National Arbitration Forum
Disney Enterprises, Inc. v. Thomson Hayner
Claim Number: FA0802001142452
Complainant is Disney Enterprises, Inc. (“Complainant”), represented by J. Andrew Coombs, of J. Andrew Coombs, A Professional Corporation, California, USA. Respondent is Thompson Hayner (“Respondent”), Massachussetts, USA.
REGISTRAR AND DISPUTED DOMAIN NAME
The domain name at issue is <disney.ro>, registered with Research Institute for Informatics.
The undersigned certifies that he has acted independently and impartially and to the best of his knowledge has no known conflict in serving as Panelist in this proceeding.
James A. Carmody, Esq., as Panelist.
Complainant submitted a Complaint to the National Arbitration Forum electronically on February 4, 2008; the National Arbitration Forum received a hard copy of the Complaint on February 5, 2008.
On February 5, 2008, Research Institute for Informatics confirmed by e-mail to the National Arbitration Forum that the <disney.ro> domain name is registered with Research Institute for Informatics and that Respondent is the current registrant of the name. Research Institute for Informatics has verified that Respondent is bound by the Research Institute for Informatics registration agreement and has thereby agreed to resolve domain-name disputes brought by third parties in accordance with ICANN's Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (the "Policy").
On February 19, 2008, a Notification of Complaint and Commencement of Administrative Proceeding (the "Commencement Notification"), setting a deadline of March 10, 2008 by which Respondent could file a response to the Complaint, was transmitted to Respondent via e-mail, post and fax, to all entities and persons listed on Respondent's registration as technical, administrative and billing contacts, and to firstname.lastname@example.org by e-mail.
Having received no response from Respondent, the National Arbitration Forum transmitted to the parties a Notification of Respondent Default.
On March 17, 2008, pursuant to Complainant's request to have the dispute decided by a single-member Panel, the National Arbitration Forum appointed James A. Carmody, Esq., as Panelist.
Having reviewed the communications records, the Administrative Panel (the "Panel") finds that the National Arbitration Forum has discharged its responsibility under Paragraph 2(a) of the Rules for Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (the "Rules") "to employ reasonably available means calculated to achieve actual notice to Respondent." Therefore, the Panel may issue its decision based on the documents submitted and in accordance with the ICANN Policy, ICANN Rules, the National Arbitration Forum's Supplemental Rules and any rules and principles of law that the Panel deems applicable, without the benefit of any response from Respondent.
Complainant requests that the domain name be transferred from Respondent to Complainant.
A. Complainant makes the following assertions:
1. Respondent’s <disney.ro> domain name is identical to Complainant’s DISNEY mark.
2. Respondent does not have any rights or legitimate interests in the <disney.ro> domain name.
3. Respondent registered and used the <disney.ro> domain name in bad faith.
B. Respondent failed to submit a Response in this proceeding.
Complainant, Disney Enterprises, Inc., is a worldwide leader in producing children’s entertainment in many different mediums, including movies, television shows, books, and merchandise. Complainant holds numerous trademark registrations for the DISNEY mark worldwide, including with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) (i.e. Reg. No. 1,162,727 issued July 28, 1981).
Respondent, Thomson Hayner, has owned the <disney.ro> domain name for over eight years, but has not made any use of the disputed domain name during that time.
Paragraph 15(a) of the Rules instructs this Panel to "decide a complaint on the basis of the statements and documents submitted in accordance with the Policy, these Rules and any rules and principles of law that it deems applicable."
In view of Respondent's failure to submit a response, the Panel shall decide this administrative proceeding on the basis of Complainant's undisputed representations pursuant to paragraphs 5(e), 14(a) and 15(a) of the Rules and draw such inferences it considers appropriate pursuant to paragraph 14(b) of the Rules. The Panel is entitled to accept all reasonable allegations and inferences set forth in the Complaint as true unless the evidence is clearly contradictory. See Vertical Solutions Mgmt., Inc. v. webnet-marketing, inc., FA 95095 (Nat. Arb. Forum July 31, 2000) (holding that the respondent’s failure to respond allows all reasonable inferences of fact in the allegations of the complaint to be deemed true); see also Talk City, Inc. v. Robertson, D2000-0009 (WIPO Feb. 29, 2000) (“In the absence of a response, it is appropriate to accept as true all allegations of the Complaint.”).
Paragraph 4(a) of the Policy requires that Complainant must prove each of the following three elements to obtain an order that a domain name should be cancelled or transferred:
(1) the domain name registered by Respondent is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which Complainant has rights; and
(2) Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the domain name; and
(3) the domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.
Identical and/or Confusingly Similar
Complainant’s DISNEY mark has gained worldwide fame as the source of Complainant’s goods and services. Furthermore, Complainant has numerous trademark registrations around the world for the DISNEY mark. Therefore, the Panel easily finds that Complainant has established rights in the DISNEY mark for the purposes of Policy ¶ 4(a)(i). See Enter. Rent-a-Car Co. v. BGSvetionik, FA 925273 (Nat. Arb. Forum Apr. 11, 2007) (“The Panel finds that Complainant’s timely registration [with the USPTO] and subsequent use of the ENTERPRISE mark for over 20 years sufficiently establishes its rights in the mark pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(a)(i).”); see also Seiko Epson Corp. & Epson Am., Inc. v. AOS Web Com, Inc., FA 823033 (Nat. Arb. Forum Nov. 27, 2006) (“Seiko Epson has long established rights in the distinctive mark EPSON through use and through numerous United States and other trademark and service mark registrations.”).
