WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Corinthians Licenciamentos LTDA v. David Sallen, Sallen Enterprises, and J. D. Sallen Enterprises
Case No. D2000-0461
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Corinthians Licenciamentos LTDA, f/k/a Futebol Licenciamentos LTDA, of Alameda Santos 2224, 1st floor, Suite 12, 01418-200 Sao Paulo, Brazil, (the "Complainant"), represented in this proceeding by Amy B. Goldsmith, Esq. and Marc P. Misthal, Esq., of Gottlieb, Rackman & Reisman, P.C., 270 Madison Avenue, New York, New York 10016, USA.
The Respondents are David Sallen, Sallen Enterprises, and J. D. Sallen Enterprises, resident a/o doing business in 7 Fiske Terrace, Brookline, MA 02446, USA (the "Respondents"). It appears that all three Respondents are under control of the same person or entity. See 2, 4.3. and 4.4. below.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The domain name at issue is "corinthians.com", registered by "sallen enterprises" with Network Solutions, Inc., doing business in Herndon, Virginia 20170, USA (the "Registrar").
3. Procedural History
On May 18, 2000 a Complaint in accordance with the Uniform Policy for Domain Name Dispute Resolution, adopted by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) on August 26, 1999 (the "Policy"), the Rules for Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy, approved by ICANN on October 24, 1999 (the "Rules") and the WIPO Supplemental Rules for Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (the "Supplemental Rules") was submitted by e-mail to the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the "Center"). On May 22, 2000 the Complaint was received by the Center in hard copy.
On May 30, 2000, the Center sent to the Respondent a Notification of Complaint and Commencement of Administrative Proceeding.
At the Centerīs request of May 24, 2000, on May 30, 2000, the Registrar confirmed to the WIPO Center that the domain name at issue was registered through Network Solutions, Inc., that sallen enterprises is the current registrant, and that the domain name is in "Active" status.
On June 19, 2000, the Respondents submitted their Response through Mr. J. D. Sallen.
On June 20, 2000, the Center acknowledged receipt of the Response.
After having received Roberto A. Bianchiīs Statement of Acceptance and Declaration of Impartiality and Independence, on June 26, 2000, the Center appointed him as a Sole Panelist. The decision date was scheduled for July 9, 2000. Thus, the Administrative Panel finds that it has been properly constituted.
The Panel sharing the Centerīs assessment of May 30, 2000, independently finds that the Complaint was filed in accordance with the requirements of the Rules and Supplemental Rules, and that payment of the fees was properly made.
On June 28, 2000 the Center received an email of Mr. Rick Sallen. On the same day, the Complainant submitted by email a request to the Panel to consider a Supplement to the Complaint. Copies thereof were sent to the Respondents. On June 29, 2000, the Center received an email by Mr. J. D. Sallen. In a "Procedural Order No. 1" of June 29, 2000, the Panel decided a) to consider the Supplement to the Complaint, b) not to consider the emails by Mr. Rick Sallen and Mr. J.D. Sallen as supplementing the Response, c) to allow the Respondents to submit, on or before July 3, 2000, a Supplement to the Response, d) to reset the deadline for the Panel to issue a decision to July 17, 2000, and e) not to permit any further submissions nor to grant any further extensions.
On July 3, 2000, Respondents submitted a Supplement responding to the Supplement to the Complaint, with copy to the Complainant.
On July 11, 2000, the WIPO Center received a request by the Complainantīs Representative Mr. Marc P. Misthal, Esq., that the Panel prohibit both Parties to discuss this case with the press or to further disclose the panelistīs identity until the Panel has issued its decision. Such request was transmitted via facsimile by the Center to the Respondent and the Panel.
On July 14, 2000, Mr. David Sallen sent an email to the Center. In its communication Mr. Sallen refers to Mr. Misthalīs fax calling it an "apparent submission", calls the attention of the Center to Procedural Order No. 1, and requests advice from the Center about the meaning and repercussion of Mr. Misthalīs fax. Mr. Sallen is therein not requesting any specific action by the Panel.
On July 14 the Panel issued a Communication to the Parties wherein, pursuant to Rules, Paragraph 10(a), it found the following:
"a) The Procedural Order N° 1 advised the Parties that no further submissions would be admitted by the Panel. This is not equal to prohibit the Parties to send the Center any communication that the Parties should deem useful for this proceeding. It is evident that both Parties share this view since the have both sent communications to the Center after the issuance of Procedural Order No. 1.
b) Neither Mr. Misthalīs fax nor Mr. Sallenīs email violate[s] Procedural Order No. 1.
c) Neither of both communications will be considered by the Panel as submissions for reaching its decision.
d) At this advanced stage of the proceedings, absent extraordinary circumstances, no further procedural orders are needed to proceed to a decision on the merits on or before July 17, 2000."
There were no other submissions or communications, nor were other extensions granted or orders issued.
The registration agreement for the domain name at issue has been done and executed in English by Respondent-Registrant and the Registrar. All of the Partiesī submissions and exhibits have been made in English, except for some exhibits of the Complaint (trademark registration certificates) in the Portuguese language. The Panelist understands Portuguese and does not need translation thereof. Seeing the Panel no special circumstances to determine otherwise, as provided in Rules, Paragraph 11, the language of this proceeding is English.
4. Factual Background
The following facts, extracted from the Partiesī submissions and undisputed, are established:
4.1 Sport Club Corinthians Paulista, commonly known as Corinthians, is a popular and well-known Brazilian soccer team. Pursuant to a license agreement dated July 2, 1999, the Complainant, Corinthians Licenciamentos LTDA, is the exclusive licensee of the intellectual property owned by Sport Club Corinthians Paulista. Complaint, Exhibit "C". Corinthians (or its predecessors in interest) has registered the mark CORINTHIAO with the Brazilian Institute of Industrial Property; a copy of a representative registration of the mark is attached as Exhibit D (CORINTHIAO is Portuguese for CORINTHIANS). Also included in Exhibit D is a list of the registrations for CORINTHIANS secured by Corinthians (or its predecessor in interest) before the Brazilian Institute of Industrial Property and a list of applications for CORINTHIANS pending before the Brazilian Institute of Industrial Property. The mark CORINTHIANS has been used by Corinthians or its predecessors in interest continuously in international commerce since at least as early as 1990.
