WIPO

 

WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center

 

ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION

Ticketmaster Corporation v. Amjad Kausar

Case No. D2002-1018

 

1. The Parties

The Complainant is Ticketmaster Corporation, C/O Brad Serwin, Vice President, and Acting General Counsel, of Los Angeles, CA 90010, United States of America, represented by Pattishall, McAuliffe, Newbury, Hilliard & Geraldson of United States of America.

The Respondent is Amjad Kausar, of Karachi, 74000, Pakistan.

 

2. The Domain Names and Registrar

The disputed domain names <tickitmaster.com> and <wwwticketmaster.com> are registered with eNom, Inc. ("eNom") of Redmond, WA, 98052, USA.

 

3. Procedural History

The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the "Center") on October 31, 2002. On November 1, 2002, the Center transmitted by email to eNom request for registrar verification in connection with the domain names at issue. On November 7, 2002, eNom transmitted by email to the Center its verification response confirming that the Respondent is listed as the registrant and providing the contact details for the administrative, billing, and technical contact. The Center verified that the Complaint satisfied the formal requirements of the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (the "Policy"), the Rules for Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (the "Rules"), and the WIPO Supplemental Rules for Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (the "Supplemental Rules").

In accordance with the Rules, paragraphs 2(a) and 4(a), the Center formally notified the Respondent of the Complaint, and the proceedings commenced on November 8, 2002. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was November 28, 2002. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondentís default on November 29, 2002.

The Center appointed Howard P. Knopf as the sole panelist in this matter on December 4, 2002. The Panel finds that it was properly constituted. The Panel has submitted the Statement of Acceptance and Declaration of Impartiality and Independence, as required by the Center to ensure compliance with the Rules, paragraph 7.

 

4. Factual Background

According to the uncontested facts and the evidence submitted, the Complainant Ticketmaster Corporation ("Ticketmaster") is the owner of several relevant trademarks in several countries.

These registrations are apparently valid, subsisting, and owned by Ticketmaster. They include U.S. Registration Nos. 1,746,016 for TICKETMASTER (1993) and 1,746,017 for TICKET MASTER and design (1993) and No. 2,464,562 for TICKETMASTER.COM (2001). Ticketmaster has also registered and filed applications to register the TICKETMASTER Mark in over 80 countries and the European Union. Pakistan is not on the list submitted by the Complainant.

The complainant alleges that Ticketmaster uses the domain name <ticketmaster.com> in connection with online ticketing service and that anyone in the world, including persons living in Pakistan, where Respondent is located, with a valid credit card and Internet capability can access Ticketmasterís website and buy tickets for entertainment events. The Complainant alleges that Ticketmasterís affiliates and licensees in Canada, Mexico, Ireland, the United Kingdom and Australia maintain similar websites at "ticketmaster.ca", "ticketmaster.com.mx", "ticketmaster.ie", "ticketmaster.co.uk" and "ticketmaster7.com". The Complainantís uncontradicted allegation is that its trademarks are internationally well known.

 

5. Partiesí Contentions

A. Complainant

The Complainant contends that that the disputed domain names are identical or confusingly similar to its own trademarks and domain names, that the Respondent has no right or legitimate interest in the disputed domain names, and that the Respondent has acquired and used the disputed domain names in bad faith.

The Complainant alleges that the Disputed Domain Names link to <ownbox.com>. The ownbox.com website is only a pop-up box which encourages the Internet user to enter an on-line casino gambling web site. It reads: CONGRATULATIONS!! YOU'VE WON VIRTUAL REALITY CASINO! CLICK on OK and Get Your +150$ FREE Bonus Now!!!" The registrant of ownbox.com also is the same registrant of the Disputed Domain Names, Amjad Kausar.

The uncontradicted evidence is that if an internet user clicks "OK" within the ownbox.com pop-up dialog box, the website links to ticketsnow.com, an online ticket broker and competitor of Ticketmaster. At the same time, several pop-up windows appear for gambling websites, including "super-casino.com", "englishharbour.com", and "caribbeangold.com". If an internet user clicks on "Cancel" in the ownbox.com pop-up dialog box, the ticketsnow.com website pops up in a dialog box and the web site simultaneously links to "http://clickhere.gito.com"/ (the "gito.com website"), a commercial website promoting gambling and commercial products.

B. Respondent

The Respondent has failed to submit any statement. It has therefore not contested the allegations of the Complaint and the Panel shall decide on the basis of Complainantís submissions, and all inferences that can reasonably be drawn therefrom (Rule 14(b) or the Policy).

