WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Atalaya Capital Management LP v. Evocreative / Subject to ICANN UDRP Dispute
Case No. D2013-1265
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Atalaya Capital Management LP of New York, United States of America (“USA”), represented by Sidley Austin LLP, USA.
The Respondents are Evocreative of Prague, Czech Republic / Subject to ICANN UDRP Dispute of Vancouver, Washington, USA.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <atalaya-capital.com> (the “Domain Name”) is registered with Domain.com, LLC (the “Registrar”).
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on July 12, 2013. The Center transmitted its request for registrar verification to the Registrar the same day. The Registrar replied, also on the same day, stating that it had not received a copy of the Complaint, that the Domain Name was registered with it, that the Respondent was the registrant prior to expiration, that the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (the “Policy” or “UDRP”) applied, that the Domain Name had expired on May 29, 2013 and was in redemption status, that the language of the registration agreement was English and that it contained a submission by the holder of the Domain Name to the jurisdiction of the courts of the holder’s domicile and the Registrar’s location for the adjudication of disputes concerning or arising from the use of the Domain Name. The Registrar also provided the full contact details held on its database in respect of the Domain Name prior to expiration; these identified the registrant as Fernando Davila, Evocreative.
The Center informed the Complainant on July 12, 2013, that the Domain Name had expired and was in the redemption period, and could be renewed or restored by the Complainant on the same commercial terms as the registrant. The Center asked the Complainant whether it wished the Center to proceed with the Complaint on a provisional basis. The Complainant replied the same day, requesting the Center to proceed and stating that it wished to renew the Domain Name for the purpose of allowing the proceeding to continue and that it requested the Registrar to lock the Domain Name for this purpose.
The Center wrote to the Registrar on July 15, 2013, asking it to confirm that the Domain Name would remain in lock status until the UDRP proceeding was concluded. The Registrar replied the same day, stating that the Domain Name could not be placed on lock status since it was in the redemption period and would be deleted unless either party paid the renewal and redemption fees. The Center so informed the parties on July 17, 2013, and asked them to confirm by July 23, 2013, that the Domain Name had been renewed. The Complainant contacted the Registrar to renew the Domain Name and the Registrar confirmed on July 23, 2013, that the registration had been extended and that the Domain Name had been set to lock status.
The Respondent, Evocreative, had written to the Complainant on July 14, 2013, stating that it was no longer using the Domain Name, and that the Complainant could ask for it. The Center wrote to the parties on July 24, 2013, advising them that the Complainant could seek a suspension of the proceeding to explore a possible settlement. The Complainant replied on July 26, 2013, requesting a suspension until August 14, 2013, which the Center granted. On August 13, 2013, the Complainant informed the Center that it had not been able to obtain a consensual transfer of the Domain Name and asked the Center to proceed to a decision. The Center confirmed on August 15, 2013, that the proceeding was re-instituted with effect from that date.
The Center asked the Registrar on August 15, 2013, to confirm the identity of the registrant and the contact details on its database in respect of the Domain Name. The Registrar replied the same day, stating that the registrant information now showed “Subject to ICANN UDRP Dispute” followed by its address in Vancouver, Washington, USA, and that this was in accordance with standard practice where the Complainant pays renewal fees for a domain name in dispute. “Subject to ICANN UDRP Dispute” has therefore been named, ex abundante cautela, as a second Respondent in this decision.
The Center verified that the Complaint satisfied the formal requirements of the 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 paragraphs 2(a) and 4(a) of the Rules, the Center formally notified the Respondents of the Complaint, and the proceeding formally commenced on August 20, 2013. The notification was sent to the addresses indicated in the contact details reported by the Registrar on both July 12, 2013, and August 15, 2013. In accordance with paragraph 5(a) of the Rules, the due date for Response was September 9, 2013. The Respondents did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondents’ default on September 11, 2013.
The Center appointed Jonathan Turner as the sole panelist in this matter on September 18, 2013. The Panel has submitted the Statement of Acceptance and Declaration of Impartiality and Independence, as required by the Center to ensure compliance with paragraph 7 of the Rules. Having reviewed the file, the Panel is satisfied that the Complaint complied with applicable formal requirements, was duly notified to the Respondents and has been submitted to a properly constituted Panel in accordance with the Policy, the Rules and the Supplemental Rules.
4. Factual Background
The Complainant was founded in 2006 as an alternative financial investment firm primarily focused on investing in credit opportunities. It has registered ATALAYA and ATALAYA CAPITAL MANAGEMENT LP as marks in the USA and internationally, and has used these marks extensively in connection with its business since 2006.
The Respondent, Evocreative, registered the Domain Name on May 29, 2012, and used it for a website purporting to promote a private investment company based in Switzerland. This website was subsequently replaced by a default page containing links to the websites of third parties and to pages of such links.
