WIPO

 

WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center

 

ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION

Match.com, L.P., v. Amjad Kausar

Case No. D2003-0510

 

1. The Parties

The Complainant is Match.com, L.P., of Texas, United States of America, represented by Pattishall, McAuliffe, Newbury, Hilliard & Geraldson of United States of America.

The Respondent is Amjad Kausar, of Karachi, Pakistan.

 

2. The Domain Name and Registrar

The disputed domain name <wwwmatch.com> is registered with eNom.

 

3. Procedural History

The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the "Center") on June 26, 2003. 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 July 9, 2003. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was July 29, 2003. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondentís default on July 30, 2003.

The Center appointed George R. F. Souter as the sole panelist in this matter on August 5, 2003. 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

The Complainant has provided evidence that it is the owner of a US trade mark registration of the mark "MATCH.COM" covering the services which it provides to its clients, namely dating and introduction services, in which use of the trade mark has been claimed from 1995, and has also provided a list of jurisdictions across four continents in which registered trade mark protection has been sought or obtained.

The Complainantís web site at "www.match.com" contains a path which links customers to what the Complainant refers to as 25 "regional web sites", in 18 languages, which the Panel has confirmed to be the case.

 

5. Partiesí Contentions

A. Complainant

The Complainant avers that it has more than 8 million members in 230 countries, that its total world-wide revenue derived from its services under the "MATCH.COM" trade mark has exceeded US$ 200,000,000 since 1995, and that it expends "many millions of dollars" each year in advertising and promoting its services under its "MATCH.COM" trade mark.

It claims that the Respondentís domain name <wwwmatch.com> is virtually identical or confusingly similar to its "MATCH.COM" trade mark, that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the domain name at issue, and that the Respondent has registered and used the domain name in bad faith.

In support of its contentions that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the domain name at issue, and that the domain name was registered in bad faith, the Complainant has drawn the Panelís attention to five previous decisions by WIPO Panels (Alta Vista Company v. Amjad Kausar, WIPO Case No. D2002-0934, Ticketmaster Corporation v. Amjad Kausar, WIPO Case No. D2002-1018, EasyGroup IP Licensing Limited v. Amjad Kausar, WIPO Case No. D2003-0012, Salomon Smith Barney, Inc. v. Amjad Kauser, WIPO Case No. D2003-0034 and Federated Western Properties, Inc. v. Amjad Kausar, WIPO Case No. D2003-0265) in which the present Respondent was also the Respondent. In all five cases the domain name at issue was a typographical variation or a misspelling of a well known trade mark, and in all five cases the Respondent was ordered to transfer the domain name at issue to the Complainant. In two of these cases, the domain names at issue (<wwwticketmaster.com>and <wwweasyjet.com>) contained a well known trade mark prefixed by "www".

B. Respondent

The Respondent did not reply to the Complainantís contentions.

 

6. Discussion and Findings

Paragraph 4(a) of the Policy lists three tests which a Complainant must satisfy in order to succeed:

(i) the domain name is identical or confusingly similar to a trade mark or service mark in which the Complainant has rights; and

(ii) the respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the domain name; and

(iii) the domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.

(i) Identical or Confusingly Similar

In connection with the first of these tests, the Panel finds that the Complainant is the owner of the trade mark "MATCH.COM" both by registration and acquired reputation.

The question of the addition of "www" as a prefix to a Complainantís trade mark in a domain name has been raised in front of the Panel on many occasions, the first of these being (InfoSpace.com, Inc. v. Registrar Administrator Lew Blanck, WIPO Case No. D2000-0069), and the result has been a uniform finding that this results in confusing similarity with the trade mark. The Panel in this case concurs with the findings of the Panel in these previous cases and, accordingly, finds that the domain name at issue in this case is confusingly similar to the Complainantís trade mark.

(ii) Rights or Legitimate Interests

In connection with the second test, the Complainant has asserted the Respondentís lack of legitimate interest in the domain name and the Respondent has not taken the opportunity accorded to it under these proceedings of justifying its adoption of the domain name. There appear to be no circumstances attached to the Respondentís name or address which might lead to any suspicion of legitimate interest. In these circumstances, and in light of the previous similar cases involving the Respondent, the Panel decides that the Complainant, whose Complaint was transmitted to the Respondent under the procedure, has satisfied the second test.

(iii) Registered and Used in Bad Faith

The third test is, in reality, a dual test, requiring the Panel to be satisfied both that the domain name has been registered in bad faith and used in bad faith.

The finding that a domain name has been registered with no demonstrable rights or legitimate interests leads, in the facts of this case, in the Panelís opinion, to a finding that the domain name has been registered in bad faith. That, of course, leaves the further test of use in bad faith to be confronted.

There is ample authority in the previously decided cases that a pattern of abusive behaviour following registration in bad faith is by itself sufficient to satisfy "the second leg" of this dual test. The Panel finds that the previous cases involving the Respondent drawn to his attention by the Complainant are sufficient to enable him to find that the Respondent has indulged in a pattern of abusive behaviour, and that the Complainant has, accordingly, satisfied both legs of the third test. In this case, the Respondentís operation of the website at issue, in providing a portal to a competing service to that of the Complainantís (the contents of which the Complainant may very well not approve of), which provides the Respondent with a potential means of profiting illegitimately from the web site, is more than sufficient to justify a finding of use in bad faith.

 

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 name, <wwwmatch.com>, be transferred to the Complainant.

 


 

George R. F. Souter
Sole Panelist

Dated: August 18, 2003