WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Master International Corporation v. Masterelect
Case No. D2016-2079
1. The Parties
Complainant is Master International Corporation of Santa Monica, California, United States of America ("United States"), represented by Fox, O'Neill & Shannon, S.C., United States.
Respondent is Masterelect of Oakland, California, United States.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <masterelectlimited.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 October 11, 2016. On October 12, 2016, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On October 13, 2016, 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 October 18, 2016. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was November 7, 2016. Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified Respondent's default on November 10, 2016.
The Center appointed Martin Schwimmer as the sole panelist in this matter on November 11, 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 owns the United States Trademark Registration no. 4,322,006 MASTER ELECTRONICS (word mark), which was registered on April 16, 2016 to protect services in class 35, and utilizes the <masterelectronics.com> domain name to promote its electronics distribution business.
The disputed domain name was registered on February 11, 2016. Respondent utilizes the disputed domain name to promote an electronics retail website, which displays a MASTER ELECTRONICS logo. The Panel notes that Respondent's location shown on the website corresponds with Complainant's warehouse in Oakland.
5. Parties' Contentions
Complainant owns registered rights in the MASTER ELECTRONICS trademark and utilizes the domain name <masterelectronics.com> to promote its electronics distribution business. Complainant's use of the trademark is prior to the creation date of the disputed domain name. Respondent utilizes the <masterelectlimited.com> disputed domain name to promote an electronics retail website, which displays a MASTER ELECTRONICS logo. Respondent identifies Complainant's address on the website as its own.
Respondent did not reply to Complainant's contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
Complainant has established rights in the MASTER ELECTRONICS trademark through its registration and use. The Panel concludes that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar because the disputed domain name incorporates the words "Master" and "Elect", which is an abbreviation of the word "Electronics". That "Elect" would be interpreted in this way is reinforced by the display of electronic products on the website. The remainder of the disputed domain name consists of the common term "Limited" and the generic Top-Level Domain ("gTLD") ".com". Accordingly, the distinctive element of the disputed domain name, "masterelect," is confusingly similar to Complainant's mark MASTER ELECTRONICS.
Consequently, the Panel finds that Complainant has met the first element of the Policy.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
The second ground to be demonstrated by Complainant, according to the provisions of the Policy, is Respondent's absence of any rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name, per paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy.
Previous UDRP panels have consistently held that it is sufficient for a complainant to prove a prima facie case that the respondent does not hold rights or legitimate interests in the domain name (see Croatia Airlines d.d. v. Modern Empire Internet Ltd., WIPO Case No. D2003-0455 and Belupo d.d. v. WACHEM d.o.o., WIPO Case No. D2004-0110). Once a prima facie case is shown, the burden of production shifts to the respondent to come forward with appropriate allegations or evidence demonstrating its rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name.
The Panel is satisfied that Respondent has no connection or affiliation with Complainant and has not received any license or consent to use Complainant's trademark in the disputed domain name or in any other manner. Complainant alleges that there is no such connection here.
Respondent's website does not use the name under which it registered the domain name, "Master Elect Limited", but rather prominently displays a MASTERS ELECTRONICS logo, accompanied by the ® symbol. Such use of the disputed domain name is clearly neither noncommercial nor fair use. In addition, Respondent has not responded and therefore has failed to establish any theory under which it can lawfully utilize either the disputed domain name or Complainant's mark.
For reasons further discussed in section 6.C. below, its use of the domain name is not bona fide.
Therefore, in light of Complainant's unrebutted prima facie case, the Panel finds that Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
As stated above, Complainant has established that it owns registered rights in the trademark MASTER ELECTRONICS, which it uses in connection with the distribution and sale of electronic components.
Respondent utilizes the disputed domain name for a website selling electronic products. The website prominently displays a MASTERS ELECTRONICS logo, accompanied by the ® symbol. The WhoIs, the information provided by the Registrar and the home page to which the disputed domain name resolve indicate that Respondent is located at an address in Oakland, California. However, Complainant has provided evidence showing that Complainant, and not Respondent, is located at that address. In fact, Respondent's WhoIs data appears to be fraudulent as mail from the Center to Respondent was returned.
Respondent has not responded and therefore these allegations are unrebutted.
In short, Respondent is utilizing both a similar domain name and Complainant's identical trademark to sell competitive or closely related electronics products. Respondent's use of Complainant's address removes doubt that it has targeted Complainant.
The Panel therefore finds that Respondent registered and is using 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 <masterelectlimited.com> be transferred to Complainant.
Date: November 15, 2016