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WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
AT&T Corp. v. Global Net 2000, Inc.
Case No. D2000-1447
This is a mandatory administrative proceeding submitted for decision in accordance with the Uniform Policy for Domain Name Dispute Resolution, adopted by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) on August 26, 1999 (the "Policy"), the Rules for Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy, approved by ICANN on October 24, 1999 (the "Rules") and the Supplemental Rules for Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (the "Supplemental Rules").
The Administrative Panel consisting of a single member was appointed on December 18, 2000 by the World Intellectual Property Organization Arbitration and Mediation Center ("the Center").
2. The Parties
The Complainant in this administrative proceeding is AT&T Corp., a corporation incorporated under the laws of the State of New York. Its principal place of business is in Basking Ridge, New Jersey, USA.
The Respondent in this administrative proceeding is Global Net 2000, Inc., whose address is listed as 166 North Sofrevari Street (Apadena corner), Record Building, Tehran, Tehran 15577, Iran.
3. The Domain Name and Registrar
The Domain Name is <attt.net>.
The Registrar is BulkRegister.com, 7 East Redwood Street, Third Floor, Baltimore, MD 21202, USA.
4. Jurisdiction and Related Matters
By registering the subject domain name with the Registrar, the Respondent agreed to the resolution of disputes pursuant to the Policy and the Rules.
5. Procedural History
Complainant filed its Complaint with the Center on October 24, 2000 by email and on October 27, 2000 by hardcopy. An Acknowledgement of Receipt dated October 27, 2000 was sent by the Center to the Complainant. The Center dispatched to the Registrar a Request for Registrar Verification on October 31, 2000 and a Reply from the Registrar was received on October 31, 2000. On November 8, 2000 having verified that the Complaint satisfied the formal requirements of the Policy and the Rules, the Center formally commenced this proceeding and notified the Respondent that its Response would be due by November 27, 2000. The Respondent did not file a response by the due date.
An examination of this material confirms that all the formal requirements for the prosecution of this proceeding were met.
Neither party requested an opportunity to make further submissions and the Administrative Panel is content to proceed on the basis of the existing record.
6. Factual Background
The Complainant has been selling telecommunications goods and services for over a century under the name "AT&T" and phrases that combine "AT&T" or "ATT" with other words. It has invested at least hundreds of millions of dollars promoting these names among consumers in the United States and other countries around the world.
The Complainant has rights in numerous registered trademarks and service marks in many countries, including the United States as well as many domain names that correspond closely to these marks.
The Complainant has rights in the U.S. registered mark "AT&T." It has been the registrant of the domain name <att.com>, since at least 1986. The domain name <att.com> resolves to AT&T’s primary corporate website.
Similarly, the Complainant has rights in the U.S. registered mark "ATT NET."
The Complainant’s <att.net> website is its principal address on the Internet for the Complainant’s Worldnet Service.
The subject domain name previously was registered through Network Solutions, Inc. by the Respondent, but with a different address and with a different individual as Administrative, Technical, Zone and Billing Contact.
The Respondent is neither licensed nor authorized by the Complainant to use the Complainants’s name or marks.
As of September 27, 2000 the <attt.net> website resolved momentarily to a page stating "Future Home of att.net."
Respondent has registered domain names which are misspellings of famous marks and holds 256 domain names, many of them misspellings of famous marks.
7. Parties’ Contentions
The Complainant asserts that it has rights to the name AT&T and to marks that relate to it and that the subject domain name is confusingly similar to its marks.
It is contended that the Respondent has no legitimate interest in the subject domain name. There is no relationship between its name and the subject domain name and no commercial use has been made of it.
The Complainant points to other domain name cases wherein the Respondent has been found to have acted in bad faith in circumstances similar to this case. It also relies on the course of conduct of the Respondent in registering a large number of domain names which are misspellings of famous names. In addition, the fact that the web site of the Respondent resolves momentarily to a page stating "Future Home of att.net", is relied on as evidence supporting the Complainant assertion of bad faith.
