WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Sportsline.com, Inc. and CBS Broadcasting Inc. (f/k/a CBS Inc.) v. Knot Investments
Case No. D2001-0962
1. The Parties
The Complainants in this administrative proceeding are SportsLine.com, Inc. a Delaware corporation with its principal place of business at 2200 West Cypress Creek Road, Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33309 ("SportsLine"), and CBS Broadcasting Inc. (f/k/a CBS Inc.), a New York corporation with its principal place of business at 1515 Broadway, New York, New York 10036 ("CBS"); SportsLine and CBS collectively, ("Complainants").
The Respondent in this Administrative Proceeding is KNOT INVESTMENTS. The administrative contact is Jerry Stein; e-mail:firstname.lastname@example.org; telephone: 268-480-0012; facsimile:
2. The Domain Names and Registrar
The disputed domain names are <cbssortsline.com>, <cbssportslie.com>, <cbssportslne.com>, <cbsspotrsline.com>, <cbssprtsline.com>, <cbssportsilne.com> and <csbsportsline.com> (collectively, the "Domain Names"). The registrar of these Domain Names is Tucows, Inc., of Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
By registering the subject domain name with the Registrar, the Respondents agreed to the resolution of disputes pursuant to the Policy and Rules.
3. Procedural History
This is a mandatory administrative proceeding submitted for decision 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 World Intellectual Property Organization ("WIPO") Supplemental Rules for Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (the "Supplemental Rules").
The Administrative Panel consisting of one member was appointed on September 7, 2001 by WIPO.
Complainant filed its Complaint with the World Intellectual Property Organization Arbitration and Mediation Center (the "Center") on July 26, 2001, by hard copy and on August 2, 2001, by email. The Center dispatched to the Registrar a Request for Registrar Verification on August 7, 2001. On August 8, 2001, having verified that the Complaint satisfied the formal requirements of the Policy and the Rules, the Center formally commenced this proceeding and notified the Respondent that its Response would be due by August 29, 2001. The Respondent did not file a response by the due date.
An examination of this material confirms that all technical requirements for the prosecution of this proceeding were met.
Neither party requested an opportunity to make further submissions and the Administrative Panel is content to proceed on the basis of the existing record.
4. Factual Background
The following information is derived from the Complainant’s material.
The Complainant Sportsline.com, Inc. is an Internet sports media and entertainment company, which owns and operates numerous Websites, including the CBS SportsLine Website. It is one of the most heavily visited sports sites on the Internet and is accessible via the cbs.sportsline.com domain name.
The Complainant Sportsline is the owner of federal trademark registration number 1010848 for the SPORTSLINE mark. The registration is current. The Complainant SportsLine has filed an application with the United States Patent & Trademark Office under serial number 75878462 for the SPORTSLINE mark. The application was published in the Official Gazette on May 29, 2001. The Complainant SportsLine also is the owner of federal trademark registration numbers 2224498 and 2232497 for the SPORTSLINE USA mark, and such registrations are current.
The Complainant SportsLine also owns common law trademark rights in the name and mark SPORTSLINE.
The Complainant SportsLine has spent a substantial sum of money advertising and promoting the CBS SportsLine Website and other SPORTSLINE branded products and services, which has resulted in the creation of goodwill and popularity for the SPORTSLINE mark. The advertising and promotional efforts have included, among other things, Internet, television and radio advertisements and promotions, as well as the use of promotional merchandise, such as t-shirts, hats and billboards, that display the SPORTSLINE mark.
The Complainant CBS is the owner of federal trademark registration number 0852481 for the CBS mark which bears a registration date of July 9, 1968, and has continuously used the registered mark in connection with radio and broadcasting services.
Over a period of some sixty-five years, the Complainant CBS has spent a substantial sum of money advertising and promoting its services under the CBS mark, which has resulted in the creation of goodwill and popularity for that mark. The Complainant CBS has a substantial presence on the Internet through ownership and operation of the Websites <cbs.com> and <cbsnews.com>, through an ownership interest in the entity which produces the <cbs.marketwatch.com> Website and through exclusive licensing agreements with and an ownership interest in the Complainant SportsLine which produces the CBS SportsLine Website.
The CBS SportsLine Website is co-branded with the CBS mark pursuant to an exclusive licensing agreement between the Complainants.
The Complainants have received widespread unsolicited media coverage, including hundreds of news reports published in newspapers and trade magazines, including Forbes, Business Week, Business Week Online, Electronic Media, Variety, Florida Trend, USA Today, the Wall Street Journal, Wall Street Journal Interactive, Fortune, Internet Week, Interactive Week, Media Life Magazine and Street & Smith’s Sports Business Journal.
The Complainants’ Website has received numerous awards including: The Top 100 Websites, P.O.V. Magazine (2000); and Top NFL Website by Access Magazine (2000); San Francisco Chronicle Best of the Web 2000; Named an Outstanding Website by the Web Marketing Association (2000); Best Football Site from Yahoo! Internet Life (2000); The Top 100 Websites, PC Magazine (2000); Named Best Sports Site by the Fort Worth Star-Telegram (1999); US News and World Report’s "The Best of the Web: Sports" (1999); NetGuide’s "Best Sports Site" (1999); PC Magazine’s top 100 sites on the Web (1999); a "Revolution" award for Soccernet in the U.K. (1999); the Webby Award for sports (1998); PC Magazine’s top 25 sites on the Web (1997); "Editor’s Choice" from UK Plus (1997); NetGuide’s "Platinum Award" for overall site excellence (1997); the Internet Services Association’s "Outstanding Innovation" award for Baseball LIVE! (1996); a "Gold Medal" for Outstanding Olympic Coverage from The Wall Street Journal (1996); a "Members’ Choice" designation from AOL (1996-1998); and NetGuide’s "Platinum Award" as one of the best sites on the Web (1996).
