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WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Nike, Inc. v. William Coleman
Case No. D2000-1120
1. The Parties
The Complainant in this administrative proceeding is Nike, Inc., an Oregon corporation with its principal place of business in Beaverton, Oregon, U.S.A. The Respondent is William Coleman, whose address is 7440-B Canterbury Avenue, Maplewood, Missouri, 63143 U.S.A.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The domain name in dispute is as follows: "nike.net". The domain name was registered by Respondent with Network Solutions, Inc. (NSI) on May 31, 1998.
3. Procedural Background
On August 24, 2000, the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center received from Complainant via e-mail a complaint for decision in accordance with the Uniform Policy for Domain Name Dispute Resolution, adopted by the Internet Corporation of Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) on August 26, 1999, ("Policy"), the Rules for Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy, approved by ICANN on October 24, 1999 ("Rules"), and the WIPO Supplemental Rules for Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (Supplemental Rules).
The complaint was filed in compliance with the requirements of the Rules and the Supplemental Rules, payment was properly made, the administrative panel was properly constituted, and the panelist submitted the required Statement of Acceptance and Declaration of Impartiality and Independence.
The instant Administrative Proceeding was commenced on September 26, 2000.
Respondent did not file a Response, and a "Notification of Respondent Default," dated October 18, 2000, was forwarded by WIPO to Respondent.
The decision of the Panel was due to WIPO on or before November 7, 2000.
4. Factual Background
As set forth in the Complaint, Complainant Nike is the world's leading sports and fitness company. It designs, manufactures, and markets a broad range of footwear, apparel, and equipment. Complainant also maintains an active presence on the Internet, primarily through its "nike.com" website, where Complainant promotes and sells its goods and services, and provides information about its business activities.
Since 1971, Complainant has used and promoted its NIKE trademark worldwide in connection with footwear, apparel, equipment, and retail store services. Last year alone, Complainant sold several billion dollars worth of NIKE brand merchandise.
Complainant owns numerous trademark registrations worldwide for its NIKE mark. These include U.S. Registration Nos. 1,243,248 and 1,277,066. See Complaint, Annex D.
As noted above, Respondent registered the domain name in dispute with NSI on May 31, 1998. Respondent's site is active, but contains merely a single page that makes no reference to Respondent or Complainant. Instead, it appears to be a page generated by a different company's web-authoring software program that informs the software owner of the software's successful installation. See Complaint, Annex E.
On May 23, 2000, Complainant sent a letter to Respondent seeking transfer of the domain name and offering to reimburse Respondent for his out-of-pocket costs in registering the name. See Complaint, Annex F. Respondent never responded to this letter or to other communications from Complainant. See Complaint, Annexes G and H.
Finally, Complainant contacted Respondent's Administrative Contact, Jeff Solomon. Mr. Solomon told Complainant that he had no knowledge of Respondent or of the domain name registration. Mr. Solomon also indicated that the NIC handle and e-mail address accompanying his name in the Respondent's registration record did not belong to him, but, rather, to an individual in Kuwait who, Mr. Solomon alleged, had earlier taken control of one of Mr. Solomon's domain names without proper authorization. See Complaint, Annex J.
5. Parties' Contentions
Complainant contends that the domain name in issue is identical to its NIKE mark; that there is no evidence that Respondent has any rights or legitimate interests in the domain name; and that Respondent registered and used the domain name in "bad faith."
6. Discussion and Findings
The Panel has carefully weighed the evidence presented and determines that Complainant has met the requirements set forth in ¶4.a. of the Policy.
There is no question that the domain name in dispute is identical to a mark in which Complainant has rights. The domain name incorporates, in full, the NIKE mark, which has been used by Complainant since 1971. The mark also is the subject of several U.S. trademark registrations owned by Complainant.
The Panel further determines that Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests with respect to the domain name. The evidence reveals that Respondent does not appear to have used "nike" as part of its name or mark and has not used the domain name in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services.
There is also evidence to support a determination of "bad faith" registration and use. Given the renown and widespread use of the NIKE mark, the Panel finds that Respondent could readily foresee that people would assume the "nike.net" domain name to be connected with Complainant, that the public would seek out the site in the hope of finding Complainant's site, and that Complainant would, therefore, wish to own and use the name and site. The Panel further determines that Respondent's failure to use the domain name also supports a finding of "bad faith" registration and use under the Policy. See Telstra Corp., Ltd. v. Nuclear Marshmallows, Case No. D2000-0003 (February 18, 2000). Finally, Respondent's listing of Mr. Solomon as the Administrative Contact for the domain name, when Mr. Solomon had no knowledge of Respondent or of the domain name, also constitutes evidence of "bad faith" registration and use.
In view of the above, the Panel GRANTS Complainant's request for transfer to it of the domain name "nike.net".
Jeffrey M. Samuels
Dated: November 6, 2000