Respondent’s <disney.ro> domain name includes Complainant’s DISNEY mark in its entirety and merely adds the Romanian country-code top-level domain (“ccTLD”) “.ro.” Since the addition of a top-level domain is irrelevant under the Policy, the Panel concludes that the <disney.ro> domain name is identical to Complainant’s DISNEY mark pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(a)(i). See Gardline Surveys Ltd. v. Domain Fin. Ltd., FA 153545 (Nat. Arb. Forum May 27, 2003) (“The addition of a top-level domain is irrelevant when establishing whether or not a mark is identical or confusingly similar, because top-level domains are a required element of every domain name.”); see also Tropar Mfg. Co. v. TSB, FA 127701 (Nat. Arb. Forum Dec. 4, 2002) (finding that since the addition of the country-code “.us” fails to add any distinguishing characteristic to the domain name, the <tropar.us> domain name is identical to the complainant’s TROPAR mark).
The Panel finds that Policy ¶ 4(a)(i) has been satisfied.
Rights or Legitimate Interests
Complainant has alleged that Respondent does not have rights or legitimate interests in the <disney.ro> domain name. Once Complainant makes a prima facie case in support of its allegations, the burden then shifts to Respondent to show it does have rights or legitimate interests under Policy ¶ 4(a)(ii). The Panel finds that Complainant has established a prima facie case pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(a)(ii). See AOL LLC v. Gerberg, FA 780200 (Nat. Arb. Forum Sept. 25, 2006) (“Complainant must make a prima facie showing that Respondent does not have rights or legitimate interest in the subject domain names, which burden is light. If Complainant satisfies its burden, then the burden shifts to Respondent to show that it does have rights or legitimate interest in the subject domain names.”); see also Hanna-Barbera Prods., Inc. v. Entm’t Commentaries, FA 741828 (Nat. Arb. Forum Aug. 18, 2006) (holding that the complainant must first make a prima facie case that the respondent lacks rights and legitimate interests in the disputed domain name under Policy ¶ 4(a)(ii) before the burden shifts to the respondent to show that it does have rights or legitimate interests in a domain name). Since Respondent has not responded to the Complaint, the Panel will examine the record to determine if Respondent has rights or legitimate interests pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(c).
Complainant alleges that Respondent is not licensed or authorized to use its DISNEY mark. Since the WHOIS information identifies Respondent as “Thomson Hayner,” and based upon a lack of evidence in the record indicating otherwise, the Panel concludes that Respondent is not commonly known by the <disney.ro> domain name pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(c)(ii). See Braun Corp. v. Loney, FA 699652 (Nat. Arb. Forum July 7, 2006) (concluding that the respondent was not commonly known by the disputed domain names where the WHOIS information, as well as all other information in the record, gave no indication that the respondent was commonly known by the disputed domain names, and the complainant had not authorized the respondent to register a domain name containing its registered mark); see also Instron Corp. v. Kaner, FA 768859 (Nat. Arb. Forum Sept. 21, 2006) (finding that the respondent was not commonly known by the <shoredurometer.com> and <shoredurometers.com> domain names because the WHOIS information listed Andrew Kaner c/o Electromatic a/k/a Electromatic Equip’t as the registrant of the disputed domain name and there was no other evidence in the record to suggest that the respondent was commonly known by the domain names in dispute).
Complainant alleges that Respondent has not made any use of the <disney.ro> domain name in over eight years. Based upon the evidence in the record, the Panel cannot determine any previous use by Respondent. Therefore, Respondent’s failure to use the <disney.ro> domain name does not constitute either a bona fide offering of goods or services under Policy ¶ 4(c)(i), or a legitimate noncommercial or fair use under Policy ¶ 4(c)(iii). See Pharmacia & Upjohn AB v. Romero, D2000-1273 (WIPO Nov. 13, 2000) (finding no rights or legitimate interests where the respondent failed to submit a response to the complaint and had made no use of the domain name in question); see also Bloomberg L.P. v. Sandhu, FA 96261 (Nat. Arb. Forum Feb. 12, 2001) (finding that no rights or legitimate interests can be found when the respondent fails to use disputed domain names in any way).
The Panel finds that Policy ¶ 4(a)(ii) has been satisfied.
Registration and Use in Bad Faith
Based upon UDRP precedent, Respondent’s failure to use the <disney.ro> domain name for over eight years clearly evidences bad faith registration and use pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(a)(iii). See Mondich v. Brown, D2000-0004 (WIPO Feb. 16, 2000) (holding that the respondent’s failure to develop its website in a two year period raises the inference of registration in bad faith); see also Clerical Med. Inv. Group Ltd. v. Clericalmedical.com, D2000-1228 (WIPO Nov. 28, 2000) (finding that merely holding an infringing domain name without active use can constitute use in bad faith).
The Panel finds that Policy ¶ 4(a)(iii) has been satisfied.
Having established all three elements required under the ICANN Policy, the Panel concludes that relief shall be GRANTED.
Accordingly, it is Ordered that the <disney.ro> domain name be TRANSFERRED from Respondent to Complainant.
James A. Carmody, Esq., Panelist
Dated: March 28, 2008