The Complainant is Anastasia International, Inc. of Kentucky, United States of America represented by Bowles Rice McDavid Graff & Love LLP of United States of America.
The Respondent is Rumen Kadiev of Bulgaria.
The disputed domain name <anastasiadate.info> is registered with GoDaddy.com, Inc.
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on February 16, 2010. On February 17, 2010, the Center transmitted by email to GoDaddy.com, Inc. a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On February 19, 2010, GoDaddy.com, Inc. 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” or “UDRP”), 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 March 3, 2010. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was March 23, 2010. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent's default on February 25, 2010.
The Center appointed Adam Samuel as the sole panelist in this matter on April 6, 2010. 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.
The Complainant is a corporation specialising in introducing Americans to Russian women for the purposes of establishing personal relationships and in organizing what it calls “romance tours” for this purpose.
The Complainant owns United States of America trademarks for the names ANASTASIA, registration number 2083092, dated May 6, 1997 and ANASTASIAWEB, registration number 2936266, dated March 29, 2005.
The disputed domain name was registered in June 27, 2009.
Here are the Complainant's contentions with which the Panel may or may not agree.
The Complainant is one of the world's largest Russian-American introduction and Romance Tour Companies. It markets its online service to prospective clients specifically interested in meeting and establishing personal relationships with women in Russia. It does this through interactive websites such as “www.anastasiadate.com” and “www.anastasiainternational.com”. The Complainant has been featured on television shows all over the world.
The disputed domain name includes the entirety of one of the Complainant's registered trademarks and a major portion of another. It also contains the entirety of the Complainant's domain name <anastaisadate.com> with the suffix of “.info” being the only difference between the two. The inclusion of the “info” suffix gives the impression to Internet users that the disputed domain name is directly affiliated with the Complainant and provides helpful information about the company. Accordingly, prospective clients of the Complainant, searching for the Complainant's website, would mistakenly find or be directed to the Respondent's website.
The Respondent has not been commonly known by the disputed domain name. He only registered the domain name in June 2009. To the best of the Complainant's knowledge, the Respondent has not acquired any trademark or service mark rights in the domain name. The Complainant never authorised the Respondent to use its trademarks in his domain name. The disputed domain name is not being used for any apparent purpose.
The Respondent's domain name was registered primarily for the purpose of unfairly disrupting the business of the Complainant. The similarity between the disputed domain name and the Complainant's trademarks and domain names is a clear attempt to divert prospective clients of the Complainant to the Respondent's website. The Respondent's true purpose in registering the disputed domain name may well be to induce the Complainant to purchase the domain name for an excessive price. The Respondent registered his domain name well after the Complainant's trademarks became known worldwide and the domain name <anastasiadate.com> was registered in 2007.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant's contentions.
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.
The disputed domain name is the Complainant's trademark ANASTASIA followed by the generic word “date” and top level domain, “.info”. On the addition of the word “date” to a trademark, the panel in Deutsche Telekom AG v. Alpha Pacific, WIPO Case No. D2005-0722 said:
“The Respondent uses the trademark with the addition of the words “date” and “match”. In the market for telecommunications and Internet services, the words “date” and “match” are used to describe dating services. Thus, the words which are added to the trademark are used as generic terms. The mere addition of common terms such as “date” and “match”, to a mark, does not change the overall impression of the designations as being domain names connected to the mark, see for example WIPO Case No. D2003-0920 and WIPO Case No. D2001-0020.
The use of the identical and similar trademark is likely to create confusion amongst consumers as to whether the web sites to which the domain names resolve are endorsed by or affiliated in some way with the Complainant.
The first requirement of the Policy has therefore been fulfilled.”
Here, if anything, the situation is more extreme. Dating is a key component in the Complainant's business and the disputed domain name is identical to the Complainant's website with the exception of the top level domain. For these reasons, the Panel concludes that the dispute domain name is confusingly similar to the Complainant's trademark.
The Respondent is not called “Anastasia” or anything similar and does not appear to trade under that or any related name. The website, to which the disputed domain name resolves, is inactive except as a parking page. There is no evidence that the Complainant has authorized the Respondent to use its trademark. It appears that Respondent has never asserted any rights or legitimate interests in that name. For these reasons, on the basis of the available record, notably the absence of a Response, the Panel concludes that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name.
The name “Anastasia” is a common Russian name and “date” is a generic word. Normally, registering a domain name with a combination of a common name and a generic word would not be evidence of bad faith registration and use. However, it is too much of a coincidence for the Respondent to have registered by chance a domain name consisting of a common name and a generic word which is identical to the Complainant's domain name except for the suffix “.info” and reflects the Complainant's trademark, and a key component of its activities. Without any evidence from the Respondent, one has to conclude that the Respondent registered the domain name knowing about the Complainant's business, its trademark and its domain name <anastasiadate.com> and wishing to copy it as far as possible.
In the circumstances, and again in the absence of any response to the Complaint, the only explanation for the Respondent's registration of the disputed domain name seems to be, as the Complainant says, that he wished to do one or more of the following: to disrupt the Complainant's relationship with its customers or potential customers, attempt to attract Internet users for potential gain or persuade the Complainant to buy the domain name from it for an amount in excess of the Respondent's out-of-pocket expenses. These all constitute evidence of registration and use in bad faith: paragraph 4(b)(i), (ii) and (iii) of the Policy.
For all the above reasons, the Panel concludes that the disputed 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 <anastasiadate.info> be transferred to the Complainant.
Dated: April 19, 2010