WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Gorilla Trades, Inc. v. Clark Cochran
Case No. D2006-0530
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Gorilla Trades, Inc., of Jupiter, Florida, United States of America, represented by the law firm Dobin & Jenks, LLP, Jupiter, Florida, United States of America.
The Respondent is Clark Cochran, Centreville, Virginia, United States of America.
2. The Domain Names and Registrar
The disputed domain names are:
All are registered with GoDaddy.com.
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on April 26, 2006. On April 27, 2006, the Center transmitted by email to GoDaddy.com a request for registrar verification in connection with the domain names at issue, and GoDaddy.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 for all of the disputed domain names. 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 May 3, 2006. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was May 23, 2006. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on May 24, 2006.
The Center appointed Richard G. Lyon as the sole panelist in this matter on June 7, 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 is a Florida (USA) corporation that operates a subscription-based financial services newsletter under the name GorillaTrades.com. Complainant’s service mark GORILLA TRADES was registered with the United States Patent and Trademark Office in January 2005 with a first-use in commerce in 1999.
Respondent is an individual and apparently a disgruntled customer or former customer of Complainant. He registered the disputed domain names on April 22, 2006. In an email message that he sent to Complainant on April 17, 2006, Respondent states that he was dissatisfied with Complainant’s services and the returns on his investments, and even more dissatisfied that Complainant “ignor[ed]” Respondent’s earlier request for an explanation. Respondent goes on to state: “I have begun my crusade,” and that he had established a website at “www.gorillashit.com” at which he would post his criticism of Complainant.
In a subsequent email to Complainant, Respondent stated he had “purchased” the disputed domain names and put four of them “up for sale.” He stated, “If I do not hear back from you, I will move forward with the sale of each of these four websites to whomever offers the first acceptable offer for each site individually.” He said that <gorillatrades.info> and <gorillashit.com> were not for sale.
5. Parties’ Contentions
A. Complainant. The Complainant contends as follows:
Identical or confusingly similar to a mark in which Complainant has rights.
Except for the top-level or country-level domain indicator, the disputed domain names are identical to Complainant’s registered service mark, Gorilla Trades.
Rights or legitimate interests. Respondent has never been known by the disputed domain names, and his sole purpose in registering them “is to harm Complainant and tarnish and dilute Complainant’s registered marks.”
Bad faith. Respondent’s email communications conclusively establish bad faith because he intentionally registered the disputed domain names to prevent Complainant’s use of them, and held four of them out for sale.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
Paragraph 4(a) of the Policy directs that the Complainant must prove each of the following:
(a) that the Domain Name registered by the Respondent is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service in which the Complainant has rights;
(b) that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect to the Domain Name; and
(c) that the Domain Name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.
Complainant bears the burden of proof on each item. Respondent’s default does not automatically result in judgment for the Complainant. WIPO Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions, ¶4.6; The Knot, Inc. v. Julia Bitton, The Nest, WIPO Case No. D2006-0377.
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
Complainant has demonstrated its rights in the mark Gorilla Trades, and each of the disputed domain names is identical to that mark except for the generic or country-code top-level domain indicator. The indicator is of no moment, and Complainant has satisfied the requirements of paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Policy.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
Complainant has not authorized Respondent to use its mark. Respondent has not come forward with any evidence to demonstrate that it has rights and the disputed domain names or is making a legitimate use of them. On the contrary, Respondent’s email communications indicate that he registered the marks solely to inconvenience Complainant. There is nothing in the record to indicate Respondent made any use at all of any of the disputed domain name other than attempting to sell all but one of them. There is no evidence that Respondent used any of the disputed domain names for criticism of Complainant, obviating any need for the Panel to consider the free speech aspects of criticism websites. See WIPO Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions, ¶2.4. Though in one of the emails Respondent suggests that he may use a website for criticism of Complainant, there is no evidence that he did so. When the Panel reviewed each of the disputed domain names the universal response was “This domain name is for sale.”
Paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy is satisfied.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
Respondent’s own words, in the email communications to Complainant, betray his bad faith in registration and use of the disputed domain names. That evidence establishes that Respondent registered the disputed domain names to disrupt Complainant’s business, and in retaliation for his perceived slighting by Complainant. While his conduct does not fit precisely into any of the four examples of bad faith in paragraph 4(b) of the Policy,1those factors are not exclusive, and the Panel has no difficulty finding the requisite bad faith from Respondent’s broadside offer of the disputed domain names for sale and stated intention of registering these domain names solely to interfere with Complainant’s 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 names, <gorillatrades.biz>, <gorillatrades.info>, <gorillatrades.name>, <gorillatrades.tv>, and <gorillatrades.ws> be transferred to the Complainant.
Richard G. Lyon
Dated: June 12, 2006