WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Kirt Lander v. EasyCare Inc.
Case No. D2008-0123
1. The Parties
Complainant is Kirt Lander, Arizona, United States of America, represented by Rutan & Tucker, LLP, United States of America.
Respondent is EasyCare Inc., c/o Network Solutions, Arizona, United States of America.
2. The Domain Names and Registrar
The disputed domain names <renegadehoofboot.com> and <renegadehorseboot.com> are registered with Network Solutions, LLC.
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on January 26, 2008. On January 29, 2008, the Center transmitted by email to Network Solutions, LLC a request for registrar verification in connection with the domain names at issue. On January 29, 2008, Network Solutions, LLC. transmitted by email to the Center its verification response confirming that 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 Respondent of the Complaint, and the proceedings commenced on February 4, 2008. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was February 24, 2008. Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified Respondent’s default on February 28, 2008.
The Center appointed Michael A. Albert as the sole panelist in this matter on March 7, 2008. 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
As Respondent failed to respond to Complainant’s contentions, the Panel finds that the assertions of fact in the Complaint are undisputed. Complainant is the owner of U.S. Trademark Registration No. 3172372 for the mark RENEGADE for “saddlery, namely, hoof boots.”
Respondent registered the disputed domain names <renegadehoofboot.com> and <renegadehorseboot.com> on December 6, 2006. The domain names resolve to similar websites featuring links that direct to pages containing pay-per-click advertising links. A number of these advertising links resolve to the web pages of companies that are direct competitors of Complainant.
5. Parties’ Contentions
Complainant contends that the disputed domain names are identical or confusingly similar to its RENEGADE mark. Specifically, Complainant asserts that the disputed domain names incorporate his RENEGADE mark in its entirety, along with descriptions of Complainant’s goods. Complainant contends that consumers may erroneously believe that Complainant has granted Respondent permission to use the Trademark when in fact it has not. Complainant notes that the mark issued on November 14, 2006, prior to the registration of the disputed domain names on December 6, 2006.
Complainant contends that Respondent has no rights or legitimate interest in the domain names. Complainant asserts that he has never authorized Respondent to use his trademark, or to register or use the disputed domain names. Complainant further asserts that it has no business relationship with the Respondent.
Complainant is not aware of any evidence that Respondent has ever been commonly known by the disputed domain names, nor of any evidence indicating that Respondent is making a legitimate non-commercial or fair use of the domain names.
Complainant contends that the disputed domain names were registered and are being used in bad faith. Complainant contends that by using the domain names, Respondent has intentionally attempted to attract Internet users for commercial gain by creating a likelihood of confusion as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation or endorsement of its website, location, products or services offered on its websites. Complainant asserts that Respondent had constructive notice of Complainant’s mark, by virtue of Complainant’s U.S. Trademark registration, prior to registering the disputed domain names. Complainant also contends that Respondent is holding the disputed domain names to prevent Complainant from owning them.
Respondent did not reply to Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
Paragraph 15(a) of the Rules instructs this Panel to “decide a complaint on the basis of the statements and documents submitted in accordance with the Policy, these Rules and any rules and principles of law that it deems applicable.”
Paragraph 4(a) of the Policy requires that complainant must prove each of the following three elements to obtain an order that a domain name should be cancelled or transferred:
(1) the domain name registered by Respondent is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which Complainant has rights;
(2) 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 Panel concludes, first, that Complainant has sufficiently shown that he has rights in the RENEGADE mark. Complainant owns United States federal registrations for this mark, which creates a presumption of ownership and validity.
Because the domain names use the mark in its entirety and merely add generic words relating to the nature of the business Complainant does in connection with that mark, the domain names are confusingly similar to the Complainant’s mark. See, e.g., Chippendales USA, LLC v. Latins Finest, WIPO Case No. D2003-0980 (February 6, 2004) (the addition of a generic term does not ordinarily serve to distinguish a domain name over registered marks).
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
Respondent has no rights or legitimate interest in the domain names. Complainant asserts, unrebutted, that he has never authorized Respondent to use the mark, or to register or use the disputed domain names. Complainant also asserts, again unrebutted, that he has no business relationship with Respondent.
It does not appear that Respondent has ever been commonly known by the disputed domain names, nor that Respondent is making a legitimate non-commercial or fair use of the domain names.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
The domain names resolve to websites featuring links that direct to pages containing pay-per-click advertising links. A number of these advertising links resolve to the web pages of companies that are direct competitors of Complainant. Such usage strongly suggests bad faith. See Lilly ICOS LLC v. Emilia Garcia, WIPO Case No. D2005-0031 (March 29, 2005) (redirection to website of competitor offering generic version of complainant’s drug evidence of bad faith); Société des Hôtels Méridien v. Modern Ltd. - Cayman Web Dev., WIPO Case No. D2004-0321 (June 14, 2004) (“The question of whether use of a domain name is done in bad faith has been considered especially clear if the site contains links to websites belonging to competitors of the Complainant.”).
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 names <renegadehoofboot.com> and <renegadehorseboot.com> be transferred to Complainant.
Michael A. Albert
Dated: March 21, 2008