WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
The Sans Institute v. Belize Domain WHOIS Service Lt
Case No. D2007-0881
1. The Parties
Complainant is The Sans Institute of Bethesda, Maryland, the United States of America, represented by its internal authorized representative.
Respondent is Belize Domain WHOIS Service Lt of City of Belmopan, Belize.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <sansinstitute.com> is registered with Intercosmos Media Group d/b/a directNIC.com.
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on June 14, 2007. On June 18, 2007, the Center transmitted by email to Intercosmos Media Group d/b/a directNIC.com a request for registrar verification in connection with the domain name at issue. On June 21, 2007, Intercosmos Media Group d/b/a directNIC.com transmitted by email to the Center its verification response confirming that the Respondent is listed as the registrant and providing the contact details. 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 July 18, 2007. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was August 7, 2007. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on August 10, 2007.
The Center appointed Peter D. Siemsen as the sole panelist in this matter on August 23, 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, The Escal Institute of Advanced Technologies, d/b/a The SANS Institute, is a limited liability corporation incorporated in the State of Delaware, the United States of America.
Complainant is the owner of trademark SANS, registered by the United States Patent and Trademark Office under registration number 2785582 and of the domain name <sans.org>.
The disputed domain name <sansinstitute.com> was registered in the name of Respondent with Intercosmos Media Group, Inc. on June 22, 2005.
5. Parties’ Contentions
- Complainant owns trademark SANS, registered in the U.S. under registration number 2785582, first used in commerce in 1998, to identify downloadable computer software to facilitate in detecting, monitoring, analyzing, evaluating and reporting computer network intrusions and attacks and computer network security threats; computer software for gathering, integrating and summarizing data relating to computer network intrusions and attacks and computer network security threats; downloadable electronic publications in the nature of newsletters, technical bulletins, research summaries, security alerts and educational materials in the fields of computers, computer networks and information security.
- Complainant also owns the domain name <sans.org>.
- Complainant alleged that the domain name <sansinstitute.com> is confusingly similar to its domain name <sans.org>, and this may lead people to believe there is an association between these two domain names.
- Complainant also alleged that the domain name <sansinstitute.com> includes the word “institute” and this is meant to strengthen the association of this domain name with Complainant, as the name of Complainant’s organization is Sans Institute.
- Complainant pointed out that there is no evidence of the Respondent’s use of or demonstrable preparations to use the domain name <sansinstitute.com> in connection with legitimate services or offerings. Further, the Respondent has never been an employee, agent, contractor or in any way associated with Complainant or authorized to act on behalf of Complainant.
- Complainant alleged that the domain name <sansinstitute.com> has been registered for the sole purpose of taking advantage of the well-known SANS trademark to divert Internet users to other computer websites, which is neither a bona file offering of goods or a non-commercial or fair use as outlined under Paragraphs 4(c)(i) and 4(c)(iii) of the Policy.
- Complainant believes that the domain name <sansinstitute.com> has been registered in bad faith because Respondent intended to improperly utilize the SANS trademark to generate revenue for themselves and to divert web traffic to other computer and information security-related websites through a “pay per click” domain parking scheme.
Respondent did not reply to Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
A. Identical or confusingly similar domain name
The domain name at issue is <sansinstitute.com>.
Complainant’s name is The Escal Institute of Advanced Technologies, which does business as The SANS Institute.
Since the domain name is <sansinstitute.com>, it embodies Complainant’s SANS trademark and trade name.
Under these circumstances, the Panel finds that the domain name is confusingly similar to the Complainant’s mark and that the requirement of Paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Policy has been met.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
According to Paragraph 4(c) of the Policy, Respondent can demonstrate its rights or legitimate interests to the domain name by evidencing some circumstances, as for example: that it has used the domain name in connection with a bona fide offering of the services; that it has been commonly known by the domain name; that it has made a legitimate non-commercial or fair use of the domain name.
Respondent has not submitted any reply to the Complaint.
However, in the absence of a response it is well established that the Complaint still bears the burden of establishing this element on a prima facie basis, at which point the burden of proof in refuting passes to Respondent.
The evidence in the Complaint does not suggest the applicability of any of the three circumstances referred to above.
The website at the disputed domain name contains a number of links to other websites that provide information on various subjects. There is no indication in the website that the Respondent is known by the name “sans” or “sansinstitute”, such as contact information indicating an identifiable entity by that name behind the website. Further, the website “www.sansinstitute.com” appears to have the sole purpose of providing links to other websites, which of itself does not give rise to rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name, but which does indicate that commercial gain is derived from its use.
In view of the above, the Panel finds that Complainant has shown Respondent’s lack of rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. The Respondent has not rebutted this. Accordingly, the Panel believes that Paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy has been met.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
Paragraph 4 (b)(iv) of the Policy indicates that one of the circumstances that characterizes bad faith is when the respondent is using the domain name for intentionally attracting for commercial gain Internet users to its website by creating a likelihood of confusion with the complainant’s mark.
Based on the facts raised above, the Panel concludes that the domain name <sansinstitute.com> is likely to be confused with Complainant’s mark SANS and with the Complainant’s organization, Sans Institute, the name of which is identical to the domain name in question and that Respondent was likely well aware of this fact in registering the disputed domain name. Further, Respondent, who has not chosen to submit a Response, appears to be intentionally using the disputed domain name to attract Internet users to its website for commercial gain by providing links to other websites through a “pay per click” domain parking scheme.
Accordingly, the Panel concludes that the domain name <sansinstitute.com> has been registered and used in bad faith in accordance with Paragraph 4 (b)(iv) of the Policy.
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 <sansinstitute.com> be transferred.
Peter D. Siemsen
Dated: September 6, 2007