WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Directv, LLC v. Steve Binion
Case No. D2015-2171
1. The Parties
Complainant is Directv, LLC of El Segundo, California, United States of America ("United States").
Respondent is Steve Binion of Houston, Texas, United States.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <directv-usa.com> is registered with PDR Ltd. d/b/a PublicDomainRegistry.com (the "Registrar").
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the "Center") on November 30, 2015. On December 1, 2015, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On December 2, 2015, the Registrar transmitted by email to the Center its verification response confirming that Respondent is listed as the registrant and providing the contact details. Complainant submitted an amended Complaint on December 11, 2015. The amended Complaint submitted on December 11, 2015 will hereinafter be referred to as "the Complaint".
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 and 4, the Center formally notified Respondent of the Complaint, and the proceedings commenced on December 14, 2015. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was January 3, 2016. Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified Respondent's default on January 4, 2016.
The Center appointed M. Scott Donahey as the sole panelist in this matter on January 12, 2016. 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 a supplier of digital satellite television services. Complainant has over thirty million customers in the United States. It has marketed and promoted its services extensively since 1994. Complainant operates its service business under the name "Directv". Complainant has registered its service mark DIRECTV with the United States Patent and Trademark Office on at least three occasions, the earliest of which registrations dates back to November 2001. Complaint, Annex C.
Respondent registered the disputed domain name on August 6, 2015. Complaint, Annex A. The disputed domain name does not currently resolve to a web site.
5. Parties' Contentions
Complainant asserts that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to Complainant's DIRECTV mark in that it consists of Complainant's well known mark with "-usa" appended thereto. Complainant further alleges that Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name, since the disputed domain name has not been used to resolve to a web site, Complainant has not registered "directv-usa" as a mark in the United States or the European Union (see Complaint, Annex D), and there is no evidence that Respondent or any business associated with Respondent has ever been known by the disputed domain name. Complainant further asserts that the disputed domain name was registered and is being used in bad faith.
Respondent did not reply to Complainant's contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
Paragraph 15(a) of the Rules instructs the Panel as to the principles the Panel is to use in determining the dispute: "A Panel shall decide a complaint on the basis of the statements and documents submitted and in accordance with the Policy, these Rules and any rules and principles of law that it deems applicable."
Paragraph 4(a) of the Policy directs that the complainant must prove each of the following:
1) that the domain name registered by the respondent is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which the complainant has rights; and
2) that the respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the domain name; and
3) that the domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The disputed domain name consists of Complainant's well known service mark to which a hyphen and a geographic or political identifier (in this case, "usa") has been attached. It has long been found that such a domain name is confusingly similar to the corresponding mark. Accordingly, the Panel finds that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to Complainant's DIRECTV service mark.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
The consensus view of UDRP panelists concerning the burden of establishing no rights or legitimate interests in respect of a domain name is as follows:
While the overall burden of proof rests with the complainant, panels have recognized that this could result in the often impossible task of proving a negative, requiring information that is often primarily within the knowledge of the respondent. Therefore a complainant is required to make out an initial prima facie case that the respondent lacks rights or legitimate interests. Once such prima facie case is made, respondent carries the burden of 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.
WIPO Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions, Second Edition ("WIPO Overview, 2.0"), Section 2.1.
In the present case Complainant alleges that Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name – and has submitted contentions and evidence (see 5.A., supra) sufficient to establish a prima facie case in this regard – and Respondent has failed to assert any such rights. Accordingly, the Panel finds that Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
Respondent is not using the disputed domain name in any way. The registration of a domain name that cannot conceivably be used in a legitimate way has long been found to constitute bad faith registration and use. In the present case, there is no conceivable legitimate use to which Respondent could put the disputed domain name given Complainant's registration and long use of the service mark DIRECTV. Therefore, the Panel finds that the disputed domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.
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 name <directv-usa.com> be transferred to the Complainant.
M. Scott Donahey
Date: January 14, 2016