WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Timeshares Direct, Inc. v. MCW Designs
Case No. D2011-1139
1. The Parties
Complainant is Timeshares Direct, Inc. of Orlando, Florida, United States of America, represented internally.
Respondent is MCW Designs of Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, United States of America.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <timesharesbyowner.net> (the “Domain Name”) is registered with GoDaddy.com, Inc.
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on July 6, 2011. On July 6, 2011, the Center transmitted by email to GoDaddy.com, Inc. a request for registrar verification in connection with the Domain Name. On July 8, 2011, GoDaddy.com, Inc. transmitted by email to the Center its verification response confirming that Respondent is listed as the registrant and providing the contact details. Complainant filed an amended Complaint on July 11, 2011.
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 Respondent of the Complaint, and the proceedings commenced on July 13, 2011. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was August 2, 2011. Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified Respondent’s default on August 3, 2011.
The Center appointed Christopher S. Gibson as the sole panelist in this matter on August 9, 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.
4. Factual Background
Complainant, who is specialized in advertising agency services in the field of time share property, is the owner of the U.S. trademark, TIMESHARES BY OWNER, registration No. 3185992, which has a filing date of July 1, 2005 and a registration date of December 19, 2006.
Complainant is the registrant of the domain name <timesharesbyowner.com>, which was registered March 3, 1998.
Respondent registered the Domain Name on July 24, 2003.
Both Complainant and Respondent are located in Florida, United States of America.
5. Parties’ Contentions
Complainant has submitted a very summary Complainant. Complainant contends that the Domain Name is identical to a trademark in which the Complainant has rights. In fact, Complainant claims that the Domain Name is exactly the same as its trademarked phrase, TIMESHARES BY OWNER.
Complainant also contends that Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Domain Name. Complainant’s emphasizes that its registered trademark TIMESHARES BY OWNER, is its exclusive property, and Complainant has never granted any rights to Respondent. Complainant has been using the trademark TIMESHARES BY OWNER since 1998, which predates any use by Respondent. Complainant also states that Respondent is using Complainant's trademark to compete improperly with Complainant.
Last, Complainant argues the Domain Name was registered and is being used in bad faith. Complainant states that Respondent started improperly using the trademark several years after Complainant's first use of the trademark TIMESHARES BY OWNER. When Complainant’s trademark was published for opposition, Respondent never complained. Respondent is using the Domain Name to compete against Complainant and divert potential customers.
Respondent did not reply to Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
As has been recited in many UDRP decisions, in order to succeed in its claim, Complainant must demonstrate that the three elements enumerated in paragraph 4(a) of the Policy have been satisfied. These are that:
(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 to or legitimate interests in respect of the Domain Name: and
(3) Respondent has registered and is using the Domain Name in bad faith.
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The Panel is satisfied that Complainant is the owner of the United States trademark, TIMESHARES BY OWNER, registration No. 3185992, which Complainant states has been used in commerce since 1998. In accordance with the WIPO Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions, Second Edition ("WIPO Overview 2.0"), paragraph. 1.1, “if the complainant owns a trademark, then it generally satisfies the threshold requirement of having trademark rights.” The Panel also finds that the Domain Name <timesharesbyowner.net> is identical to Complainant’s trademark, except for the omission of spaces between the three words and the addition of the “.net” top-level domain extension.
Because the Domain Name is identical or confusingly similar to the trademark of Complainant, the Panel considers that Complainant has satisfied paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Policy.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
A complainant is normally required to make out a prima facie case that respondent lacks rights or legitimate interests. Once such prima facie case is made, respondent carries the burden of demonstrating rights or legitimate interests in the domain name. If respondent fails to do so, a complainant is deemed to have satisfied paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the UDRP. See also WIPO Overview 2.0, paragraph. 2.1.
In this case, Complainant indicates that it is the exclusive owner of the TIMESHARES BY OWNER trademark and that it has not authorized the use by Respondent of the trademark in the Domain Name or otherwise. Respondent is not affiliated with, sanctioned or sponsored by Complainant. Complainant contends that Respondent is using the Domain Name to compete improperly with Complainant.
The Panel finds that Complainant has made a prima facie showing that Respondent does not have rights or legitimate interests in the Domain Names within the meaning of paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy. Accordingly, once Complainant established a prima facie case, the burden is on Respondent to prove it has a right or legitimate interest in the Domain Name. In the present record, Respondent has failed to submit a response. The Panel thus finds that Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Domain Name pursuant to Policy, paragraph 4(a)(ii).
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
With Respondent’s lack of any right or legitimate interest in the Domain Name, the Panel is left to determine whether the Domain Name was registered and is being used in bad faith. Complainant has presented the bare minimum of evidence on which to make this decision.
Complainant is the owner of the TIMESHARES BY OWNER trademark and a virtually identical domain name, <timesharesbyowner.com>, which is used to operate Complainant’s website and was registered in March 1998. Complainant claims that it has been using its TIMESHARES BY OWNER trademark in commerce since 1998. According to Complainant, its use of the TIMESHARES BY OWNER trademark and corresponding domain name predate by approximately 5 years the registration of the Domain Name, as Respondent registered the Domain Name in July 2003. Respondent’s Domain Name is not only identical to Complainant’s trademark, but also to Complainant’s domain name, with the exception of the top-level domain extension (“.net” instead of “.com”). Both Complainant and Respondent are located in Florida. Complainant has also submitted a copy of Respondent’s website, which supports Complainant’s claim that Respondent is using the Domain Name to compete against Complainant and divert potential customers in the same line of business.
In view of the above, the Panel finds that Complainant has made out a prima facie case of bad faith registration and use of the Domain Name. Complainant has presented evidence that Respondent has exhibited conduct that fits into bad faith registration and use by the opportunistic registration of the Domain Name to capitalize on Complainant’s trademark, particularly as the Domain Name contains Complainant’s trademark in its entirety, and Respondent is using the Domain Name in connection with a website that diverts Complainant’s customers to Respondent’s website. The fact that Complainant had been using its trademark and corresponding domain name for 5 years prior to Respondent’s registration of the Domain Name, as well as the related point that both parties are located in Florida, supports the bad faith finding. UDRP panels have previously found bad faith registration based in part on proof that the respondent "knew or should have known" about the existence of a complainant's trademark. See WIPO Overview 2.0, paragraph. 3.3. In the present record, without any response from Respondent to rebut any of the evidence or allegations of Complainant, the Panel finds that such a conclusion is appropriate.
For all of the above reasons, the Panel finds that the Domain Name was registered and is being used in bad faith pursuant to Policy.
For the foregoing reasons, in accordance with paragraphs 4(i) of the Policy and 15 of the Rules, the Panel orders that the Domain Name, <timesharesbyowner.net>, be transferred to Complainant.
Christopher S. Gibson
Dated: September 19, 2011