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Posts Tagged ‘Trademark’

ASHLEY MADISON Gives Cheaters 101 More Domains

Monday, May 17th, 2010

ashleymadison

If you haven’t heard about Ashley Madison, then you are likely in a committed relationship and would never even consider cheating or you don’t pay much attention to commercials. In the recent cybersquatting case of Avid Dating Life, Inc. v. Private Whois Service FA1318204 (Nat. Arb. Forum May 13, 2010) a single member Panel was faced with a dispute over 101 domains. A full list of the domains is provided in the decision. Complainant is the owner of the well known website www.AshleyMadison.com where people can seek out others who are in committed relationships seeking to have an affair. As their own tag line states “Life is Short. Have an Affair.” No matter what you may think about such a service, it has become wildly popular and boasts nearly 6 million anonymous members. One of the disputed domains was registered in 2005, while all the others were registered in 2008 and 2009. Complainant has federal trademark rights dating back to at least 2004.

Paragraph 4(a) of the ICANN UDRP 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 began its analysis noting that Complainant established rights in its ASHLEY MADISON mark under Policy ¶ 4(a)(i) through its trademark registrations with the USPTO. All of the disputed domain names contained some typographical modification to the registered mark. The Panel found these domains were confusingly similar to the registered mark since they were common misspellings. For this reason, the Panel found that Policy ¶ 4(a)(i) had been satisfied.

The second part of the analysis the Panel noted that Complainant presented a prima facie case, and although Respondent failed to respond, it still chose to review the facts. The Panel found that Respondent was not commonly known by the disputed domains. Evidence presented to the Panel included proof that two of the disputed domains contained links to competing adult dating websites.

The Panel finds that Respondent’s use of the <ashleymadis0on.com> and <ashleymadision.com> domain names to display third-party links to competitors of Complainant is not a use in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(c)(i) or a legitimate noncommercial or fair use pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(c)(iii).

The Complainant noted that the other 99 domains did not resolve to active websites. The Panl found that failure to make active use of the domains meant they were “not connected with a bona fide offering or goods or services pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(c)(i) or a legitimate noncommercial or fair use pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(c)(iii).” And lastly under this section, the Panel found “registration of the disputed domain names containing misspelled versions of Complainant’s mark is further evidence of Respondent’s lack of rights and legitimate interests in the names under Policy ¶ 4(a)(ii).” For all these reasons, Policy ¶ 4(a)(ii) had been satisfied.

Moving to the final element, bad faith, the Panel repeated many of the same facts and applied them in this section as stated earlier. This includes, the third party links, the inactive websites, the typographical variations on the domain names. The Panel also found that “Respondent’s registration of many trademark infringing domain names within a short period of time is evidence of bad faith registration and use under Policy ¶ 4(b)(ii).” For all these reasons, Policy ¶ 4(a)(iii) had been satisfied.

Ultimately, the Panel found that Complainant presented and proved all three elements, and ordered the domains be TRANSFERRED.

CHECKJET Domain Barely Clears the Runway??

Thursday, May 13th, 2010

           checkjet

In an odd, yet interesting recent domain name dispute, a single member Panel essentially punted on making a ruling, since the Respondent consented to the transfer. In Bond Fletcher, Chief Executive Officer c/o Typehaus, Inc. v. Brian Kemmenoe FA1316357 (Nat. Arb. Forum May 12, 2010) the dispute over the domain name www.checkjet.com barely cleared the runway before coming to a short end. Complainant has a federal registration over the mark CHECKJET for “Computer hardware and software for creating, generating and printing checks.” The disputed domain was registered in March 2007, whereas the CHECKJET trademark rights did not accrue until April 2007.
 
The domain was renewed in March 2010, shortly after Complainant put Respondent on notice of possible trademark infringement.  The Respondent replied to the dispute, noting that the domain was registered prior to the creation of any trademark rights. However, the Respondent consented to the transfer and essentially forced the hand of the Panelist. What is odd about this case is the Panelist clearly wanted to explore the facts of the case and render a full ruling.

