WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Six Continents Hotels, Inc. v. Anti-Globalization Domains
Case No. D2003-0765
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Six Continents Hotels, Inc., Delaware, United States of America, represented by Needle & Rosenberg, P.C., United States of America.
The Respondent is Anti-Globalization Domains, Bronx, New York, United States of America.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <holidayinnmotel.com> is registered with Intercosmos Media Group d/b/a directNIC.com (the "Registrar").
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the "Center") on September 29, 2003. On September 29, 2003, the Center transmitted by email to Intercosmos Media Group d/b/a directNIC.com a request for registrar verification in connection with the domain name at issue. On September 29, 2003, Intercosmos Media Group d/b/a directNIC.com 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 October 6, 2003. In accordance with the Rules, Paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was October 26, 2003. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondentís default on October 27, 2003.
The Center appointed M. Scott Donahey as the Sole Panelist in this matter on November 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
Complainant holds 1,237 mark registrations that consist of or include the mark HOLIDAY INN. The usage of such marks dates back to 1952. Complaint, Annex D. Complainant and its affiliates own, manage and franchise over 3,300 hotels with more than 516,000 guestrooms in more than 100 countries and territories. Complainantís trademark is one of the most widely recognized in the hotel business, and more travelers have stayed at a Holiday Inn hotel than have stayed at any other hotel chain in the world. In the last 50 years Complainant has spent almost $1,000,000,000.00 on advertising and promotion of the marks.
Complainant has registered more than 300 domain names that include the HOLIDAY INN mark. Complaint, Annex E. Complainantís main website has been operative since 1995. Approximately 260,000 visitors use the website each day.
Respondent registered the domain name at issue on January 9, 2002. The domain name at issue resolves to a website at "www.abortionismurder.org," which feature anti-abortion images and information. The website offers anti-abortion videos and other merchandise for sale. Respondent has never been authorized to use Complainantís mark.
5. Partiesí Contentions
Complainant contends that the domain name at issue is identical or confusingly similar to Complainantís marks, that Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the domain name at issue, and that Respondent has registered and is using the domain name at issue in bad faith.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainantís contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
Paragraph 15(a) of the Rules instructs the Panel as to the principles the Panel is to use in determining the dispute: "A Panel shall decide a complaint on the basis of the statements and documents submitted in accordance with the Policy, these Rules, and any rules and principles of law that it deems applicable."
Since both the Complainant and Respondent are domiciled in the United States, and since United Statesí courts have recent experience with similar disputes, to the extent that it would assist the Panel in determining whether the Complainant has met its burden as established by Paragraph 4(a) of the Policy, the Panel shall look to rules and principles of law set out in decisions of the courts of the United States.
Paragraph 4(a) of the Policy directs that the Complainant must prove each of the following:
1) that the domain name registered by the Respondent is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which the Complainant has rights; and
2) that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the domain name; and
3) that the domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
Respondentís domain name includes in its entirety Complainantís registered marks. As such, Respondentís domain name is confusingly similar to Complainantís marks. Wal-Mart Stores v. Richard MacLeod, d/b/a For Sale, WIPO Case No. D2000-0662.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
Respondent has presented no evidence that it has rights and legitimate interests in respect of the domain name at issue, nor conceivably could it. While Respondent might have chosen to appear and contest this matter by arguing that it was using the domain name at issue to resolve to a non-commercial protest site opposing abortion, it did not do so. The reason no such argument has been made here is that it has been rejected numerous times by UDRP panels. See Barnes & Noble College Bookstores, Inc. v. Good Domains, WIPO Case No. D2002-0812 (listing many of the UDRP decisions finding such use in bad faith).
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
Respondent is trading on the good will existing in Complainantís famous service mark to attract users to Respondentís website for purposes of commercial gain (the sale of anti-abortion videos and other merchandise). This is evidence of bad faith registration and use under the Policy. Policy, Paragraph 4(b)(iv).
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 <holidayinnmotel.com> be transferred to the Complainant.
M. Scott Donahey
Dated: November 19, 2003