World Intellectual Property Organization

WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center

ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION

The Coleman Company, Inc. v. Robert Takovich

Case No. D2010-1891

1. The Parties

Complainant is The Coleman Company, Inc of Wichita, Kansas, United States of America represented by Pattishall, McAuliffe, Newbury, Hilliard & Geraldson, United States of America.

Respondent is Robert Takovich of Columbia, Maryland, United States of America.

2. The Domain Name and Registrar

The disputed domain name <colemancampers.com> is registered with Moniker Online Services, LLC.

3. Procedural History

The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on November 5, 2010. On November 8, 2010, the Center transmitted by email to Moniker Online Services, LLC a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On November 9, 2010, Moniker Online Services, 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” 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 Respondent of the Complaint, and the proceedings commenced on November 11, 2010. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was December 1, 2010. Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified Respondent’s default on December 2, 2010.

The Center appointed Sandra A. Sellers as the sole panelist in this matter on December 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.

4. Factual Background

Complainant Coleman is a leading producer of many kinds of outdoor products, particularly for camping, which are sold under the COLEMAN mark. The company was founded in the early 1900s. In the 1960s, Complainant began to sell camping trailers, also under the COLEMAN mark. Since 1979, Complainant’s camping trailers have been the best selling camping trailers in North America. The Coleman camping trailer is the most popular folding camping trailer in North America.

Coleman owns more than 50 United States federally registered trademarks for the COLEMAN word mark or COLEMAN design in connection with a wide variety of outdoor recreational products. Complainant claims first use of the COLEMAN mark in 1945, and the registrations issued beginning in 1951. Complainant’s marks have become famous. Three of Complainant’s federal registrations specifically cover Coleman camping trailers, with first use at least as early as September 1968.

Complainant has operated several websites, including “www.coleman.com” and “www.colemantrailers.com”.

The disputed domain name <colemancampers.com> was registered on November 11, 1998. The disputed domain name resolves to a website containing links to various other commercial websites that offer both Coleman’s camping trailers and other competitors’ camping trailers, particularly “pop-up,” or folding, trailers.

5. Parties’ Contentions

A. Complainant

Complainant contends that it is known worldwide for its outdoor products, which have been sold under the COLEMAN mark since 1945, and has sold camping trailers under the COLEMAN mark since 1968. Complainant contends that the COLEMAN mark is famous. Complainant contends that it has rights in the mark, and that Respondent’s use of <colemancampers.com> to sell camping trailers is confusingly similar in that the disputed domain name incorporates Complainant’s mark in its entirety.

Complainant alleges that Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the mark, because Respondent is not licensed or authorized to use Complainant’s mark, and that Respondent is not making legitimate noncommercial use of the disputed domain name.

Complainant alleges that Respondent registered and uses the disputed domain name in bad faith. It alleges that Respondent registered the disputed domain name with actual or constructive knowledge of Complainant’s registered marks, which were in use for over 50 years prior to registration of the disputed domain name. Complainant further alleges that Respondent uses the disputed domain name for commercial gain by directing consumers to another website selling campers, including Coleman camping trailers and those sold by competitors.

B. Respondent

Respondent did not reply to Complainant’s contentions.

6. Discussion and Findings

Paragraph 4(a) of the Policy provides that in order to divest a respondent of a disputed domain name, a complainant must demonstrate each of the following:

(i) the domain name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which the complainant 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

Complainant clearly has demonstrated that it has rights in the COLEMAN mark. Complainant is a leading worldwide outdoor products company, and the largest source of outdoor products and camping trailers in North America. Complainant has been selling a variety of camping products under the COLEMAN mark since at least 1945, and has sold camping trailers under the mark since 1968. Complainant owns more than 50 United States federally registered marks for Coleman outdoor products, including three for camping trailers. This Panel finds that the COLEMAN mark is distinctive and famous. Additionally, Complainant owns the domain names <coleman.com> and <colemantrailers.com>.

The disputed domain name incorporates Complainant’s mark in its entirety, with the addition of the generic term “trailer.” Many panels have held that the addition of a generic term does not sufficiently distinguish the disputed domain name from complainant’s mark as to avoid confusing similarity with complainant’s mark, particularly where the additional generic term is related to complainant’s goods or services. See, e.g., Rada Mfg. Co. v. J. Mark Press a/k/a J. Mark Cutlery, WIPO Case No. D2004-1060; and Westinghouse Electric Corporation v. Kathy Chang, WIPO Case No. D2009-1464.

The Panel finds that Complainant has rights in the COLEMAN mark, and that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to Complainant’s registered mark, so that Complainant meets the first criterion of paragraph 4(a) of the Policy.

B. Rights or Legitimate Interests

Because it is generally difficult for a complainant to prove the fact that a respondent does not have any rights or legitimate interests in a disputed domain name, previous UDRP decisions have found it sufficient for the complainant to make a prima facie showing of its assertion.

Respondent is not affiliated with or related to Complainant, nor is Respondent licensed or authorized to use the COLEMAN mark. On the evidence before the Panel, Respondent does not appear to make any legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the disputed domain name. The Panel is satisfied that Complainant has made a prima facie showing of Respondent’s lack of rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name.

Respondent is in default, and has not provided any evidence in its own favor.

The Panel finds that the evidence is sufficient to establish that Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name, and thus Complainant meets the second criterion of paragraph 4(a) of the Policy.

C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith

Complainant has sold outdoor products under its COLEMAN mark for 65 years, and over 50 years before Respondent registered the disputed domain name. Complainant’s COLEMAN trademark registration was issued more than 45 years before the disputed domain name was registered. The disputed domain name <colemancampers.com> was registered on November 11, 1998, long after Coleman’s adoption, use and registration of the COLEMAN marks, and long after the COLEMAN marks became famous.

Based on these facts, this Panel infers that Respondent was aware or must have been aware of Complainant’s mark when Respondent registered the disputed domain name. See, e.g., Jupiters Limited v. Aaron Hall, WIPO Case No. D2000-0574, in which the panel found it “inevitable that Respondent registered the domain names in full knowledge of Complainant’s rights and interests”. Moreover, the use of a domain name confusingly similar to Complainant’s mark and selling the same product – here, camping trailers - supports an inference that Respondent knew of Complainant’s mark before Respondent registered the disputed domain name. The Panel is of the view that Respondent thus registered <colemancampers.com> in bad faith.

The disputed domain name resolves to a website that contains links to other sites for camping trailers that directly compete with Complainant’s Coleman camping trailers. This use is clearly commercial. Respondent’s use of the disputed domain name is an attempt to create confusion to attract Internet users to Respondent’s website for commercial gain.

It is now a well-known practice to display on a web page or search engine various links to other commercial websites under a pay-per-click commission scheme: every link activated by an Internet user enables the host of the search engine to collect financial remuneration proportional to the number of connections. See, e.g., Deutsche Telekom AG v. WWW Enterprise, Inc., WIPO Case No. D2004-1078. Therefore, in the Panel’s view, it is evident that Respondent has registered and used the disputed domain name with the intent to attract Internet customers looking for Coleman camping trailers, thereby making commercial gain from click-through revenue from the sponsored links.

This Panel finds that Respondent has registered and used the disputed domain name in bad faith, within the meaning of paragraph 4(b)(iv) of the Policy and that Complainant meets the third criterion of paragraph 4(a) of the Policy.

7. Decision

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 <colemancampers.com> be transferred to Complainant.

Sandra A. Sellers
Sole Panelist
Dated: December 17, 2010

 

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