WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
HBH, Limited Partnership v. Caribbean Online International Ltd.
Case No. D2006-1454
1. The Parties
The Complainant is HBH, Limited Partnership, Norcross, Georgia, United States of America, represented by Kilpatrick Stockton, LLP, United States of America.
The Respondent is Caribbean Online International Ltd., Nassau, BS, Bahamas.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <thehoneybakedhamcompany.com> is registered with BelgiumDomains, LLC.
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on November 13, 2006. On November 15, 2006, the Center transmitted by email to BelgiumDomains, LLC a request for registrar verification in connection with the domain name at issue. On November 15, 2006, BelgiumDomains, 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 21, 2006. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was December 11, 2006. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on December 12, 2007.
The Center appointed Adam Samuel as the sole panelist in this matter on January 17, 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
The Complainant owns three trademarks registered in the United States of America for the name THE HONEYBAKED COMPANY. It has a number of other such marks for the name THE HONEYBAKED HAM COMPANY EST. 1957 going back to 1996. It also has numerous registered trademarks beginning with the words “honey”, “baked” “ham” and “company” and others which contain the expression “honey baked ham” in various forms. The Complainant and its licensees use these marks to sell about $200 million worth of honeybaked ham and other related products. They have sold their products over the Internet since 1995. On October 2002, the Complainant registered the domain name <honeybakedhamcompany.org>.
5. Parties’ Contentions
These are the Complainant’s contentsion. The Complainant and its licensees use the trademarks to sell honey baked ham products. The domain name in issue is confusingly similar to all of the company’s honey baked ham related trademarks. In particular, the domain name reproduces in its entirety the Complainant’s HONEYBAKED HAM COMPANY trademark. Given the widespread fame of the Complainant’s honey baked ham trademarks, consumers will reasonably believe that the domain name is related to the Complainant. The Complainant’s adoption and extensive use of the honey baked ham marks far predates the first use of the domain name in issue. The Respondent has no relationship with the Complainant and has not been authorized to use any of its trademarks. The Respondent is using the domain name to divert traffic to a linking portal for profit.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
Under the Policy, the Complainant must prove that:
(i) the domain name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which it has rights; and
(ii) the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the domain name; and
(iii) the domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The domain name in issue reproduces a registered trademark belonging to the Complainant with only the addition of the word “.com” and by joining the primary words in the Complainant’s trademarks together. The Panel finds that this renders the domain name in issue confusingly similar to the Complainant’s THE HONEYBAKED HAM COMPANY trademarks and those that add to that expression the words “Est. 1957”..
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
The Respondent does not have “honey baked” in its name. It does not produce “honey baked” goods. It does not appear to trade under that name. There is no evidence that the Complainant has authorized the Respondent to use any of its trademarks. The Respondent has never asserted any rights or legitimate interests in the name. For these reasons, on the basis of the evidence before the Panel and in the absence of a Response, the Panel finds that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the domain name.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
The domain name resolves to a website which currently offers click-throughs links to websites offering various travel and financial services products.
The Respondent is not offering ham-related products through the domain name in issue. The Respondent has not explained why it chose this particular domain name. One can only infer from this that the Respondent selected the name of a ham producing company of which it was aware and decided to use it to divert internet users to its own site for commercial gain.
In another case, where the same Respondent used the Complainant’s trademark to divert customers to its website, New Chapter Inc. v. Caribbean Online International Ltd., WIPO Case No. D2006-1251, the Panel said:
“The Respondent did not choose to register the domain name by accident. It simply misappropriated a domain name and used it to attract Internet users to offer them links to goods that compete with the Complainant’s, presumably for commercial gain (as click-through fees, advertising or otherwise). Given the use of the domain name made by the Respondent, such conduct falls within the type of bad faith registration and use contemplated by paragraph 4(b)(iv). In addition, it is difficult to conceive of any plausible actual or contemplated active use of the domain name by the Respondent that would not be infringing or tarnishing the Complainant’s marks”.
For the same reasons, the Panel concludes that the domain name was registered and is being used 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 <thehoneybakedhamcompany.com> be transferred to the Complainant.
Dated: February 9, 2007