WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
DaimlerChrysler Corporation v. RAMcoS
Case No. D2000-1173
1. The Parties
The Complainant in this administrative proceeding is DaimlerChrysler Corporation, a corporation organized under the laws of the State of Delaware with its principal place of business located in Auburn Hills, Michigan, U.S.A. The Respondent is RAMcoS, located at 1 High Street, Winthrop, Maine 04364, U.S.A.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The domain name in dispute is as follows: 4aviper.com. The domain name was registered by Respondent with Dotster, Inc. on August 25, 2000.
3. Procedural Background
On September 5, 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 September 20, 2000.
Respondent did not file a Response, and a "Notification of Respondent Default," dated October 10, 2000, was forwarded by WIPO to Respondent.
The decision of the Panel was due to WIPO on or before November 2, 2000.
4. Factual Background
As set forth in the Complaint, since 1914, Complainant and its predecessors have made and sold cars, trucks, vans, and structural parts therefor, operated car dealerships, and provided car maintenance services. Among the lines of cars made and sold by Complainant is the DODGE line. Among the models of DODGE cars made and sold by Complainant is the VIPER automobile, which Complainant first sold in 1992.
Complainant is the owner, via assignment, of the mark VIPER, as used on automobiles and structural parts therefor. The mark was registered (U.S. Registration No. 1,800,654) with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on October 26, 1993. See Complaint, Exhibit C.
As noted above, Respondent registered the domain name in dispute on August 25, 2000. The domain name is not being used in connection with the offering of any product or service. Exhibit E to the Complaint reveals that when one types in the domain name in dispute the registrar's site is reached.
Two days after registering the domain name, Respondent offered to sell the domain name "for $6,000 or best offer." Respondent noted that "[t]his is a perfect domain name for snakes or an auto dealer. People will not forget 4aviper.com at all since Dodge's site is 4adodge.com. This is a perfect name for a Dodge Viper site!" See Complaint, Exhibit D.
5. Parties' Contentions
Complainant contends that the domain name in issue is confusingly similar to its VIPER mark; that there is no evidence that Respondent has any rights or legitimate interests in the domain name; and that Respondent registered and used the domain name in "bad faith."
6. Discussion and Findings
The Panel has carefully weighed the evidence presented and determines that Complainant has met the requirements set forth in ¶4.a. of the Policy.
There is no question that the domain name in dispute is confusingly similar to a mark in which Complainant has rights. The domain name incorporates, in full, the VIPER mark, which has been used by Complainant's predecessor-in-interest since 1992. The mark also is the subject of an U.S. trademark registration owned by Complainant. The evidence establishes that the prefix "4a" is frequently used to direct an online user to a site about the word that follows the prefix. Thus, its inclusion in the domain name in dispute has little, if any, legal significance.
The Panel further determines that Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests with respect to the domain name. The evidence reveals that Respondent does not appear to have used 4aviper as part of its name or mark and has not used the domain name in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services.
There is also more than sufficient evidence to support a determination of "bad faith" registration and use. The Panel finds that Respondent adopted its domain name with full knowledge of the existence of Complainant and its VIPER mark and, by using the domain name, intentionally attempted to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to its site by creating a likelihood of confusion with Complainant's mark as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation, or endorsement of Respondent's website, within the meaning of ¶4.b.(iv) of the Policy. As noted in the Complaint, the confusion would be exacerbated in this case because Complainant operates a site for its DODGE lcars under the domain name 4adodge.com. See Complaint, Exhibit F.
Finally, it is clear that Respondent is offering to sell the domain name for an amount in excess of its documented out-of-pocket costs directly related to the domain name. Such action constitutes evidence of "bad faith" registration and use under ¶4.b.(i) of the Policy.
In view of the above, the Panel GRANTS Complainant's request for transfer to it of the domain name 4aviper.com.
Jeffrey M. Samuels
Dated: November 2, 2000.