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WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
COMSAT Corporation v. Comsat Technologies Corporation
Case No. D2000-1560
1. The Parties
The parties are COMSAT Corporation of 6560 Rock Spring Drive, Bethesda, MD 20817, USA (Complainant) and Comsat Technologies Corporation apparently of 109-2001 Victoria Avenue suite 204, St. Lambert, PQ J4S 1H1 Canada (Respondent).
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The domain name in dispute is <comsat.net>. The Registrar is Network Solutions.
3. Procedural History
The complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center ("the Center") by email on November 10, 2000 and in hard copy on November 14, 2000 by the Complainant’s attorney, Cynthia Clarke Weber of Sughrue, Mion, Zinn, MacPeak & Seas PLLC, Washington DC. Network Solutions verified that it was the Registrar of the disputed domain name and that it had received a copy of the complaint on November 20, 2000. The Center invited the Complainant by email of November 22, 2000 to amend the complaint to include the certification required by paragraph 4(a) of the Rules for Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy ("the Rules") and to correct the wording of the mutual jurisdiction submission. The Complainant filed amendments accordingly by email on November 22, 2000 and in hard copy on November 27, 2000. The Center’s formal requirements compliance checklist records that the correct fee was duly paid. On a review of the file, the Panel concludes that the complaint complied with the applicable formal requirements.
The complaint was notified by the Center by email (without exhibits) on November 28, 2000 to the email addresses recorded by the Registrar for the Registrant, the Administrative Contact and the Billing Contact and the Technical Contact. The emails to the first two of these addresses were returned as "user unknown". The complaint was also despatched by courier (with exhibits) on November 28 or 29, 2000 to the postal addresses recorded by the Registrar for the Registrant (109-2001 Victoria Ave suite 204, St Lambert, PQ J4S 1H1 Canada), the Administrative Contact and Billing Contact (Cofsky, Steven B, Cofsky & Associates Inc, 8202 Tachereau blvd, Suite 501, Brossard PQ j4X1C2 Canada) and the Technical Contact (Baylatry, Duc Centra Corporation, 6969 Transcanada suite 120, St Laurent PQ, H4T1V8 Canada). The courier’s tracking reports record delivery to the latter two addresses on December 1, 2000.
On December 20, 2000 the Center gave notification of default by email to the Registrant and to the Administrative and Billing Contact. A Mr Cofsky telephoned the Center the same day. The Center replied by email, explaining that by registering the domain name through Network Solutions, the Registrant had accepted the jurisdiction of all ICANN approved dispute resolution service providers, including the Center, to determine disputes under the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy ("the Policy"). No response has been received from the Respondent.
The Panel concludes that the complaint was properly notified in accordance with paragraph 2(a) of the Rules at the latest on December 1, 2000.
The single member Panel, Jonathan Turner, submitted a Statement of Acceptance and Declaration of Impartiality and Independence (accompanied by a disclosure) and was duly appointed on January 18, 2001. In accordance with paragraph 15 of the Rules, the Panel was required to forward its decision to the Center by January 31, 2001 in the absence of exceptional circumstances.
4. Factual Background
The Complainant was created by the US Congress by the Communications Satellite Act of 1962, 47 U.S.C. to design, develop and implement a worldwide satellite telecommunications system to fulfill the desire of President John F. Kennedy that every country in the world have access to satellite communication. It is now, and has been for 20 years, a company quoted on the New York Stock Exchange. It is well known as a leading participant in the development of satellite communications. It has been called COMSAT since it commenced operations in about 1963. It owns registered trade and service marks for COMSAT as a word mark in the US, Canada and other countries. Some of these registrations go back to 1966 or 1967.
The Respondent registered the domain name in dispute on March 25, 1997, but did not use it for a website until after a letter of complaint from the Complainant’s attorney of July 26, 1999. Currently there is no generally accessible website at this address.
5. Parties’ Contentions
The Complainant contends that it has registered trade marks and unregistered trade mark rights in the name COMSAT and that the disputed domain name is the same or confusingly similar thereto. Given the extent of its longstanding reputation under this name, the Complaint submits that the Respondent can have no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the domain name, and that it was registered and is being used in bad faith.
The Respondent has not submitted a response to these contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
For a complaint to succeed under the Policy, the Complainant must prove (i) that the domain name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which the complainant has rights; (ii) that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the domain name; and (iii) that the domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.
There is no difficulty with the first requirement in this case. It is clearly established that the Complainant has registered and unregistered trade mark rights in the mark COMSAT under the laws of the US and Canada. It cannot be disputed that the domain name <comsat.net> is the same or confusingly similar to this mark.
The evidence on the second and third requirements is less conclusive. The Complainant points to its extensive and longstanding reputation and infers that the domain name must have been chosen by the Respondent with the intention of causing confusion and trading off its goodwill. Since the domain name is similar to the corporate name of the Respondent on the Registrar’s record, it must be the Complainant’s case that this corporate name was adopted with a similar intent. The Complainant also notes that the Respondent began to operate a website at this address only after its attorney’s letter of complaint. The page exhibited in the complaint appears to be in the nature of a holding page. The Panel’s own investigation showed that there is now no generally accessible website at this address.
The Panel considers that an honest person with a legitimate reason for adopting the name "Comsat" would have given an explanation in response to the attorney’s letter and to this complaint under the Policy. In the absence of any information rebutting the inferences which can be drawn from the circumstances, the Panel concludes that it has been sufficiently proved that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the domain name and that this domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.
Given the extent and nature of the Complainant’s reputation the Panel considers that the use of the domain name by another person would be likely to cause confusion. The Panel concludes that the domain name should therefore be transferred to the Complainant.
The Panel decides that the domain name <comsat.net> should be transferred to COMSAT Corporation of 6560 Rock Spring Drive, Bethesda, MD 20817, USA.
Dated: January 31, 2001