 

6. Discussion and Findings

The Complainant has asserted its rights several times before in WIPO UDRP proceedings. It has established that "the TICKETMASTER service mark is a strong, arbitrary and well known trademark applied to ticket agency services offered through ticketing outlets and on-line websites . . [1].". Consequently, the Panel accepts that the Complainantís TICKETMASTER trademark is internationally well known for ticket agency services and would be known to a resident of Pakistan who is capable of setting up an English language web site.

A. Identical or Confusingly Similar

There can be no doubt that the disputed domain names are virtually identical to the Complainantís well known trademark TICKETMASTER. The substitution of "i" for "e" is simply common garden variety "typo piracy" that has been dealt with in hundreds if not more previous UDRP cases [2]. Likewise, the addition of "www" without a period before ticketmaster.com has no distinguishing capacity in the context of domain names [3] and is simple typo piracy

B. Rights or Legitimate Interests

The Respondent by its default can only cause the Panel to infer that it has no rights or legitimate interest in the disputed domain names. In any event, there is ample evidence of the use of the disputed domain names to divert traffic to a competitor of the Complainant, for the commercial gain of the Respondent. This overlaps with the issue of bad faith, dealt with below.

The WHOIS evidence shows that the Respondent registered the disputed domain names in August, 2000, which is long after the Complainantís trade mark rights were well established.

C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith

The series of links documented in the evidence and confirmed by the panelist on December 18, 2002, indicates that the Respondent not only is diverting those who inadvertently make typographical errors in their URLs to a competitorís web site but is also attempting to "mouse trap" them into gambling and other referral web sites. The Complainant has provided evidence that the Respondent would receive a 7% referral fee or commission from TicketsNow.com, a competitor of the Complainant from traffic routed to the latterís web site when a transaction is completed. A copy of the latterís Affiliate Program material was provided in evidence.

The Respondent is clearly acting in bad faith by using the Complainantís trademark to profit in the form of commissions by linking of the Ticketsnow.com Affiliate Program. The Panel makes no comment on the role of Ticketsnow.com. Whether or not the Respondent was in violation of the Ticketscom.com terms for its Affiliate Program is not necessary to decide in this matter.

The Panelist also accepts the contention that the use of the trademark TICKETMASTER to link to a rival that offers an affiliate program indicates actual knowledge of the Complainantís rights.

 

7. Decision

For all the foregoing reasons, in accordance with Paragraphs 4(i) of the Policy and 15 of the Rules, the Panel orders that the domain names <tickitmaster.com> and <wwwticketmaster.com> be transferred to the Complainant.

 


 

Howard P. Knopf
Sole Panelist

Date: December 18, 2002

 


1. See Ticketmaster Corporation v. Dmitri Prem, WIPO Case No. D2000-1550 (January 16, 2001). See also Accord Ticketmaster Corporation v. DiscoverNet, Inc., WIPO Case No. D2001-252 (April 11, 2001); Ticketmaster Corporation v. Spider Web Design, Inc., WIPO Case No. D2000-1551 (February 4, 2001); Ticketmaster Corporation v. netAfrik, WIPO Case No. D2001-0906 (August 30, 2001); Ticketmaster Corporation v. Polanski, WIPO Case No. D2002-0166 (April 8, 2002); Ticketmaster Corporation v. Iskra Service, WIPO Case No. D2002-0165 (April 8, 2002); Ticketmaster Corporation v. Dotsan, WIPO Case No. D2002-0167 (April 8, 2002).
2. AltaVista Company v. OFEZ et al, WIPO Case No. D2000-1160 (February 28, 2001) ("[a] misspelling or typographical variation of a well known mark is deemed to be 'confusingly similar' to the Complainant's mark in violation of paragraph 4(a)(i) of the UDRP". See also ." Ticketmaster Corporation v. Dotsan, WIPO Case No. D2002-0167 (April 8, 2002) (finding likelihood of confusion between TICKETMASTER.COM and tickrtmaster.com and tickectmaster.com); Ticketmaster Corporation v. Polanski, WIPO Case No. D2002-0166 (April 8, 2002) (ticketmasster.com); Ticketmaster Corporation v. Iskra Service, WIPO Case No. D2002-0165 (April 8, 2002) (ticketmasteer.com).
3. Reuters Limited v. Global Net 2000, Inc., WIPO Case No. D2000-0441 (July 13, 2000) (transferring wwwreuters.com, etc.)