WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
MiraCorp, Inc. v. Nelson Matoke
Case No. D2019-1240
1. The Parties
The Complainant is MiraCorp, Inc., United States of America (“United States”), represented by Law Office of Mark Brown, LLC, United States.
The Respondent is Nelson Matoke, United States, self-represented.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <nttsdirectory.com> is registered with FastDomain, Inc. (the “Registrar”).
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on May 30, 2019. On May 31, 2019, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On May 31, 2019, the Registrar transmitted by email to the Center its verification response confirming that Respondent is listed as the registrant and providing the contact details. On June 3, 2019, the Center sent an email communication to the Parties seeking Complainant’s confirmation of its remedy request that the disputed domain name be transferred to Complainant. On the same date, the Complainant confirmed its remedy request. On June 3, 2019, the Center received two informal email communications from Respondent, stating that he is the owner of the disputed domain name and he has not authorized anyone to transfer his domain name.
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 June 5, 2019. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was June 25, 2019. On June 5, 2019, the Center received another informal email communication from Respondent. On June 6, 2019, the Center received an informal email communication from Respondent stating, “I am not in a position to pay the [C]omplainant [USD] 1000 whichever way the case goes.” No Response was formally filed with the Center. On June 27, 2019, the Center informed the Parties that it would proceed to appoint the Panel.
The Center appointed Lynda J. Zadra-Symes as the sole panelist in this matter on July 10, 2019. 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 owns United States Trademark Registration No. 2,988,581, registered August 30, 2005, for NTTS and Design for use in connection with “printed truck and trailer service directory” in International Class 16 and “providing a web site which features advertisements for the truck and trailer services of others on the global computer network; promoting the truck and trailer services of others through the distribution of promotional compact discs” in International Class 35 (the “581 Registration”). The 581 Registration claims a first use date of November 1989.
Complainant owns NTTS, Inc., a subsidiary of Complainant, which licenses the 581 mark and uses the 581 mark in commerce. NTTS, Inc. further owns and operates the similarly-named website though the domain name <nttsbreakdown.com>. NTTS, Inc. operates a national truck and trailer services directory under the brand name NTTS which it has used since 1989. NTTS provides a comprehensive guide to semi truck repair facilities nationwide in the United States and, since 1989, has published the annual NTTS Breakdown Directory which presents truck repair information by state, city and type of repair in a reference tool for all continental United States and Canada.
Respondent registered the disputed domain name on February 22, 2018. According to Complainant, the website at the disputed domain name purports to be a truck and trailer services directory, however, no evidence has been provided.
On April 15, 2019, Complainant sent a letter to Respondent demanding Respondent cease use of Complainant’s mark and of the disputed domain name. In a letter dated April 25, 2019, Respondent responded that his name was “Nelson” and “NTTSDirectory” stands for “Nelson’s Truck and Trailer Service” and attached screenshots purporting to reference other similar businesses using NTTS. Respondent’s letter further stated “We can agree on a settlement if you want my company to seize [sic] operating a truck directory web service completely. My team and I have put in a lot of mental, financial resources and manly hours. All that cannot go in vain. If this is not possible, the website will remain live on the web. We will continue working on the website until further direction is issued.” On April 30, 2019, Complaint responded and observed that the majority of the screenshots were links to articles which discuss Complainant’s business, not other businesses, that Complainant was not demanding that Respondent cease offering services in the trucking industry, but only that Respondent cease using Complainant’s mark.
5. Parties’ Contentions
Complainant contends that the disputed domain name is identical or confusingly similar to Complainant’s NTTS trademark, that Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name and that the disputed domain name has been registered and used in bad faith.
Respondent did not submit a formal response to the Complaint.
6. Discussion and Findings
In order to succeed in its claim, Complainant must demonstrate that all of the elements enumerated in paragraph 4(a) of the Policy have been satisfied:
(i) the disputed domain name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which Complainant has rights; and
(ii) Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests with respect to the disputed domain name; and
(iii) the disputed domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.
Paragraph 15(a) of the Rules instructs the Panel to 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”.
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
Complainant has demonstrated that it has rights in the trademark NTTS, which it has used since 1989. Complainant owns United States Trademark Registration No. 2,988,581 which it registered in 2005. The disputed domain name is confusingly similar to Complainant’s mark because it includes the entire literal portion of the mark followed by the word “directory”, which is merely descriptive of Complainant’s services.
Accordingly, the Panel finds that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to Complainant’s trademarks.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
Complainant asserts that it has not provided authorization to Respondent to use its mark in connection with the disputed domain name.
Respondent’s website is not accessible. There is no evidence in the record of Respondent’s website directory or that Respondent is using the disputed domain name in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services.
The Panel finds that Complainant has satisfied the requirement of paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
The record indicates that NTTS is a well-known truck and trailer services directory that has been published annually since 1989. In informal correspondence, Respondent claimed to operate a truck and trailer services directory. It is reasonable to assume that at the time of registering the disputed domain name in 2018, Respondent would have been aware of Complainant’s national truck and trailer services directory using the same mark, including in its domain name. The evidence of record therefore indicates that Respondent registered and used the disputed domain name to attempt to attract for commercial gain Internet users to Respondent’s website by creating a likelihood of confusion with Complainant’s trademark and as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation or endorsement of Respondent’s website or services.
Accordingly, the Panel finds that Respondent has registered and used the disputed domain name 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 <nttsdirectory.com> be transferred to Complainant.
Lynda J. Zadra-Symes
Date: July 29, 2019