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WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center

 

ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION

Caesars World, Inc. v. Forum LLC.

Case No. D2005-0517

 

1. The Parties

The Complainant is Caesars World, Inc., a Florida corporation doing business in Las Vegas, Nevada, United States of America, a wholly owned subsidiary of Caesars Entertainment, Inc., represented by Pitney Hardin LLP, of New York, United States of America.

The Respondent is Forum LLC, addressed in Roseau, Dominica.

 

2. The Domain Name and Registrar

The disputed domain name <caesarspalacepoker.com> (“Domain Name”) is registered with Fabulous.com Pty Ltd.

 

3. Procedural History

The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on May 12, 2005 (via e-mail). On May 18, 2005, the submitted Complaint was received in hard copy by the Center. On May 13, 2005, the Center sent the Complainant an Acknowledgment of Receipt of Complaint. On May 13, 2005, the Center transmitted by email to Fabulous.com Pty Ltd. a Request for Registrar Verification in connection with the Domain Name at issue. On May 16, 2005, Fabulous.com Pty Ltd., transmitted by email to the Center its verification response confirming that the Respondent is listed as the registrant and providing the contact details for the administrative, technical and billing contact. The Center verified that the Complaint, satisfied the formal requirements of the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (the “Policy”), the Rules for Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (the “Rules”), and the WIPO Supplemental Rules for Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (the “Supplemental Rules”).

On May 23, 2005, and in accordance with the Rules, paragraphs 2(a) and 4(a), the Center formally notified the Respondent of the Complaint, and the proceedings commenced on May 23, 2005. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was June 12, 2005. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on June 20, 2005.

The Center appointed Guillermo Carey as the sole panelist in this matter on July 5, 2005. The Panel finds that it was properly constituted. The Panel has submitted the Statement of Acceptance and Declaration of Impartiality and Independence, as required by the Center to ensure compliance with the Rules, paragraph 7.

 

4. Factual Background

The Complainant is Caesars World, Inc., a Florida corporation doing business in Las Vegas, Nevada, United States of America; a wholly owned subsidiary of Caesars Entertainment, Inc., previously known as Park Palace Entertainment. Complainant provides gaming services, hotel services, entertainment services and shopping arcade services through its operation of the famous CAESARS casinos and hotels: the CAESARS PALACE in Las Vegas, Nevada; CAESARS TAHOE in Stateline, Nevada; CAESARS ATLANTIC CITY in Atlantic City, New Jersey; CAESARS INDIANA in Bridgeport, Indiana; and CAESARS GAUTENG in South Africa, as well as providing casino services aboard cruise ships under the name CAESARS PALACE AT SEA and operating the CAESARS PALACE and CAESARS TAHOE Race and Sports Book (Complaint, Exhibit C).

In accordance with information provided in the Complaint and as verified by the registrar of the Domain Name, the Respondent is Forum LLC, who registered the Domain Name <caesarspalacepoker.com> on December 2, 2003 (Complaint, Exhibit A).

Throughout the different services and operations performed by Complainant, Complainant’s family of marks have gained world-wide recognition and are famous (Complaint, Exhibit C).

Complainant has invoked the registration of the following U.S. federal trademarks regarding the CAESARS family of marks that have been evidenced through printouts from the US Patent and trademark office evidencing Complainant’s registration for these marks and others (Complaint, Exhibit C, N° 2):

MARK

Reg. No.