The Panel notes that the domain name was registered before Complainant acquired any trademark rights and finds that there are no circumstances to indicate that Respondent could have had Complainant or its mark in mind when he registered the domain name in March, 2007. But for Respondent’s consent to the transfer of the domain name to Complainant, this case would have presented an opportunity to consider the careful reasoning in Eastman Sporto Group LLC v. Jim and Kenny, WIPO Case No. D2009-1688, which questions whether it is appropriate to continue to follow early Panel decisions that do not accept renewal as registration for the purposes of the Policy.

One can only wonder what the outcome would have been. It is unclear why this Panelist chose not to go through the factors, as other Panels had done, despite the Respondent’s consent for transfer. Infamous Cybersquatter Texas Property Associates often consents to the transfer, however many Panels choose to go through the full analysis anyway. Regardless, the Panel granted the TRANSFER, but made it clear there were no adverse findings to Respondent.

Two Mattress Companies In Pillow Fight Over Domain

Friday, April 2nd, 2010

   Print

In the recent cybersquatting case of National Bedding Company L.L.C. v. Back To Bed, Inc. (WIPO D2010-0106, March 24, 2010), a single member Panel was faced with a dispute over the domain www.americasmatresses.com. Complainant sells mattresses using the service mark AMERICA’S MATTRESS. It maintains a web site at www.americasmattress.com. Complainant has two registered marks relating to mattresses. The Respondent operates a number of mattress stores, also in the state of Illinois. Respondent failed to respond to the dispute. Respondent maintains a web site at www.backtobed.com. The disputed domain name was first registered in 2004.

Paragraph 4(a) of the ICANN UDRP Policy requires that the complainant prove each of the following three elements to obtain a decision that a domain name should be either cancelled or transferred: (i) The domain name registered by the respondent is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which the complainant has rights; and (ii) The respondent has no rights or legitimate interests with respect to the domain name; and (iii) The domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.

In addressing the first element, the Panel found that “the disputed domain name, which is merely the plural form of the Complainant’s mark, unquestionably is confusingly similar to the mark.”

The Panel next addressed whether Respondent had any rights or legitimate interests in the domain, and recognized that although there was no response by the Respondent, the Panel chose to review the facts.

The Panel is not persuaded from the record of this case that the Respondent registered and has used the disputed domain name based on a good faith belief that the disputed domain name’s value was attributable to its generic or descriptive characteristics. It can scarcely be gainsaid from the record that the Respondent was unaware of the Complainant’s prior use of the AMERICA’S MATTRESS mark, given that the Complainant and the Respondent compete directly with each other in the Chicago, Illinois area and over the Internet. To the contrary, the Panel concludes that the Respondent most likely registered the disputed domain name in order to trade on the initial interest confusion between the domain name and the Complainant’s mark, intending to attract Internet users to the Respondent’s website. This does not constitute use of the disputed domain name in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services within the meaning of paragraph 4(c)(i) of the Policy.

Regarding the final element, the Panel relied on its prior conclusions regarding that Respondent must have known of Complainant due to the geographic proximity. The Panel found that Respondent “intentionally attract[ed] Internet users to its website for commercial gain, by creating a likelihood of confusion with the Complainant’s mark as to source, sponsorship or affiliation.”

Ultimately, the Panel found that Complainant satisfied all three elements, and ordered the domain be TRANSFERRED.

Time Has Run Out for OMEGA Cybersquatter

Monday, March 1st, 2010

          omega

In the recent cybersquatting case of Omega SA v. Domain Admin1302921 (Nat Arb. Forum, February 24, 2010) a single member Panel was faced with a dispute over the domain www.omegawatchstore.com. Omega is the well known watch maker with rights to the mark OMEGA. They maintain a web site at www.omegawatches.com. Respondent registered the disputed domain on March 6, 2009 and failed to respond to the Complaint.

Paragraph 4(a) of the ICANN UDRP 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 addressing the first element, the Panel noted that Complainant established rights to the OMEGA mark pursuant to Policy ¶4(a)(i). The Panel found that the disputed domain merely added the descriptive phrase watch store, creating a confusingly similar domain to that of Complainant’s mark. The Panel found Complainant satisfied this element.

Moving to the second element, the Panel found that OMEGA set forth a prima facie case, but decided to review the evidence anyway. The Panel found that the Whois information for Respondent did not show that it was commonly known by the domain. Additionally, it was determined that the disputed domain sold counterfeit watches, which was not a bona fide offering of goods. The Panel found this element was satisfied by OMEGA as well.

