WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center

ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION

ALLGEN Power Services, LLC d/b/a Allied Generators v. Matthew Anderson, HostingItAll

Case No. D2015-0368

1. The Parties

Complainant is ALLGEN Power Services, LLC d/b/a Allied Generators of Shoreview, Minnesota, United States of America (“United States”), represented by Kaminski Law Office, PLLC, United States.

Respondent is Matthew Anderson, HostingItAll of Buffalo, Minnesota, United States.

2. The Domain Names and Registrar

The disputed domain names <alliedgenerator.com>, <alliedgenerator.net> and <alliedgenerators.net> are registered with GoDaddy.com, LLC (the “Registrar”).

3. Procedural History

The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on March 3, 2015. On March 4, 2015, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain names. On March 4, 2015, the Registrar transmitted by email to the Center its verification response disclosing registrant and contact information for the disputed domain names which differed from the named Respondent and contact information in the Complaint. The Center sent an email communication to Complainant on March 6, 2015, providing the registrant and contact information disclosed by the Registrar, and inviting Complainant to submit an amendment to the Complaint. Complainant filed an amended Complaint on March 6, 2015.

The Center verified that the Complaint together with the amended 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 Respondent of the Complaint, and the proceedings commenced on March 9, 2015. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was March 29, 2015. The Center received an email communication from Respondent on March 9, 2015. Respondent did not file a formal Response.

The Center appointed Lynda J. Zadra-Symes as the sole panelist in this matter on April 7, 2015. 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

Complainant is in the business of buying, selling, installing and servicing new and used generators for commercial and residential purposes. Complainant has operated its business in Minnesota under the name “Allied Generators” since 2007 and registered the name “Allied Generators” with the Secretary of State for the State of Minnesota. Complainant has also continuously used the name “Allied Generators” in the domain name <alliedgenerators.com> since 2007.

Complainant claims common law trademark rights in the name “Allied Generators” by virtue of its continuous use of the mark in the States of Minnesota, Wisconsin and North Dakota.

Complainant contends that the disputed domain names <alliedgenerator.com>, created September 28, 2012, and <alliedgenerator.net>, and <alliedgenerators.net>, both created October 13, 2013, are identical or confusingly similar to Complainant’s domain name <alliedgenerators.com> and to Complainant’s common law trademark “Allied Generators.”

The disputed domain names revert to a website promoting the services of Midwest Electric and Generator, Inc. (“Midwest”), a Minnesota corporation, incorporated August 10, 2010. Midwest’s principal business location is located in Minnesota, and is approximately 25 miles from Complainant’s principal business location. Midwest uses the website “www.midwestgenerators.com” for its business.

Midwest is Complainant’s primary competitor in the business of buying, selling, installing and servicing new and used generators for commercial and residential purposes.

5. Parties’ Contentions

A. Complainant

Complainant claims that it has acquired common law trademark rights in the name “Allied Generators” and the domain name <alliedgenerators.com>, that the disputed domain names are identical or confusingly similar to Complainant’s trademark or service mark, that Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain names and that the disputed domain names were registered and are being used in bad faith.

B. Respondent

Respondent did not submit a formal response. On March 9, 2015, Respondent submitted an email stating:

“Hello, not exactly sure what you are attempting here.

I have received many emails via our support ticket system.

Please send them directly to [name]@hostingitall.com – Furthermore, some mailing email was send [sic] out to an address that has not been used in several years.

All email messages sent to this box have NOT been received and they will all need to resent [sic] in a readable order.”

On March 10, the Center resent the Complaint and annexes to Respondent at the new email address indicated by Respondent.

6. Discussion and Findings

Complainant claims common law trademark rights in the name “Allied Generators” and the domain name <alliedgenerators.com> by virtue of its continuous use of those names in the operation of its business since 2007 and registration of “Allied Generators” as a business name with the Secretary of State for the State of Minnesota. Substantially exclusive and continuous use of a name to identify a business over a period of several years as has been demonstrated by the evidence of record can (and here does) create common law trademark rights in the name.

A. Identical or Confusingly Similar

The disputed domain names incorporate a term that is virtually identical to Complainant’s business name, except for the omission of the letter “s” at the end of the word “generator” in two of the disputed domain names. The remaining disputed domain name incorporates the term Allied Generators in its entirety. Such minor changes are insufficient to distinguish the disputed domain names from Complainant’s business name.

Therefore, the Panel finds that the disputed domain names are confusingly similar to Complainant’s common law service mark.

B. Rights or Legitimate Interests

Based on previous UDRP decisions, “a complainant is required to make out a prima facie case that the respondent lacks rights or legitimate interests. Once such a prima facie case is made, the burden shifts to the respondent to come forward with appropriate allegations or evidence demonstrating rights or legitimate interests in the domain name. If the respondent fails to come forward with such appropriate allegations or evidence, a complainant is generally deemed to have satisfied paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the UDRP.” See WIPO Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions, Second Edition (“WIPO Overview 2.0”), paragraph 2.1.

Complainant’s allegations in the Complaint and evidence submitted on this issue are sufficient to make out a prima facie case that Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name.

The disputed domain names revert to a website located at “www.midwestgenerators.com”, which is a direct competitor of Complainant and also uses the domain name <midwestgenerators.com> in the operation of its business. Respondent has no trademark rights in “Allied Generators” or “www.alliedgenerators.com”and is not known by the name “Allied Generator.”

Respondent has no relationship with Complainant and has no permission from Complainant to use Complainant’s service mark or any domain name incorporating that service mark. There is no evidence that Respondent is commonly known by the name “Allied Generator” or “Allied Generators”. Nothing in the WhoIs contact information for Respondent implies that it is commonly known by either name.

The disputed domain name currently links to a website for a competing business that offers the same or similar goods and services as Complainant. Such use of the disputed domain names to divert a competitor’s Internet traffic to Respondent’s website is not a bona fide offering of services. Accordingly, Respondent is not making a legitimate use of the disputed domain names.

Respondent has failed to come forward with any evidence demonstrating rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain names.

The Panel finds that Respondent lacks any rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain names.

C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith

Respondent’s website offers almost identical products and services as Complainant and Respondent’s business is physically located approximately 25 miles away from Complainant’s business. It appears that Respondent is using the disputed domain names so as to confuse consumers into believing that Midwest is related to Complainant. Alternatively, Respondent’s use of the disputed domain names appears to be an attempt to divert Internet consumers away from Complainant’s website to Respondent’s website for Respondent’s competing business.

In view of the close geographic proximity of Respondent’s business to Complainant’s business, it is likely that Respondent was aware of Complainant’s competing business at the time Respondent registered the disputed domain names in September 2012 and October 2013.

Accordingly, the Panel finds that Respondent registered and is using the disputed domain names in bad faith.

7. Decision

For 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 <alliedgenerator.com>, <alliedgenerator.net> and <alliedgenerators.net> be transferred to Complainant.

Lynda J. Zadra-Symes
Sole Panelist
Date: April 27, 2015