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WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Budget Rent a Car Corporation v. Spiros Pettas
Case No. D2001 -1056
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Budget Rent a Car Corporation, 4225 Naperville Road, Lisle, Illinois 60532, USA.
The Respondent is Spiros Pettas, 3304 Woodside Ct., Chandler, Arizona 85224, USA.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The Domain Name is <budgetcarcarriers.com>.
The Registrar is Network Solutions, Inc.
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was received by WIPO by email on August 23, 2001, and in hardcopy form on August 24, 2001. WIPO verified that the Complaint satisfies the formal requirements of the Policy, the Rules and the Supplemental Rules and that payment was properly made. The Administrative Panel ("the Panel") is satisfied that this is the case.
The Complaint was properly notified in accordance with the Rules, paragraph 2(a). The Registrar confirmed that <budgetcarcarriers.com> ("the Domain Name") was registered through Network Solutions and that Spiros Pettas is the current registrant. The Registrar further confirmed that the Policy is applicable to the Domain Name.
On August 31, 2001, WIPO notified the Respondent of the Complaint as required and informed the Respondent, inter alia, that the last day for sending its Response to the Complainant and to WIPO was September 20, 2001. No Response was received. WIPO issued a Default Notice to the Respondent on September 24, 2001. No submission or communication from Respondent was received.
The Panel was properly constituted. The undersigned Panelist submitted a Statement of Acceptance and Declaration of Impartiality and Independence.
No further submissions were received by WIPO or the Panel. The projected date for the issuance of the Panel’s Decision was November 1, 2001.
4. Factual Background
The following matters are set out in the Complaint. They are supported by evidence appended to the Complaint and the Respondent has not disputed them.
Complainant and its related companies (hereinafter "Complainant") comprise the world’s third largest car and truck rental system. Complainant rents, leases and sells cars and trucks through a network of approximately 3,500 company owned and franchised locations throughout the United States and around the world, all operating under the BUDGET, BUDGET RENT A CAR, and BUDGET CAR SALES names and marks. Complainant’s worldwide fleet averaged 265,000 vehicles in 1999. Complainant’s total operating revenue in 1999 was approximately $2,237,300,000.
Beginning in the 1970s, Complainant adopted and began to use the service marks BUDGET, BUDGET RENT A CAR, and BUDGET CAR SALES (the ABUDGET CAR Marks@) to identify their vehicle rental, leasing and sales services in the United States and throughout the world.
At least as early as June 15, 1995, Complainant adopted and began to use a design mark shown consisting of a stylized highway framed by dual orange triangles (ADual Triangles Design Mark@) in conjunction with its BUDGET CAR Marks. Respondent's website located at <www.budgetcarcarriers.com> incorporated a variation of Complainant's Dual Triangles Design Mark.
Budget Rent a Car Corporation owns valid registrations for the BUDGET CAR Marks in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Since the early 1970s, Complainant has used and/or registered the BUDGET CAR Marks and Dual Triangles Design Mark in a large number of countries.
Complainant owns numerous domain names containing the word Abudget@, including but not limited to <budget.com>, <budgetgroup.com>, <budgetcarrentals.com> and <drivebudget.com>. Complainant also operates Internet websites at the <budget.com> and <drivebudget.com> domain names. Complainant advertises, promotes and sells its products and services, including but not limited to, its vehicle rental and sales services on these websites.
The domain name <budgetcarcarriers.com> was registered on February 22, 2000, long after the registration of Complainant's BUDGET CAR Marks and long after those marks became famous.
5. Parties’ Contentions
The Complainant relies upon the above factual background and contends, inter alia, that the three elements of paragraph 4(a) of the Policy are established.
The Complainant contends that the Domain Name is confusingly similar to service marks in which the Complainant has rights, namely the BUDGET CAR Marks and Dual Triangles Design Mark.
The Complainant further contends that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interest in the Domain Name. The Complainant points to the fact that Respondent had no recorded use of the <budgetcarcarriers.com> name prior to Complainant’s first use and registration of its famous BUDGET CAR Marks. Respondent has no connection or affiliation with Complainant, and has not received any express or implied license or authorization to use a close variant of Complainant’s famous BUDGET CAR Marks in a domain name or in any other manner. The Complainant knows of no reason why the Respondent could claim any rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Domain Name.
The Complainant contends that the evidence supports the conclusion that the Respondent registered the Domain Name in bad faith and is using it in bad faith. Respondent registered and is using a domain name that appropriates the dominant elements of Complainant’s famous BUDGET CAR Marks. Respondent also is using a close variation of Complainant’s Dual Triangles Design Mark, in close conjunction to the word ABUDGET@ on the <budgetcarcarriers.com> home page. That creates a likelihood of confusion as to whether Respondent’s website and services are sponsored by, affiliated with, or endorsed by Complainant. The Complainant further contends that on May 18, 2000, Complainant, through its counsel, sent a letter to Respondent demanding that he cease all use of the infringing domain name and transfer the domain name registration to Complainant. Complainant has never received a response to that letter.
The Complainant requests that the Domain Names be transferred to the Complainant.
The Respondent has not responded.
6. Discussion and Findings
According to paragraph 4(a) of the Policy, the Complainant must prove that
(i) The Domain Name 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; and
(iii) The Domain Name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.
The unrebutted contentions in the Complaint and the evidence annexed to the Complaint support the Complainant’s contentions.
Based on the evidence and contentions described above, the Panel finds that the Domain Name is confusingly similar to the BUDGET CAR Marks, service marks in which Complainant has rights.
Rights or legitimate interest of the Respondent
The Panel agrees with the contentions of the Complainant that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the Domain Name. The Respondent had an opportunity to demonstrate such rights or legitimate interests but did not do so.
Again, the Panel accepts the contentions of the Complainant. The evidence cited by Complainant suggests that the Respondent registered the Domain Name in bad faith and is using the Domain Name in bad faith. The Panel finds that the Domain Name was registered in bad faith and is being used in bad faith.
Pursuant to Paragraph 4(i) of the Policy and Paragraph 15 of the Rules, the Panel having found that the Domain Name is confusingly similar to a trademarks and service marks in which the Complainant has rights; that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the Domain Name; and that the Domain Name was registered in bad faith and is being used in bad faith, the Complaint is granted. The Panel directs that the Domain Name be transferred to the Complainant.
Ira S. Sacks
Dated: October 29, 2001