For the last element, bad faith, the Panel explained that the selling of counterfeit goods constituted a disruption of OMEGA’s business. This attempt to redirect consumers for profit was evidence of bad faith.

The Panel found that OMEGA proved all three elements, and ordered the domain be TRANSFERRED.

Hasbro Tells MONOPOLY Cybersquatter “Do Not Pass Go…”

Friday, February 26th, 2010

monopoly     hasbro

In the recent cybersquatting decision of Hasbro, Inc. v. City of Media FA1302591 (Nat. Arb. Forum, February 25, 2010) a single member Panel was faced with a dispute over the domain www.monopolybingo.com. Hasbro is the famous game producer of the Monopoly board game, which has been played by approximately 750 million people worldwide. Habsro maintains to relevant web site, namely www.monopoly.com and www.hasbro.com. The MONOPOLY mark has been used in the U.S. since 1935 and Hasbro has been promoting its online version of the game for a few years. Respondent registered the disputed domain on November 10, 2008.

Paragraph 4(a) of the ICANN UDRP Policy requires that the 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 the Respondent is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which the Complainant has rights; (2) the 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 addressing the first element, the Panel noted Hasbro established rights to the mark MONOPOLY and that the disputed domain merely added the generic word bingo. The Panel found that the domain was confusingly similar to Complainant’s mark.

Moving to the second element, the Panel explained that Respondent is not commonly known by the disputed domain. Additionally, the disputed domain resolved to a wbe site which had third party links and advertisements. The Panel determined that Respondent profited from click through fees generated from these links. Therefore, the use of the site was not a bona fide offering of goods or services and the Panel found Complainant satisfied this element as well.

Finally, the last element, bad faith, the Panel found that some of the third party links displayed the MONOPOLY trademark and some of the links directly competed with the gaming services provided by Hasbro. The Panel believed this domain sought to disrupt Hasbro’s business by redirecting consumers to competitors.
        
For these reasons, the Panel found that Complainant satisfied all the elements and ordered the domain be TRANSFERRED.

JUICY COUTURE Shuts Down Counterfeiter Domain

Thursday, January 14th, 2010

           Juicy-Couture

In the recent cybersquatting case of Juicy Couture, Inc. v. Francisco Gibbs FA1296086 (Nat. Arb. Forum, January 13, 2009) a single member Panel was faced with a dispute over the domain www.JuicyCoutureWholesale.com. Complainant is the well known retailer of men’s, women’s, and children’s apparel, toiletries, paper products, and accessories.  Complainant purchased the JUICY COUTURE mark in 2003 and has continued use of the mark. Complainant maintains a web site at www.juicycouture.com. Respondent registered the disputed domain on November 6, 2009 and failed to respond to the complaint.

Paragraph 4(a) of the ICANN UDRP 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 addressing the first element, the Panel noted that Complainant’s multiple JUICY COUTURE trademark registrations sufficiently established their rights to the mark. The Panel found that the domain incorporated all of the JUICY COUTURE mark and merely added the generic word wholesale. For this reason the Complainant was able to prove the first element.

The Panel moved to the second element, noting that Complainant presented a prima facie case, shifting the burden to Respondent. The Panel found that Respondent was not commonly known by the disputed domain. Additionally, Respondent was found to not have authorization to use the mark. The Panel further explained:

According to Complainant, the <juicycouturewholesale.com> domain name is being used in association with a website that offers counterfeits of Complainant’s products for sale without authorization.  Such use for the purpose of benefiting from the goodwill associated with Complainant’s JUICY COUTURE mark does not constitute a bona fide offering of goods or services under Policy ¶ 4(c)(i).  Furthermore, Respondent’s use of the JUICY COUTURE mark in the domain name to operate a competing website for profit is not a legitimate noncommercial or fair use under Policy ¶ 4(c)(iii). 

For these reasons, Complainant proved the second element. Moving to the final element, the Panel again discussed the presence of the domain offering counterfeit goods. The Panel found this counterfeit use suggests the domain was registered for the purpose of disrupting Complainant’s business and thus was bad faith. Additionally, the offering of counterfeit goods was an attempt to profit by creating a likelihood of confusion. For these reasons, the Panel found this element was proven by Complainant.