Reg. Date

First Use Date

Class

CAESARS PALACE

963,820

Jul. 10, 1973

Aug. 5, 1966

35, 39, 41 & 42

CAESARS PALACE

1,004,058

Feb. 4, 1975

Aug. 5, 1966

35, 39, 41 & 42

CAESARS PALACE (stylized)

968,212

Sep. 11, 1973

Aug. 5, 1966

16

CAESARS PALACE

963,656

Jul. 10, 1973

Aug. 5, 1966

16

CAESARS TAHOE (stylized)

1,201,555

Jul. 13, 1982

Nov. 30, 1979

42

CAESARS PALACE (stylized)

1,090,494

May 2, 1978

Dec. 1, 1973

39 & 41

CAESARS PALACE

1,091,551

May 16, 1978

Dec. 1, 1973

39 & 41

CAESARS TAHOE

1,191,413

Mar. 2, 1982

Nov. 30, 1979

42

CAESARS TAHOE (stylized)

1,201,511

Jul. 13, 1982

Nov. 30, 1979

41

CAESARS TAHOE

1,263, 220

Jan. 3, 1984

Nov. 30, 1979

41

CAESARS (stylized)

954,637

Mar. 6, 1973

Aug. 5, 1966

42

CAESARS

1,527,770

Mar. 7, 1989

Aug. 16, 1985

6, 9, 14, 18, 21, 24, 25, 26 & 34.

CAESARS

1,527,771

Mar. 7, 1989

Aug. 16, 1985

6, 9, 14, 18, 21, 24, 25, 26 & 34.

CAESARS (stylized)

1,001,363

Jan. 7, 1975

Aug. 5, 1966

41

CAESARS

954,684

Mar. 6, 1973

Aug. 5, 1966

41

CAESARS PALACE (stylized)

907,696

Feb. 9, 1971

Aug. 5, 1966

41 & 42

CAESARS TAHOE (stylized)

1,186,958

Jan. 19, 1982

Nov. 30, 1979

28

CAESARS

983,525

May 7, 1974

Aug. 5, 1966

42

CAESARS PALACE

951,262

Jan. 23, 1973

Aug. 5, 1966

16 & 28

CAESARS PALACE (stylized)

1,158,035

Mar. 31, 1981

Aug. 5, 1966

16 & 28

CAESARS PALACE

907,693

Feb. 9, 1971

Aug. 5, 1966

41 & 42

CAESARS

963,255

Jan. 14, 1964

Oct. 24, 1961

3

Additionally, Complainant has invoked trademark registrations for the CAESARS family of marks throughout the world which include, but are not limited to, countries like Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Italy and Spain.

All of these trademark registrations were first used and registered prior to the registration date by Respondent of the disputed domain name <ceasarspalacepoker.com>, on December 2, 2003.

Through WhoIs printouts, Complainant has evidenced (Complaint, Exhibit D) use and registration of domain names <caesars.com>, <caesarspalace.com>, and <caesarspalace.net>, in which Complainant’s marks have been displayed since at least as early as June 1995, prior to the date of registration of the disputed Domain Name by Respondent.

On February 18, 2005, Complainant sent a letter to the Respondent, requesting the Respondent to cease its infringing activities and immediately transfer the registration of the Domain Name <caesarspalacepoker.com> to Complainant. Such letter was returned to Complainant since the address information provided by Respondent in the WhoIs database was not accurate (Complaint, Exhibits G and H). Complainant sent a new cease and desist letter to Respondent on April 7, 2005, demanding the transfer of the Domain Name in order not to proceed with further legal actions (Complaint, Exhibit I). Respondent issued no reply to this letter.

As stated by Complainant and confirmed by this Panelist, the Domain Name is linked to various online gaming and poker websites, which include “www.partypoker.com”, “www.pacificpoker.com”, and “www.gamingclubpoker.com”, among others (Complaint, Exhibits J – O).

 

5. Parties’ Contentions

A. Complainant

Complainant states that it provides gaming, hotel, entertainment and shopping arcade services through the operation of its famous CAESARS casinos and hotels, the CAESARS PALACE and CAESARS TAHOE Race and Sports Books, under the CAESARS family of marks that, as a result of Complainant’s efforts, have gained world-wide recognition and fame.

