WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Las Vegas Sands, LLC v. Hsiu Chin Kuo
Case No. D2006-1377
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Las Vegas Sands, LLC, Nevada, United States of America, represented by Pattishall, McAuliffe, Newbury, Hilliard & Geraldson, United States of America.
The Respondent is Hsiu Chin Kuo, Taichung, Taiwan, Province of China.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <77sands.com> (the “Domain Name”) is registered with Network Solutions, LLC.
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on October 26, 2006. On October 31, 2006, the Center transmitted by email to Network Solutions, LLC a request for registrar verification in connection with the domain name at issue. On October 31, 2006, Network Solutions, LLC 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 November 16, 2006. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was December 6, 2006. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on December 11, 2006.
The Center appointed Michelle Brownlee as the sole panelist in this matter on January 3, 2007. 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 owns U.S. Registration No. 1,209,102 for the mark SANDS (Stylized) (see image below) in connection with entertainment services, namely, providing stage shows, gambling and casino services.” The registration claims a first use in commerce in 1952. Complainant also owns numerous registrations for the SANDS word mark in Singapore and Macao.
5. Parties’ Contentions
Complainant and its predecessors in interest have provided hotel, casino and entertainment services under the SANDS mark since the 1950s. Complainant has spent millions of dollars to promote its casinos and hotels under the SANDS mark throughout the world, and has sold millions of dollars worth of entertainment, casino and hotel services under the SANDS mark. Complainant submits that the long use and promotion of the mark have made the SANDS mark well-known and have created a strong secondary meaning in the SANDS mark throughout the world.
Respondent is using the Domain Name in connection with an online gaming site that competes with Complainant’s casino services. Complainant contends that Respondent does not have rights or legitimate interests in the Domain Name, and has registered and is using the Domain Name in bad faith in an attempt to intentionally attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to Respondent’s web site by creating a likelihood of confusion with Complainant’s trademark.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
Paragraph 4(a) of the Policy provides that in order to be entitled to a transfer of a domain name, a complainant must prove the following three elements:
(1) the domain name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which the complainant has rights; and
(2) the respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the domain name; and
(3) the domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The Domain Name is identical to Complainant’s trademark except for the addition of the numbers “77” at the beginning of the domain name. The pairing of two “lucky sevens” with Complainant’s widely known trademark for gambling services is likely to lead Internet users to believe that the Domain Name is a site affiliated with Complainant.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
Paragraph 4(c) of the Policy provides that a respondent can demonstrate a legitimate interest in a domain name by demonstrating one of the following facts:
(i) before receiving any notice of the dispute, the respondent used or made preparations to use the domain name in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services; or
(ii) the respondent has been commonly known by the domain name; or
(iii) the respondent is 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 at issue
Respondent has not provided any evidence of rights or legitimate interests in the Domain Name. Respondent does not appear to be known by “77 Sands” and his use of the Domain Name in connection with online gambling services that compete with Complainant’s casino services cannot be considered a bona fide offering of goods or services, or a noncommercial or fair use. Accordingly, the Panel finds that Respondent does not have any right or legitimate interest in the Domain Name.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
Paragraph 4(b) of the Policy states that the following circumstances are evidence of registration and use of a domain name in bad faith:
(i) circumstances indicating that the respondent has registered or acquired the domain name primarily for the purpose of selling, renting, or otherwise transferring the domain name registration to the complainant who is the owner of the trademark or service mark or to a competitor of that complainant, for valuable consideration in excess of documented out-of-pocket costs directly related to the domain name; or
(ii) the respondent registered the domain name in order to prevent the owner of the trademark or service mark from reflecting the mark in a corresponding domain name, provided that the respondent has engaged in a pattern of such conduct; or
(iii) the respondent has registered the domain name primarily for the purpose of disrupting the business of a competitor; or
(iv) by using the domain name, the respondent has intentionally attempted to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to its web site or other online location, by creating a likelihood of confusion with the complainant’s mark as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation, or endorsement of its web site or location or of a product or service on its web site or location.
Complainant has established bad faith under paragraph 4(b)(iv) of the Policy. Respondent’s use of the Domain Name in connection with on-line gaming services that compete with Complainant’s services demonstrates an intentional attempt to attract Internet users to Respondent’s site by creating confusion as to source, sponsorship of, affiliation with or endorsement by Complainant. Accordingly, the Panel finds that the Domain Name was registered in bad faith.
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 <77sands.com> be transferred to the Complainant.
Dated: January 21, 2007