WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Moog Inc. v. John Carpenter
Case No. D2017-0276
1. The Parties
Complainant is Moog Inc. of East Aurora, New York, United States of America (“United States”), represented by CSC Digital Brand Services AB, Sweden.
Respondent is John Carpenter of Cumming, Georgia, United States, self-represented.
2. The Domain Names and Registrar
The disputed domain names <moogmotor.com>, <moogpro.com>, <moogrepair.com>, <moogsales.com>, <moogservo.com> and <moogvalverepair.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 February 13, 2017. On February 13, 2017, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain names. On February 14, 2017, the Registrar transmitted by email to the Center its verification response confirming that 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 and 4, the Center formally notified Respondent of the Complaint, and the proceedings commenced on February 16, 2017. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was March 8, 2017. The Response was filed with the Center on February 16, 2017 and February 17, 2017.
The Center appointed Georges Nahitchevansky as the sole panelist in this matter on March 14, 2017. 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 Moog Inc. is a worldwide designer, manufacturer and integrator of precision components and systems. Complainant specializes in high-performance control systems for military and commercial aircraft, satellites and space vehicles, launch vehicles, missiles, automated industrial machinery, wind turbines and marine and medical equipment. Complainant was founded in 1951 and is currently operating in 27 countries. Complainant owns a number of trademark registrations for the MOOG mark in the United States and Canada, as well as an International Registration that has been extended to a number of countries around the world. Complainant’s earliest trademark registration for MOOG dates back to 1970. Complainant also owns the domain name <moog.com>, which is used to provide information regarding Complainant and its products and services.
Respondent is an individual residing in Cumming, Georgia, United States. Respondent registered the disputed domain names as follows: <moogvalverepair.com> on May 5, 2014, <moogmotor.com> and <moogpro.com> on February 2, 2015, <moogrepair.com> on February 16, 2016, <moogservo.com> on July 15, 2016, and <moogsales.com> on August 8, 2016. The disputed domain names currently resolve to parked pages generated through GoDaddy.com.
5. Parties’ Contentions
Complainant asserts that it owns and has used since 1951 the MOOG mark in connection with high-performance control systems for military and commercial aircraft, satellites and space vehicles, launch vehicles, missiles, automated industrial machinery, wind turbines and marine and medical equipment. Complainant further asserts that it owns rights in the MOOG mark by virtue of having obtained trademark registrations for the MOOG mark in various jurisdictions, including the United States where Respondent is located.
Complainant contends that the disputed domain names are confusingly similar to Complainant’s MOOG mark because they contain the MOOG mark in its entirety. Complainant also contends that the inclusion in the disputed domain name of descriptive terms such as “motor,” “pro,” “valve repair,” “repair,” “sales” and “servo” (an abbreviation for “servormotor”) heightens confusion because the terms when used with the MOOG mark suggest a relationship with Complainant.
Complainant argues that Respondent lacks any rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain names because Respondent (a) is not in any way affiliated with or licensed by Complainant, (b) is not commonly known by the disputed domain names, and (c) has not used the disputed domain names for a bona fide offering of goods or services or for a legitimate noncommercial or fair use purpose. Complainant contends that Respondent has only used the disputed domain names to redirect Internet users to websites featuring links to third-party websites. Complainant further argues that the links appearing at the websites posted at the disputed domain names either resulted from Respondent’s lack of use of the disputed domain names after they were registered or from an attempt by Respondent to profit from GoDaddy’s “CashParking” service.
Finally, Complainant asserts that Respondent registered and has used the disputed domain names in bad faith since Respondent has admitted that he was aware of Complainant’s MOOG mark and products when he registered the disputed domain names. Complainant asserts that after sending Respondent a demand letter in September 2016 regarding Respondent’s unauthorized registration of the disputed domain names, Respondent responded that he had registered the disputed domain names to, in part, promote his ability to repair MOOG products. Thus, Complainant concludes that Respondent was clearly aware of Complainant and its MOOG brand when he registered the disputed domain names (particularly as Respondent registered multiple domain names based on the MOOG mark), and could have only done so opportunistically and in bad faith. Complainant further argues that Respondent’s bad faith registration and use is established by Respondent’s use of the disputed domain names for websites with links to third-party products and services even if Respondent did not actively place the links at such websites. Complainant maintains that such circumstances either evidence an effort by Respondent to profit from the third-party links or demonstrate that Respondent has been passively holding the disputed domain names since having registered them. Lastly, Complainant asserts that bad faith registration and use can also be inferred from Respondent’s registration of several domain names based on third-party trademarks.