4.2 The Respondents registered the domain name "corinthians.com" on August 6, 1998.
4.3 On September 1, 1999 "WAYLOWIQ@aol.com" sent an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, with copies to email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, and firstname.lastname@example.org. Its text read: "dear sirs, please excuse the fact that i do not speak portuguese. As the owner of the url "corianthians.com", however, i want to inquire whom i might contact, associated with the football club, regarding the sale of this domain. there has been considerable interest, and i have been contacted recently, by several people in brazil, regarding this purchase of this property. It occured [sic] to me that it is in your interest to own it. please feel free to contact me at email@example.com". Complaintīs Exhibit "I".
According with the WHOIS database of the registrar:
"david sallen" of "prestige domains" of 214 Prospect St., Framingham, MA 01701, has firstname.lastname@example.org
"David Sallen" of "Sallen Enterprises" of 7 Fiske Terrace, Brookline, MA 02446 has email@example.com
"J D Sallen" of "JDS Enterprises" of 7 Fiske Terrace, Brookline, MA 02446 has firstname.lastname@example.org
"J D Sallen" of "J.D.S. Enterprises" with same address as "JDS Enterprises" has email@example.com
Complaintīs Exhibit "F".
"j. d. sallen" and "domains p", both of "prestige domains" have firstname.lastname@example.org.
Complaintīs Exhibit "G".
According with Yahoo!īs People Search, Jay Chery Ira C Sallen have address at 214 Prospect St., Framingham, MA. Complaintīs Exhibit "G". This is the same address of Prestige Domains. Complaintīs Exhibit F.
From these facts it is established that the sender of the email above, dated September 1, 1999, to the Corinthians soccer club was "david sallen" or "j. d. sallen". Complaintīs Exhibits "F" and "G". The fact of the email having been sent was accepted by the Respondents in their Response, although Respondents consider this contact made in good faith, and deny that an offer for sale was made for "valuable consideration". Response, "III. Argument, 3. The Respondent has acted in Good Faith".
4.4 "J. D. S. Sallen" , the Administrative Contact of "J.D.S. Enterprises", the registrant of the "tonimorrison.com" domain name registration, has also jdsallen@IX.NETCOM.COM as an E-mail address. Complaintīs Exhibit "H".
4.5 On November 16, 1999, the Complainant sent to the Respondents a cease-and-desist letter concerning the domain names "corinthians.com" and "cruzeiro.com". Complaintīs Exhibit "J". The Respondents thereto sent no answer.
4.6. In a moment that cannot be precisely determined, the Respondents posted biblical texts on their website www.corinthians.com. The Complainant asserts that no active website existed at the time the notice letter was sent. Complaint, Note 2 at page 9. Panelīs emphasis. Under Rules, Paragraph 5(b)(i) the Response "shall [...] respond specifically to the statements and allegations contained in the complain and include any and all bases for the Respondent (domain-name holder) to retain registration and use of the disputed domain name". In their Response, the Respondents allege that they posted text from the biblical Books (Letters to the Christian Corinthians by Paul) on their website. Response, III, 1. In their Supplement to the Response, Respondents claim that they " made fair, noncommercial use of his active website before any legitimate dispute, and exactly these conditions continue".
Although the Respondents contend that the posting was made before the Complainant submitted the Complaint to the WIPO, neither in their Response nor in their Supplement to the Response, do they specify at what time the posting was made.
The Respondents stated no further clarification on this very important issue. The Respondents also fail to "annex any documentary or other evidence" on the issue, as it was their duty under Rules, Paragraph 5(b)(ix). The independent connection to the www.corinthians.com site conducted by the Panel was not apt to conclude anything about the time the posting was made for the first time. See 6.2. below.
All this leads the Panel to conclude that it is an established fact that the Respondents posted the biblical quotes after the Respondents received the cease-and-desist letter from the Complainant (November 16, 1999), thereby receiving notice of the dispute. Thus the posting could first have been made only after fifteen months following the domain name registration had passed.
4.7. The Respondents own or otherwise exert control on Prestige Domains, the registrant of not less than 41 domain names. Although the Respondents in their Response contend they do not have any connection to Prestige Domains, it is established that "david sallen" appears to belong to that entity. Complaintīs Exhibits "F" and "G".
5. Parties Contentions
The Complainant asserts that:
A comparison of the look, sound and meaning of CORINTHIANS with the look, sound and meaning of "corinthians.com" reveals that the mark and domain name is identical, or, if one considers the top level domain, confusingly similar.
At no time has Corinthians licensed or otherwise permitted Respondents to use any of their marks or to apply for or use any domain names incorporating any of their marks.
Respondents cannot demonstrate any use of, or demonstrable preparations to use, "corinthians.com" in connection with a bona fide offering of goods and services.
Respondents have never been known by the domain name "corinthians.com". Respondents intended and continue to intend to profit from sales of Respondents rights in the domain names they own.
Respondents own over 50 domain names; many of them contain the names of well-known personalities or cities, suggesting a studied selection of domain names for the purpose of profiting from activities other than maintaining over 50 active websites for providing goods and services in commerce. Indeed, since no active or even "under construction" website exists at any of the domain names owned by Respondents, it is highly unlikely that Respondents could legitimately use each of the more than 50 domain names they own in providing goods and services. Additionally, upon information and belief, Respondents intended and continue to intend to profit from sales of respondents rights in the domain names they own.
In similar circumstances, parties registering large numbers of domain names have been found to lack rights or a legitimate interest in the registered domain names. Respondents have registered or acquired the domain name "corinthians.com" primarily for the purpose of selling, renting, or otherwise transferring the domain name registration to Corinthians, who own the mark CORINTHIANS, for valuable consideration in excess of their documented out-of-pocket costs directly related to the domain names.
Corinthians first became aware that Respondents had registered the domain name "corinthians.com" in September 1999, when Respondents sent an email offering to sell the domain name, that originated from the email address email@example.com. In November 1999, Corinthians and Desportos instructed their attorneys to send a notice letter to Respondents. When Respondents failed to respond, a copy of the cease and desist letter was sent via email in December 1999 to JDSallen@IX.NETCOM.COM. In January 2000, counsel for Corinthians and Desportos called David Sallen. Mr. Sallen indicated he had no response to the cease-and-desist letter and that he did not intend to transfer the domain names. When asked if he was interested in selling the domain names, Mr. Sallen laughed. At no time did Mr. Sallen explained his interest in or plans for the disputed domain names.
