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WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Infospace, Inc. v. Dominion Hill Inc
Case Nos. D2000-1475 and D2000-1477
Because the parties to these two cases are identical, and because the domain names in respect of which the complaints have been made are substantively similar, the Panelist has decided to incorporate both decisions into a single document to avoid unnecessary duplication. This decision has been taken under Rule 10(a) of the Rules, in conjunction with an analogous interpretation of Rule 10(e).
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Infospace of 601-108th Ave. N.E., Suite 1200, Bellevue, WA 98004, USA ("Infospace").
The Respondent is Dominion Hill Inc of Sent Nicholas, PO Box 54277, Kanika Complex, Flat 705, Limassol, Cyprus 3101 ("Dominion Hill").
2. The Domain Names and Registrar
The domain names at issue in Case No. 1475 are infosspace.com, ynfospace.com, inffospace.com, infospaace.com, infosppace.com.
The domain names at issue in Case 1477 are innfospace.com and infospacce.com.
In both cases the Registrar is Tucows.com Inc. of Registrant Affairs Office, 96 Mowat Avenue, Toronto, Ontario M6K 3M1, Canada.
3. Procedural History
In Case 1475 the complaint was submitted on October 28, 2000, and duly despatched by the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center to the Respondent. No response was received, so a notification of default was submitted on December 7, 2000. In the absence of any further communication, the Panelist was duly appointed on January 10, 2000.
All payments appear to have been duly made by Infospace.
The Panelist has submitted a Statement of Acceptance and Declaration of Impartiality and Independence. The language of the proceeding is English.
In relation to Case 1477, the Complaint was also submitted on October 28, 2000, and followed precisely the same administrative path with a default notice filed on December 7, 2000. Once again, Infospace appear to have paid all appropriate fees and the Panelist was duly appointed on January 10, 2001.
4. Factual Background
Infospace is a substantial US corporation dealing in the provision of computer software and services. It is the registered proprietor of a number of US trademarks, and other applications for the mark "INFOSPACE" as well as the mark "POWERED BY INFOSPACE". Further, the Complainant is the owner of the domain name "Infospace.com".
The domain names of which complaint is made in Cases 1475 and 1477 were registered between May 24, 2000, and June 7, 2000, well after the registration of the trademarks, and the acquisition of the domain name "Infospace.com" by Infospace.
All the seven domain names at issue in the two cases resolve to the online gambling site entitled "Netsmear.com" and "www.casino-on-net.com".
The complaint was duly filed as indicated in Section 3 above.
5. The Parties’ Contentions
Infospace contends that the domain names in question are identical or confusingly similar to its trade marks and trading names; that Dominion Hill has no right or legitimate interest in respect of the domain names; and that the domain names have been registered and are being used in bad faith.
Infospace asserts that the identical nature of the domain names is clear from the well-known trading style of their business, and the portfolio of trademark registrations. They point to the fact that the minor alphanumeric changes which have been made in order to create different domain names are immaterial in terms of their difference from the Infospace trademarks, and the Infospace.com website.
Infospace contends that Dominion Hill has no legitimate interest in the names. It asserts that Dominion Hill owns no valid intellectual property rights in the names and is not commonly known by those names, as they in fact resolve to another website, presumably owned by Dominion Hill. Infospace contends that Dominion Hill has no relationship with Infospace itself, and is not authorized by the company to use the Infospace name or mark or any variations thereof.
Finally, Infospace contends that the domain names were registered and are being used in bad faith. To support this assertion, it points out that the name Infospace is well known, and that the intentions of Dominion Hill are perfectly apparent from the fact that it has merely made single letter alterations to the name in the registration of the seven domain names. The intention, in the assertion of Infospace, was to redirect consumers looking for Infospace to the Dominion Hill website in order to increase traffic and to profit from that. That would be contrary to paragraph 4(b)(iv) of the UDRP.
There has been no response by Dominion Hill to either of the complaints, notwithstanding the fact that delivery to its noted email address has clearly been made.
6. Panel Findings
Under paragraph 4 of the UDRP the Complainant’s burden is to prove in relation to the complaint that:
(i) the domain name at issue is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which the Complainant has rights;
(ii) the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interest in respect of the domain name;
(iii) the domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.
The Complainant must prove that each of these three elements is present in order to
make out a successful case.
The first part of the test is simple and straightforward. The seven domain names at issue all fall within one letter of the registered trademarks and registered domain name belonging to Infospace. The manner in which the seven sites have been devised, with deliberate minor mis-spelling, using a different letter in each case is in itself evidence of an attempt to come as close as possible to the existing registered domain name. Accordingly, the Complainant has satisfied the first limb of the test.
Infospace have asserted that there is no evidence of Dominion Hill trading or being known by any of the seven names which it has registered, and there is evidence that those names are merely being used to divert users to its other websites. The way in which the UDRP guidelines have been drawn up suggests that the burden of proof following even such a basic assertion passes to the Respondent to satisfy the Panelist that it does have a right or legitimate interest. In the absence of any submission from the Respondent, Dominion Hill, the Panelist is satisfied that the second limb of the test is also satisfactorily made out.
The question of bad faith is the last to be considered and is usually the most difficult. However, in this case, given the nature of the seven domain names, which have been registered, and the clear intention of Dominion Hill to use those names in order to divert people who might otherwise visit the legitimate Infospace site to its gambling sites, bad faith is demonstrated quite clearly.
Paragraph 4 of the UDRP helpfully provides examples of circumstances which, if found by the Panel to be present, are evidence of registration and use in bad faith. In this case, paragraph 4(b)(iv) is clearly in evidence. That indicates that "by using the domain name, the Respondent has intentionally attempted to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to a website or other on-line location by creating a likelihood of confusion with the Complainant’s marks".
Accordingly, Infospace has satisfied its requirements in order to make out a full case under the UDRP.
In the light of the foregoing, the Panel decides that each of the seven domain names registered by Dominion Hill in the Cases 1475 and 1477 is identical or substantially similar to the registered trade marks and trading names of Infospace; that Dominion Hill has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of these domain names; and that the domain names in issue were registered and used in bad faith.
Accordingly, the Panel requires that the registration of the domain names in issue be transferred to Infospace.
Gordon D Harris
Dated: January 22, 2001