WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Caesars World, Inc. v. Mark Stephens
Case No. D2001-0553
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Caesars World, Inc., a corporation organized in the State of Florida, United States of America (USA), with a principal place of business at 3930 Howard Hughes Parkway, 4t Floor, Las Vegas, Nevada 89109, USA.
The Respondent is Mark Stephens with an address at 4002 Morningside Way, Morgantown, West Virginia, USA.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The domain name in dispute is <caesarspalaceusa.com>.
The registrar of the disputed domain name is BULKREGISTER.COM, Inc. with a business address at 7 East Redwood Street, Baltimore, Maryland 21202, USA and an URL at www.bulkregister,com. BULKREGISTER.COM Inc. is accredited by Internet Corporation for Assigned names and Numbers (ICANN) under an agreement with ICANN.
3. Procedural History
A summary of the procedural history of the administrative proceeding is as follows:
(a) The Complainant initiated the proceeding by submitting a Complaint via e-mail without exhibits on April 17, 2001 and a hardcopy of the Complaint with exhibits on April 20, 2001 via courier to WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (WIPO). Payment of the required fee was submitted with the hardcopy of the Complaint.
(b) On April 17, 2001, a copy of the Complaint without exhibits was sent to the Respondent via e-mail and a copy with exhibits was sent via courier to the Respondent at the address at 4002 Morningside Way, Morgantown, West Virginia, USA, listed for the Respondent in the UWWHOIS database.
(c) A copy of the Complaint was also sent to BULKREGISTER.COM, Inc. via e-mail without exhibits and via courier with exhibits on April 17, 2001.
(d) On April 19, 2001, BULKREGISTER.COM, Inc. confirmed that the disputed domain name was registered by the Respondent with BULKREGISTER.COM, Inc. and that the disputed domain name is subject to the ICANN Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP). BULKREGISTER.COM, Inc. further confirmed the postal address and e-mail address listed for the Respondent.
(e) On April 23, 2001, the Formal Compliance Requirements Checklist was completed by WIPO and Respondent was notified of the initiation of the administrative proceeding and that the due date of a response to the Complaint was May 12, 2001.
(f) Up to the present, no response was received from the Respondent. A Notification of Default was sent to Respondent via e-mail on May 15, 2001.
(g) An administrative panel consisting of one single panelist as requested by the Complainant was appointed. A Statement of Acceptance and Declaration of Impartiality and Independence was received from the appointed panelist, Maria C.H. Lin. The administrative panel was properly constituted. The proceedings have been conducted in English.
(h) No further submissions were made by the Complainant or the Respondent.
(i) The deadline for the Panel to issue a decision is June 5, 2001.
4. Factual Background
The Respondent is in default for not having submitted a response to the Complaint. The facts, supported by the Exhibits A to O to the Complaint and the confirmation by BULKREGISTER.COM, Inc., are determined to be as follows:
Complainant is the owner of eleven US federal registrations for the marks CAESARS PALACE and CAESARS PALACE (Stylized) for a variety of goods and services including playing cards in International Class 16, dice in International Class 28, promotion of sports events in International class 41 and casino services in International Class 42. US Registration Nos. 907,693; 907,696; list casino services among other services. US Registration Nos. 951,262 and 1,158,035 list playing cards and dice. US Registration Nos. 1,091,551 and 1,090,494 list promotion of sports events. The registrations are in force. Copies of the US registrations have been provided as Exhibit G to the Complaint.
The mark, CAESARíS PALACE has also been registered in many countries including Australia, the Bahamas, the Benelux countries, Canada, China, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Mexico, Malaysia, Panama, Singapore, Spain, South Africa, South Korea, Taiwan, Turkey, the United Kingdom and Venezuela [Complaint, ∂17].
Complainantís web site <www.caesars.com/palace/default.html> has been in operation since June 1996.
The disputed domain name <caesarspalaceusa.com> has been registered with BULKREGISTER.COM, INC. since May 5, 2000. Mark Stephens, the Respondent, is listed as both the administrative and technical contacts. The record was last updated on February 21, 2001. The domain name is owned by the Respondent [Complaint Exhibit I]
The registrar, BULKREGISTER.COM, Inc. has been accredited by ICANN and the disputed domain name is subject to UDRP. A copy of the Registration Agreement is available on the website http://bulkregister,com/agreement.phtml [Complaint, Exhibit B].
A printed copy of the contents of the web site, <caesarspalaceusa.com>, shows that casino and sports betting services and links to pornographic sites were offered [Complaint Exhibit J].
A copy of a letter dated February 27, 2001, was sent to Respondent from the Complainant objecting to the use and registration of the disputed domain name, <caesarspalaceusa.com> [Complaint, Exhibit K]. In response, Respondent informed the Complainant that the disputed domain name was placed into auction by the Respondent and the highest bid received was $45,501.00. The Respondent offered to sell the disputed domain name to Complainant for $50,000.00. [Complaint, Exhibit L]. Despite Respondentís statement in the same letter that the web site will be taken off the line, it was still in operation on March 14, 2001. Furthermore, a link is provided to another web site with the domain name, romancasinousa.com [Complaint, Exhibit M].
