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WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Exxon Mobil Corporation v. Joseph Fisher
Case No. D2000-1412
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Exxon Mobil Corporation, 5959 Las Colinas Boulevard, Irving, Texas 75039-2298, United States.
The Complainant is represented by Allison Withers Edwards, Esq., Fulbright & Jaworski, L.L.P., 600 Congress Ave., Suite 1900, Austin, Texas 78701, United States.
The Respondent is Joseph Fisher, 16318 Parksley Drive, Houston, Texas 77059, United States.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The domain name in dispute is: <exxononline.com>.
The registrar is Namesecure, Inc., 1855 Gateway Blvd., Suite 1050, Concord, California 94520, United States.
3. Procedural History
This dispute is to be resolved in accordance with the Uniform Policy for Domain Name Dispute Resolution (the Policy) and Rules (the Rules) approved by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) on October 24, 1999, and the World Intellectual Property Organization Arbitration and Mediation Center’s Supplemental Rules for Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution (the Center, the Supplemental Rules).
The Complaint was filed on October 18, 2000 by e-mail and a hard copy followed on October 27, 2000. On October 23, 2000 the Center requested that the Registrar Namesecure check and report back on the registrant for the disputed domain name "exxononline". On October 27, 2000 Namesecure reported to the Center that the registrant was the Respondent:
Joseph Fisher, 16318 Parksley Drive, Houston, Texas 77059, United States.
On October 31, 2000 the Center forwarded a copy of the Complaint to Respondent by registered mail and by e-mail and this proceeding officially began. Respondent did not file a response and was declared in default on November 27, 2000.
The Administrative Panel submitted a Declaration of Impartiality and Independence on December 1, 2000, and the Center proceeded to appoint the Panel on December 5, 2000. The Panel finds the Center has adhered to the Policy and the Rules in administering this Case.
This Decision is due by December 18, 2000.
4. Factual Background
Complainant, Exxon Mobil Corporation, is a Texas corporation whose activities are concentrated in the petroleum and petrochemical businesses. It has been using the "Exxon" trademark since 1967. On September 20, 2000, Respondent registered the disputed domain name "exxononline.com" with Namesecure, Inc. In this proceeding, Complainant seeks to have the disputed domain name transferred to itself.
5. The Parties’ Contentions
- Complainant owns numerous validly existing trade and service mark registrations for the name "Exxon".
- The Respondent has made no demonstrable preparations to use the disputed domain name <exxononline.com> in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services. The Respondent does not maintain an Internet site at the domain name <exxononline.com>.
- The Respondent is not commonly known by the name "exxononline", and Respondent is not making a legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the domain name.
- The Respondent registered and is using the disputed domain name in bad faith because, on September 21 and 23, 2000, the Respondent sent e-mails to the Complainant offering to sell the domain name for $150,000.
- The disputed domain name "exxononline.com" should be turned over to Complainant.
Respondent did not file a response and is in default in these proceedings.
6. Discussions and Findings
In order for Complainant to prevail and have the disputed domain name <exxononline.com> transferred to itself, the Complainant must prove the following (the policy, para 4(a)(i-iii):
- the domain name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which the Complainant has rights; and
- the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the domain name; and
- the domain name was registered and is being used in bad faith.
Identical or Confusingly Similar
Complainant has produced copies of a few of its trade and service marks registered on the principal register of the Patent and Trademark Office of the United States of America: for example "Exxon"no. 2209787 registered on December, 8, 1998 in international class 37, and no. 1471065, "Exxon", registered on December 29, 1987 in international class 42 (see Complaint Appendix B)
The disputed domain name <exxononline.com> appropriates the non-generic part of Complainant’s trademark in its entirety. The "online.com" part of the disputed domain name is generic and is the e-commerce equivalent of "shop" or "store" in the bricks and mortar environment. The observer is ineluctably left with the erroneous impression that Complainant is the source of what is to be found at the disputed domain name currently registered and owned by Respondent.
The Panel finds the disputed domain is confusingly similar to Complainant’s trademark.
Legitimate Rights or Interests
The Complainant avers that Respondent has no license or permission to use Complainant’s trademark, and that in fact Respondent has no connection whatever with Complainant.
The Respondent is in default in this proceeding and thus has made no showing whatever as to legitimate rights or interests in the disputed domain name or as to fair use of the name (the Policy 4(c)).
In the absence of any contrary showing by Respondent and, in view of the circumstances of this case, the Panel accepts Complainant’s statements as true.
The Panel finds Respondent has no legitimate rights or interests in the disputed domain name.
Registered and Used in Bad Faith
The Panel takes note that Complainant’s "Exxon" trademark is one of the most famous in the United States and very likely the world for the types of products and services Complainant markets. Respondent had both actual and constructive notice of Complainant’s famous trademark when Respondent registered the disputed domain name.
Almost immediately after Respondent registered the disputed domain name with Namesecure, Inc. on September 20, 2000, i.e. on September 21 and 23, 2000, Respondent sent e-mails to Complainant offering to sell the disputed domain name for $150,000.
The above circumstances prove bad faith in registration and use in contravention of the Policy (4(b)(i)).
In view of the findings above, and pursuant to ICANN Policy para 4(i) and Rule 15, the Panel orders that the disputed domain name "exxononline.com" be turned over to the Complainant, Exxon Mobil Corporation. This domain name is confusingly similar to Complainant’s "Exxon" trade and service marks. The Respondent, Joseph Fisher, has no rights or legitimate interests in this domain name, and registered and was using it in bad faith.
Dennis A. Foster
Dated: December 18, 2000