Corinthians discovered that Respondents had established a website at "corinthians.com". That website is one page containing a quote from the book of Corinthians. Respondents deliberately placed the quote on the website so that Corinthians could not argue that the website was inactive. To the contrary, the placement of just this biblical quotation on the website serves no useful purpose; it is likely only to confuse any searcher looking for information on the Corinthians soccer club, further harming Corinthians.
Respondents registered "corinthians.com" in 1998. Respondents have not made a good faith use of "corinthians.com". Additionally, the email from Respondents offering to sell "corinthians.com" indicates Respondents profit motive for registering the domain name. When these facts are considered in conjunction with the number and nature of other domain names registered by Respondents, the conclusion that profit was the motive behind Respondents registration of "corinthians.com" is inescapable. Respondents bad faith registration is also evidenced by the misleading contact information it provided for Prestige Domains. As noted above, the phone number given for Prestige Domains does not correspond with the phone number listed for that address. Finally, the fact that Respondents lack rights or a legitimate interest in the disputed domain names indicates bad faith registration. Respondents are also using the domain name in bad faith. Furthermore, offering to sell a domain name for valuable consideration in excess of any out-of-pocket costs directly related to the domain name constitutes use in bad faith. World Wrestling Federation Entertainment, Inc. v. Bosman; Bonfield Corp. v. Kwon. Moreover, the passive holding of a domain name can constitute use in bad faith. Telstra Corporation Limited v. Nuclear Marshmellows. Bad faith use also occurs where a domain name is registered to prevent the owner of a mark from reflecting its mark in a domain name. Nabisco Brands Company v. The Patron Group. See also, Adobe Systems Incorporated v. Domain OZ (finding registrant registered disputed domain names to prevent complainant from using its trademarks in corresponding domain names).
Respondents are using "corinthians.com" in bad faith. The offering of a domain name for sale constitutes a bad faith use, and Respondents have unquestionably offered "corinthians.com" for sale. The email from Respondents regarding "corinthians.com" offers that domain name for sale. Other evidence also indicates bad faith use of "corinthians.com". Even if Respondents just passively held the disputed domain names, the absence of any indication that a website or other on-line presence which will use either domain name is in the process of being established and the absence of any indication that Respondents advertised, promoted or displayed of either domain name to the public supports a conclusion of bad faith use.
By registering "corinthians.com", Respondents have interfered with the rights of Corinthians to use their marks in commerce, and prevented Corinthians from reflecting their marks in corresponding domain names.
The Respondent alleges that:
Complainant has intentionally inserted fifty  suggestive domains, which the Respondent has never had any connection with or knowledge of, which Complainant purports to belong to Respondent. All such domains, are owned by entities totally unknown to Respondent.
Respondent has never done business of any kind under, or been known by, the name Prestige Domains, as Complainant claims. Such an entity does exist, but is based in the U.K. Respondent has no connection with them whatsoever.
Complainant had also gone so far as to draw a shameless association between Corinthians and pornography.
Respondent finds himself in the incredible position of having to defend not only his own legitimacy in this matter, but the validity of Scripture as well. Respondent Respondents deny that they made a practice of registering domain names that coincide with trademarks. They have worked assiduously to avoid any trademark issues whatsoever. Only two domains do indeed coincide with trademarks; this was inadvertent and naive, hardly a pattern. The important point is that Respondent believes two is two too many. To demonstrate Respondent's sincerity and eagerness to rectify any legitimate trademark infringement, Respondent has readily and voluntarily transferred or is in the process of transferring both the aforementioned registrations to Mrs. Toni Morrison, and to Dow Jones, Inc. respectively.
Complainant hopes to accomplish the trammeling of free speech and religious expression.
Respondent is making a legitimate noncommercial and fair use of the domain name, without intent for commercial gain, or to misleadingly divert consumers, or to tarnish the alleged trademark or service mark at issue, amply satisfying the requirements of Policy section 4(c)(iii) Respondent has always acted and continues to act in good faith.
Before any notice of the dispute, the Respondent made use of the domain in connection with a bona fide offering of a service, amply satisfying the requirements of 4(c)(i). Well prior to the filing of Complainant's action, Respondent was making noncommercial use of Corinthians.com, while simultaneously offering a bona fide service to the religious public. This action took the form of Respondent placing scripture (a passage holding great personal significance for Respondent) from the book of Corinthians on the website in question.
It cannot be disputed that the website established by Respondent at www.corinthians.com fully satisfies both of the Policy's requirements of 4(c)(i).
Respondent has made and is making a legitimate noncommercial and fair use of the domain name, Corinthians.com, and is doing so without intent for commercial gain, or to mislead or divert consumers, or to tarnish the Complainant's alleged trademark or service mark at issue, amply satisfying the requirements of 4(c)(iii). It was never intended to divert or tarnish anyone or anything, much less where these would concern or affect, in any way, the Complainant, their alleged trademark, or their customers. There is no possibility that anyone would be confused when visiting the site in question. It simply does not and cannot confuse web-users, and any claims to the contrary, made by the Complainant, is manifestly gratuitous.
The universal biblical association with and connotation of "Corinthians," thousands of years old and far wider than any association with any soccer team, defines it as legitimate when used in a biblical context. This is true despite Complainant's baseless, unwarranted, and reprehensible opinion that quoting scripture "serves no useful purpose," and Complainant's vulgar comparisons to usage as such with domains linked to pornography.
It is axiomatic that the Complainants themselves selected this name because of its biblical association. Respondent's website is noncommercial.
Furthermore the Complainant, in spite of its offensive association of our site with pornography, offers no evidence to suggest that there has been a tarnishing of Complainant's alleged trademark in any way. Respondent's good faith use of Corinthians.com is entirely consistent with the requirements of 4.c. (iii) and as such defeats the Complainants attempts to prove 4.a. (iii).
The Respondent has acted in good faith. One of the three elements, which ICANN requires the Complainant to prove, is that the domain name was registered and is being used in bad faith.
In the case of Corinthians.com, Complainant has not and cannot prove any of the four alternative elements of registration and use in bad faith.
The Complainant bases much of its flawed case on the fact that some generic names owned by Respondent appear, in the database, to be for sale. Complainant conveniently fails to note, however, that their own Exhibit A shows that this is not the case with Corinthians.
Complainant claims that if Respondent intended to sell the domain in question, this proves bad faith; this again is a clear logical fallacy and a red herring besides. It is also an intentionally deceitful and self-serving misinterpretation of the Policy. In order to prevail, the Complainant is required to prove that Respondent had registered Corinthians specifically to sell to a trademark holder, to prove this attempt involved a demand for "valuable considerations." There is no evidence of these conditions having occurred because they did not. Not only has no evidence of such circumstances been presented, but also there is Complainant's own evidence (see Complainant's exhibit I) clearly shows that these circumstances do not exist.
