WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Dana T. Davidson, Esq. v. Matthew D. Seltzer
Case No. D2021-0164
1. The Parties
Complainant is Dana T. Davidson, Esq., United States of America (“United States”), self-represented.
Respondent is Matthew D. Seltzer, United States.
2. The Domain Names and Registrars
The disputed domain names <davidsonlawgrp.net>, and <davidsonlawgrp.org> (the “Domain Names”) are registered with Domain.com, LLC (the “Registrar”).
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on January 20, 2021. On January 21, 2021, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the Domain Names. On January 21, 2021, 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, 2021. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was March 8, 2021. Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified Respondent’s default on March 25, 2021.
The Center appointed Robert A. Badgley as the sole panelist in this matter on April 7, 2021. 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 lawyer and the principal of the Davidson Law Group in New York. Complainant operates a commercial website at “www.davidsonlawgrp.com” to market her legal services.
Respondent is Complainant’s estranged brother. They have one sibling (“Sibling”). Their mother passed away in May 2020. It appears, from various emails submitted into the record by Complainant, that Respondent claims that Complainant wrongfully took the lion’s share of the mother’s estate, except for an investment account apparently earmarked equally for Complainant, Respondent, and Sibling.
The Domain Names were registered on May 24, 2020, a few days after the mother’s death and after the emails about the estate dispute had commenced. The Domain Names resolve to a rudimentary website with apparent hyperlinks with terms such as “Free Family Law Attorney,” “New Immigration Law,” “Find a Lawyer,” and so forth.
Shortly after registering the Domain Names, Respondent told Complainant that he had registered the Domain Names, and offered to transfer them to Complainant if she would agree to assign 95% of her share in the investment account to Respondent and Sibling.
5. Parties’ Contentions
Complainant contends that she has established all three elements required under the Policy for a transfer of each of the Domain Names.
Respondent did not reply to Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
Paragraph 4(a) of the Policy lists the three elements which Complainant must satisfy with respect to each of the Domain Names:
(i) the 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 in respect of the Domain Name; and
(iii) the Domain Name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The Panel concludes that Complainant has common law rights in the trademark DAVIDSON LAW GROUP through use demonstrated in the record. The Panel also concludes that the Domain Names are confusingly similar to that mark. The Domain Names entirely incorporate the DAVIDSON LAW GROUP mark, but omit the letters “ou” from the word “group.” The initials “grp” are a common shorthand reference for “group.” As such, Complainant’s mark is clearly recognizable within the Domain Names.
Complainant has established Policy paragraph 4(a)(i).
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
For each of the Domain Names, pursuant to paragraph 4(c) of the Policy, Respondent may establish his rights or legitimate interests in the Domain Name, among other circumstances, by showing any of the following elements:
(i) before any notice to you [Respondent] of the dispute, your use of, or demonstrable preparations to use, the Domain Name or a name corresponding to the Domain Name in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services; or
(ii) you [Respondent] (as an individual, business, or other organization) have been commonly known by the Domain Name, even if you have acquired no trademark or service mark rights; or
(iii) you [Respondent] are making a legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the Domain Name, without intent for commercial gain to misleadingly divert consumers or to tarnish the trademark or service mark at issue.
The Panel concludes that Respondent lacks rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Domain Names. Respondent has not come forward to explain or prove any legitimate basis on which he registered the Domain Names. From the undisputed record and Complainant’s plausible allegations, Respondent registered the Domain Names solely out of spite and as leverage in his attempt to squeeze a larger overall inheritance share from his late mother’s estate. Regardless of the merits, if any, of Respondent’s apparent view that Complainant took too large a portion of the inheritance, Respondent had no legitimate basis for registering Domain Names nearly identical to Complainant’s trademark and business name to seek leverage in the intrafamilial dispute.
Complainant has established Policy paragraph 4(a)(ii).
C. Registered or Used in Bad Faith
For each of the Domain Names, paragraph 4(b) of the Policy provides that the following circumstances, “in particular but without limitation,” are evidence of the registration and use of the Domain Name in “bad faith”:
(i) circumstances indicating that Respondent has registered or has acquired the Domain Name primarily for the purpose of selling, renting, or otherwise transferring the Domain Name registration to Complainant who is the owner of the trademark or service mark or to a competitor of that Complainant, for valuable consideration in excess of its documented out of pocket costs directly related to the Domain Name; or
(ii) that Respondent has 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 Respondent has engaged in a pattern of such conduct; or
(iii) that Respondent has registered the Domain Name primarily for the purpose of disrupting the business of a competitor; or
(iv) that by using the Domain Name, Respondent has intentionally attempted to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to Respondent’s website or other online location, by creating a likelihood of confusion with Complainant’s mark as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation, or endorsement of Respondent’s website or location or of a product or service on Respondent’s website or location.
The Panel concludes that Respondent has registered and used the Domain Names in bad faith within the meaning of the above-quoted Policy paragraph 4(b)(i). It is obvious that Respondent targeted Complainant and her mark for spite and for financial leverage in connection with the Parties’ respective shares of their mother’s estate.
Complainant has established Policy paragraph 4(a)(iii).
For the foregoing reasons, in accordance with paragraphs 4(i) of the Policy and 15 of the Rules, the Panel orders that the Domain Names <davidsonlawgrp.net> and <davidsonlawgrp.org> be transferred to Complainant.
Robert A. Badgley
Date: April 14, 2021