In accordance with the registration and printouts from the US Patent and Trademark Office provided by Complainant (Complaint, Exhibit C, N° 2) for the CAESARS and CAESARS PALACE marks under which various goods and services provided by Complainant are commercialized, together with other registrations for these marks in numerous countries throughout the world, Complainant demonstrates its rights in the CAESARS marks and states that these marks are incontestable.

Complainant submits evidence of its presence on the Internet since at least as early as June 1995, through the operation of websites and the registration of domain names <caesars.com>, <caesarspalace.com>, and <caesarspalace.net>, in which Complainant’s family of marks are constantly displayed.

Both marks and domain names were registered and used by Complainant prior to the date of registration and update of Respondent’s Domain Name, <caesarspalacepoker.com>.

Complainant argues that Respondent registered the Domain Name and uses it to exploit Complainant’s marks for an active portal that provides links to various gaming and poker websites, receiving click-through payments for internet traffic it diverts to these gaming websites, therefore profiting from unauthorized use of Complainant’s famous and well-known trademarks. Additionally the complainant argues, with this use, Respondent is trading off the reputation of Complainant’s famous CAESARS properties by implying association or connection with one of the most trusted names in the industry and even lead into inquiries from various gaming authorities, considering that on-line casinos are illegal in the United States of America.

Furthermore, on February 18, 2005, and on April 7, 2005, Complainant sent demand letters to Respondent requesting cease and desist of infringing activities and the transfer the Domain Name to Complainant. None of these letters were answered by Respondent.

Complainant further alleges that Respondent’s registration and use of the Domain Name violates the Policy, considering the following:

Complainant argues that the Domain Name is confusingly similar or identical to Complainant’s marks since the Domain Name consists of the famous CAESARS trademark with a generic term, Poker, added. Therefore, Internet users are likely to believe the Domain Name is related to, associated with, or authorized by Caesars World, Inc.

Complainant further states that Respondent lacks any legitimate interest in the Domain Name, arguing that Respondent specifically chose as its Domain Name the almost identical name of Complainant’s well-known global resort hotel and casino and, considering their wide recognition, there can be no legitimate use by Respondent. Furthermore, there exists no relationship between Complainant and Respondent that would give rise to any license, permission, or authorization by which Respondent could own or use the Domain Name.

Finally, Complainant alleges that Respondent registered and is using the Domain Name in bad faith, which is proved by Respondent’s intention to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to its website by creating a likelihood of confusion with Complainant’s marks; by providing the Registrar with false contact information; by its failure to respond to Complainant’s demand letters; and by promoting their business through the incorporation of Complainant’s marks within the Domain Name, thus misdirecting Complainant’s business.

As per the above, Complainant requests that this Panel issue a decision that the Domain Name be transferred to the Complainant.

B. Respondent

The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.

 

6. Discussion and Findings

Paragraph 4(a) of the Policy states that the Complainant must prove each of the following:

(i) that the Domain Name registered by the respondent is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark in which the complainant has rights; and

(ii) that the respondent has no legitimate interests in respect of the Domain Name; and

(iii) that the Domain Name has been registered and used in bad faith.

A. Identical or Confusingly Similar

The Complainant has provided undisputed evidence indicating its ownership to the CAESARS and CAESARS PALACE trademark rights in the United States of America, declaring as well the ownership of this trademark in various countries worldwide. CAESARS was registered by the Complainant, in 1971 in the United States of America, the first use of the trademark dating back as early as 1961, as shown by copies from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (Complaint, Exhibit C, N° 2).

Complainant has also shown its presence on the Internet since June 1995, as demonstrated by the registration of domain names <caesars.com>, <caesarspalace.com>, and <caesarspalace.net> (Complaint, Exhibit D).

In accordance with information provided by Complainant (Complaint, Exhibit A), and as confirmed by the Panel, the Respondent registered its Domain Name on December 2, 2003, and updated it on November 13, 2004.

Given that the disputed Domain Name wholly integrates the Complainant’s registered mark, the confusion between Respondent’s Domain Name and Complainant’s CAESARS trademark is obvious.

