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WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
YAHOO! INC. v. Internet Entertainment Group
1. The Parties
The Complainant is: Yahoo!, a Delaware corporation with its principal place of business at 3420 Central Expressway, Santa Clara, California 95051, U.S.A.
The Respondent is: Internet Entertainment Group, a business located at 2025 First Avenue, Suite 1050, Seattle, Washington 98121, U.S.A.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The domain name in dispute is <yahomo.com>.
The registrar for the disputed domain name is Network Solutions, Incoroprated (NSI), located at 505 Huntmar Park Drive, Herndon, Virginia 20170, U.S.A.
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 November 17, 2000. On November 24, 2000 the Center requested that the registrar, NSI, check and report back on the registrant for the domain name <yahomo.com>. On November 30, 2000 NSI reported to the Center that the registrant was the Respondent, Internet Entertainment Group, 2025 First Avenue, Suite 1050, Seattle, Washington 98121, USA.
On December 13, 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 within the twenty (20) day time limit and was declared in default on January 4, 2001 (Paragraph 5 of the Rules).
The Administrative Panel submitted a Declaration of Impartiality and Independence on January 16, 2001 and the Center proceeded to appoint the Panel on January 19, 2001.
The Panel finds the Center has adhered to the Policy and the Rules in administering this proceeding.
This Decision is due by February 1, 2001.
4. Factual Background
The Complainant Yahoo! Inc. is a an internet company offering a myriad of services such as web searching, information, shopping, advertising and other services too numerous to name here. The Respondent is an entity offering adult sexual entertainment and advertising on the internet. Respondent registered the disputed domain name <yahomo.com> on February 10, 1999. On August 15 and August 24, 2000 the Complainant wrote to the Respondent asserting trademark rights in the disputed domain name and demanding that Respondent transfer the name to Complainant. Respondent did not answer Complainant, and Complainant now seeks to gain possession of the disputed domain name through this proceeding.
5. The Parties’ Contentions
- Complainant’s "YAHOO!" mark is world famous and is also currently one of the world’s most valuable marks, according to independent agency surveys. Complainant’s web sites using the YAHOO! marks are among the most visited sites on the internet. The United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia specifically found the YAHOO! mark to be famous (Yahoo!Inc. v. Buffalo Wu, CA-00-00178-A).
- Respondent’s disputed domain name <yahomo.com> is confusingly similar to Complainant’s famous registered YAHOO! service and trademarks.
- Respondent is not and has never been a licensee of Complainant. Respondent is not and has never been otherwise authorized by Complainant to use the YAHOO! marks.
- At the time Respondent registered the disputed domain name, Respondent had both actual and constructive knowledge of Complainant’s service and trademarks.
- Respondent’s registration and use of the <yahomo.com> domain name meets the bad faith element set forth in Section 4(b)(iv) of the Policy. Specifically, Respondent used the <yahomo.com> domain name to intentionally attract, for commercial gain, internet users to its website by creating a likelihood of confusion with the YAHOO! trade and service marks.
- Respondent’s registration and use of the Domain Name in connection with a website offering pornography tarnishes and thereby dilutes the distinctiveness of Complainant’s famous YAHOO! mark.
- Pursuant to Paragraph 4(c) of the Policy, Respondent is not using and has not used the disputed domain name in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services.
- The Complainant requests that the disputed domain name be transferred to Complainant.
6. Discussions and Findings
In order for Complainant to prevail and have the disputed domain name <yahomo.com> transferred to itself, 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
The Complainant furnished exemplary copies of some of its YAHOO! trade and service mark registrations on the principal register of the United States of America. To list just a few: registration no. 2,040, 222, registered February 25, 1997 covering computer software, international class 9; registration no. 2,159,115 registered on May 19, 1998 covering electronic mail services in international class 38 (Complaint Exhibit 7). In registering the disputed domain name <yahomo.com>, the Respondent registered a name confusingly similar to Complainant’s trademark : it adds a letter and slightly changes the sound, but the appearance and pronunciation of "yahomo" clearly recall YAHOO!
The Panel finds the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to Complainant’s trademarks and service marks (See, e.g., Yahoo!Inc. & GeoCities v. DataArt Corp. et al., WIPO Case No. D2000-0587, August 10, 2000).
Legitimate Rights or Interests
As stated supra, Complainant asserts it did not give permission for Respondent to use its domain name and, indeed, has had no relationship with the Respondent. The circumstances of this Case militate strongly in favor of Complainant’s assertion. Respondent is in default and has not attempted to show any rights or interests in the disputed domain name. Hence, the Panel finds the Respondent has no legitimate rights or interests in the disputed domain name.
Registered and Used in Bad Faith
Respondent is using the disputed domain name, <yahomo.com>, to attract internet traffic to its porno website where the persons thus lured must also view the advertisements of Respondent’s clients before they can exit Respondent’s website. Thus, Respondent is parasitizing the goodwill of Complainant’s famous trademark to make money, in violation of the Policy at paragraph 4(b)(iv).
Furthermore, by associating Complainant’s famous trademark with pornography against Complainant’s wishes, Respondent also is violating the Policy at paragraph 4(c)(iii). (Yahoo!Inc. v. Cupcake Patrol, WIPO Case No. D2000-0928, September 29, 2000).
In summary, the Respondent , Internet Entertainment Group, in bad faith registered a domain name confusingly similar to Complainant’s service and trademarks and in which Respondent had no legitimate rights or interests. Based on the facts and discussions set out above and on the Policy paragraph 4(i), and the Rules paragraph 15, the Panel orders that the disputed domain name <yahomo.com> be transferred to the Complainant, YAHOO! Inc.
Dennis A. Foster
Date: February 1, 2001