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WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center

 

ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION

Universal Spheres, Inc., Golden Palace Limited v. Jacopo Di Trani

Case No. D2006-1302

 

1. The Parties

The Complainants are Universal Spheres, Inc. and Golden Palace Limited, both of Antigua and Barbuda, represented by Weston, Garrou, DeWitt & Walters, United States of America.

The Respondent is Jacopo Di Trani, of Firenze, Italy.

 

2. The Domain Names and Registrar

The disputed domain names <atgoldenpalace.com> <goldenpalacbingo.com> <goldenpalacebingo.info> <goldenpalacebingol.com> <goldenpalaceblackjack.org> <goldenpalacec.com> <goldenpalaceevents.net> <goldenpalaceflash.net> <goldenpalacehotel.net> <goldenpalacemonkey.net> <goldenpalaceomaha.com> <goldenpalacepokerl.com> <goldenpalaceroulette.net> <goldenpalacesbingo.com> <goldenpalaceshop.net> <goldenpalaceskill.com> <jgoldenpalacepoker.com> <pokergoldenpalace.net> and <www-goldenpalacebingo.com> are registered with GoDaddy.com, Inc.

 

3. Procedural History

The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on October 6, 2006. On October 11, 2006, the Center transmitted by email to GoDaddy.com, Inc. a request for registrar verification in connection with the domain names at issue. On October 11, 2006, GoDaddy.com, Inc. 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, billing, and technical contact. In response to a notification by the Center that the Complaint was administratively deficient, the Complainants filed an amendment to the Complaint on October 13, 2006. The Center verified that the Complaint together with the amendment to 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”).

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 October 17, 2006. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was November 7, 2006. The Respondent did not submit any response to the Center in accordance with paragraph 5(a) of the Rules. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on November 8, 2006. However, on November 7, 2006, the Respondent transmitted to the Complainants, and the Complainants received, a Response. The Complainants forwarded this to the Center on November 8, 2006, requesting that the Response be considered notwithstanding technical non-compliance with the Rules, and accordingly the Response is considered in this decision.

The Center appointed William P. Knight as the Sole Panelist in this matter on November 14, 2006. 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

It is undisputed that:

(a) The second Complainant, Golden Palace Limited, is the registered owner or applicant in respect of numerous trademarks in respect of casino-type gaming services accessible by means of the Internet, including:

Country

Trademark

Registration #

Date Registered

U.S.A.

Golden Palace Online Casino

2591351

July 9, 2002

U.S.A.

Golden Palace Online Casino (drawing)

2581350

July 9, 2002

U.S.A.

Goldenpalace.com (serial #7873142)

 

Application

U.S.A.

Golden Palace

78944417

August 3, 2006

Canada

Golden Palace

TMA 547829

July 6, 2001

Canada

Golden Palace Online Casino

TMA 576315

February 25, 2003

Canada

Golden Palace Online Casino (drawing)

TMA 576314

February 25, 2003

Canada

Golden Palace Casino

TMA 576552

February 27, 2003

U.K.

Golden Palace Casino

2200320

June 15, 1999

U.K.

Golden Palace Online Casino

2200319

June 15, 1999

U.K.

Golden Palace Online Casino (and Design)

2200311

June 15, 1999

U.K.

www-Goldenpalace.com

2200318

June 15, 1999

U.K.

Golden Palace

2200321

June 15, 1999

European Union

Golden Palace Online Casino

2418358

February 28, 2003

European Union

Golden Palace Online Casino and Device

2418382

February 17, 2003

Australia

Golden Palace Online Casino

893538

June 6, 2002

Australia

Golden Palace Online Casino and Device

893537

June 6, 2002

Israel

Golden Palace Online Casino

155118

May 5, 2003

Japan

Golden Palace Online Casino

4633477

December 27, 2002

Japan

Golden Palace Online Casino (and Design

4634542

January 10, 2003

Japan

Golden Palace

4916257

December 16, 2005

Mexico

Gold Palace Online Casino

748302

May 24, 2002

Mexico

Golden Palace

894533

August 9, 2005

(b) The trademarks of the second Complainant are exclusively licensed to the first Complainant, Universal Spheres Inc, which is the registrant of the domain name <goldenpalace.com>, currently in use to provide access to casino-type gaming services accessible by means of the Internet. This domain name has been used in this way since 1998.

