WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Southern California Edison Company v. John Simms
Case No. D2002-0369
1. The Parties
The Complainant in this administrative proceeding is Southern California Edison Company, a corporation existing and organized under the laws of the State of California, United States of America, with a principal place of business at 2244 Walnut Grove Avenue, Rosemead, California 91770, United States of America.
The Respondent is John Simms, whose postal address, according to eNom, Inc.'s Whois database, is 2465 Palisade Avenue, Bronx, New York 10463, United States of America.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The domain name in dispute is as follows: <southerncaliforniaedison.com>. The domain name was registered with eNom, Inc. on February 24, 2002. See Complaint, Annex 1.
3. Procedural Background
On April 19, 2002, the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center received from Complainant a complaint, via e-mail, for decision in accordance with the Uniform Policy for Domain Name Dispute Resolution, adopted by the Internet Corporation of Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) on August 26, 1999 ("Policy"), the Rules for Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy, approved by ICANN on October 24, 1999 ("Rules"), and the WIPO Supplemental Rules for Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (Supplemental Rules). The Complaint was filed in compliance with the requirements of the Rules and the Supplemental Rules, payment was properly made, and the administrative panel was properly constituted
The instant Administrative Proceeding was commenced on April 30, 2002.
Respondent did not file a Response and a "Notification of Respondent Default," dated May 22, 2002, was forwarded by WIPO to Respondent.
The decision of the Panel was due to WIPO on or before June 20, 2002.
4. Factual Background
Complainant has used the service mark SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA EDISON in connection with generating, transmitting, and distributing electricity for over 90 years. Complainant also uses the mark in connection with various ancillary and related services. Complainant owns U.S. Trademark Registration No. 2,409,730 for the mark SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA EDISON, as used in connection with "utility services in the nature of transmitting and distributing electricity" and for "generating electricity." The registration issued on December 5, 2000. See Complaint, Annex 4.
As noted above, Respondent registered the domain name <southerncaliforniaedison.com> on February 24, 2002. Respondent uses the domain name as a linking address to <abortionismurder.com>, on which site are displayed numerous anti-abortion statements and photographs of aborted fetuses. See Complaint, Annex 5. On March 13, 2002, Complainant sent a "cease and desist" letter to Respondent at the address stated in the domain name’s registration data in VeriSign, Inc.’s Whois database. That letter was returned as being undeliverable. See Complaint, Annexes 6 and 7.
5. Parties' Contentions
Complainant contends that the domain name is identical to the registered mark SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA EDISON. It further argues that Respondent should be considered as having no right or legitimate interest in respect of the domain name because the SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA EDISON name and mark are well known in the U.S. in connection with public utility and a wide variety of related services. Further, according to Complainant, Respondent is not commonly known by the "Southern California Edison" name and is not making any legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the domain name.
With respect to the issue of "bad faith" registration and use, Complainant submits that, given the notoriety of its mark, as well as the constructive notice provisions of U.S. trademark law, Respondent must be found to have been aware of the SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA EDISON mark at the time it registered the disputed domain name. Upon information and belief, Complainant further maintains that Respondent registered the domain name and used the name with the intent to sell the name to Complainant for a profit, to prevent Complainant from using the domain name as its own, and to disrupt Complainant's business and/or to attract internet users to its cause by creating a likelihood of confusion. Complainant notes that Respondent utilizes the disputed domain name in a manner such that, upon linking the viewer to the abortionismurder.com web site, the southerncaliforniaedision.com URL remains visible.
Finally, Complainant alleges, in support of its assertion of "bad faith" registration and use, that Respondent used a false address and telephone number (i.e., 123456789) when he registered the domain name in dispute. The record includes an affidavit executed by a paralegal employed by Complainant's counsel in which she declares that she visited the address provided by Respondent and was advised by the building superintendent that Respondent did not reside at that location. See Complaint, Annex 10.
6. Discussion and Findings
The Panel has carefully reviewed the evidence presented and determines that Complainant clearly has met all the requirements set forth in para. 4(a) of the Policy.
The Panel concludes that, as a result of the long time use and registration of the SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA EDISON mark, Complainant has rights in such mark and that, for all intents and purposes, the domain name in issue is identical to Complainant's mark. The addition of the .com top-level domain in the disputed domain name is legally insignificant from the perspective of whether the mark and domain name are identical or confusingly similar.
It is also clear that Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the domain name. The evidence indicates that Respondent does not use the domain name in connection with a bona fide offering of services, that he is not known by the domain name, and that he is not making a legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the domain name, within the meaning of para. 4 (c) of the Policy. The Panel notes that the evidence indicates that the disputed domain name is used only as a link to the <www.abortionismurder.com> web site.
With respect to the issue of "bad faith" registration and use, the Panel concludes that while none of the circumstances spelled out in para. 4(b) of the Policy is applicable, the evidence, in its totality, establishes the requisite bad faith. Such evidence includes Respondent's providing of false contact information when he registered the domain name and the visibility of the <www.southerncaliforniaedison.com> URL when viewers access the highly inflammatory and controversial <www.abortionismurder.com> web site. The visibility of the <southerncaliforniaedison.com> URL renders it likely that, at least some viewers, may mistakenly believe that Complainant is associated with the <www.abortionismurder.com> web site.
In view of the above, the Panel grants Complainant's request for transfer to it of the domain name <southerncaliforniaedison.com>.
Jeffrey M. Samuels
Date: June 11, 2002