ELAN Home Systems, LLC v. domains Ventures
Claim Number: FA0605000720783
Complainant is ELAN Home Systems, LLC (“Complainant”), represented by Steven P. Hollman, of Hogan & Hartson L.L.P., 555 Thirteenth Street, N.W., Washington, DC 20004-1109. Respondent is domains Ventures (“Respondent”), 136 Xiaoxue Road, Xiamen, Fujian CN, II 361001.
REGISTRAR AND DISPUTED DOMAIN NAME
The domain name at issue is <elanhomesystem.com>, registered with Moniker Online Services, Inc.
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.
Tyrus R. Atkinson, Jr., as Panelist.
Complainant submitted a Complaint to the National Arbitration Forum electronically on May 30, 2006; the National Arbitration Forum received a hard copy of the Complaint on May 30, 2006.
On June 6, 2006, Moniker Online Services, Inc. confirmed by e-mail to the National Arbitration Forum that the <elanhomesystem.com> domain name is registered with Moniker Online Services, Inc. and that Respondent is the current registrant of the name. Moniker Online Services, Inc. has verified that Respondent is bound by the Moniker Online Services, Inc. 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 June 8, 2006, a Notification of Complaint and Commencement of Administrative Proceeding (the "Commencement Notification"), setting a deadline of June 28, 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 June 30, 2006, pursuant to Complainant's request to have the dispute decided by a single-member Panel, the National Arbitration Forum appointed Tyrus R. Atkinson, Jr., 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 <elanhomesystem.com> domain name is confusingly similar to Complainant’s ELAN mark.
2. Respondent does not have any rights or legitimate interests in the <elanhomesystem.com> domain name.
3. Respondent registered and used the <elanhomesystem.com> domain name in bad faith.
B. Respondent failed to submit a Response in this proceeding.
Complainant, ELAN Home Systems, LLC, is a company known for its manufacture, promotion, and selling of audio/video and control systems and releated products and services. Complainant holds a registration with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) for its ELAN mark (Reg. No. 2,760,926 issued September 9, 2003) which it has used commercially since at least September 1, 1995. Additionally, Complainant operates a website at the <elanhomesystems.com> domain name.
Respondent registered the <elanhomesystem.com> domain name on January 23, 2004. Respondent’s disputed domain name resolves to a website that displays links which use Complainant’s name and trademarks, but actually resolve to Complainant’s competitors. Additionally, the website that results from the disputed domain name contains confidential dealer information from Complainant’s business.
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.
The Panel finds that Complainant’s federal mark registration with the USPTO sufficiently establishes Complainant’s rights in the ELAN mark. 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).
The Panel finds that Respondent’s <elanhomesystem.com> domain name is confusingly similar to Complainant’s ELAN mark pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(a)(i) as it takes the Complainant’s mark and adds two terms that describe Complainant’s business. See Brown & Bigelow, Inc. v. Rodela, FA 96466 (Nat. Arb. Forum Mar. 5, 2001) (finding that the <hoylecasino.net> domain name is confusingly similar to the complainant’s HOYLE mark, and that the addition of “casino,” a generic word describing the type of business in which the complainant is engaged, does not take the disputed domain name out of the realm of confusing similarity); see also Marriott Int’l, Inc. v. Café au lait, FA 93670, (Nat. Arb. Forum Mar. 13, 2000) (finding that the respondent’s domain name <marriott-hotel.com> is confusingly similar to the complainant’s MARRIOTT mark).
The Panel finds that Policy ¶ 4(a)(i) has been satisfied.
Complainant has alleged that Respondent lacks rights or legitimate interests in the <elanhomesystem.com> domain name. Complainant must first make a prima facie case in support of its allegations, and the burden then shifts to Respondent to show it does have rights or legitimate interests pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(a)(ii). See Do The Hustle, LLC v. Tropic Web, D2000-0624 (WIPO Aug. 21, 2000) (holding that once the complainant asserts that the respondent has no rights or legitimate interests with respect to the domain, the burden shifts to the respondent to provide “concrete evidence that it has rights to or legitimate interests in the domain name at issue”); see also Woolworths plc. v. Anderson, D2000-1113 (WIPO Oct. 10, 2000) (finding that, absent evidence of preparation to use the domain name for a legitimate purpose, the burden of proof lies with the respondent to demonstrate that it has rights or legitimate interests).
Respondent’s failure to answer the Complaint raises a presumption that Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the <elanhomesystem.com> domain name. See Vanguard Group, Inc. v. Collazo, FA 349074 (Nat. Arb. Forum Dec. 1, 2004) (finding that because Respondent failed to submit a Response, “Complainant’s submission has gone unopposed and its arguments undisputed. In the absence of a Response, the Panel accepts as true all reasonable allegations . . . unless clearly contradicted by the evidence.”); see also Branco do Brasil S.A. v. Sync Tech., D2000-0727 (WIPO Sept. 1, 2000) (“By its default, Respondent has not contested the allegation . . . that the Respondent lacks any rights or legitimate interests in the domain name. The Panel thus assumes that there was no other reason for the Respondent having registered <bancodobrasil.com> but the presumably known existence of the Complainant´s mark BANCO DO BRASIL”). However, the Panel will now examine the record to determine if Respondent has rights or legitimate interests under Policy ¶ 4(c).