Respondent registered Corinthians on 6 August 1998. By Complainant's own admission there was no contact between Respondent and Complainant until September of 1999, more than a year later. Until this time, when a fan in Brazil emailed the Respondents in an attempt to buy this domain because it was the name of his favorite team, Respondents did not even know of the existence of the team Complainant represents. This contention is backed by the email received by the Respondents from a complete stranger living in Brazil, coterminous with the only contact between Complainant and Respondent. The email from Marco Albanese is one of two or three received over a period of approximately one week.
Moreover, Complainant presents no evidence that Respondent did anything other than ask Complainant to be put in contact with someone to discuss "the sale of this domain". This is a far cry from demanding valuable considerations from Complainant.
Further evidence of Respondent's appropriate ownership status is given once again by Complainants themselves. Complainant admits that in conversations with Respondent, invariably initiated by Complainant, Respondents never asked a cent for, or suggested the sale of, Corinthians.com. This is true despite several phone conversations between Respondent and various representatives of the Complainant, invariably initiated by Complainant, for the sole obvious purpose of badgering and attempting to trick the Respondents into saying something they might later use in their effort to hijack this domain.
According to Reuters, even Network Solutions has made the listing of private domain sale a part of their business operation, actually soliciting such listings. Reuters, on 10, May, 2000 quotes Network Solutions Vice President Doug Wolford as saying, "There is incredible demand for 'virtual real estate,' whether new or 'pre-owned' domain names." Wolford goes on to say "With 18 million visitors a month to NSI's Website, a listing [of a domain for sale] on our site is another powerful benefit."
Respondents state that they see nothing funny about the harassment endured during each conversation with Complainant, which in each instance Mr. Sallen endeavored to terminate as quickly as possible. If Mr. Sallen were to have "laughed," as the Complainant claims he did, it was out of sheer nervousness and discomfort resulting from Complainant's duress. The Policy nowhere prohibits laughter, and this obvious example of ad hominem argument on the part of the Complainant once again betrays a desperation brought on by their lack of any substantial argument.
In the Administrative Panel Decision in Case D2000-0034, the panel found that the Respondents offer to sell domain names did not establish bad faith because the offer was understated, the offer occurred long after Respondent registered the domain, and no sale price was mentioned. The fact that no price was mentioned failed to establish that the Respondent was seeking an amount in excess of out-of -pocket costs. The circumstances relating to Corinthians, in these three regards, are identical to D2000-0034. Defeating Complainants assertions, Respondent did not, and there is no evidence showing otherwise, acquire the domain name primarily for the purpose of selling, renting, or otherwise transferring the domain name registration to the Complainant for consideration in excess of out of pocket expenses.
Defeating the Complainants assertions, Respondent did not, and there is no evidence suggests he did, registered the domain name, Corinthians.com, to prevent the owner of a trademark or service mark from reflecting the mark in a corresponding domain name, nor has the Respondent engaged in a pattern of such conduct. In efforts to verify that any domain Respondent registered was Respondent used as a reference a copy of Webster's New World College Dictionary, which defines "Corinthians" as follows: "Two books of the New Testament that were letters from the Apostle Paul to the Christians of Corinth." No dictionary makes any mention at all of soccer in relation to the word "Corinthians," further buttressing Respondent's contention that this was the sole context in which he viewed and understood the word. It is notable that Panelist Wefers Bettink, in case D2000-0016, wrote, "it is noted that nothing in the Policy can be construed as requiring a person registering a domain name to carry out a prior trademark search in every country of the world for conflicting trademark rights."
"4.b.(iii). You have registered the domain name primarily for the purpose of disrupting the business of a competitor". Not even this Complainant could trump up any evidence of the above, and rightfully so. As previously stated, Respondent was unaware of the existence of Complainant's team until fully one year after registration. Moreover, it is disturbing and indeed unfortunate that the Complainant's bazaar contention, that the reading of scripture disrupts their business, needs to be dignified with an answer. As has been previously noted, the word "Corinthians" has an ancient and worldwide primary association with two books of the Bible. Far more people are familiar with the Biblical association of Corinthians than are familiar with any mark owned or allegedly owned by the Complainant. In point of fact, the Corinthians website makes no reference to anything commercial whatsoever. Further, there is no evidence that the Respondent has ever engaged in such conduct. Defeating the Complainants assertions under paragraph 4.b (iii): Respondent is not, nor is there any evidence to suggest that he is, a competitor of the Complainant. Furthermore, the Respondent has never engaged in disrupting the business of the Complainant.
Defeating the Complainants contentions under paragraph 4.b. (iv), there is no evidence that the use of this domain name by the Respondent has in any way been used to attract Internet users to the website for commercial gain, or any other location, by creating a likelihood of confusion with the complainants mark as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation, or endorsement of Respondentīs website or location or a product or service on his website. The requirements of paragraph 4.b. (i), (ii), (iii), and (iv) are met by the Respondent. Meeting any one of the requirements is sufficient to defeat a claim of bad faith.
Legitimacy of Complainant's claim of trademark rights. There are numerous questions surrounding the Complainant's trademark rights to the word "Corinthians," a word called "untrademarkable" by Internet law specialist Brett Faucett, Esq. Adding credence to this opinion is the fact that not only is the word "Corinthians" not trademarked in the US, to our knowledge, which is Respondent's place of residence, but neither does the Complainant list the word "Corinthians," standing alone, among their Brazilian trademarks or pending trademarks. What Complainant has in sum is a list of trademarked designs, which at most only include the word "Corinthians," exactly as is the case with countless other business entities worldwide.
In one of the two listed trademarks not pending, "corinthiao," the word in question does not appear at all. The reason for Complainant's lack of a trademark for "Corinthians," we believe, can be found on the website of the Brazilian Industrial Properties Office, the agency in Brazil overseeing such matters. I quote them here, under the heading "Basic Requirements" for trademarks: "Novelty: Brazilian legislation applies the concept of absolute novelty" when considering trademarkability (http://www.inpi.gov.br). With thousands of entities worldwide using the name "Corinthians," it can hardly qualify as "absolute novelty" or unique in any way.
