WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Allstate Insurance Company v. Paul Hamilton
Case No. D2011-0427
1. The Parties
Complainant is Allstate Insurance Company of Northbrook, Illinois, United States of America represented by Mintz Levin Cohn Ferris Glovsky and Popeo, PC, United States of America.
Respondent is Paul Hamilton of Laguna Beach, California, United States of America.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <buyallstate.com> is registered with DSTR Acquisition VII, LLC d/b/a Dotregistrar.com.
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on March 4, 2011. On March 7, 2011, the Center transmitted by email to DSTR Acquisition VII, LLC d/b/a Dotregistrar.com a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On March 7, 2011, DSTR Acquisition VII, LLC d/b/a Dotregistrar.com 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 March 8, 2011. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was March 28, 2011. Respondent did not submit any response prior to the due date. Accordingly, the Center notified Respondent’s default on March 29, 2011.
The Center appointed Jeffrey D. Steinhardt as sole panelist in this matter on April 1, 2011. 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.
On Friday April 8, 2011 after the close of business, Complainant submitted a request to the Center to stay proceedings. Complainant explained that it wished to suspend for 30 days pending the voluntary transfer by Respondent of the disputed domain name to Complainant.
The Panel notes that the request for suspension was made eleven days after the March 28, 2011 deadline for Respondent’s response under the Rules, and nearly a week after Respondent’s April 2, 2011 email described below. No communication from Respondent or documentation respecting a potential settlement accompanied Complainant’s request. Complainant also stated that it intended to reinstate proceedings in the event that the transfer did not occur during the requested 30 day suspension period.
Rule 10(a) confers discretion upon this Panel in the conduct of proceedings, consistent with the overall requirements of the Policy and Rules. In light of this Panel’s decision to order transfer, elaborated below, the Panel finds that the interests of due expedition, repose, fairness and cost efficiency for the parties and the Center will be better served by denying Complainant’s request for suspension.
4. Factual Background
Complainant is owner of many registered trademarks including the term “allstate,” for example United States Trademark registration number 717683 registered June 27, 1961.
The disputed domain name was registered March 30, 2000 and does not presently route to an active website.1 Shortly before the Complaint was filed, however, it appears that the website to which the disputed domain name routed was used to display links to third parties including competitors of Complainant in the insurance field.2
5. Parties’ Contentions
Complainant alleges that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to Complainant’s marks. Complainant also alleges Respondent has no legitimate rights or interests in the disputed domain name, and that Respondent registered and is using the disputed domain name in bad faith. Complainant also alleges that on December 10, 2010, it sent a cease and desist letter to Respondent and received no response.
On the basis of the above allegations, Complainant seeks transfer of the disputed domain name.
Respondent did not submit a formal reply to Complainant’s contentions. Following issuance by the Center of the Notice of Respondent Default, however, Respondent sent an email to the Center, on April 2, 2011, stating “I relinquish any further claim I may have to the domain: buyallstate.com[.]”
6. Discussion and Findings
The Rules require the Panel to decide a complaint on the basis of the statements and documents submitted and in accordance with the Policy, the Rules and any rules and principles of law that it deems applicable. Rules, paragraph 15(a). Ordinarily, a complainant must establish each element of paragraph 4(a) of the Policy, namely:
(i) the disputed domain name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which the complainant has rights;
(ii) the respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name; and
(iii) the disputed domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.
Respondent wrote to the Center after the Notice of Respondent default respecting relinquishment of the disputed domain name. Having written the quoted email after receiving the Complaint, the Panel finds that Respondent unilaterally consented to the remedy sought by Complainant.
Under these circumstances, as detailed below, it is unnecessary for the Panel to determine whether Complainant has established its entitlement to transfer under paragraph 4(a) of the Rules. See e.g., The Cartoon Network LP, LLLP v. Mike Morgan, WIPO Case No. D2005-1132 (where complainant sought transfer of the disputed domain name, and respondent genuinely consented to transfer, paragraph 10 of the Rules permits a panel to proceed immediately to make order for transfer without determination of elements of paragraph 4(a)), citing Williams-Sonoma, Inc. v. EZ-Port, D2000-0207).
In Williams-Sonoma, supra, the panel explained:
Because Respondent has consented to the relief requested by Complainant, it is not necessary to review the facts supporting the claim. I am left to decide the appropriate procedure to conclude the case in a situation not directly addressed by the Rules. Several provisions provide guidance. Rule 10(a) gives the panel the discretion to conduct the proceeding in such manner as it deems appropriate under the Policy and the Rules. Rule 10(c) requires the Panel to “ensure that the proceeding takes place with due expedition.” Rule 12 permits the Panel to require further statements from the parties. Rule 17 requires the Panel to terminate the proceeding when the parties have agreed to a settlement.
Here, although Respondent has consented to the requested relief, the parties have not agreed to a formal settlement and terminating the proceeding would not effect the parties intent. Under Rules 10 and 12, the Panel appears to have authority to delay the decision and permit the parties time to submit confirmation that they have agreed to a settlement. That procedure, however, would delay this proceeding and impose unnecessary cost on both the parties and WIPO. Under the circumstances, I believe the better course is to enter an order granting the relief requested by the Complainant so that the transfer may occur without further delay.
Like the panel in Williams-Sonoma, this Panel finds Respondent’s unilateral consent means that the disputed domain name can be transferred to Complainant without determination of the elements of paragraph 4(a). See also Valero Energy Corporation, Valero Refining and Marketing Company v. RareNames, WebReg, WIPO Case No. D2006-1336.3
For all the foregoing reasons, in accordance with paragraphs 4(i) of the Policy and 15 of the Rules, the Panel orders that the disputed domain name, <buyallstate.com> be transferred to Complainant.
Jeffrey D. Steinhardt
Dated: April 11, 2011
1 The Panel has undertaken limited research by visiting the website to which the disputed domain name routes. See WIPO Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions, paragraph 4.5.
2 Annex F to Complaint (printouts of webpages dated March 1, 2011).
3 The Panel notes, however, that there is little danger of this disposition being at odds with the Policy, since the record provides ample evidence that Complainant owns the ALLSTATE trademark, which is fully included in the disputed domain name “buyallstate.com.”