On or about May 11, 2000, the Respondent registered the <cbssortsline.com>, <cbssportslie.com>, <cbssportslne.com>, <cbsspotrsline.com>, <cbssprtsline.com> and <cbssportsilne.com> domain names. On or about April 7, 2000, the <csbsportsline.com> domain name was registered in the name of Liquid Internet and subsequent came to be registered in the name of the Respondent.
The Respondent is not commonly known by the name SPORTSLINE, CBS or the subject domain names, and has not been authorized by the Complainants to use those names.
On or about July 18, 2000, counsel for the Complainants, sent a cease and desist letter to the Respondent, demanding that it transfer the <cbssortsline.com>, <cbssportslie.com>, <cbssportslne.com>, <cbsspotrsline.com>, <cbssprtsline.com> and <cbssportsilne.com> Domain Names to SportsLine. No response was received to these letters, but the Respondent did cause those domain names to redirect to the CBS SportsLine Website. The Respondent has not transferred, or agreed to transfer, the domain names.
On or about December 12, 2000, counsel again wrote to the Respondent demanding transfer of the aforesaid domain names notwithstanding the redirection.
On or about July 12, 2000, counsel sent a cease and desist letter to Mr. Anthony Matiya of Liquid Internet, demanding that it transfer the <csbsportsline.com> domain name to SportsLine. Subsequent to July 12, 2000, the <csbsportsline.com> domain name came under the control of Respondent and Mr. Matiya continues to be listed as the Billing Contact for that Domain Name according to the searches conducted on http://www.opensrs.com. The <csbsportsline.com> domain name continues to resolve to the Respondent’s Website.
The Respondent causes the <csbsportslie.com> domain name to resolve to the domain name <mysportsbook.com> for the Respondent’s MY SPORTSBOOK Website which is promoted as an online casino and sportsbook, such that the <csbsportsline.com> domain name does not remain persistent in the browser window.
The Respondent made no submission in this proceeding.
5. Parties’ Contentions
The Complainants rely on their registration and use of the words "sportsline" and "cbs" and assert that the subject domain names essentially are identical or are confusingly similar. The Complainant relies on the use to which the Respondent puts the subject domain names as showing that it does not have a legitimate interest in them. In part, they merely attract customers to the Respondent's website. It also notes that the Respondent is not known by the names.
Bad faith is shown by the similarity, registration and use of the subject domain names.
The Respondent has not participated in this proceeding.
6. Discussion and Findings
Paragraph 4(a) of the Policy requires the Complainant to prove that:
(i) the domain name is identical or confusingly similar to a service mark in which the Complainant has rights;
(ii) the Respondent has no legitimate interest in respect of the domain name;
(iii) the domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.
Paragraph 4(b) provides for the implication of evidence of bad faith in a number of circumstances:
(i) circumstances that indicate that the Respondent has registered or has acquired the domain name primarily for the purpose of selling, renting, or otherwise transferring the domain name registration to the Complainant who is the owner of the trademark or service mark or to a competitor of the Complainant, for valuable consideration in excess of the Respondent’s documented out-of-pocket costs directly related to the domain name;
(ii) registration of 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 the Respondent has engaged in a pattern of such conduct;
(iii) registration of the domain name primarily for the purpose of disrupting the business of a competitor;
(iv) by using the domain name, intentionally attempting to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to the Respondent’s website or other on-line location, by creating a likelihood of confusion with the complainant's mark as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation, or endorsement of the website or location or of a product or service on it or a location.
These are illustrative and do not represent the only circumstances from which may arise evidence of bad faith.
The Complainant refers to a number of domain name dispute decisions. While these are neither controlling nor binding on this administrative panel, they can be of assistance.
The resolution of this dispute takes place in the context of a consideration of the requirements of paragraph 4(a) of the Policy.
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The Complainant clearly has rights to the words "sportsline" and "cbs". The subject domain names essentially are identical. They merely are various misspellings of the words.
The Administrative Panel is satisfied that the Complainant has met the requirements of paragraph 4(a)(i).
B. Respondents Legitimate Interest
The fact that the Respondent uses one of the subject domain names to attract customers to its website and then causes it to disappear supports the conclusion that it does not have a legitimate interest in that domain name. While its action to redirect most of the subject domain names to the CBS SportsLine Website is commendable, it suggests that the Respondent has no interest at all in the subject domain names. While the Respondent carries on commercial activities associated with the subject domain name, the abuse of a trademark to do so is not legitimate in the context of the Policy. The fact that it is not known by the names also is relevant.
The Administrative Panel is satisfied that the Complainant has met the requirements of paragraph 4(a)(ii).
C. Bad Faith
The facts that a respondent has registered a domain name in which it has no legitimate interest and which is identical or confusingly similar to rights of a complainant does not lead necessarily to the conclusion that the domain name was registered and used in bad faith, but the information which leads to those conclusions may be relevant to a consideration of bad faith.
In this case, the creation of the subject domain names which merely are misspellings of the Complainants’ mark, prima facie is a blatant misuse of the words by which the Complainant is known and to which it has rights. The use of the subject domain names to lead customers to the Respondent's commercial activities again appears to be a blatant misuse of the domain name registration process. These facts support an inference of bad faith.
There is no question that by the Respondent's actions the Complainants' rights are compromised.
In the absence of any explanation by the Respondent, the Administrative Panel is satisfied that the Complainant has met the requirements of paragraph 4(a)(iii).
Based on the information provided to it and its findings, the Administrative Panel concludes that the Complaint has established its case. The Complainants ask that the subject domain names be transferred to the Complainant SportsLine. The Administrative Panel so orders.
Edward C. Chiasson, Q.C.
Dated: September 13, 2001