Respondent asserts that the disputed domain names were not registered for the purpose of creating confusion, but for use at a later date to promote Respondent’s repair service for MOOG products. Respondent maintains that while the disputed domain names have pointed to parked pages, the pages were generated by GoDaddy and Respondent received no remuneration from such parked pages.
Respondent further argues that there is a distinction between the disputed domain names. According to Respondent, the disputed domain names <moogpro.com>, <moogrepair.com> and <moogvalverepair.com> are all domain names that actively describe activities undertaken by Respondent’s business, namely professionals who repair MOOG products, whereas the disputed domain names <moogsales.com>, <moogmotor.com> and <moogservo.com> are all domain names that could be seen as suggesting a connection to MOOG. Based on this distinction, Respondent advises that he offered to transfer to Complainant the <moogsales.com>, <moogmotor.com> and <moogservo.com> in return for reimbursement from Complainant of the registration and transfer fees, if any, incurred by Respondent. Complainant apparently rejected that offer. With regard to the <moogpro.com>, <moogrepair.com> and <moogvalverepair.com> disputed domain names, Respondent asserts that there is no likelihood of confusion and that he told Complainant in communications following an initial demand letter received from Complainant in September 2016, that if he ever used these disputed domain names he would do so with an appropriate disclaimer.
6. Discussion and Findings
Under paragraph 4(a) of the Policy, to succeed Complainant must satisfy the Panel that:
(i) the disputed domain names are identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which Complainant has rights;
(ii) Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain names; and
(iii) the disputed domain names were registered and are being used in bad faith.
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
Ownership of a trademark registration is generally sufficient evidence that a complainant has the requisite rights in a mark for purposes of paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Policy. WIPO Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions, Second Edition (“WIPO Overview 2.0”), paragraph 1.1. Complainant has provided evidence that it owns and uses the MOOG mark, which has been registered and used in the United States, Canada and other jurisdictions well before Respondent registered the disputed domain names. Complainant has also submitted ample evidence that the MOOG mark has been used in the United States and throughout the world in connection with Complainant’s precision component and system products and services.
With Complainant’s rights in the MOOG mark established, the remaining question under the first element of the Policy is whether the disputed domain names (typically disregarding the generic Top-Level Domain “.com”) are identical or confusingly similar with Complainant’s mark. See B & H Foto & Electronics Corp. v. Domains by Proxy, Inc. / Joseph Gross, WIPO Case No. D2010-0842.
In the instant proceeding, the disputed domain names are confusingly similar to Complainant’s MOOG mark as they each incorporate the MOOG mark in its entirety at the head of the disputed domain names. The addition of descriptive terms such as “motor,” “pro,” “valve repair,” “repair,” “sales” and “servo” does not distinguish the disputed domain names from Complainant’s MOOG mark and in fact increases the confusion by suggesting that the disputed domain names are related to Complainant and/or Complainant’s company, products or services. See, e.g.,Dr. Ing. h.c. F. Porsche AG v. Rojeen Rayaneh, WIPO Case No. D2004-0488. The Panel therefore finds that Complainant has satisfied the requirements of paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Policy in establishing its rights in the MOOG mark and in showing that the disputed domain names are identical or confusingly similar to those trademarks.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
Under paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy, the complainant must make at least a prima facie showing that the respondent possesses no rights or legitimate interests in a disputed domain name. Malayan Banking Berhad v. Beauty, Success & Truth International, WIPO Case No. D2008-1393. Once the complainant makes such a prima facie showing, the burden of production shifts to the respondent, though the burden of proof always remains on the complainant. If the respondent fails to come forward with evidence showing rights or legitimate interests, the complainant will have sustained its burden under the second element of the UDRP.