Ultimately, the Panel found the Juicy Couture proved all three elements and ordered the domain be TRANSFERRED.

JETPAY Soars Above The Competition With Domain Win

Thursday, January 7th, 2010

jetpay_logo

In the recent cybersquatting action JetPay, LLC v. JetyPayments FA1294887 (Nat. Arb. Forum, January 6, 2010) a single member Panel was faced with a dispute over the domain www.jetypay.com. Complainant offers credit card and check authorization processing services since 2000 and maintains a web site a www.jetpay.com. Complainant holds a trademark registration for the JETPAY mark. Respondent registered the disputed domain in December 2007 and failed to respond to the complaint.

Paragraph 4(a) of the ICANN UDRP 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 addressing the first element, the Panel noted that Complainant established its rights in the JETPAY mark pursuant to the Policy. Additionally, the Panel found that Complainant provided sufficient evidence of common law rights and secondary meaning for the mark dating back to 2000. A comparison of the mark with the disputed domain showed that Respondent merely added the letter “y” in the middle. As a result, the Panel found this to be confusingly similar.

Moving to the second element, the Panel explained that Complainant set forth a prima facie case, shifting the burden to Respondent. Interstingly the Panel found that although Respondent appeared to be commonly known by the disputed domain, it still lacked rights and legitimate interests in the domain. The Panel explained that Respondnet’s use of the domain, namely selling goods or services similar to Complainant’s was not a bona fide offering nor a legitimate noncommerical use. As a result, the Panel noted Complainant satisfied this element.

The last element, bad faith, was also favorable to Complainant. The Panel explained the disputed domain linked internet users to a website offering similar products and services as those of Complainant. This was found to be bad faith under the Policy. Additionally, the use of a confusingly similar domain name to attract users for profit, creates a strong likelihood of confusion, thus also being bad faith.

Ultimately, the Panel found that Complainant satisfied all three elements and ordered the domain be TRANSFERRED.

ALIENWARE Teaches Computer Programmer Lesson About Domains

Wednesday, January 6th, 2010

Alienware-logoalienware-laptop

In the recent domain name dispute decision of Alienware Corporation v. James Dann FA1290045 (Nat. Arb. Forum December 28, 2009) a single member Panel was faced with a dispute over the domain www.alienlaptop.com. Alienware, is the well known line of Desktops and Laptop computers, most often sold to gamers. Alienware is wholly owned by Dell, but operates a web site at www.alienware.com. Respondent registered the disputed domain on April 4, 2008 and provided a response to the dispute. Both parties provided Additional Submission arguments in the case.

Paragraph 4(a) of the ICANN UDRP Policy requires that the 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 the Respondent is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which the Complainant has rights; (2) the 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 addressed the first element, noting that Alienware established rights in the ALIENWARE mark through its trademark registrations. The Panel analyzed the disputed domain and noted that “alien” was the dominant part of Complainant’s mark. The Panel found that the addition of the word laptop was confusingly similar due to its obvious relationship to Alienware’s business.

In Alienware’s additional submission, it cited to another decision, Alienware Corporation v. Optimize My Site, FA0910001290038, (Nat. Arb. Forum December 2, 2009), which found that www.alienlaptops.com was confusingly similar. Respondent objected to this reference alleging that it amended the Complaint in violation of NAF Supp Rule 7(f). The Panel disagreed noting that it did not change the arguments of the case. For these reasons the Panel found that Alienware satisfied the first element.

Moving to the second element, the Panel explained that Alienware made a prima facie case, shifting the burden of proof to Respondent. The Panel found Respondent failed to make active use of the domain and therefore did not make a bona fide offering of goods or services. Respondent argued that he used an email address with the domain name, but the Panel was not convinced that this was sufficient. The Panel dismissed such argument, noting that if use of an email was sufficient, then the UDRP would become easily avoidable.  The Panel was also not convinced by Respondent’s arguments that he purchased several domains as part of an eventual plan to start a software consulting business. The Panel found this to lack proper demonstrable preparations of a bona fide offering. The Panel found Alienware satisfied this element as well.

Moving to the final element, the Panel appeared to hand Respondent it most direct findings.

