., D2000-0127 (WIPO Apr. 22, 2000) ("[T]he addition of the generic top-level domain (gTLD) name ‘.com’ is . . . without legal significance since use of a gTLD is required of domain name registrants . . . .").
Complainant maintains that Respondent does not have rights to or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. Complainant has the initial burden of proof in establishing that Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the domain name. Once Complainant makes a prima facie case in support of its allegations, the burden then shifts to Respondent to show it does have rights or legitimate interests pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(a)(ii). See Clerical Med. Inv. Group Ltd. v. Clericalmedical.com, D2000-1228 (WIPO Nov. 28, 2000) (finding that, under certain circumstances, the mere assertion by the complainant that the respondent has no right or legitimate interest is sufficient to shift the burden of proof to the respondent to demonstrate that such a right or legitimate interest does exist); see also G.D. Searle v. Martin Mktg., FA 118277 (Nat. Arb. Forum Oct. 1, 2002) (“Because Complainant’s Submission constitutes a prima facie case under the Policy, the burden effectively shifts to Respondent. Respondent’s failure to respond means that Respondent has not presented any circumstances that would promote its rights or legitimate interests in the subject domain name under Policy ¶ 4(a)(ii).”).
Respondent’s failure to answer the Complaint raises a presumption that Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. See Pavillion Agency, Inc. v. Greenhouse Agency Ltd., D2000-1221 (WIPO Dec. 4, 2000) (finding that the respondents’ failure to respond can be construed as an admission that they have no legitimate interest in the domain names); 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 which could demonstrate any rights or legitimate interests in the domain name). However, the Panel will now examine the record to determine if Respondent has rights or legitimate interests under Policy ¶ 4(c).
While the WHOIS information lists the registrant of the <allianzcorp.biz> domain name as “Lane Bond d/b/a Allianzcorp,” there is no other evidence in the record suggesting that Respondent is commonly known by the disputed domain name. Hence, the Panel finds that Respondent has not established rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name under Policy ¶ 4(c)(ii). See Yoga Works, Inc. v. Arpita, FA 155461 (Nat. Arb. Forum June 17, 2003) (finding that the respondent was not “commonly known by” the <shantiyogaworks.com> domain name despite listing its name as “Shanti Yoga Works” in its WHOIS contact information because there was “no affirmative evidence before the Panel that the respondent was ever ‘commonly known by’ the disputed domain name prior to its registration of the disputed domain name”); see also Nature’s Path Foods Inc. v. Natures Path, Inc., FA 237452 (Nat. Arb. Forum Apr. 2, 2004) (“In its WHOIS contact information, Respondent lists its name and its administrative contact as ‘Natures Path, Inc.’ However, since Respondent failed to respond to the Complaint, there has not been any affirmative evidence provided to the Panel showing that Respondent was commonly known by the disputed domain name prior to its registration of the domain name.”).
Furthermore, Respondent is using the <allianzcorp.biz> domain name to engage in a fraudulent phishing scheme. Respondent is operating a website at the disputed domain name that prominently displays Complainant’s ALLIANZ mark and prompts Internet users to apply for a job with Respondent by submitting their personal and financial information. The Panel holds that Respondent’s use of the <allianzcorp.biz> domain name to fraudulently acquire the personal and financial information of Internet users seeking Complainant’s financial services is not a bona fide offering of goods or services pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(c)(i) or a legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the disputed domain name pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(c)(iii). See Capital One Fin. Corp. v. Howel, FA 289304 (Nat. Arb. Forum Aug. 11, 2004) (defining “phishing” as “a practice that is intended to defraud consumers into revealing personal and proprietary information”); see also Juno Online Servs., Inc. v. Nelson, FA 241972 (Nat. Arb. Forum Mar. 29, 2004) (finding that using a domain name in a fraudulent scheme to deceive Internet users into providing their credit card and personal information is not a bona fide offering of goods or services nor a legitimate noncommercial or fair use); see also HOPE worldwide, Ltd. v. Jin, FA 320379 (Nat. Arb. Forum Nov. 11, 2004) (finding that a domain name that “is confusingly similar to Complainant’s mark, redirects Internet users to a website that imitates Complainant’s website, and is used to acquire personal information from Complainant’s potential associates fraudulently” does not fall within the parameters of Policy ¶¶ 4(c)(i) or (iii)).
Respondent has registered and is using the <allianzcorp.biz> domain name in bad faith pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(b)(iv), because Respondent is attempting to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users seeking Complainant’s financial services under the ALLIANZ mark to Respondent’s own website where it encourages Internet users to apply for a job with Respondent. Therefore, Respondent is taking advantage of the confusing similarity between the disputed domain name and Complainant’s mark in order to profit from the goodwill associated with the mark. See G.D. Searle & Co. v. Celebrex Drugstore, FA 123933 (Nat. Arb. Forum Nov. 21, 2002) (finding that the respondent registered and used the domain name in bad faith pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(b)(iv) because the respondent was using the confusingly similar domain name to attract Internet users to its commercial website); see also State Fair of Texas v. Granbury.com, FA 95288 (Nat. Arb. Forum Sept. 12, 2000) (finding bad faith where the respondent registered the domain name <bigtex.net> to infringe on the complainant’s goodwill and attract Internet users to the respondent’s website).
In addition, Respondent has engaged in a fraudulent phishing scheme by registering and using the <allianzcorp.biz> domain name to divert Internet users to its own website that prominently displays Complainant’s ALLIANZ mark and asks for Internet users’ personal and financial information. Respondent’s attempts to fraudulently acquire the personal and financial information of consumers, possibly as part of an international money laundering scheme, provides evidence of bad faith registration and use pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(a)(iii). See Capital One Fin. Corp. v. Howel, FA 289304 (Nat. Arb. Forum Aug. 11, 2004) (finding bad faith registration and use because the respondent used the domain name to redirect Internet users to a website that imitated the complainant’s website and to fraudulently acquire personal information from the complainant’s clients); see also Juno Online Servs., Inc. v. Nelson, FA 241972 (Nat. Arb. Forum Mar. 29, 2004) (“The domain name <billing-juno.com> was registered and used in bad faith by using the name for fraudulent purposes.”).
Having established all three elements required under the ICANN Policy, the Panel concludes that relief shall be GRANTED.
Accordingly, it is Ordered that the <allianzcorp.biz> domain name be TRANSFERRED from Respondent to Complainant.
James A. Crary, Panelist
Dated: June 12, 2006
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