WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
AlBA - International Boxing Association v. PrivacyProtect.org / Elton John
Case No. D2010-1967
1. The Parties
The Complainant is AlBA - International Boxing Association of Lausanne, Switzerland represented by BMP Associés, Switzerland.
The Respondent is PrivacyProtect.org of Moergestel, Netherlands and “Elton John” of ZeeServers Inc. of Brooklyn, New York, United States.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <aibaboxing.com> (“the Domain Name”) is registered with UK2 Group Ltd.
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on November 17, 2010. On November 17, 2010, the Center transmitted by email to UK2 Group Ltd. a request for registrar verification in connection with the Domain Name. On November 18, 2010, UK2 Group Ltd. transmitted by email to the Center its verification response disclosing registrant and contact information for the Domain Name which differed from the named Respondent and contact information in the Complaint. The Center sent an email communication to the Complainant on November 19, 2010 providing the registrant and contact information disclosed by the Registrar, and inviting the Complainant to submit an amendment to the Complaint. The Complainant filed an amended Complaint on November 22, 2010.
The Center verified that the Complaint together with the amended 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 November 29, 2010. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was December 19, 2010. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on December 20, 2010.
The Center appointed Dawn Osborne as the sole panelist in this matter on December 22, 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
The Complainant is the International Boxing Association known as AIBA, launched in 1946. It has an international registered trade mark for AIBA with logo registered in 2008 for sports-related goods and services.
The Domain Name was registered on June 10, 2010.
5. Parties’ Contentions
A. The Complainant
The Complainant’s submissions can be summarized as follows:
The Complainant is the International Boxing Association, AIBA, a not-for-profit organization launched in 1946 to replace the dissolved Federation Internationale De Boxe Amateur, FIBA, founded in 1920. More than 60 years later AIBA, with its 195 member federations, continues to govern the sport of boxing. The Complainant registered <aiba.org> in 2005 and this is now the official website of the Complainant, containing details about its history, events, news and documents including rules and regulations.
The trade mark AIBA with a stylized logo of a boxer has been registered as an international trade mark since 2008 for, inter alia, sporting, cultural activities and entertainment.
The Domain Name is identical to the acronym of the Complainant AIBA and to its registered trade mark, save that for the generic word “boxing”, as it is the field within which the Complainant operates. The Complainant has not given the Respondent permission to use its registered trade mark and its unauthorized use is therefore illegal. The public could wrongly assume that the site at the Domain Name is the official website of the Complainant. The Domain Name is confusingly similar to the Complainant’s name and mark.
The Domain Name is not used in connection with a bona fide offering of goods and services, but has been used in order to cause damage to the reputations of the Complainant, its current president and executive director, as the website contains untrue and highly defamatory allegations about them. The allegations are wholly untrue and without foundation. As such, the information contained on the website is grossly misleading. The Respondent has used the confusingly similar Domain Name in an attempt to deceive the public and to try to make the allegations seem credible. The Respondent has chosen to hide its identity by using privacy services.
There can be no doubt that the Respondent deliberately chose the Domain Name knowing that “Aiba” was the name of the Complainant. The site attached to the Domain Name displays on its home page the official AIBA logo as registered in order to generate confusion in the mind of the public. The banner found on the website attached to the Domain Name is an exact copy from the Complainant’s official site. Additionally, page headings on the site are confusingly similar to those on the Complainant’s official site. Whilst some of the headings point to pages with the untrue allegations, some are linked to real pages from the Complainant’s official site. This demonstrates that the Respondent deliberately seeks to generate confusion amongst Internet users who will be inclined to believe the site attached to the Domain Name is the official site of the Complainant.
B. The Respondent
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
According to paragraph 4(a) of the Policy, the Complainant must prove that:
- The Domain Name is identical or confusingly similar to a trade mark or service mark in which the Complainant has rights; and
- The Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Domain Name; and
- The Domain Name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The Domain Name consists of the Complainant’s AIBA registered mark and the generic word “boxing”. The addition of the generic word “boxing”, reflecting the area of business in which the Complainant operates, does not serve to distinguish the Domain Name from the Complainant’s AIBA trade mark. As such, the Domain Name is confusingly similar to a trade mark in which the Complainant has rights for the purpose of the Policy.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
The Respondent has not filed a Response, does not appear to have any trade marks associated with AIBA, does not appear to be commonly known by this name and does not have any consent from the Complainant to use this name. The site which was attached to the Domain Name mimicked the official Complainant’s site by copying its banners and headings and distributed information which the Complainant says is untrue, an allegation which has not been denied. In addition, the site did not seek to disabuse the impression that it was the official site of the Complainant and actively encouraged that impression by linking to the Complainant’s official site. These factors show that the Respondent has not been using the Domain Name for a legitimate noncommercial or fair use. It is not clear if there is commercial gain accruing to the Respondent from the evidence, but there is certainly an attempt to tarnish the trade mark at issue. Accordingly, the Panel finds that the Respondent does not have any rights or legitimate interests in the Domain Name.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
Paragraph 4(b) of the Rules sets out non-exclusive criteria which shall be evidence of the registration and use of a domain name in bad faith including circumstances where, by using the domain name, the Respondent has intentionally attempted to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to its web site or other on-line location, by creating a likelihood of confusion with the Complainant’s mark as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation, or endorsement of its web site or location or of a product or service on its web site or location.
It does appear that the Respondent has attempted to attract and cause confusion amongst Internet users between the Complainant’s website and the site attached to the Domain Name, but it is not clear if this is for commercial gain or is simply malicious. However, the criteria given in paragraph 4(b) are not exhaustive, and the Respondent has not refuted the allegation that the site mimics the Complainant’s official website, points to it in parts and substitutes untrue allegations which are presented as legitimate content of the Complainant. As such, the Panel holds that this conduct amounts to use in bad faith, and it is clear that the Registrant knows exactly who the Complainant is and registered the Domain Name in bad faith to cause such confusion.
In addition, paragraph 4(b)(iii) of the Policy holds that it shall be evidence of bad faith if the domain name has been registered primarily for the purpose of disrupting the business of a competitor. It does appear that the site attached to the Domain Name seeks to compete with the official site of the Complainant and has disruptive intent.
Accordingly, the Panel finds that the Domain Name has been 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 <aibaboxing.com> be transferred to the Complainant.
Dated: December 30, 2010