The Panel agrees with the Complainant that the Respondent knew or ought to know the existence of the Complainant’s Marks. The leader status of the Complainant as a producer of computers designed for gaming and other graphically intense applications under ALIENWARE trademarks and the profession of the Respondent as Software Engineer and Computational Linguist are sufficient arguments to support a finding of the Respondent’s prior knowledge of the Complainant’s Marks.

Additionally, the Panel found that failure to use the site in an active manner was evidence of bad faith. Ultimately, the Panel found Alienware proved all three elements and ordered the domain be TRANSFERRED.

MATTEL Races To Victory With HOT WHEELS Domains

Monday, December 21st, 2009

           hot-wheels-logo

In two recent domain name dispute decisions, Mattel, Inc. v. Bladimir Boyiko (Nat. Arb. Forum, FA1290718, Dec. 16, 2009) and Mattel, Inc. v. Domain c/o VO (Nat. Arb. Forum, FA1289791 Dec. 15, 2009) two separate three member Panels were faced with disputes over www.wwwhotwheels.com and www.hotwheels.org. Mattel is the well known toy company responsible for the HOT WHEELS die cast cars. HOT WHEELS were first sold in the U.S. in 1968. Complainant operates web sites at www.hotwheels.com and www.mattel.com. Both Respondents failed to provide a response to the complaints.

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 the first case referenced above, the Panel recognized Mattel’s HOT WHEELS mark and had  “no difficulty in finding that the Domain Name is confusingly similar” to the mark. Mattel presented a prima facie case, which included an argument that Respondent was not commonly known by the disputed domain. Additionally, as the Panel found, Respondent was using the domain for third party link click through fee generation.  Lastly the Panel noted that the domain was an example of typosquatting. The Panel found that Respondent was involved in other UDRP proceedings and therefore was engaged in a pattern of bad faith.

In the second mentioned case, the Panel also noted that the HOT WHEELS mark was well known throughout the world and that the domain was identical to the disputed domain. The Panel found that Respondent was not commonly known by the disputed domain and that Mattel had presented a prima facie case. Lastly the Panel found that Respondent’s inaccurate or incomplete contact information was evidence of bad faith. Additionally, Respondent’s failure to respond was evidence against.

Ultimately, the Panels found in favor of Mattel and ordered the domains be TRANSFERRED.

Hard Rock Café Wins An Easy Hand In “Poker” Dispute

Wednesday, December 2nd, 2009

       hard_rock_casino_logo

In the recent domain name dispute decision of Hard Rock Cafe International (USA), Inc. v. Ronald Robinson FA1290206 (Nat. Arb. Forum, November 25, 2009), a single member Panel was faced with a dispute over the domain www.hardrockpoker.net. Hard Rock is the well known chain of Hotels, Casinos and Restaurants that are all over the world. They have been in business since 1978 and have trademark rights to the HARD ROCK mark. Hard Rock maintains several website located at www.hardrock.com, www.hardrockhotels.com, and www.hardrockpoker.com. Respondent registered the disputed domain in May 2009 and failed to respond to the disputed domain.

Paragraph 4(a) of the ICANN UDRP 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 addressed the first element, noting that Complainant established rights in the HARD ROCK mark through multiple registrations of the mark. The Panel found that the disputed domain merely added the descriptive word poker, which was not different enough from the mark.

Moving to the second element, the Panel found that Hard Rock presented a prima facie case, shifting the burden to Respondent. Although the Respondent failed to respond to the complaint, the Panel chose to review the record anyway. The Panel found that Respondent was not commonly known by the disputed domain under Policy paragraph 4(c)(ii). Additionally, the Panel noted that the disputed domain resolved top show banner advertisements and links to gaming web sites. For this reasons, the Panel determined this was not a bona fide offering of goods and services under Policy paragraph 4(c)(i).

When discussing the last element, bad faith, the Panel noted that the domain was hosting links to advertisements for gambling web sites. The Panel inferred that Respondent was attempting to disrupt Hard Rock’s business by competing directly. Additionally, it was determined that Respondent was receiving click through fees from the links and profiting from the confusion.

Ultimately, the Panel found that Hard Rock proved all three elements and ordered the domain be TRANSFERRED.

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