WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Sun Works Tanning, Inc. v. Paradise Tan
Case No. D2006-0427
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Sun Works Tanning, Inc, Pasadena, California, United States of America, represented by Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith LLP, United States of America.
The Respondent is Paradise Tan, La Crescenta, California, United States of America.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <sunworkstanning.com> is registered with Go Daddy Software.
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on April 5, 2006. On April 5, 2006, the Center transmitted by email to Go Daddy Software a request for registrar verification in connection with the domain name at issue. Go Daddy Software 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. In response to a notification by the Center that the Complaint was administratively deficient, the Complainant filed an amendment to the Complaint. The Center verified that the Complaint together with the amendment to 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 April 20, 2006. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was May 10, 2006. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default.
The Center appointed Mark V.B. Partridge as the sole panelist in this matter on May 18, 2006. 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 operates a chain of tanning salons in Los Angeles. It has used the name “Sun Works Tanning” since 1998.
In 2005, Complainant learned that the domain name <sunworkstanning.com> was linked to one of its competitors operated by one Joey Ball, a personal acquaintance of the owner of Complainant. After objection, the link was discontinued, but the domain name was offered for sale.
5. Parties’ Contentions
Complainant contends that the domain name is confusingly similar to a mark in which it owns rights, that the Respondent has no right or legitimate interest in the domain name and that the domain name was registered and used in bad faith.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
Based on the evidence submitted by Complainant, and the lack of defense offered by Respondent, it appears that this is a simple case of cybersquatting.
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
Complainant has demonstrated common law rights in the name and mark SUN WORKS TANNING based on evidence of use since 1998. Its recent application, filed March 8, 2006, corroborates that claim of rights but in itself does not establish any rights in the mark. Nevertheless, the Panel finds that the name is suggestive and entitled to protection as a trademark based on use in the Los Angeles area, where Respondent also operates.
The domain name at issue is identical in material part to Complainant’s mark.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
Complainant has provided evidence that Respondent is not making bona fide use of the domain name and is not known by that name. Respondent has presented no evidence to suggest that it has any right or legitimate interest in the domain name. The record presented is sufficient to make a prima facie showing that Respondent lacks any right or legitimate interest in the domain name.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
The record demonstrates bad faith registration and use in several respects. First, it appears that the domain name was registered and used by Respondent to disrupt the business of a competitor. Second, after receiving an objection for Complainant, Respondent posted an offer to sell the domain name, presumably for profit to the highest bidder. Finally, the Respondent used the domain name to redirect Internet users to a competition website for commercial gain based on confusion with Complainant. Respondent, like Complainant, is a local Los Angeles business. The business owners are acquainted with each other. There is no plausible, good faith basis for Respondent to register and use the name of one of its competitors to redirect Internet users to its business.
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 <sunworkstanning.com> be transferred to the Complainant.
Mark V.B. Partridge
Dated: June 19, 2006