The Respondent has not filed a response and is now in default.
5. Partiesí Contentions
Complainant states that it is the owner of the marks CAESARS PALACE and CAESARS PALACE (Stylized) which have been registered widely around the world [Complaint,∂18 and Exhibit G]. Complainant also states that it has used and registered the mark for a variety of goods and services including gaming goods such as playing cards and dices and services including casino services and the promotion of sports events [Complaint, ∂11& 15]. Complainant has enjoyed success operating CAESARíS PALACE casino and hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA visited by millions of people every year [Complaint, ∂12-13, 16-17]. Complainant also operates a website www.casesars.com/palace/default.html wherein the mark CAESARS PALACE used in connection with casino services is prominently displayed [Complaint, ∂14 & Exhibit D].
Complainant contends that the disputed domain name <caesarspalaceusa.com> is confusingly similar to CAESARS PALACE. Moreover, the use of the disputed domain name with casino and gambling services is an infringement of the rights of Complainant in the marks CAESARS PALACE and CAESARS PALACE (Stylized). Complainant further contends that the Respondent has adopted, used and registered the domain name <caesarspalaceusa.com> in bad faith as evidenced by Respondentís offer to sell the disputed domain name to others and to Complainant [Complaint, Exhibits L and M].
Complainant requests the immediate transfer of the disputed domain name to Complainant [Complaint ∂31].
Respondent has not filed any response to the Complaint.
6. Discussion and Findings
This dispute is governed by the UDRP and the UDRP Rules.
Article 15(a) of the Rules requires the decision to be based on the statements and documents submitted in accordance with the UDRP and Rules and any rules and principles of law deemed applicable. Since both the Complainant and Respondent are domiciled in USA, the trademark law of USA applies.
Under paragraph 4(a) of the UDRP, the Complainant is required to prove:
(i) the domain name is identical or confusingly similar to the Complainantís trademark or service mark;
(ii) the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the Domain Name; and
(iii) the domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.
Paragraph 4(b) of the UDRP identifies the following circumstances as evidence of registration and use of a domain name in bad faith:
(i) The respondent has registered or acquired the domain name primarily for the purpose of selling, renting, or otherwise transferring the domain name registration to complainant who is the owner of the trademark or service mark or to a competitor of that complainant, for valuable consideration in excess of the respondents out-of-pocket costs directly related to the domain name, or
(ii) the respondent has registered the domain name in order to prevent the owner of the trademark or service mark from reflecting the mark in a corresponding domain name, provided that respondent has engaged in a pattern of such conduct, or
(iii) the respondent has registered the domain name primarily for the purpose of disrupting the business of a competitor, or
(iv) by using the domain name the respondent has intentionally attempted to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to the respondentís web site or on the on line location, by creating a likelihood of confusion with the complainantís mark as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation or endorsement of the respondentís web site or location or of a product or service on the respondentís web site or location.
A comparison of the disputed domain name <caesarspalaceusa.com> and Complainantís registered marks, CAESARS PALACE or CAESARS PALACE (Stylized) shows that the dominant part of the disputed domain name is identical to the registered trademarks. The contents of the web site of the disputed domain name shows that it offers casino services and sports betting services, services identical or similar to the services offered by the Complainant under its registered trademarks. Under the law of the United States as set forth in In re E.I. duPont de Nemours & Co., 476 F.2d 1357, (CCPA 1973), the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to the registered mark.
The Respondent has not provided any evidence that it has a legitimate interest or right in the disputed domain name.
The evidence shows that the disputed domain name has been registered in bad faith. Evidence shows that Respondent has made an offer to sell the domain name to others [Complaint Exhibit M] and to the Complainant for a sum of $50,000 [Complaint Exhibit L]. This amount is far in excess of the out-or-pocket costs directly related to the domain name. This is evidence of bad faith. WIPO decisions D2000-0044, March 2000; D2000-0001, February 2000; D2000-0012, February 2000. Moreover, the Respondent has used the disputed domain name in a manner to attract commercial gain and to create a likelihood of confusion that the web site is sponsored by the Complainant or affiliated with the Complainant or endorsed by the Complainant. Under trademark law such use of the disputed domain name is an infringement of Complainantís rights in the registered trademark. This is also evidence of bad faith. Further, the offering of sports betting services and links to pornographic sites is evidence that the disputed domain name is registered and used to denigrate Complainantís registered trademarks and the operations of the Complainant. WIPO D2000-0005, March, 2000. These acts are evidence of bad faith.
Thus, the requirements of UDRP paragraph 4(a) and 4(b) have been met by the Complainant.
The panel has determined that the disputed domain name <caesarspalaceusa.com> as registered and used is confusingly similar to the Complainantís registered trademark, CAESARS PALACE, that the Respondent does not have any rights or legitimate interests in the domain name, and that the Respondentís registration and use of the disputed domain name was in bad faith.
Accordingly, the disputed domain name, <caesarspalaceusa.com> is required to be transferred to Complainant, Caesars World, Inc.
Maria C.H. Lin
Dated: June 5, 2001