5. Parties’ Contentions
The Complainant contends that the Domain Name is identical or confusingly similar to its marks ATALAYA and ATALAYA CAPITAL MANAGEMENT LP.
The Complainant denies that the Respondent has any rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Domain Name or any corresponding name. The Complainant maintains that the Respondent, Evocreative, is not carrying on any bona fide business as its website purports to promote. In this regard, the Complainant draws attention to the absence of any registration of this Respondent as a financial intermediary in Switzerland, the absence of any listing of this Respondent as a member of any of the regulating bodies of the Swiss financial institutions industry, and the lack of details such as a telephone number, fax number, names of partners or officers or other information that might be expected on this Respondent’s website if it related to a bona fide company. The Complainant also draws attention to this Respondent’s connection with similar websites purporting to promote other investment businesses which do not appear to have any real existence.
The Complainant alleges that the Domain Name was registered and is being used in bad faith. In particular, the Complainant alleges that the Respondent, Evocreative, has intentionally attempted to attract Internet users to its website for commercial gain by creating a likelihood of confusion with the Complainant’s marks as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation or endorsement of its website. The Complainant further notes that this Respondent’s website is hosted on a server associated with frauds, scams and spam.
The Complainant requests that the Domain Name be transferred to it.
As stated above, the Respondents did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
In accordance with paragraph 4(a) of the Policy, in order to succeed in this proceeding, the Complainant must prove (i) that the Domain Name is identical or confusingly similar to a mark in which it has rights; (ii) that the Respondents have no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Domain Name; and (iii) that the Domain Name has been registered and is being used in bad faith. It is appropriate to consider each of these requirements in turn.
In accordance with paragraph 14(b) of the Rules, the Panel shall draw such inferences from the Respondents’ default as it considers appropriate. This includes the acceptance of plausible evidence of the Complainant which has not been disputed.
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The Panel finds that the Complainant has registered and unregistered rights in the marks ATALAYA and ATALAYA CAPITAL MANAGEMENT LP.
The Panel further holds that the Domain Name is confusingly similar to each of these marks. It differs from the former mark only in the addition of the generic word “capital” and the generic top level domain suffix “.com”; and from the latter only in the removal of the generic word “management”, the substitution of a hyphen for a space (which is commonplace in domain names) and the addition of the generic top level domain suffix. The Panel considers that many of those who might be interested in the Complainant’s services would assume that the Domain Name located a website of the Complainant.
The first requirement of the UDRP is satisfied.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
On the basis of the uncontested evidence provided by the Complainant and summarized in section 5A above, the Panel finds that the Respondent, Evocreative, has not carried on a bona fide business as a private investment company or the like, and has not made genuine preparations to carry on such a business.
It is evident that the Respondent, Evocreative, is not commonly known by the Domain Name. The Panel is also satisfied that this Respondent is not making any legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the Domain Name, and that, on the evidence filed, there is no other basis on which this Respondent could claim to have any rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Domain Name or any corresponding name.
It is also clear that the Respondent, Subject to ICANN UDRP Dispute, has only been recorded as registrant of the Domain Name because the Domain Name had lapsed and was renewed by payment of the renewal by the Complainant during this proceeding. This Respondent, if it can be said to exist at all, does not claim and cannot be said to have any right or legitimate interest in the Domain Name or any corresponding name.
The second requirement of the UDRP is satisfied.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
In the light of the uncontested evidence provided by the Complainant and summarized in section 5A above, the Panel finds that the Domain Name was registered and used by the Respondent, Evocreative, intentionally to attract Internet users to its website, which purported to promote a non-existent investment business, through the confusing similarity of the Domain Name with the Complainant’s marks, for some form of commercial gain.
By the time the Complaint was filed, that website was no longer in use and the Domain Name resolved to a default page containing links to the websites of third parties, or to pages of such links, including pages of links to websites of businesses operating in similar fields to the Complainant. It is likely that these links were sponsored and that the holder of the Domain Name thereby continued to profit from the confusing similarity of the Domain Name to the Complainant’s marks.
At the time of rendering this decision, the Domain Name does not locate any website. However, the phrase “is being used in bad faith” in paragraph 4(a)(iii) of the UDRP must be interpreted as covering the situation where a domain name is used in bad faith at the time when, or shortly before, the Complaint is filed, even if that use has ceased by the time a decision is rendered. Otherwise, the UDRP could readily be frustrated, contrary to the intentions of those who framed and adopted it.
The Panel regards the use of the Domain Name both for the original website and for the default page as being in bad faith. The Panel concludes that the Domain Name was registered and is being used in bad faith. The third requirement of the UDRP is satisfied.
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 <atalaya-capital.com> be transferred to the Complainant.
Date: September 30, 2013