WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
InfoSpace.com, Inc. v. Registrar Administrator Lew Blanck
Case No. D2000-0069
1. The Parties
Complainant is InfoSpace.com, Inc., a Delaware corporation located in Redmond, Washington, USA
Respondent is Registrar Administrator Lew Blanck, an individual located in Reading, Pennsylvania, USA
2. The Domain Name(s) and Registrar(s)
The registrar is Network Solutions, Inc.
3. Procedural History
This action was brought in accordance with the ICANN Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy, dated October 24, 1999 ("the Policy") and the ICANN Rules for Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy, dated October 24, 1999 ("the Rules").
The complaint was filed on February 16, 2000. Notification of the Complaint was sent to Respondent on February 20, 2000, to the addresses provided by Respondent to Network Solutions, Inc. in its application. Notification of Default was similarly sent to Respondent on March 14, 2000. The case file was received by the Panel on March 28, 2000. There has been no response from the Respondent.
The Panel finds that WIPO has discharged its responsibility under Paragraph 2(a) of the Uniform Rules "to employ reasonably available means calculated to achieve actual notice to Respondent." Therefore, the Panel issues its Decision based on the Complaint, the Policy, the Uniform Rules, the WIPO Supplemental Rules, and without the benefit of any Response from Respondent.
4. Factual Background
Complainant is a provider of internet content, such as directory services, maps, classified advertisements, stock quotations, local business information, weather forecasts and horoscopes. Complainant has registered the domain name <infospace.com> and operates a web site at that address. Complainant is also the owner of several U.S. registrations and applications for the INFOSPACE mark, including Reg. No. 2,121,439, dated December 16, 1997, and Reg. No. 2,206,397, dated December 1, 1998. The later registration provides Complainant with nationwide rights as of November 4, 1996, the filing date of the application.
Respondent has a web page at <www.wwwinfospaces.com> that states the site is under construction and offers the domain name registration services of "myinternet.com." It appears that the domain name was registered on December 15, 1999, several years after the effective date of Complainantís registration.
5. Partiesí Contentions
Complainant contends that respondent has registered the <wwwinfospaces.com> domain name for the purpose of trading on Complainantís name and mark. Respondent has provided no response.
6. Discussion and Findings
Under Paragraph 14 of the Rules, when a Respondent defaults, the Panel shall draw such inferences as it considers appropriate and proceed to a decision. Here, the Respondent has defaulted. It is therefore appropriate to accept the allegations of the Complainant as correct and to infer that Respondent is not able to rebut those allegations.
To obtain relief under the ICANN Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy, Paragraph 4(a) of the Policy requires the complainant to prove each of the following:
(1) that 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
(2) that the respondent has no rights or legitimate interest in the domain name; and
(3) the domain name has been registered and used in bad faith.
A. Similarity Between Domain Name and Trademark
In this case, the domain name registered by Respondent is confusingly similar to the registered trademark of Complainant. The addition of www before Complainantís mark and the addition of "s" after the mark are not sufficient to avoid confusion. Indeed, they appear to be additions designed to take advantage of mistakes that consumers are likely to make when intending to enter Complaintís web site address. Therefore, Complainant has satisfied the first element of its claim.
B. Respondentís Legitimate Interest In Domain Names.
Under Paragraph 4(c) of the Policy, evidence of a registrantís rights to and legitimate interest in the domain name includes:
(1) demonstrable preparations to use the domain name in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services prior to the dispute;
(2) an indication that the registrant has been commonly known by the domain name even if it has acquired no trademark rights; or
(3) legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the domain name without intent to divert consumers or to tarnish the trademark.
Here, there is no evidence that Respondent has any right or legitimate interest in the domain name.
C. Bad Faith Registration and Use
Under Paragraph 4(b) of the Policy, evidence of bad faith registration and use includes:
(1) circumstances indicating the domain name was registered for the purpose of resale to the trademark owner or competitor for profit;
(2) a pattern of conduct showing an attempt to prevent others from obtaining a domain name corresponding to their trademarks;
(3) registration of the domain name for the purpose of disrupting the business of competitor; or
(4) "by using the domain name, you have intentionally attempted to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to your web site or other on-line location, by creating a likelihood of confusion with the complainantís mark . . ."
It appears that the domain name "wwwinfospaces.com" was registered and used for the sole purpose of creating a likelihood of confusion with Complainantís mark and web site address to divert potential customers to the business of myinternet.com. The addition of "www" and "s" to Complainantís mark is best explained as a deliberate attempt to exploit userís typographical mistakes when seeking Complainantís web site. Accordingly, we find that Respondentís conduct is contrary to Paragraph 4(b)(4) of the Policy.
We conclude (a) that the domain name <wwwinfospaces.com> is confusingly similar to the trademark INFOSPACE, (b) that Respondent has no rights or legitimate interest in the domain name and (c) that Respondent registered and used the domain name in bad faith. Therefore, pursuant to Paragraphs 4(i) of the Policy and 15 of the Rules, the Panel orders that the domain name <wwwinfospaces.com> be transferred to Complainant.
Mark V. B. Partridge
Date: April 3, 2000