The Complainant has endeavored to protect their alleged trademark only in this single case, choosing to ignore hundreds of similar and even identical names, such as Corinthians.org, Corinthian.com; Corinthians.net, etc. This targeting behavior makes clear that Complainant's actual motive in this case is not to protect their alleged trademark, but merely to single out and pirate this domain. As further proof that this harassing by Complainant is uniquely aimed at Respondent we include email from domain owners, representing ownership of approximately 200 names with permutations similar or identical to "Corinthians," and all completely unknown to Respondent, who unanimously testify to never having been contacted in any way by Complainant, or anybody else regarding their domain ownership. Significantly, these owners of Corinthian-type names, deemed unimportant by Complainant, include the following: owners who own more than one hundred names similar or identical to "Corinthians"; owners of names and sites with obvious commercial implications (i.e. Corinthianinc.com); owners of multiple undeveloped sites; and, inexplicably, Complainant has even ignored domains clearly related to soccer, as in "Corinthianfc.net," with "fc" an apparent reference to "football club."
The name Corinthians has been widely recognized as a Book of the Bible for thousands of years. Hundreds of permutations of the name Corinthians are currently registered as domain names, as well as in businesses and for services worldwide. There is no evidence that the Complainant has ever objected to any other use of the name Corinthians. The obvious conclusion being Complainant's is an untenable attempt to hijack this domain from its legitimate owner because Complainant decided that there was a commercial advantage to himself in doing so.
As further evidence of the impropriety of Complainant's actions which, we feel, meet the definition of harassment, it must be noted that in approximately fifty (50) instances in their submission before the learned Panel, the Complainant has included erroneous claims regarding domains owned by Respondent. (domains listed by Complainant having no connection to Respondent include the first 37 domains listed on pg. 3 of Complainant's Exhibit H). These egregious examples of duplicity can only be intentional, as they could have been avoided simply by referencing the WHO IS database. Fortunately, their subterfuge can easily be punctured by minimal research. Since we are dealing here with a highly paid team of professional lawyers, it is not credible that the inclusion of these easily avoidable errors was not intentional. The intentional inclusion of so many bogus pieces of evidence surely qualifies as harassment. Respondent includes here a few examples of domain names that Respondent had heretofore never heard, and which Complainant falsely listed as owned by Respondent. This was done notwithstanding the fact that Respondent's name appears nowhere in the registration and is not listed as any contact. It should be noted that many of the domain names entirely unrelated to Respondent but still included, not coincidentally, on Complainants specious list are suggestive of pornography or trademark violation: ONALL4S.COM; ONALL4S.ORG; CITYSENSATIONS.COM; EHARVARD.COM; MUSICMP3; DFW-INFOPAGES.COM; CYBERSONY.COM; MUSICMP5.COM; MUSICMP4.COM; CYBERSTOCKING.COM; etc.
Most of the contacts listed for domains on Complainant's fallacious list have addresses from places such as Texas, Nevada, New Jersey, etc., making it even more obvious these are unrelated to Respondent. Complainant compounds their duplicity by actually including fabricated domains in their complaint, which Respondent has never had any knowledge of (and is therefore not listed in any way on contact information related to these domains), then accusing Respondent of giving false contact information for being excluded from information appearing in the Who Is data banks pertinent to these utterly extraneous domains. Such behavior on the part of Complainant is nothing short of harassment.
Panel's decision points out that even if a Respondent operated a website to sell generic domain names it would, at worst, be irrelevant in determining bad faith, and perhaps beneficial in proving legitimate interest in the domains he owns. In regards to the Respondent, in Case D2000-0016, who was a "broker" who had registered over 400 domain names, Panel ruled that the practice of selling generic domains which had become valuable "may constitute use of the domain name in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services (i.e. the sale of the domain name itself)."
5.3 Supplement to the Complaint
The Complainant alleges that:
Respondents have altered their website since this dispute was submitted to WIPO for resolution. Complainant, by its attorneys, first sent a warning letter to Respondents in November, 1999; at such time, Respondents were aware of a dispute. As of January, 2000, well after Complainant first advised Respondents that there was a dispute, Respondents did not have an active website at "corinthians.com". In an effort to thwart Complainants ability to prevail in any dispute over the domain name, the Respondents subsequently posted a website at "corinthians.com".
Respondents are trying to deceive the Panel by altering their website before the panel has the opportunity to view it. As of June 18, 2000 (the date on which the Respondents submitted their Response), Respondents website consisted of a single quote from the book of Corinthians, as Respondents admitted in their Response.
The text of that quote was: "I speak to your shame. Is it so, that there is not a wise man among you?" Now therefore there is a fault among you, because ye go to law one with another . . . Nay, ye do wrong, and defraud your brethren. Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not decieved [sic]; neither . . . idolaters . . . nor theives [sic], nor covetous . . . shall inherit the kingdom of God.
-Paul, Corinthians 1, chapters 5:6 and 6:17."
In an e-mail dated June 28, 2000, Respondents advised the panel that because the service provider hosting the web page associated with "corinthians.com" experienced technical problems, the website was alternately accessible and inaccessible between Friday, June 23, 2000 and Monday, June 26, 2000. Upon reviewing Respondents website on June 28, 2000, it appears that Respondents have added links to their website. Complainant submits that if Respondents website was inaccessible, it may have been because they were changing their website and not because of technical problems experienced by their service provider. Moreover, Complainant submits that since those changes were made after the commencement of this proceeding, the learned panelist, in making his decision, should not take those changes into consideration.
Complainant advises the Panel that Article 87 of Brazilian Law No. 9615 of March 24, 1998 (popularly known as the "Pelé Law"), provides protection to the mark CORINTHIANS. Article 87 of this federal law reads as follows:
Art. 87. The denomination and symbols of the entity that manages the sport or the sport activity, as well as the name or nickname adopted in sports by the professional athlete, belong exclusively to the same, and are under legal protection, valid in all the national territory, for an undetermined period of time, without need of registration or recordal before the eligible body.
As Complainant set forth in its Complaint, Corinthians is a Brazilian soccer team, popular and well-known throughout the world. Since the Pelé Law protects the names of teams without requiring any type of registration, Complainant is entitled to protection of its mark even in the absence of any trademark registration.
The Panel is requested to recall that Complainant submitted evidence of trademark registrations for CORINTHIANS in Exhibit D to the Complaint.
