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WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Case No. D2000-0180
Bell-Phillip Television Productions v. Make A. Aford (Tim Wenk)
1. The Parties
Complainant is Bell-Phillip Television Productions, Inc., a Delaware corporation with principal place of business at 7800 Beverly Boulevard, Suite 3371, Los Angeles, California 90036.
Complainant is represented by its legal counsel:
Ms. Lori N. Boatright
Blakely, Sokoloff, Taylor & Zafman, LLP
12400 Wilshire Boulevard, Seventh Floor
Los Angeles, CA 90025
Make A. Aford (Tim Wenk)
276 Old Loudon Road
Latham, New York 12110
2. The Disputed Domain Name and the Registrar
The disputed domain name is <www.theboldandthebeautiful.com>. The registrar is Network Solutions, Inc., 505 Huntmar Park Drive, Herndon, VA 20170, U..S. A.
3. Procedural History
This Complaint is to be decided under the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy and Rules ("the Policy" and "the Rules") and the World Intellectual Property Organization Arbitration and Mediation Center’s (the "Center") Supplemental Rules. The Center received the Complaint by Complainants via e-mail on March 17, 2000, and in hard copy on March 21, 2000. The required fee was paid.
On March 21, 2000, the Center requested that Network Solutions, Inc. (NSI) of Herndon, Virginia inform the Center of the identity of the registrant for the domain name <www.theboldandthebeautiful.com>. Also on March 21, 2000, NSI responded to the Center that the registrant was:
Make A. Aford
276 Old Loudon Road
Latham, New York 12110
Thereafter, the Center sent a copy of the Complaint to the Respondent by e-mail and by registered mail on March 24, 2000. Respondent did not file a response by April 12, 2000, as required by the Policy and the Rules and, in fact, never filed any response at all. The Center informed Respondent on April 14, 2000, by e-mail and registered mail that Respondent was in default.
The Panel for this domain name dispute was appointed in accordance with para 6(f) of the Rules on April 20, 2000. The Sole Panelist had already submitted a Statement of Acceptance and Declaration of Independence on April 19, 2000.
This Panel agrees with the Center that the Complaint and all other communications were submitted in accordance with ICANN’s Policy and Rules and the Center’s Supplemental Rules.
This Decision is due by May 4, 2000.
4. Factual Background
The Complainant, Bell-Phillip Television Productions, Inc., is the owner of a service mark, The Bold and the Beautiful, which it has used for a well-known U. S. television show and for merchandising since 1987. Respondent registered the domain name <www.theboldandthebeautiful.com > on April 21, 1999. Complainant is seeking to have this domain name transferred to itself.
5. The Parties’ Contentions
Complainant contends the following:Complainant is the owner of the service mark, The Bold and the Beautiful, which it registered on October 29, 1996, in the United States of America, and which it previously began using for its well-known television show in 1987. The mark also is registered in several foreign countries. The disputed domain name which Respondent registered, <www.theboldandthebeautiful.com>, is identical to Complainant’s service mark and is confusing to the public. Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the domain name.Respondent is not using the disputed domain name to offer goods or services, but has instead attempted to sell the disputed domain name at internet auctions. Respondent has registered numerous other domain names (for example, <www.viagraviagraviagra.com>), and is attempting to sell them as well.
Complainant requests transfer of the domain name <www.theboldandthebeautiful.com> to Complainant.
Respondent Filed No Response
Under the Policy and the Rules, Respondent’s default in responding allows this Panel to proceed to a decision based on the Complaint alone (the Rules, para 5(e).
6. Discussion and Findings
Under ICANN Policy para 4(a), Complainant must prove the following in order to prevail and have the disputed domain name transferred to itself: that Respondent’s domain name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which Complainant has rights; and that Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the domain name; and
the domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.
Identical or Confusingly Similar
The Complainant has provided (Complaint Exhibit C) a copy of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office registration no. 2,011,380 showing Complainant filed for the service mark The Bold and the Beautiful on November 21, 1994, and that this service mark was granted and registered on the Principal Register on October 29, 1996. In addition, this Panel takes note of the fact that Complainant’s television show, The Bold and the Beautiful, is well-known in the United States and many foreign countries. Complainant states this television show has been broadcast since 1987.
The Complainant has not offered evidence that members of the public were actually confused by the Respondent’s domain name registration. Nonetheless, given that Respondent’s domain name, www.theboldandthebeautiful.com, is identical with Complainant’s service mark, this Panel finds that confusion is ineluctable (the Policy para 4(a).
Whether Respondent Has Rights or Legitimate Interests in the Domain Name
Complainant has shown (Complaint Exhibit E) that Respondent attempted to auction the disputed domain name at the website <http://auctions.yahoo.com/auction/12014106>. The auction price had reached seven thousand dollars U.S. ($7,000 U.S.) by March 4, 2000. Accordingly, this Panel infers that Respondent’s motive for registering the disputed domain name was to sell it at auction on the internet for substantially more than Respondent paid for it (also a strong indication of bad faith as we discuss below). This is not a legitimate right or business interest under the Policy para 4(a), and no other right or interest is apparent.
Therefore, this Panel finds Complainant has demonstrated Respondent has no legitimate right or business interest in the disputed domain name.
Domain Name Registration in Bad Faith
Complainant has offered proof of three (3) instances of Respondent’s bad faith in registering the disputed domain name. First, Complainant’s service mark (Exhibit C), The Bold and the Beautiful, has been registered since October 29, 1996, and is well-known throughout the United States of America and in many other countries. Respondent must have known this when it registered the domain name <www.theboldandthebeautiful.com>. Complainant’s television show of the same name has been airing since 1987. Respondent has blocked the rightful owner of the service mark, Complainant, from registering the domain name.
Second, as already discussed, Complainant has shown (Exhibit F) that Respondent attempted to resell the disputed name at auction on the internet at http://auctions.yahoo.com/auctions/12014106 .
Third, Complainant has shown (Exhibit F) that Respondent engaged in a pattern of cybersquatting, and registered a number of other domain names, some of them famous names such as www.viagraviagraviagra.com. Respondent is attempting to auction these domain names as well for prices reaching almost four hundred thousand dollars U.S. ($400,00 U.S.). Any one of these proved instances of conduct would suffice to show bad faith. Taken together, they leave no room for doubt that Respondent registered the disputed domain name in bad faith (the Policy para 4(b).
This Panel finds Complainant has proved Respondent’s bad faith in registering the domain name <www.theboldandthebeautiful.com>.
In view of the above findings, and pursuant to ICANN Policy para 4(i) and Rule 15, this Panel orders that the disputed domain name, <www.theboldandthebeautiful.com>, be transferred to the Complainant, Bell-Phillip Television Productions, Inc. The Respondent, Make A. Aford, has no legitimate interest in this domain name, which Respondent registered and is using in bad faith.
Dennis A. Foster
Date: May 2, 2000