The Respondent has stated no position.
8. Discussion and Findings
Paragraph 4(a) of the Policy requires the Complainant to prove that:
i) the domain name is identical or confusingly similar to a service mark to which the Complainant has rights;
ii) the Respondent has no right or legitimate interests in respect of the domain name;
iii) the domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.
The Complainant refers to decisions of domestic tribunals and courts. While these are instructive and helpful, they are not controlling in an ICANN domain name dispute.
The resolution of this dispute takes place in the context of a consideration of the requirements of paragraph 4(a) of the Policy.
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The United States Patent and Trademark Office has determined that a name that differs from AT&T merely by the addition of an extra "T" is an infringement based on confusing similarity. Reference was made to Esso Standard Oil Co. v. Sun Oil Co., 229 F.2d 37, 108 USPQ 161 (D.C. Cir.), cert. denied, 351 U.S. 973, 109 USPQ 517 (1956).
But for the addition of a "T", the subject domain name would be identical to rights of the Complainant. It clearly is similar. It also is confusing.
The Complainant has met the requirements of paragraph 4(a)(i).
B. Respondent’s Right or Legitimate Interest
There is no relationship between the Respondent’s name and the subject domain name and no commercial use by the Respondent of the subject domain name.
The Respondent has provided nothing to support a conclusion that it has a legitimate interest in the subject domain name.
The Complainant has met the requirements of paragraph 4(a)(ii).
C. Bad Faith
The fact that a Respondent has no legitimate interest in a confusingly similar domain name that it has registered, does not lead inevitably to a conclusion that it registered and is using the name in bad faith. Such a conclusion must flow from a consideration of the evidence as a whole.
Similarly, the fact that the Respondent has been held to have acted in bad faith in a number of other ICANN cases, is not determinative of its conduct in this case. Each case must be decided on its facts, but an examination of similar conduct is legitimate. The extent to which it is given weight will depend on the context of the case being decided.
In this case, the Complainant points to a number of other cases which have involved the Respondent and states:
"Respondent has repeatedly registered domain names which are misspellings of famous marks in the hope of diverting traffic and/or selling the purposely confusing domain names to the owners of the famous marks, a practice commonly referred to as "typosquatting." See, e.g., Microsoft Corp. v. Global Net 2000, Inc., Case No. D2000-0554 (WIPO July 25, 2000); Reuters Limited v. Global Net 2000, Inc., D2000-0441 (WIPO, July 13, 2000); Accu Weather, Inc. v. Global Net 2000, Inc., National Arbitration Forum, File No. FA0004000094645 (June 1, 2000); and Yahoo! Inc. and GeoCities v. Data Art Corp., DataArt Enterprises, Inc., Stonybrook Investments, Global Net 2000, Inc., Powerclick, Inc. and Yahoo Search, Inc., D2000-0587 (WIPO August 10, 2000). Respondent’s registration of the <attt.net> domain name is part of a larger pattern and practice of registering domain names for the purpose of diverting traffic and/or selling them at a price far in excess of their cost."
There is no evidence in this case of an attempt by the Respondent to sell the subject domain name, but that does not tell against the Complainant in the context of the evidence overall.
The Respondent has registered a large number of domain names which contain misspellings of famous names. This fact coupled with the significant number of similar cases in which the Respondent has been found to have acted in bad faith and the resolution of the Respondent’s web page to a reference to the Complainant’s mark, leads to a proper inference of bad faith in this case. In the absence of any explanation by the Respondent the inference leads to a conclusion of bad faith.
The Complainant has met the requirements of paragraph 4(a)(iii).
On the basis of the findings and conclusions stated herein, the Administrative Panel concludes that the Complainant has established its case. It seeks transfer to it of the subject domain name.
The Administrative Panel so orders.
Edward C. Chiasson, Q.C.
Dated: December 23, 2000