WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
SAFE Credit Union v. Mike Morgan
Case No. D2006-0588
1. The Parties
The Complainant is SAFE Credit Union of North Highlands, California, represented by Moore, Brewer, Jones & Tyler, Austin, Texas, United States of America.
The Respondent is Mike Morgan, Topsail, California, United States of America.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name is <safecreditunion.org> (the “Domain Name”). The registrar of the Domain Name is PSI-USA, Inc.
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on May 9, 2006. On May 10, 2006, the Center transmitted by e-mail to PSI-USA, Inc. a request for registrar verification in connection with the Domain Name. On May 12, 2006, PSI-USA, Inc. transmitted by e-mail to the Center its verification response confirming that the Respondent is listed as the registrant of the Domain Name. 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 Respondent of the Complaint, and the proceedings commenced on May 29, 2006. In accordance with the Rules, Paragraph 5(a), the due date for Respondent’s Response was June 18, 2006. Respondent did not submit any Response. Accordingly, the Center notified Respondent’s default on June 20, 2006.
The Center appointed David M. Kelly as the sole panelist in this matter on July 4, 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 SAFE Credit Union offers credit union services, and commercial and consumer lending services, including savings and checking accounts, certificates of deposit, mortgages, vehicle loans, student loans, home and business loans, credit cards, and debit cards.
Complainant owns U.S. Registration No. 2,093,097 for the mark SAFE CREDIT UNION, first used August 26, 1953, filed August 29, 1996, issued September 2, 1997, covering credit union services and consumer lending services in International Class 36; and U.S. Registration No. 2,294,483 for the mark SAFE CREDIT UNION and Design, first used August 3, 1998, filed November 4, 1998, issued November 23, 1999, also covering credit union services and consumer lending services in International Class 36.
Complainant also claims common law rights in its mark SAFE CREDIT UNION based on Complainant’s use of that mark since at least as early as 1953.
According to information from Callahan’s 2006 Credit Union Directory provided by Complainant, Complainant is the 16th largest credit union in California; the 71st largest credit union in the U.S. in terms of asset size with assets exceeding $1,250,000,000; and the 88th largest credit union in the U.S. in terms of number of members. Complainant’s members, which numbered more than 114,500 as of June 30, 2005, are located throughout the U.S.
Complainant’s website, which it has operated since 1995, is currently located at the domain name <safecu.org>. Complainant’s website provides online banking services and information about Complainant.
Respondent uses the Domain Name for a pay-per-click website advertising links to competing and non-competing products and services.
5. Parties’ Contentions
Complainant contends that the Domain Name is identical to and confusingly similar to its SAFE CREDIT UNION mark and name.
Complainant contends inter alia that Respondent does not have any legitimate interest in the Domain Name because Respondent allegedly uses the Domain Name for a website advertising links to competing and non-competing products and services, and that Respondent is not known by the name “Safe Credit Union.”
Complainant contends that Respondent registered and uses the Domain Name in bad faith to intentionally attract Internet users to its website for commercial gain.
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 mark in which the complainant has rights; (B) that the respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the domain name; and (C) the domain name has been registered and used in bad faith.
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The Panel finds that the Domain Name is identical to Complainant’s mark SAFE CREDIT UNION because it incorporates Complainant’s mark in its entirety and adds the generic gTLD “.org.” See, e.g., The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc. v. Mark Andreev (NAF FA0511000593127) (holding the domain name <pnc.org> identical to the complainant’s PNC mark because it is comprised of complainant’s mark in its entirety and the generic top-level domain “.org”). Accordingly, the Panel finds for Complainant under the first element of the Policy.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
Under the Policy, the respondent’s rights or legitimate interests to the domain name are established by demonstrating any of the following three conditions: “(i) before any notice to you of the dispute, your use of, or demonstrable preparations to use, the domain name or a name corresponding to the domain name in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services; or (ii) you (as an individual, business, or other organization) have been commonly known by the domain name, even if you have acquired no trademark or service mark rights; or (iii) you are making a legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the domain name, without intent for commercial gain to misleadingly divert consumers or to tarnish the trademark or service mark at issue.”
The Panel finds that Complainant has made a prima
facie showing that Respondent does not meet any of the three prongs of legitimate
interest identified in the Policy, andRespondent has not filed a Response. First,
there is no evidence that Respondent is or has not been commonly known by the
Domain Name. Second, Respondent’s registration and use of the Domain Name
for a commercial pay-per-click website advertising links to directly competing
websites does not constitute a bona fide offering of goods or services
under the Policy. Third, Respondent’s activities do not
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
The Panel finds that Respondent’s registration
and use of the Domain Name meet the bad faith element set forth in Section 4(b)(iv)
of the Policy. Specifically, Respondent in all likelihood
For all the foregoing reasons, in accordance with Paragraph 4(i) of the Policy and Paragraph 15 of the Rules, the Panel orders that the domain name <safecreditunion.org> be transferred to Complainant.
David M. Kelly
Dated: July 18, 2006