WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Cisco Technology, Inc. v. Ross Mueller
Case No. D2007-1575
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Cisco Technology, Inc., United States of America, represented by Fenwick & West LLP, United States of America.
The Respondent is Ross Mueller, Cayman Islands, Overseas Territory of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <cisco.net> is registered with Rebel.com Services Corp.
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on October 24, 2007. On October 24, 2007, the Center transmitted by email to Rebel.com Services Corp a request for registrar verification in connection with the domain name at issue. On October 24, 2007, Rebel.com Services Corp 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 November 6, 2007. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was November 26, 2007. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on November 28, 2007.
The Center appointed Fleur Hinton as the sole panelist in this matter on December 5, 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 is the subsidiary of Cisco Systems, Inc. which holds that company’s intellectual property. Both companies are jointly referred to herein as “Complainant”. It therefore owns the very substantial international trademark portfolio of CISCO trademarks and domain names. Cisco Systems, Inc. is the primary licensee of those trademarks and the company which is the public face of the CISCO businesses throughout the world.
The Cisco business in networking technology has been in existence since 1984 and its trademark CISCO has become extremely well-known since that time. It was listed by Interbrand in its ‘Best Global Brands’ of 2006 as the 18th most valuable brand in the world.
The Respondent’s name is Ross Mueller whose address is given as a post office box in Georgetown in the Cayman Islands. Mr. Mueller has been the registrant of the domain name since August 9, 2000.
5. Parties’ Contentions
The Complainant submits that the domain name <cisco.net> is confusingly similar to the CISCO trademark and to the many other domain names which the Complainant has registered. Although those other domain names are used in conjunction with a variety of generic top level domain names (‘gTLD’s) it is accepted that when comparing trademarks and domain names, the gTLDs are to be ignored as Internet users understand what their meaning is and do not use them to distinguish between domain names or trademarks.
The Complainant submits that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in relation to the disputed domain name on the basis that he does not have any trademarks registered for containing and is not able to claim any common law rights as a result of any reputation in any market place in respect of goods or services which the Respondent is offering under the disputed domain name.
Further, the Complainant submits that the Respondent has registered and is using the domain name in bad faith for several reasons, including that the Respondent has constructive knowledge of the Complainant’s well-known trademark CISCO. The Complainant further claims that the Respondent has previously been involved in the registration of domain names which are confusingly similar to other parties’ trademarks, that the Respondent has provided false contact information to the Registrar and that the Respondent is not providing a website at the address “www.cisco.net”.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
The Panel has considered the contentions in the light of the URDP policy, rules and supplemental rules as well as the decisions on domain names of previous panels.
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The Panel finds that the domain name <cisco.net> is confusingly similar to the numerous registered trademarks owned by the Complainant incorporating CISCO and, furthermore, to the Complainant’s domain names incorporating CISCO combined with a large number of gTLDs.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
The Complainant’s trademark CISCO is very well known and has been for most of the 23 years for which it has been trading. Were the Respondent the possessor of a reputation, albeit a much less substantial reputation, in the trademark CISCO for particular goods or services, the Panel is of the view that the Respondent has a duty to demonstrate such reputation. Even if it were a small local reputation, the Respondent may well have the right to a domain name incorporating his trademark with a small local reputation. However, no such effort has been made by the Respondent.
The Complainant has submitted that the Respondent is making no use of his <cisco.net> domain name and that the website at that address has no content. That is no longer the case. However, the website has been directed to the Wilderness Bay guide site showing the Cisco chain of lakes. This could be an attempt by the Respondent to give the use of the disputed domain name an appearance of legitimacy. In any event, it certainly demonstrates no use of the disputed domain name in such a way as to cause an inference of rights or legitimate interests owned by the Respondent to be raised.
In addition, the Complainant has shown results of Google searches which demonstrate no reference to the Respondent apart from the Whois record for “www.cisco.net”.
The Panel finds that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
The Respondent has provided false contact information on the Whois records for the disputed domain name which is a breach of section 2 of the UDRP in which the registrant undertakes to make accurate and complete statements. Cases in which that has been found include Carfax, Inc. d/b/a Carfax v. Auto Check USA, WIPO Case No. D2001-0929; Oxygen Media, LLC v. Primary Source, WIPO Case No. D2000-0362; WaChovia Corporation v. Peter Carrington, WIPO Case No. D2002-0775.
The Respondent provided both a non-functioning email address and an invalid post office box with a facsimile connecting to an unrelated company. One of the effects of this is, of course to delay proceedings such as this and demonstrates a contempt for the URDP policy: firstly by registering a domain name to which the Respondent is not entitled; secondly by making it more difficult for the Complainant to commence proceedings.
In addition, the fact that the disputed domain name incorporates such a well-known trademark coupled with the fact that the Respondent has made no effort to justify his actions, also lead to the conclusion under this heading that the Respondent has registered and used the disputed domain name in bad faith and the Panel so finds.
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 <cisco.net> be transferred to the Complainant.
Dated: December 19, 2007