WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Alaska Airlines, Inc. v. Alf Temme
Case No. D2000-0080
1. The Parties
Complainant Alaska Airlines, Inc. ("Alaska Airlines") is an Alaska corporation, with its principal place of business located at 19300 Pacific Highway South, P.O. Box 68900, Seattle, Washington, 98188 USA.
Respondent is Alf Temme ("Temme"), with his principal residence located at 1500 Calvert Street, Van Nuys, California 91411 USA.
2. The Domain Name(s) and Registrar(s)
The domain name at issue is <alaskaairlines.org>. The registrar is Network Solutions, Inc. (the "Registrar") 505 Huntmar Park Drive, Herndon, Virginia 20170-5139 USA.
3. Procedural History
The WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the "Center") received the Complaint of Complainant on February 18, 2000 by email and on February 22, 2000 in hardcopy. The Complainant paid the required fee.
On February 22, 2000, the Center sent an Acknowledgement of Receipt of the Complaint to the Complainant. On the same date, the Center sent to the Registrar a request for verification of registration data. The Registrar confirmed, inter alia, that it is the registrar of the domain name in dispute and that <alaskaairlines.org> is registered in the Respondent's name.
On February 22, 2000, the Center verified that the Complaint satisfies the formal requirements of the ICANN Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (the "Policy"), the Rules for Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (the "Rules"), and the Supplemental Rules for Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (the "Supplemental Rules"). On February 22, 2000, the Center also sent to the Respondent, with a copy to the Complainant, a notification of the administrative proceeding together with copies of the Complaint. This notification was sent by the methods required under paragraph 2(a) of the Rules. The formal date of the commencement of this administrative proceeding is February 22, 2000.
On March 16, 2000, the Center sent Notification of Respondent’s Default. On March 17, 2000, the Center sent an Amended Notification of Respondent’s Default. No Response has been received.
After receiving a completed and signed Statement of Acceptance and Declaration of Impartiality and Independence, the Center notified the parties of the appointment of a single-arbitrator panel consisting of Richard W. Page, Esq. (the "Presiding Panelist").
4. Factual Background
Founded in 1932, Alaska Airlines is currently the tenth largest commercial air carrier in the United States. Alaska Airlines provides air transportation services for passengers and baggage and provides air freight and cargo services to the West Coast of the United States as well as to Canada, Mexico and other jurisdictions, and has connecting flight arrangements throughout the United States.
Alaska Airlines has established a reputation as a provider of superior, high frequency air transportation service at competitive prices. Alaska Airlines has received numerous awards relating to its service, including being the highest-ranked major airline over the last five years in a well-known travel magazine. Alaska Airlines seeks to differentiate itself from its competitors by offering superior levels of value and service. Its efforts have resulted in high customer satisfaction rankings in customer surveys and consumer magazines.
Since at least 1942, Alaska Airlines has continuously used in commerce the mark ALASKA AIRLINES in connection with air transportation services. Alaska Airlines owns the following U.S. Registrations and Application:
(a) ALASKA AIRLINES
Serial No.: 75/088,829
Filing Date: April 16, 1996
First Use: Intent to Use
Services: Providing an interactive website containing information, services and reservation capability primarily relating to travel, namely, airline flight schedules, airline flight reservations, airline flight bookings, airline flight seating assignments, airline flight meals, and travel and tour packages (Class 39); providing an interactive website containing information, services and reservation capability primarily relating to lodging and dining, namely, hotel reservations, hotel bookings, hotel room assignments and restaurant reservations; providing interactive computer bulletin boards for the transfer and dissemination of a wide range of information (Class 42).
(b) ALASKA AIRLINES
Reg. No.: 1,561,416 (Incontestable Registration)
Reg. Date: October 17, 1989
First Use: June 1942
Services: Air Transportation Services (Class 39)
(c) ALASKA AIRLINES and Design
Reg. No.: 1,612,370 (Incontestable Registration)
Reg. Date: September 4, 1990
First Use: June 1987
Services: Air Transportation Services (Class 39)
(d) ALASKA AIRLINES (Stylized)
Reg. No.: 1,674,552, (Incontestable Registration)
Reg. Date: February 4, 1992
First Use: May 15, 1990
Services: Air Transportation Services (Class 39)
(e) ALASKA AIRLINES (Stylized)
Reg. No.: 862,903 (Incontestable Registration)
Reg. Date: December 31, 1968
First Use: June 1942
Services: Air transportation of passengers and freight (Class 39)
These marks are collectively referred to as the "Alaska Airlines Marks."
Respondent registered the <alaskaairlines.org> domain name with the Registrar on April 6, 1999. The status of the domain name is "hold."
Respondent is not a licensee of Complainant, nor is he otherwise authorized to use the Alaska Airlines Marks. Respondent is not the owner of any federally registered or common law trademarks containing either the terms "Alaska" or "Airlines" or any permutations thereof.
On May 3, 1999, Alaska Airlines sent Respondent a certified letter notifying Respondent of Alaska Airlines’ rights in the Alaska Airlines Marks and alerting Respondent that Alaska Airlines considered Respondent’s registration of <alaskaairlines.org> to be trademark infringement (the "Notice Letter"). In the Notice Letter, Alaska Airlines demanded that Respondent cease and desist use of the <alaskaairlines.org> domain name and immediately assign or transfer the domain name to Alaska Airlines.
