WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
PartyGaming Plc., PartyGaming IA Limited v. Mookie Lei
Case No. DTV2007-0008
1. The Parties
The Complainants are:
(a) PartyGaming Plc., Gibraltar, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and
(b) Party Gaming IA Limited, Hamilton, Bermuda, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, represented by Taylor Wessing, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
The Respondent is Mookie Lei, Seoul, Republic of Korea.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <partycasino.tv> is registered with eNom.
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on June 6, 2007. On June 6, 2007, the Center transmitted by email to eNom a request for registrar verification in connection with the domain name at issue. On June 8, 2007, eNom transmitted by email to the Center its verification response confirming that the 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”), 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 June 19, 2007. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was July 9, 2007. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on July 18, 2007.
The Center appointed the Honourable Sir Ian Barker as the sole panelist in this matter on July 30, 2007. 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 First Complainant and its related companies and predecessors comprise one of the world’s largest online gaming groups, providing online gaming services since 1997. The First Complainant owns and operates the world’s largest on-line poker room and a substantial online casino.
The First Complainant is listed on the London Stock Exchange with a market capitalization as at December 31, 2006 at approximately ₤1.27 billion. The Complainant Group is regulated and licensed by the Government of Gibraltar where it has 1,200 employees at its head office and operations centre. It has a business process outsourcing operation in India and a marketing services subsidiary in London.
The group’s casino business is the second largest segment of the First Complainant’s business. It supplies over 50 different casino names under the key brands Party Casino and Party Bingo. The casino business generates an average daily revenue of over US$800,000 in 2005 and US$139,800 in 2006.
Since its launch in 1997, the group has spent huge sums of money in advertising and promoting its branded online games. It has engaged celebrity endorsements and sponsored gaming tournaments.
The Second Complainant is an indirectly wholly-owned subsidiary of the First Complainant and is the owner of the on-line gaming trademarks associated with the group. It owns 149 pending registered marks containing the word “party” in 20 territories worldwide. Of these 149 marks:
(a) 17 are for PARTY CASINO in 16 territories;
(b) 75 were filed before the Respondent registered the disputed domain name, including 14 for PARTY CASINO;
(c) 4 were filed in the Republic of Korea (where the Respondent is based) for PARTYCASINO, PARTYPOKER, PARTYBINGO and PARTYGAMING, all before the Respondent registered the disputed domain name.
In addition, the First Complainant owns hundreds of domain names corresponding to its family of PARTY marks through a wholly-owned subsidiary, IGM Domain Name Services Limited. These include the domain name <partycasino.com> and 102 other domain names containing the word “partycasino”.
The First Complainant has taken several administrative proceedings against domain name registrants and has been successful in nine complaints under the Policy. The Complainants’ trademark rights have been used throughout the world for many years.
The Complainants gave no rights to the Respondent to use the trademarks. The disputed domain name was registered the day after the launch of the “www.partycasino.com” website, on December 21, 2005.
The First Complainant operates a broadband television channel called Party Poker TV.
The disputed domain name does not currently link to an active website. It was previously linked to an advertising portal website containing links to a number of other websites, including Las Vegas Casino.
5. Parties’ Contentions
The disputed domain name is identical to trademarks in which the Complainants have rights.
The Respondent has been given no rights by the Complainants in the registered trademarks and does not come within Paragraph 4(c) of the Policy.
The Respondent registered the disputed domain name in bad faith on December 22, 2005. This was some years after the Second Complainant established its trademarks in the Republic of Korea and elsewhere. The fame of the Complainants’ marks must have been well-known, particularly given their concentration on the Internet.
Bad faith registration is to be inferred by the coincidence of the Respondent registering the disputed domain name the day after a “Reuters” article was published on the Internet after the launch of the “www.partycasino.com” website.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
Paragraph 15(a) of the Rules instructs this Panel to “decide a complaint on the basis of the statements and documents submitted in accordance with the Policy, these Rules and any rules and principles of law that it deems applicable”.
Paragraph 4(a) of the Policy requires that the Complainant must prove each of the following three elements to obtain an order that a domain name should be cancelled or transferred:
(1) the domain name registered by the Respondent is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which the Complainant has rights;
(2) the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the domain name; and
(3) the domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The disputed domain name is identical to several registered trademarks in which the Complainants have rights.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
The Complainants gave the Respondent no rights whatsoever. The Complainants have made out a prima facie case that the Respondent lacks rights or legitimate interests. The Respondent has not alleged that he comes within any of the provisions of Paragraph 4(c) of the Policy. Therefore, the Complainant has demonstrated that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
The Panel has no difficulty in inferring that, given the size of the First Complainant’s worldwide Internet gaming business, there was registration in bad faith.
The registration of the disputed domain name on the day after a Reuters announcement of the launch of the “www.partycasino.com” website, shows an opportunistic registration by the Respondent.
Moreover, prior to that date the trademarks were already registered in the republic of Korea where the Respondent lives. It is a reasonable deduction that, given the large exposure of the Complainants and the various facets of their gambling businesses throughout the world, the Respondent would have known of the fame of the mark when he registered the dispute domain name. The record also indicates that the domain name 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 <partycasino.tv> be transferred to the Complainant.
Sir Ian Barker
Dated: August 13, 2007