WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Lockheed Martin Corporation v. Shirley Etheridge
Case No. D2000-0906
1. The Parties
The Complainant in this administrative proceeding is Lockheed Martin Corporation, a Maryland corporation whose principal place of business is in the State of Maryland, U.S.A. The Respondent is Shirley Etheridge, a resident of the State of Georgia, U.S.A.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The domain name in dispute is as follows: missionsuccess.net. The domain name was registered by Respondent with Register.com on February 14, 2000.
3. Procedural Background
On August 1, 2000, the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center received from Complainant via e-mail a complaint for decision in accordance with the Uniform Policy for Domain Name Dispute Resolution, adopted by the Internet Corporation of Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) on August 26, 1999 ("Policy"), the Rules for Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy, approved by ICANN on October 24, 1999 ("Rules"), and the WIPO Supplemental Rules for Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (Supplemental Rules).
The complaint was filed in compliance with the requirements of the Rules and the Supplemental Rules, payment was properly made, the administrative panel was properly constituted, and the panelist submitted the required Statement of Acceptance and Declaration of Impartiality and Independence.
The instant Administrative Proceeding was commenced on August 16, 2000.
Respondent filed a Response, which was received by WIPO via e-mail on August 30, 2000.
The decision of the Panel was due to WIPO on or before September 28, 2000.
4. Factual Background
As set forth in the Complaint, Complainant Lockheed Martin is the owner of two U.S. trademark registrations and one U.S. trademark application for the mark MISSION SUCCESS. The registrations (Nos. 2,125,818 and 2,340,854) cover the use of the MISSION SUCCESS mark on pens, desk folders and travel atlases and in connection with research, development, design and integration services relating to advanced technology systems and products in the fields of space, telecommunications, electronics, information, aeronautics and energy. See Complaint, Annex 3. The pending U.S. application (No.75/858,218) relates to use of the MISSION SUCCESS mark on pictures illustrating military products. See Complaint, Annex 4.
After Respondent registered the domain name in dispute, Complainant's counsel, on May 26, 2000, wrote to Respondent demanding that she "cease and desist" from further use of the MISSION SUCCESS mark and transfer the domain name to Complainant. See Complaint, Annex 7. Respondent answered by letter dated June 9. She explained that she was not using the domain name and offered to transfer it to Complainant for her out-of-pocket expenses of $419.00. See Complaint, Annex 8. In a letter dated June 16, Complainant agreed to pay Respondent $419.00 in exchange for transfer of the domain name. See Complaint, Annex 9. On June 27, Respondent responded to Complainant's June 16 letter. In her letter, Respondent referred to several sales of domain names that involved the payment of hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars and invited Lockheed to "consider an offer in good faith." See Complaint, Annex 10. Complainant's counsel, in a letter dated July 3, advised Respondent of Complainant's strict policy against purchasing domain names and once again expressed its willingness to pay Respondent $419.00 in exchange for the transfer of the domain name. See Complaint, Annex 11.
On July 11, Respondent commenced use of the domain name in connection with a Web site devoted to religion. See Complaint, Annex 6. On July 13, Respondent wrote to Complainant's counsel contending that she registered the domain name in dispute in good faith and is not infringing upon the MISSION SUCCESS mark. See Complaint, Annex 12.
5. Parties' Contentions
Complainant contends that the domain name in issue is identical to its mark; that Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the domain name; and that Respondent registered and is using the domain name in "bad faith." According to Complainant, the facts as set forth above demonstrate that Respondent registered the domain name for the purpose of selling it to Complainant for valuable consideration in excess of out-of-pocket expenses.
In her response, Respondent contended that she did not register the domain name in bad faith. Referring to the factors set forth in the "Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act," Respondent argued, in part, that: (1) she had no intent to profit from the registration of the domain name; (2) no material goods or services are being offered; instead "I will share Gods [sic] word and the wonderful things he has done for me with the intent to lead someone to Jesus"; and (3) she has no intent to divert customers for commercial gain and has no intent to tarnish the MISSION SUCCESS mark.
6. Discussion and Findings
The Panel has carefully weighed the evidence presented and determines that Complainant has not established that Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the domain name, as required by ¶4.c. of the Policy 1, or that Respondent registered and is using the domain name in "bad faith," as required by ¶4.b. of the Policy.
More specifically, the Panel finds that Respondent is making a legitimate noncommercial use of the domain name, without intent for commercial gain to misleadingly divert consumers or to tarnish the trademark or service mark at issue, within the meaning of ¶4.c.(iii) of the Policy.
The evidence clearly establishes that Respondent is using the domain name in connection with a religious-oriented Web site. No goods or services are being offered for sale at the site. The Panel is further convinced from a review of Respondent's correspondence that, prior to registration of the domain name, she had never heard of Complainant or knew of Complainant's ownership of the MISSION SUCCESS mark.
With respect to the issue of "bad faith" registration and use, the Panel is of the view, based on the evidence presented, that Respondent did not register the domain name primarily for the purpose of selling it to Complainant, or anyone else, for consideration in excess of out-of-pocket expenses. Rather, Respondent's June 9 letter indicates that the domain name was selected upon reflecting on her "mission in life," which was to be "successful in all I do through Jesus Christ." Also, the evidence reveals that Respondent had earlier offered to transfer the site for the $35.00 transfer fee to a public school teacher and to a bible school teacher. These facts, coupled with Respondent's apparent ignorance of Complainant or of its mark, lead this Panel to the conclusion that the domain name was not registered and is not being used in "bad faith." 2
In view of the above, the Panel DENIES Complainant's request for transfer to it of the domain name missionsuccess.net.
Jeffrey M. Samuels
September 24, 2000
1. The Panel notes that a finding of legitimate right under paragraph 4(c) of the Policy means only that the streamlined dispute-resolution procedure is not available and that the dispute is a legitimate one that should be decided by the courts. Complainant is reminded that only cases of abusive registrations are intended to be subject to the streamlined dispute-resolution procedure. See "Second Staff Report on Implementation Documents for the Uniform Dispute Resolution Policy," dated October 25, 1999.
2. While the Panel's findings on the issues of "legitimate right or interest" and "bad faith" registration and use are determinative in this matter, it notes that the domain name clearly is legally identical to a mark in which Complainant has rights.