The addition of the generic term “poker” to the CAESARS PALACE trademark, does not modify the belief of this Panel that persons coming across Respondent’s website may very well conclude that it is owned by or associated with Complainant as the owner of the CAESARS trademark. As stated by Complainant, the CAESARS trademarks have become known world-wide as related to gaming, casino, hotel and entertainment services provided by Complainant (Caesars World, Inc v. Universalinteractives, WIPO Case No. D2001-0951).

Additionally, the Domain Name registered by Respondent hosts content that include links to gaming online services clearly similar to the services provided by Complainant (Caesars World, Inc. v. Mark Stephens, WIPO Case No. D2001-0553. “The contents of the website of the disputed domain name shows that it offers casino services and sports betting services, services identical or similar to the services offered by the Complainant under its registered trademarks… the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to the registered mark.”)

Given the above, the addition of the generic term “poker” to Complainant’s trademarks included in the Domain Name does not distinguish the domain name from the trademark and the domain name is thus confusingly similar to Complainant’s marks. See, for example, the panel decision in Harrods Limited v. Brad Shaw, WIPO Case No. D2004-0411 (“The only difference between the Domain Name and the Complainant’s HARRODS trademarks is the addition of the word ‘-poker’. Since the HARRODS mark instantly evokes the famous Knightsbridge department store and its related products and services which include the Harrods Casino adding ‘-poker’ merely suggests that the webpage at ‘www.harrods-poker.com’ is connected to the Complainant”).

This Panel finds that the disputed Domain Name is essentially identical and confusingly similar with the Complainant’s registered trademarks. Consequently, the Complainant has satisfied the requirements under paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Policy.

B. Rights or Legitimate Interests

There is no evidence which shows that the Respondent has any rights or legitimate interests regarding the Domain Name <caesarspalacepoker.com>, nor any evidence that indicates that the Respondent is commonly known by the Domain Name. Furthermore, it has been shown that Respondent is not associated with Complainant, nor has Complainant licensed or otherwise authorized Respondent to incorporate its registered trademark into the Domain Name.

Respondent appears to be using the domain name in an attempt to attract Internet users to its own gaming services, thus taking advantage of the notoriety of Complainant and its trademark. The Panel does not consider such use bona fide.

Complainant has established a prima facie showing that Respondent lacks rights and legitimate interests in the domain name. Respondent has failed to respond to the cease and letters issued by Complainant and has failed to respond to this Complaint. Based on the case file, the Panel finds that Complainant satisfies the requirements of paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy.

C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith

Given the Complainant’s worldwide reputation, and presence on the Internet, indicates that Respondent was or should have been aware of the marks prior to registering the disputed Domain Name. The fact that the Domain Name is linked to websites that expressly refer to casino, gaming and poker services further indicates that Respondent knew the scope of Complainant’s services and products which are commercialized under its CAESARS family of marks.

Respondent’s registration and use of a Domain Name incorporating the Complainant’s mark to link to other Websites also indicates a deliberate attempt to capture Internet users into believing that those sites are in some way associated with, authorized by or connected to Complainant. Respondent’s use of the disputed Domain Name is considered by this Panel as an action to misdirect Complainant’s clients, attract them to Respondent’s services for Respondent’s profit.

Therefore, this Panel finds that the Respondent has registered and used the Domain Name in bad faith, and the Complainant has satisfied the third requirement under paragraph 4(a)(iii) of the Policy.

 

7. Decision

For all the foregoing reasons, in accordance with paragraphs 4(i) of the Policy and 15 of the Rules, the Panel orders that the Domain Name, <caesarspalacepoker.com>, be transferred to Complainant.


Guillermo Carey
Sole Panelist

Dated: August 1, 2005

 

Источник информации: https://internet-law.ru/intlaw/udrp/2005/d2005-0517.html

 

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