WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Tractor Supply Co. of Texas LP, Tractor Supply Company v. Fractional Investors
Case No. D2010-1142
1. The Parties
The Complainants are Tractor Supply Co. of Texas LP and Tractor Supply Company of Nashville, Tennessee, United States of America, represented by Waller Lansden Dortch & Davis, LLP, United States of America.
The Respondent is Fractional Investors of Newnan, Georgia, United States of America.
2. The Domain Names and Registrar
The disputed domain names <tractorsupplyroof.com> and <tractorsupplyroofing.com> are registered with GoDaddy.com, Inc.
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on July 9, 2010. On July 12, 2010, the Center transmitted by email to GoDaddy.com, Inc. a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain names. On July 13, 2010, GoDaddy.com, Inc. 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” 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 the Respondent of the Complaint, and the proceedings commenced on July 15, 2010. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was August 4, 2010. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on August 5, 2010.
On August 23, 2010, the Complainants notified the Center that the hard copy of the Complaint mailed to the Respondent was returned unopened. The Complainants mailed the hard copy to the Respondent’s address listed with registrar.
The Center appointed William F “Bill” Hamilton as the sole panelist in this matter on August 11, 2010. 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 September 7, 2010, the Center received an email communication from the Complainant requesting the suspension of the proceeding for a period of thirty days to enter settlement negotiations. On September 8, 2010, the Panel directed the Center to transmit Administrative Panel Procedural Order No. 1 to the Parties, ordering the suspension of the proceedings until October 8, 2010. As no confirmation of settlement was received by the Center before the deadline stated in the Panel Order, this Panel will proceed to render its Decision in the matter.
4. Factual Background
The Complainants have conducted business under the mark TRACTOR SUPPLY CO. (the “mark”) since 1938. Since then the Complainants have expanded their business operations into a USD 3 billion publicly held company operating 930 farm and ranch retail stores throughout the United States. The Complainants registered the domain name <tractorsupply.com> and have conducted business in connection with that domain name since 1999. The Complainants registered the mark with the United States Patent and Trademark office since at least 2006.
The Respondent registered the disputed domain names on May 4, 2010.
The Complainants wrote the Respondent a letter on June 8, 2010, demanding that the Respondent stop using the disputed domain names. The Respondent did not answer the Complainants’ letter.
5. Parties’ Contentions
The Complainants assert the Respondent has incorporated the Complainants’ mark into the disputed domain names in an effort to attract unsuspecting Internet users to the Respondent’s website to profit commercially from click through advertising that appears on the landing pages of the disputed domain names.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainants’ contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
Paragraph 4(a) of the Policy articulates three elements that must be established by a complainant to merit a finding that a respondent has engaged in abusive domain name registration, and to obtain relief. These elements are that:
(i) The respondent’s domain name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which the complainant has rights: and
(ii) The respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the domain name; and
(iii) The respondent’s domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.
Each of these elements must be proved by a complainant to warrant relief.
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The disputed domain names are confusingly similar to the Complainants’ mark. The disputed domain names merely append the words “roof” and “roofing” to the Complainants’ mark. An unsuspecting Internet user might easily believe the disputed domain names are websites sponsored by the Complainants featuring roof or roofing supplies. Dr. Ing. h.c. F. Porsche AG v. Rojeen Rayaneh, WIPO Case No. D2004-0488; AmerCable Incorporated v. Edward Van Rossum, WIPO Case No. D2009-1292. The Complainants have established the first element under paragraph 4(a) of the Policy.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
The Respondent on this record does not appear to have any rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain names. It does not appear that the Respondent is doing business under the names “Tractor Supply Roof” or “Tractor Supply Roofing”. The disputed domain names resolve to websites whose landing pages offer a series of links to other websites purportedly offering roofing related supplies and services. The Complainants have affirmatively averred that the Respondent has never been authorized by the Complainants to use the disputed domain names or the Complainants’ mark. The Respondent has not answered this Complaint nor has the Respondent offered any foundation for any claim of rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain names. The Complainants have established the second element under paragraph 4(a) of the Policy. LEGO Juris A/S v. PrivacyProtect.org/ThaiSerVerOnLinE, Mr.Sagsan Phurahong, WIPO Case No. D2010-0711; Audi AG v. Dr. Alireza Fahimipour, WIPO Case No. DIR2006-0003 (<audi.ir>).
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
The Complainants must establish that the disputed domain names were registered and used in bad faith. The Complainants’ mark is well-known and has been registered for numerous years with the United States Patent and Trademark office. It strains credibility to think that the Respondent did not know of the Complainants’ mark and the Complainants’ services when the Respondent registered the disputed domain names. A simple Google search would have disclosed the Complainants’ marks and business. Good faith due diligence requires more than a scintilla of research. Tellingly, one of the Complainants’ retail stores lies within a few miles of Respondent’s registered physical address. The selection of the Complainants’ entire mark followed by the generic words “roof” and “roofing”, respectively, which are related to services and products offered by the Complainants is a strong indicia that the disputed domain names were registered and are being used in bad faith. Moreover, the Respondent failed to respond to the Complainants’ cease and desist letter, failed to respond in this proceeding, and failed to maintain a correct current address with its registrar. While such facts themselves do not establish bad faith registration and use, such facts considered in the totality of the circumstances of this case lend weight to such a finding. The Panel finds that the Complainants have established the third element under paragraph 4(a) of the Policy.
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 names <tractorsupplyroof.com> and <tractorsupplyroofing.com> be transferred to the Complainants.
William F. Hamilton
Dated: October 12, 2010