5.4 Supplement to the Response
Respondents allege, regarding the Supplement to the Complaint, the following:
There is nothing in the UDRP which even refers to, much less forbids, domain holders' maintaining or upgrading their lawfully-owned site during a dispute. Respondent experienced harassment at the hands of Complainant, in the form of threatening phone calls, etc., which does not constitute a bona fide dispute. The Internet would instantly become paralyzed at the whims of gratuitous harassers, as average working people like myself would have their already limited resources further taxed by being forced to constantly defend their property. Complainant's actions have already slowed considerably Respondentsī plans to develop several domains they own, including GO247.COM, incorporated, Federal ID 03-0364578. Respondent also wishes to point out the simple truth, that he made fair, noncommercial use of his active website before any legitimate dispute, and exactly these conditions continue.
Respondent is outraged by Complainant's statement that Respondents are trying to deceive the panel. There is no question that there has been an attempt to deceive the Panel, in fact a pattern of deceit. The deceit, however, has originated without exception from the Complainant. The lie is put to Complainant's latest wishful, offensive, and groundless speculation, that the cause of my website's brief interruption was a devious plot rather than technical problems experienced by my service provider, by the attached testimonial (see exhibit) corroborating my explanation of the incident. The Complainant's most recent deceit is intentional and therefore harassment.
Furthermore there are no links on CORINTHIANS.COM.
Respondent also considers Complainant's repeated use of willful, accusative prevarications, such as their pretending to know, in the absence of any evidence, that my singular motivation for obtaining and developing my site had anything to do with a soccer team, to be gross harassment.
Although Respondent understands Complainant's need to justify protection in the absence of any valid trademark, their invocation of Article 87 of Brazilian law 9615 fails when applied to this case. The limited protection Complainant admittedly relies on is only "valid in all the national territory." Repeatedly, Complainant conveniently confuses trademark rights with exclusivity. They are very different. Indeed, the Rules plainly state that in the absence of very specific and narrow circumstances a domain holder may own a name similar or identical to a trademark. Were the "Pele" law to confer international exclusivity, no one in the world would be safe from malicious caprice, of greedy complainants, when employing such generic terms as "jet," "patriot," "bears," "tigers," "giants," "cubs," "marlins," "stars," "blue jay," "jazz," and countless others, just to name some North American examples.
"Where the domain name and trademark in question are generic the rights/interests inquiry is more likely to favor the domain name owner. The ICANN Policy is very narrow in scope," says esteemed Panel in ERESOLUTION case AF-0104. Panel cites the ICANN Boards Second Staff Report on Implementation Documents for the Uniform Dispute Resolution Policy (Oct. 24, 1999), 4.1(c), as follows:
In contrast to the policy currently followed by NSI, the policy adopted by the ICANNīs Board in Santiago, as set forth in the final WIPO report and recommended by the DNSO and registrar group, calls for administrative resolution for only a small, special class of disputes. Except in cases involving "abusive registrations" made with bad-faith intent to profit commercially from others' trademarks (e.g., cybersquatting and cyberpiracy), the adopted policy leaves the resolution of disputes to the courts (or arbitrators where agreed by the parties) and calls for registrars not to disturb a registration until those courts decide. The adopted policy establishes a streamlined, inexpensive administrative dispute-resolution procedure intended only for the relatively narrow class of cases of "abusive registrations. Thus, the fact that the policy's administrative dispute-resolution procedure does not extend to cases where a registered domain name is subject to a legitimate dispute (and may ultimately be found to violate the challenger's trademark) is a feature of the policy, not a flaw (Respondent's underline). The policy relegates all "legitimate" disputes--such as those where both disputants had longstanding trademark rights in the name when it was registered as a domain name--to the courts; only cases of abusive registrations are intended to be subject to the streamlined administrative dispute-resolution procedure.
Regarding the advocacy of various expansions to the scope of the definition of abusive registration, Respondents cite to the Second Staff Report, in paragraph 4.5 (a).
In finding for the Respondent, in AF-0104, esteemed Panel writes: "given the generic nature of the domain name, [THYME.COM], CES [Respondent] has at least a tenable argument that its use on the web merely for the purpose of redirecting visitors to a different site constitutes a legitimate fair use, as long as this use is not misleading to consumers and does not tarnish a trademark." If "redirecting visitors" clears the bar determining "fair use," providing scripture, as we have done, must certainly leap far over it.
In any case, it must be seen as disingenuous of Complainant to suggest that any two-year-old law supercedes the Bill of Rights, passed by United States Congress September 25, 1791.
Finally, Respondents enclose following Exhibit, an email from "Techie":
"----- Original Message -----
From: Techie "firstname.lastname@example.org"
Sent: Monday, July 03, 2000 7:45 AM
" The following web site has encountered technical problems from our side of
" the house as a IP provider.. www.corinthians.com please except our apology
" for your internet interruptions.
" VTel Internet Support
" Hours of Operation:
" Mon.-Thurs. 8am to 8pm
" Fri. 8am to 5pm
" Sat. 9am to 1pm
6. Discussion and Findings
6.1 Independent Connection with the Respondentīs Website
As concluded in Case D2000-0076 the Panel considers that its powers under Rules, Paragraph 10(a), allow the Panel to independently visit the Internet in order to obtain additional light in a proceeding.
On the first occasion available after his appointment, June 27, 2000, the Panel tried to visit the www.corinthians.com website of the Respondents. The connection resulted in an error message. The server was not accessible.
On June 28, 2000, around 11.00 hours Buenos Aires Time, this presiding panelist revisited the site. This time the connection was successful, and resulted in a screen that read:
" īI speak to your shame. Is it so, that there is not a wise man among you?" Now therefore there is a fault among you, because ye go to law one with another . . . Nay, ye do wrong, and defraud your brethren. Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not decieved (sic); neither . . . idolaters . . . nor theives (sic), nor covetous . . . shall inherit the kingdom of God.ī -Paul, Corinthians 1, chapters 5:6 and 6:17"
There were also four links to screens of the site itself reproducing citations of Book 2 of Corinthians, chapters 1, 2, 5 and 6, respectively. No other screen was available at the Respondentsī website.
6.2 Identity or Confusing Similarity
As established under 4 above, Complainant is the licensee of CORINTHIANS trademark rights through registrations and/or applications and a license letter from the Corinthian soccer club. CORINTHIAO in Portuguese is pronounced as "Corinthian" in English. In fact, unless the English word itself is used, phonetics (because of the nasal pronunciation) and correct spelling require that the word "Corianthiao" is used in Portuguese. Thus, when comparing Corinthians with Corianthiao, the Panel concludes that the domain name at issue is phonetically nearly identical to the Complainantīs trademark CORINTHIAO. As "sport club" is the type of entity, and "paulista" means "original of or pertaining to the city of Sao Paulo", the main carrier of meaning in the "SPORT CLUB CORINTHIANS PAULISTA" trademarks is "CORINTHIANS".