From the record in this case, it is evident that Respondent was, and is, well aware of Complainant and its MOOG mark, products and services. Respondent has admitted that he registered the disputed domain names for the alleged purpose of promoting his repair services for MOOG products. Notably, however, Respondent has provided no evidence that he actually owns a business that repairs MOOG products or any other products. Indeed, Respondent registered the <moogvalverepair.com> domain name in May 2014, but has not provided any evidence in the record establishing that Respondent has ever performed valve repair services let alone any evidence concerning the planned use of that disputed name or of any of the other disputed domain names to promote his alleged repair business. Under such circumstances, the Panel can only conclude that Respondent’s claims are pretextual.
As to whether Respondent has a legitimate interest in any of the disputed domain names based on the distinction Respondent seeks to draw between two groups of disputed domain names, the Panel rejects such argument. Apart from the fact that Respondent has not provided any evidence supporting his claim of operating a repair business, Respondent has essentially conceded that he has no rights or legitimate interests in the <moogsales.com>, <moogmotor.com>, and <moogservo.com> disputed domain names since he has admitted that these could be seen as being linked to Complainant and then offered to transfer these disputed domain names to Complainant. With regard to the <moogrepair.com>, <moogvalverepair.com> and <moogpro.com> disputed domain names, the Panel likewise concludes that Respondent does not have rights or legitimate interests in such disputed domain names, particularly as Respondent has not submitted any evidence to support his contentions, has not made any bona fide use of those domain names and has effectively passively held such disputed domain names since registering them. Respondent cannot simply claim without evidence that because a domain name in its totality suggests an action which possibly could relate to an activity of a respondent rights or legitimate interests should be presumed. Nor can the Panel conclude that rights or legitimate interests exist based on an unsubstantiated claim of possible future use of these disputed domain names or the alleged planned use of a disclaimer. On the facts presented, these disputed domain names are likely to be seen as connected to Complainant as a source of repair services by Complainant for its products or, in the case of <moogpro.com>, as an enhanced service or product provided by Complainant for professionals working with MOOG products.
Given that Complainant has established with sufficient evidence that it owns rights in the MOOG mark, and given Respondent’s above-noted actions, the Panel concludes that Respondent does not have a right or legitimate interest in the disputed domain names and that none of the circumstances of paragraph 4(c) of the Policy are evident in this case.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
Paragraph 4(b) of the Policy provides a non-exhaustive list of circumstances indicating bad faith registration and use on the part of a domain name registrant, namely:
“(i) circumstances indicating that you have registered or you have acquired the domain name primarily for the purpose of selling, renting, or otherwise transferring the domain name registration to the complainant who is the owner of the trademark or service mark or to a competitor of that complainant, for valuable consideration in excess of your documented out of pocket costs directly related to the domain name; or
(ii) you have registered the domain name in order to prevent the owner of the trademark or service mark from reflecting the mark in a corresponding domain name, provided that you have engaged in a pattern of such conduct; or
(iii) you have registered the domain name primarily for the purpose of disrupting the business of a competitor; or
(iv) by using the domain name, you have intentionally attempted to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to your web site or other on-line location, by creating a likelihood of confusion with the complainant’s mark as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation, or endorsement of your website or location or of a product or service on your website or location.”
In the present case, Respondent has registered the disputed domain names that each fully incorporate Complainant’s MOOG mark with descriptive terms such as “motor,” “sales,” “repair,” “valve repair,” “pro” and “servo”. Such combination of a descriptive term with Complainant’s MOOG mark creates a likelihood of confusion by suggesting to consumers that the disputed domain names concern Complainant’s business, products or services. Given Respondent’s own admissions, there can be no doubt that Respondent was well aware of Complainant and its MOOG mark when Respondent registered the disputed domain names. Needless to say, given that Respondent registered multiple domain names based on the MOOG mark and did not submit any evidence to support his claims, and given that the uncontested evidence shows that Respondent merely registered the disputed domain names and made no use of such, apart from allowing the disputed domain names to be used with parked pages that featured links to third parties, it is obvious that Respondent specifically targeted Complainant and its MOOG mark, and has done so opportunistically and in bad faith. Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin, Maison Fondée en 1772 v. The Polygenix Group Co., WIPO Case No. D2000-0163.
Accordingly, the Panel finds that Complainant succeeds under this element of the Policy.
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 <moogmotor.com>, <moogpro.com>, <moogrepair.com>, <moogsales.com>, <moogservo.com> and <moogvalverepair.com> be transferred to Complainant.
Date: March 27, 2017