Complainant asserts that Respondent is not authorized to use Complainant’s ELAN mark, and that Respondent is not associated with Complainant in any way. Moreover, Respondent’s WHOIS information does not suggest that Respondent is commonly known by the disputed domain name. There is also no evidence in the record to suggest that Respondent is or has ever been known by the disputed domain name. Consequently, the Panel finds that Respondent is not commonly known by the disputed domain name under Policy ¶ 4(c)(ii). See Wells Fargo & Co. v. Onlyne Corp. Services11, Inc., FA 198969 (Nat. Arb. Forum Nov. 17, 2003) (“Given the WHOIS contact information for the disputed domain [name], one can infer that Respondent, Onlyne Corporate Services11, is not commonly known by the name ‘welsfargo’ in any derivation.”); see also Compagnie de Saint Gobain v. Com-Union Corp., D2000-0020 (WIPO Mar. 14, 2000) (finding no rights or legitimate interest where the respondent was not commonly known by the mark and never applied for a license or permission from the complainant to use the trademarked name).
Respondent is using the disputed domain name to divert Internet users attempting to locate Complainant’s website, to Respondent’s commercial website, which uses Complainant’s name to display links to direct competitors of Complainant. In Bank of Am. Corp. v. Nw. Free Cmty. Access, FA 180704 (Nat. Arb. Forum Sept. 30, 2003), the panel found that the respondent’s demonstrated intent to divert Internet users seeking the complainant's website to a website of the respondent and for the respondent's benefit was not a bona fide offering of goods or services under Policy ¶ 4(c)(i) or a legitimate noncommercial or fair use under Policy ¶ 4(c)(iii). See Computerized Sec. Sys., Inc. v. Hu, FA 157321 (Nat. Arb. Forum June 23, 2003) (“Respondent’s appropriation of [Complainant’s] SAFLOK mark to market products that compete with Complainant’s goods does not constitute a bona fide offering of goods and services.”). The Panel thus concludes that Respondent’s use of the disputed domain name is neither a bona fide offering of goods or services under Policy ¶ 4(c)(i) nor a legitimate noncommercial or fair use under Policy ¶ 4(c)(iii).
The Panel finds that Policy ¶ 4(a)(ii) has been satisfied.
Complainant has alleged that Respondent acted in bad faith by registering and using the disputed domain name that contains Complainant’s ELAN mark in its entirety. Respondent is using the disputed domain name to divert Internet users to competitors of Complainant by displaying links bearing Complainant’s name that resolve to competing websites. In EBAY, Inc. v. MEOdesigns, D2000-1368 (Dec. 15, 2000), the panel found that the respondent registered and used the domain name <eebay.com> in bad faith where the respondent used the domain name to promote competing auction sites. See S. Exposure v. S. Exposure, Inc., FA 94864 (Nat. Arb. Forum July 18, 2000) (finding the respondent acted in bad faith by attracting Internet users to a website that competes with the complainant’s business). Accordingly, the Panel finds that Respondent’s use of the disputed domain name constitutes disruption and is evidence of bad faith registration and use under Policy ¶ 4(b)(iii).
Based on the uncontested evidence presented by Complainant, the Panel infers that Respondent has registered and used the disputed domain name to receive click-through fees for diverting Internet users to third-party websites. Furthermore, Respondent’s disputed domain name creates a likelihood of confusion as to Complainant’s affiliation with the <elanhomesystem.com> domain name. The Panel finds that Respondent’s use of the disputed domain name for commercial gain is equivalent to bad faith registration and use pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(b)(iv). See Associated Newspapers Ltd. v. Domain Manager, FA 201976 (Nat. Arb. Forum Nov. 19, 2003) (“Respondent's prior use of the <mailonsunday.com> domain name is evidence of bad faith pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(b)(iv) because the domain name provided links to Complainant's competitors and Respondent presumably commercially benefited from the misleading domain name by receiving ‘click-through-fees.’”); see also TM Acquisition Corp. v. Warren, FA 204147 (Nat. Arb. Forum Dec. 8, 2003) (“Although Complainant’s principal website is <century21.com>, many Internet users are likely to use search engines to find Complainant’s website, only to be mislead to Respondent’s website at the <century21realty.biz> domain name, which features links for competing real estate websites. Therefore, it is likely that Internet users seeking Complainant’s website, but who end up at Respondent’s website, will be confused as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation or endorsement of Respondent’s website.”).
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 <elanhomesystem.com> domain name be TRANSFERRED from Respondent to Complainant.
Tyrus R. Atkinson, Jr., Panelist
Dated: July 10. 2006
Click Here to return to the main Domain Decisions Page.
Click Here to return to our Home Page
National Arbitration Forum