The Panel finds that the allegations of the Respondents, that Corinthians is a "generic term", and, as such, untrademarkeable, cannot be afforded weight, nor relevance in this proceeding. The fact is that a countryīs legal authority for trademarks, the Brazilian Institute of Industrial Property, granted registration for the Complainant "corinthians" marks. Although there are certainly remedies under Brazilian law that allow for a court to decide on the validity of a trademark registration, it is clear that it lies totally beyond a Panelīs powers under these ICANNīs proceedings to discuss the validity of such trademarks.
The Respondents argue that the soccer club Corinthians could not reasonably have chosen its name unless it wanted to make a reference to the biblical books. The Panel considers that that might or might not be the case, but it has to remember that generic terms may be untrademarkeable mainly if they are intended to protect products of services related with the generic terms themselves. However the products and services offered by a soccer club, are certainly not related with the biblical books.
Therefore the Panel finds that the domain name "corinthians.com" is identical or confusingly similar to the Complainantīs trademarks.
6.3 Rights and Legitimate Interests in the Domain Name
The Panel has considered the allegation by the Complainant as to the lack of rights or legitimate interests of the Respondent in respect of the domain name at issue, and the opposing allegation by the Respondents, concerning their bona fide use of the domain name at providing services for the religious public, and its making a noncommercial use of the domain name.
Pursuant to Policy, Paragraph 4(c)(i), the following circumstance, among other circumstances without limitation, if found by the Panel to be proved based on its evaluation of all evidence presented, shall demonstrate Respondentīs rights or legitimate interests to the domain name for purposes of Paragraph 4(a)(ii):
"[B]efore any notice to [Respondent] of the dispute, [Respondentīs] use of, or demonstrable preparations to use, the domain name or a name corresponding of the domain name in connection with a bona fide offering of goods and services".
Undoubtedly, as with any other piece of free speech, publishing of portions of the Scripture on a website at the domain name at issue could prima facie be apt to constitute a bona fide offering of services. However, the Policy sets a condition for a Respondent to present a Panel with such a defense: such use must have occurred "before any notice to (Respondent) of the dispute". It is essential therefore to determine what do the terms "dispute" and "notice" mean in the Policy.
Policy, Paragraph 4, reads: "This Paragraph sets forth the type of disputes for which you are required to submit to a mandatory administrative proceeding." This means that in the Policy a dispute is previous to the proceeding. This also means that "dispute" is not equal to "proceeding", nor to "complainantīs action to initiate proceedings" This is consistent with the meanings given by the Oxford Dictionary for the word "dispute": "Debated state or conflict of opinion", "a controversy or difference or altercation or quarrel". According with the Merriam-Websterīs Collegiate Dictionary, "dispute" means "a verbal controversy" (as a synonym of "debate" and "quarrel").
"Notice" means, according with the Oxford Dictionary, "intimation, warning, announcement, heed, attention, cognizance, observation". The Merriam-Websterīs Collegiate Dictionary gives following meaning: "warning or intimation of something" (as a synonym of "announcement"). Both dictionaries indicate that the etymology refers to the Latin notitia (knowledge, acquaintance, from notus known, from past participle of noscere to come to know). (Panelīs emphasis).
The Respondents contend that "(w)ell prior to the filing of Complainantīs action, Respondent was making noncommercial use of Corinthians.com, while simultaneously offering a bona fide service to the religious public. This action took the form of Respondent placing scripture (a passage holding great personal significance for Respondent) from the book of Corinthians on the website in question." Response, III, 1. (Panelīs emphasis).
The Panel considers that this contention, and even evidence thereof, is not sufficient to demonstrate rights or legitimate interests in the domain name by itself. Under Policy, Paragraph 4(c)(i) such use must effectively pre-date the cognizance of the dispute by Respondent. It is undisputed that by November, 1999 Complainant sent to the Respondent a cease-and-desist letter, which was received by the Respondent. See 4.5 above. Such letter gave the Respondents notice of a dispute involving them and the Complainant, which in turn means that the notice or cognizance was previous to the Respondentīs posting of the Scripture on its website. The Respondent has not denied that its posting of biblical text occurred after receiving such notice. Nor has Respondent annexed any documentary or other evidence that the posting pre-dated notice of the dispute. See 4.6 above.
Thus the Panel finds that the Respondents have not succeeded in demonstrating the circumstance of Policy, Paragraph 4(c)(i), by their posting of biblical citations before the moment of Complainantīs initiating its action in this proceeding but after having the Respondent come to know the dispute. Particularly, the appearance or re-appearance of the Respondentsī biblical posting on the website - with or without new biblical citations and pending this proceeding - is not apt to modify this Panelīs finding. It is therefore immaterial for establishing such bona fide use if and when the Respondentsī service provider for the hosting of Respondentsī website suffered in fact any technical problems on July 23 through July 26, 2000, much after the Respondents had notice of the dispute.
Respondents also alleged the circumstance of Policy, Paragraph 4(c)(iii), that the Respondents are "(...) making a legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the domain name, without intent for commercial gain to misleadingly divert consumers or to tarnish the trademark or service mark."
The Panel considers that this circumstance, while possibly showing a connection with Paragraph 4(c)(i) if it were in fact present, is an independent circumstance. However, this Panel cannot afford any weight to the contention by the Respondents that they are using the domain name in such a way as to allow a respondent that has alleged that circumstance 4(c)(i) was present, being such not the case, to re-use a failed argument. This is especially pertinent for this Panel, that considers that the posting was fabricated to divert consumers, or more generally the public interested in visiting what they think is the site of the well known Brazilian soccer team.
If the Respondent is using the domain name for the very saint and noble purpose of distributing a religious message, why should they use a ".com" domain name (for commercial use)?
The Respondents failed to evidence any other circumstance of having rights or legitimate interests in the domain name. Therefore, the Panel finds that the Respondents have no rights to or legitimate interests in the domain name at issue.
