WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Edmunds.com, Inc. v. emunds, General Delivery
Case No. D2006-1196
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Edmunds.com, Inc., of Santa Monica, California, United States of America, represented by Hitchcock Evert LLP, United States of America.
The Respondent is emunds, General Delivery, of United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <emunds.com> is registered with BulkRegister.com.
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on September 16, 2006. On September 19, 2006, the Center transmitted by email to BulkRegister.com a request for registrar verification in connection with the domain name at issue. On September 19, 2006, BulkRegister.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 September 21, 2006. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was October 11, 2006. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on October 13, 2006.
The Center appointed Eduardo Machado as the sole panelist in this matter on October 25, 2005. 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 owns trademark registration for the EDMUND mark in the United States of America. The Certificate of Registration date is from October 21, 1997. The Complainant also owns registration for the domain name <edmunds.com>.
The Complainant is a leader in the automotive information industry and has been using the trademark in connection with its business since the company was established in 1966.
The <edmunds.com> website is the central focus of Edmund’s business today. Documents attesting the website’s reputation are attached to the Complaint.
The Respondent registered the domain name <emunds.com> on July 18, 2001. There is no indication that the Respondent ever used the domain name and/or a name closely corresponding to Edmund’s mark EDMUND prior to the Complainant’s launch of <edmunds.com> in 1995.
5. Parties’ Contentions
i. The Complainant argues that it has been the exclusive owner of the famous EDMUND trademark.
ii. The Complainant argues that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar, as the only difference is the Respondent’s removal of the first letter “d” from the Complainant’s famous name and mark. The Respondent would take advantage of Internet’s users to misspell and attract such users to it’s own site.
iii. The Complainant also argues that it has found no evidence that the Respondent has any rights or legitimate interests in the domain name at issue. The Complainant argues that the sole purpose of the disputed domain name is to improperly capitalize on the reputation and goodwill established by Edmund over its long history.
iv. The Complainant argues finally that the Respondent registered the domain name in bad faith, as it is virtually identical (except for the missing “d”) to the heavily promoted and well-recognized Complainant’s trademark, domain name and business name.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
Although the Respondent did not reply, it is proper for the Panel to examine the Complainant’s contentions having regard to both the Policy and the Rules.
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The Complainant is correct that the domain name <emunds.com> is confusingly similar to the Complainant’s domain name and trademark, which has been used since 1966 and is registered in the United States of America since 1997.
The removal of the letter “d” is not sufficient to avoid a likelihood of confusion, mainly because omission of letters is predictable form of typographical error, which would benefit only the Respondent. In sum, the Respondent removed the letter “d” to the Complainant’s EDMUNDS mark, and <emunds.com> is confusingly similar to Complainant’s trademark.
Thus, the sole Panelist finds that the first element of the Policy has been met.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
The Complainant alleges that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the domain name at issue as enumerated in paragraph 4(c) of the Policy. The Complainant has made out a prima facie case that the Respondent lacks rights and legitimate interests in the domain name <emunds.com>. The Respondent, by failing to file a Response, did nothing to dispute this contention nor to provide information as to its interests in using the disputed domain name. The fact that the Respondent has made every effort to divert consumers from the Complainant’s web site by using a confusingly similar domain name and focusing on similar content, i.e. links to automotive sites, leaves the Panel with the conclusion that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name.
Therefore, the sole Panelist finds that the second element of the Policy has been established.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
The Panel notes the following particular circumstances of this case:
(i) the Complainant’s trademark and business name has a strong reputation and is widely known;
(ii) the Respondent has provided no evidence whatsoever of any good faith use by it of the disputed domain name, and has not participated in this proceeding even though properly notified thereof;
(iii) the disputed domain name resolves to a commercial website, through which, the Respondent is taking advantage of Internet users to misspell, and improperly capitalizing on the reputation and goodwill established by the Complainant over its history.
In light of these circumstances, the Panel makes the reasonable inference that the Respondent was aware of the Complainant and its trademark and domain name and that the Respondent registered and is using the disputed domain name within the meaning of paragraph 4(b)(iv) of the Policy.
The third element of the Policy has been met.
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 <emunds.com> be transferred to the Complainant.
Date: November 8, 2006