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WIPO Domain Name Decision: D2000-1770
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WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Chevy Chase Bank, F.S.B. v. Peter Ojo
Case No. D2000 - 1770
1. The Parties
Complainant, Chevy Chase Bank, F.S.B. is a federal savings bank with executive and administrative offices located in Chevy Chase, Maryland USA ("Chevy Chase Bank"). Chevy Chase Bank initiated this administrative proceeding pursuant to the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (the "Policy") whose terms form part of a domain name services agreement (the "Agreement") entered into between Register.Com, Inc. of New York, New York (the "Registrar") and the respondent, Peter Ojo, who claims to be an individual resident of Burtonsville, Maryland USA (the "Respondent"). The Agreement calls for the Respondent to receive Internet message traffic addressed to the domain name, <chevychasebank.org>.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The Domain name is <chevychasebank.org> and the Registrar is Register Com, Inc., of New York, USA.
3. Factual Background
Chevy Chase Bank claims to use CHEVY CHASE BANK to identify bank branch offices and banking services provided by Complainant in the greater Washington, D.C. area, including branch offices in Burtonsville, Maryland USA. The Complainant operates a web site at <www.chevychasebank.com>.
On or about December 19, 2000, Chevy Chase Bank filed a complaint with the Arbitration and Mediation Center of the World Intellectual Property Organization (the "Center") which is qualified to administer proceedings commenced under the Policy. In its complaint Chevy Chase Bank alleged that Respondent had registered CHEVY CHASE BANK.ORG in bad faith and in violation of pre-existing rights of Chevy Chase Bank to exclude others from using CHEVY CHASE BANK as a designation of origin. Chevy Chase Bank served a copy of its complaint directly on Respondent and simultaneously forward a copy of its complaint to the Center.
4. Procedural History
By letter dated December 28, 2000, the Center notified Respondent of the filing of Chevy Chase Bank’s complaint. Under cover of a letter also dated December 28, 2000, the Respondent served a response (the "Response") in which Respondent alleged that "Chevychasebank.org is a non-profit organization catering to the need of displaced and less privilege [sic] member [sic] of the society." The Respondent further alleged that he "has spent several thousands of dollars developing a web site for [Chevychasebank.org] ever since the name was lawfully registered." The Respondent attached to his response a document which Respondent characterized as "some of the work in progress to further proof [sic] that the Respondent has legitimate interest in the name." The document purported to be a web site page print-out stating, among other things, that "Chevychasebank.org is a non-profit food bank which serves Chevy Chase, and the DC metro area, supplying surplus food, paper and related products to non-profit organizations. Products are donated by manufacturers, wholesalers, distributors and local food markets from around the Baltimore and DC metro area." The document further stated that "Chevychasebank.org founded in 1999, helps the chronically homeless people on the streets. This program offers access to help through a family support system."
In a reply submission dated January 10, 2000, the Complainant contended that the Respondent’s explanation of his registration of <chevy chase bank.org> was pretextual; that there is no public record of any such food bank’s existence; that the document submitted by Respondent with his response was not probative of Respondent’s contention, but could have easily and quickly created using off-the-shelf web page design software."
Following the appointment of the undersigned as a Panel and accordance with the Policy, the Panel issued Procedural Order No. 1 which directed Respondent, pursuant to Rule 12 of the Policy, to furnish the following documents to the Panel:
1. Such documents as will show the date of formation, legal form (i.e., corporation, unincorporated association, etc.), and street address of the "Chevychasebank.org." referred to in Exhibit B to Respondent's response (the "Disputed Bank").
2. Such documents as will identify each officer, director, or employee of the Disputed Bank in 1999 and 2000.
3. Such documents as will identify by name, business address, and business telephone number, each of the "non-profit organizations" to which the Disputed Bank distributed any products in 1999 or 2000.
4. Such documents as will identify by name, business address, and business telephone number, each of the "manufacturers, wholesalers, distributors, and local food markets" which made any of the "donations" referred to in Exhibit B to the Respondent's response.
5. Such documents as will show the nature and quanity of any "donations" received by the Disputed Bank to date.
6. Such documents as will show Respondent's expenditure of the "several thousands of dollars" referred to in paragraph 14 of Respondent's response.
7. Copies of any reports (e.g., W-2's) or applications (e.g., an application for tax exempt status) filed by the Disputed Bank with any federal, state, or local government agency.
8. Specimens of any telephone bills issued to the Disputed Bank in 1999 or 2000.
9. Specimens of any correspondence written on letterhead of the Disputed Bank dated 1999 or 2000.
10. Specimens of any bank statements issued to the Disputed Bank in 1999 or 2000.
11. Such documents as will show when Exhibit B to Respondent's response was created, and who created it.
12. Such documents as will identify any of the "planning" or "fund sourcing" activity referred to in paragraph 14 of Respondent's response which Respondent wishes the Panel to consider.
The Center forwarded Procedural Order No. 1 to the parties on February 19, 2000. The Respondent’s due date for furnishing the requested documents was March 5, 2001. As of April 25, 2001, the Respondent had not furnished any of the requested documents and had not sought leave for any further extensions of time.
5. Discussions and Findings
Section 4(a) of the Policy entitles a complainant, such as Chevy Chase Bank, to seek an administrative transfer of a second level Internet domain name in the event that it "proves," to the satisfaction of the Panel, three predicates: (1) an accused domain name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or a service mark in which the complainant has rights; (2) a registrant has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the accused domain name; and (3) a registrant’s domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.
Chevy Chase Bank has proved each of the preceding three elements to the satisfaction of the Panel. The accused domain name <chevychasebank.org> is legally identical to Complainant’s trade name CHEVY CHASE BANK. The Respondent has not controverted Complainant’s ownership of trademark or service mark rights in CHEVY CHASE BANK.
The Panel infers, from the pleadings and from Respondent’s failure to produce any of the documents which the Panel requested, that the purported explanation given by Respondent for his registration of <cheychasebank.org> was pretextual; that Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the domain name <chevychasebank.org>; and that the Respondent did, as alleged, register and use <chevychasebank.org> in bad faith and with intent to prejudice the interests of the Complainant banking corporation trading as CHEVY CHASE BANK in the town of Respondent’s claimed residence.
It is, therefore, the decision and judgment of this Panel that the second level Internet domain name, <chevychasebank.org>, be and the same hereby is ordered transferred to the Complainant in accordance with the Policy.
James W. Dabney
Dated: April 26, 2001