6.4 Registration in Bad Faith
The Respondent has unilaterally contacted the Complainant by means of an email dated September 1, 1999, asking for a contact to discuss the sale of the domain name. It is true that no sum is therein mentioned. However, when the Respondents transferred the "tonimorrison.com" domain name they offered to transfer it for a nominal consideration. The same applies in the "dowjoneson line.com" domain name. See Response, Exhibit 1.
In this case the email of September 1, 1999, shows that there is not any offer to transfer it for a nominal consideration. The Respondents were well aware of such circumstance because they had transferred two domain names for a nominal consideration. Additionally, the Respondent, when offering to a well known Brazilian soccer club the sale of domain name purportedly used to offer services to the religious public, creates a very serious doubt that the Respondentsī real purpose at registering the domain name was to establish a site aimed at the distribution of biblical texts through the Internet.
The Panel considers the whole of the circumstances surrounding the registration, including any moments following registration, and certainly including all submissions of the Respondents in this proceeding. The Panel considered specifically that the Respondents, having no rights or legitimate interest in the domain name (see 6.3. above) did not make any use of the domain name till the moment they posted the biblical texts, before the Complaint submitted its Complaint, but undoubtedly after the Respondents acquired notice of a dispute with the Complainant. The main use Respondents did of the domain name was offering it for sale to the Complainant. Such an offer, which was previous to the Respondentsī biblical posting, throws serious doubts about the Respondents being a religious organization.
Policy, paragraph 4(b) reads:
"For the purposes of Paragraph 4(a)(iii) the following circumstances, in particular but without limitation, if found by the panel to be present, shall be evidence of the registration and use of a domain name in bad faith: (i) circumstances indicating that you have registered (...) the domain name primarily for the purpose of selling (...) the domain name registration to the complainant who is the owner of the trademark or service mark (...), for valuable consideration in excess of your documented out-of-pocket costs directly related to the domain name".
"Primarily" as used in the Policy does not mean "exclusively". Instead, according with the Merriam-Websterīs Collegiate Dictionary, the word means either a) "for the most part" (as a synonym of "chiefly", or b) "in the first place" (as a synonym of "originally"). Should the second meaning be chosen and "primarily" were to mean "at the origin", a Panel would be forced, in order to construe the Policy, to undertake an impossible investigation of the mind of a respondent at the time of registration. This leads the Panel to conclude that the only reasonable choice is to construe the Policy as describing a situation where the chief or main objective of the registration was the sale of the domain name looking after a profit. A Panel is allowed to deducts that such purpose is present from any relevant circumstances shown in the proceeding, no matter when such circumstances occur (before, during of after the moment of registration).
As to which was exactly the amount the Respondents were after for selling the domain name at issue, the Panel believes it is reasonable to infer that it certainly was not a nominal amount. The Respondents behavior in their previous two transfers (one for free and the other one for refund of out-of-pocket costs) shows that they were perfectly aware when to transfer without profit, and when to try to get more than a nominal consideration. Had the Respondents had another idea in mind, they would have behaved like in the "tonimorrison" or in the "dowjonesonline" cases, and they didnīt.
The Panel taking all circumstances of the case in consideration is therefrom led to infer that Respondents primarily registered the domain name at issue for the purpose to sell it to the Complainant for valuable consideration exceeding Respondentsī out-of-pocket registration costs.
Additionally, the Panel concludes that the lack of use following registration of the domain name and the posting of the biblical texts allows to infer that the registration was made to prevent the Complainant from reflecting the mark in a corresponding domain name. It is immaterial if the Respondents engaged in a "pattern of such conduct" by registering many other domain names. Respondents certainly registered "cruzeiro.com" which is the name of a well known Brazilian soccer team, while stating that "this domain is for sale". Complaintīs Exhibit "H". That means that the Complainant has proved that the circumstance of Policy, Paragraph 4(b)(ii) is present.
For the foregoing reasons, the Panel finds that the Respondents have registered the domain name "corinthians.com" in bad faith.
6.5 Use in Bad Faith
Apparently, aside from its biblical posting following their acquiring notice of the dispute, and the offering for sale of the domain name to the trademark owner, Respondents have no made any other use of the domain name at issue.
The Complainant has called the attention of the Panel to WIPO Case D2000-0003 Telstra Corporation Limited v. Nuclear Marshmallows. The Panelist in that case, Mr. Andrew F. Christie, gave an important criterion for a Panel to establish bad faith use:
"The relevant issue is not whether the Respondent is undertaking a positive action in bad faith in relation to the domain name, but instead whether, in all the circumstances of the case, it can be said that the Respondent is acting in bad faith. The distinction between undertaking a positive action in bad faith and acting in bad faith may seem a rather fine distinction, but it is an important one. The significance of the distinction is that the concept of a domain name ībeing used in bad faithī is not limited to positive action; inaction is within the concept".
After the fact of registration the Respondentsī conduct was far from any use in good faith. They unilaterally contacted the Complainant, a soccer team, for selling for profit a domain name purportedly created for the transmission of a holy message. See 4.3. above. They refused to respond to the cease and desist letter sent by Complainantīs counsel. See 4.5. above. They posted the biblical citations on their website following their acquiring notice of the dispute, later introducing changes i. e more biblical citations with presumably the purpose to divert the attention of the Panel who was to decide the dispute 1.
The Panel notes that registration with the primary purpose of selling the domain name with profit to the trademark owner is also a circumstance of bad faith use. See Policy, Paragraph 4(b).
All these facts, together with the lack of rights or interests in the domain name, are found by this Panel to be circumstances of bad faith use as described in the Policy, Paragraph 4(b).
The Panel notes that the posting of biblical quotes by the Respondents followed notice of the dispute (fifteen months after the domain name registration) and is most likely an excuse for camouflaging the purpose of trafficking with the domain name. Had the Respondents in this instant case not contacted the Complainant for selling the domain name the belief and findings of this Panel might have been different.
For the above reasons, the Panel finds that the domain name at issue is being used in bad faith.
The Panel has found that the domain name "corinthians.com" is confusingly similar to the trademarks of the Complainant, and that the Respondents have no rights to or legitimate interests in said domain name. The Panel has further found that the domain name has been registered in bad faith, and is being used in bad faith.
Therefore, pursuant to Paragraphs 4(i) of the Policy and 15 of the Rules, the Administrative Panel decides to require that the registration of the domain name "corinthians.com" be transferred to the Complainant, Corinthians Licenciamentos LTDA.
Roberto A. Bianchi
Dated: July 17, 2000
1. It is immaterial if the additions to the original contents of the website should be called "links" or not.