WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
The National Collegiate Athletic Association v. Stefan Stobbs, HomeSmart / Homesmart International, LLC
Case No. D2016-2095
1. The Parties
Complainant is The National Collegiate Athletic Association, Indianapolis, Indiana, United States of America (“United States”), represented by Loeb & Loeb, LLP, United States.
Respondent is Stefan Stobbs, HomeSmart of Phoenix, Arizona, United States / Homesmart International, LLC, Scottsdale, Arizona, United States.
2. The Domain Names and Registrar
The disputed domain names <finalfourphoenix.com> and <finalfourphx.com> 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 October 14, 2016. On October 14, 2016, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain names. On the same date, 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 October 19, 2016, providing the registrant and contact information disclosed by the Registrar, and inviting Complainant to submit an amended Complaint. Complainant filed an amended Complaint on October 23, 2016.
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 and 4, the Center formally notified Respondent of the Complaint, and the proceedings commenced on October 28, 2016. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was November 17, 2016. The Response was filed with the Center on November 4, 2016.
The Center appointed Frederick M. Abbott as the sole panelist in this matter on November 21, 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 the owner of registrations for the word service mark and trademark FINAL FOUR on the Principal Register of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”), including (but not limited to) registration number 1,488,836, registration dated May 17, 1988, in international class (“IC”) 41, covering “association services, namely conducting annual basketball tournaments at the college level”, and; registration number 2,377,720, registration dated August 15, 2000, in IC 35, covering “promoting the goods and services of others by allowing sponsors to affiliate their goods and services with collegiate championship tournaments”.
Complainant, founded in 1905, is an association of colleges and universities governing intercollegiate athletics in the United States. According to Complainant, it has been using its FINAL FOUR mark in connection with its annual basketball tournament since at least as early as 1977.
According to the Registrar’s verification, Respondent is the registrant of the disputed domain names. According to that verification, the record of registration for the disputed domain name <finalfourphoenix.com> was created on April 9, 2015, and the record of registration for the disputed domain name <finalfourphx.com> was created on April 8, 2015. According to the Registrar’s verification, Respondent has been the registrant of each of the disputed domain names since at least March 3, 2016.
The disputed domain names resolve to parking pages displaying sponsored links that include offers of basketball-related services, and that offer the disputed domain names at auction for a minimum price of USD 499.
Prior to the initiation by Complainant of this proceeding, the parties had exchanged correspondence in which Respondent indicated its consent to transferring the disputed domain names to Complainant, and in which Respondent indicated that it had undertaken efforts to do so through the Registrar. Taking Respondent’s statements at face value, it appears that because of Respondent’s unfamiliarity with technical aspects of undertaking the transfers, Respondent’s efforts to transfer the disputed domain names to Complainant were not successful. Subsequent to initiation of the proceeding, Respondent appears again to have attempted to undertake the transfers, but was unable to do so. Although the possibility for suspension of this proceeding was raised, Complainant indicated its preference to continue to appointment of a panel. Respondent in its Response, and in subsequent confirmation by email dated November 10, 2016, confirmed its consent to transfer of the disputed domain names.
The Panel has reviewed the submissions of the parties and related correspondence. There is no manifest reason not to carry out the agreed resolution of this matter. The Panel therefore proceeds with a summary decision. (See paragraph 4.13 of the WIPO Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions, Second Edition.)
5. Discussion and Findings
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The Panel determines that Complainant has established rights in the trademark FINAL FOUR as evidenced by registration at the USPTO and use in commerce in the United States.
The Panel determines that the disputed domain names are confusingly similar to the trademark in which Complainant has rights.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
The Panel determines that Complainant has established that Respondent lacks rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain names.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
The Panel determines that Respondent registered and is using the disputed domain names in bad faith within the meaning of paragraph 4(b)(iv) of the Policy.
Respondent has expressly consented to the remedy of transfer of the disputed domain names to Complainant.
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 <finalfourphoenix.com> and <finalfourphx.com> be transferred to Complainant.
Frederick M. Abbott
Date: December 5, 2016