On May 20, 1999, Alaska Airlines, received a letter from Respondent Temme (the "Temme Letter") answering the Notice Letter. In the Temme Letter, Respondent admitted that he had registered the following domain names: <alaskaairlines.org>, <alaska-airlines.org>, <alaskaairline.net>, <alaskaairline.org>, <alaska-airline.com>, <horizonair.net>, <horizon-airlines.com>, <horizon-airline.com>, <flytoalaska.com>, <flytoalaska.net>, <fly-to-alaska.com>, <fly-to-alaska.net>, <flyalaskaair.com>, <fly-alaska-air.com>, <flyalaskahorizon.com> and <fly-alaska-horizon.com>. Horizon Air Industries is an affiliate of Complainant. Respondent offered to sell the above package of 16 domain names (although he misrepresented it as 17 domain names) for US$32,000. He stated that "the package price is NOT NEGOTIABLE" (emphasis in letter).
Respondent indicated that he purchased at least one of the above domain names, <alaska-airlines.org>, after being notified by Alaska Airlines that it considered his actions to constitute trademark infringement. Respondent offered to sell the <alaskaairlines.org> domain name for $5,800, an amount at least 80 times the cost of its registration.
Respondent stated that his "domain name consolidation service consists of proposing to companies a package consisting of a list of domain names created by [Respondent]…." Temme went on to state that "the agreement by the companies to purchase the complete package facilitates the ownership of all the names on the list and it also guarantees the prevention of any possible litigation costs to acquire them." (emphasis in original). Further, Respondent stated that he "believe[s] that the best investment for Alaska Airlines is to agree to purchase [Respondent’s] package as proposed…. The alternative is choosing litigation to acquire one single domain name and forcing [Respondent] to test some of [his] philosophies in court at a cost of maybe the equal of that for all 39 domain names together with an uncertain outcome."
Respondent admitted that he had registered domain names in which other companies had rights as well. He stated that he "look[s] at various companies and their domain presence," he then creates "all the possible domain names and all of the several permutations [he] can dream up and make [sic] a list of them." Next, he "register[s] about half of the list of proposed domain names before proposing [the] package of registered domain names."
On May 27, 1999, Alaska Airlines filed a complaint with the Registrar against Respondent pursuant to the NSI Domain Name Dispute Policy (the "NSI Complaint").
On June 17, 1999, the Registrar notified Respondent of Alaska Airlines’ complaint (the "NSI Notice"). In the NSI Notice, Respondent was advised that "because the effective date of the trademark or service mark precedes [Respondent’s] domain name, Network Solutions has invoked Section 9 of the Domain Name Dispute Policy (Rev. 03)." Respondent was required to respond to the NSI Notice within 37 days.
On July 30, 1999, the Registrar notified Alaska Airlines that Respondent had not responded timely to the NSI Notice. Because Respondent had not responded to the NSI Notice, the Registrar placed the domain name on "hold" status.
On January 19, 2000, the Registrar notified Alaska Airlines that the dispute with Respondent would be terminated and the domain name reactivated on February 15, 2000 unless the Registrar received evidence of a complaint filed after January 1, 2000 with the Center or in a court of competent jurisdiction.
5. Parties’ Contentions
A. Complainant contends that the domain name <alaskaairlines.org> is identical with and confusingly similar to the Alaska Airline Marks pursuant to the Policy paragraph 4(a)(i).
B. Complainant contends that Respondent has no rights or legitimate interest in the domain name <alaskaairlines.org> pursuant to the Policy paragraph 4(a)(ii).
C. Complainant contends that Respondent registered and is using the domain name <alaskaairlines.org> in bad faith in violation of the Policy paragraph 4(a)(iii).
D. Respondent presented no evidence challenging that the domain name <alaskaairlines.org> is identical with or confusingly similar to the Alaska Airline Marks.
E. Respondent presented no evidence of its rights or legitimate interest in <alaskaairlines.org> domain name.
F. Respondent presented no evidence that its registration and use of the <alaskaairlines.org> domain name is in good faith.
6. Discussion and Findings
Even though Respondent has filed no Response and has offered no evidence attacking the contentions of Claimant, the Presiding Panelist hereby reviews the evidence before him to determine whether the Claimant has supported each of the required elements in its contentions within the existing record.
Identity or Confusing Similarity.
Each of the Alaska Airlines Marks contains the phrase "Alaska Airlines" which is identical to the phrase "alaskaairlines" used in the disputed domain name. Therefore, the Presiding Panelist finds that the domain name <alaskaairlines.org> is identical with and confusingly similar to the Alaska Airlines Marks.
Rights or Legitimate Interest.
Respondent admits in the Temme Letter that "I am not using the domain name WWW.ALASKAAIRLINES.ORG at all." In addition, the Temme Letter recites that "I have no website that this domain name points to."
Other than registration of the domain name, Respondent has incurred no expenses and made no use of the <alaskaairlines.org> domain name.
Therefore, the Presiding Panelist finds that Respondent has no rights or legitimate interest in the domain name <alaskaairlines.org>.
Respondent registered a series of domain names constituting variations of "alaska," "airlines" and/or "horizon." Respondent then sought substantial remuneration for sale of <alaskaairlines.org> and the other related domain names in the "package" he offered to sell. Respondent admitted in the Temme Letter attached by Complainant that in order to force Alaska Airlines to use his "domain consolidation service," he "started registering a few of the names on the list of domain names [Respondent] had created for Alaska Airlines. ALASKAAIRLINES.ORG was one of the many domains on that list."
These statements constitute an admission by Respondent that he has registered and used <alaskaairlines.org> for the sole purpose of selling it to Complainant for profit. These actions constitute bad faith in the registration and the use of the domain name <alaskaairlines.org>.
The Presiding Panelist concludes (a) that the domain name <alaskaairlines
.org> is identical with and confusingly similar to the series of United States marks registered by Complainant and defined above as the Alaska Airlines Marks, (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 <alaskaairlines.org> be transferred to Complainant Alaska Airlines, Inc.
Richard W. Page
Dated: April 2, 2000