(c) Universal Spheres Inc also operates the websites located by the domain name <goldenpalace.net> (although this is registered in the name of Phantom Inc, another Antiguan corporation), <goldenpalacemonkey.com> (registered in the name of Golden Palace Inc.) and <goldenpalaceevents.com> (also registered in the name of Golden Palace Inc.).

(d) The website “www.goldenpalacemonkey.com” promotes the “www.goldenpalace.com” Internet gaming services website by reference to the right to name a new species of monkey discovered in Bolivia’s Madidi National Park (see “www.wcs.org/madidimonkey”) purchased by Golden Palace Inc. in return for a large payment to the Wildlife Conservation Society, used to support the Madidi National Park.

(e) The Respondent has registered each of the disputed domain names the subject of the Complaint.

(f) None of the disputed domain names is presently being used, except to be “parked” by the Registrar GoDaddy.com, Inc., which offers alternative websites to the user entering any of the domain names.

(g) Each of the disputed domain names is presently being offered for purchase by auction at the website “www.afternic.com”, with a reserve in each case of US$100. This amount considerably exceeds the likely cost to the Respondent of registering each of the disputed domain names.

 

5. Parties’ Contentions

A. Complainants

(a) In accordance with paragraph 4(a) of the Policy, the Complainants assert, inter alia, as follows:

(i) that each of the disputed domain names is confusingly similar to the trademarks owned and used by the Complainants;

(ii) that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of any of the disputed domain names;

(iii) that each of the disputed domain names has been registered and is being used in bad faith.

(b) In respect of (i), the Complainants further assert that the name “Golden Palace” is famous in the field of on-line gambling, and can only identify the Complainants, and each of the disputed domain names either includes “goldenpalace” or such name with a minor typographical or spelling change.

(c) In support of (ii), the Complainants contend that:

(i) there is no basis upon which the Respondent could claim any interest in any of the disputed domain names;

(ii) the Respondent has no website of its own to which any of the disputed domain names is directed; and

(iii) by reason of being “parked” by GoDaddy.com, Inc., users of the disputed domain names are redirected to third party websites unrelated to the Respondent.

The Complainants also note that the Respondent is not licensed or authorized by either of the Complainants to use any of the disputed domain names.

(d) In support of (iii), the Complainants assert that bad faith is evidenced by:

(i) the Respondent being “a well-known cybersquatter, having registered the name <benedict16.com> and having received some degree of notoriety for this fact” and also offering this domain name for sale on the Afternic website;

(ii) the offering of the disputed domain names for auction on the Afternic website indicates that the Respondent only acquired the disputed domain names for resale to one of the Complainants or to a competitor, and the reserve price of US$100 is clearly many times in excess of the cost to the Respondent of each of the disputed domain names, which was US$8.95 or less;

(iii) the parking of the disputed domain names by GoDaddy.com. Inc. leads to Internet users who mistype or guess domain names intending to find one of the Complainants’ websites being diverted to other commercial websites – the Complainants presume with a resulting click-through fee to the Respondent; and

(iv) the intentions of the Respondent are made clear by the fact that the Respondent has even chosen a domain name including a reference to the “Golden Palace Monkey”, that is “www.goldenpalacemonkey.net”, which could hardly be accidental.

B. Respondent

In his Response, the Respondent does not dispute any of the factual matters asserted by the Complainants referred to above, or that the disputed domain names are identical or confusingly similar to the trademarks in which the Complainants have rights, but vigorously disputes the Complainants’ conclusions derived from those facts.

The Respondent denies that he is receiving any commercial advantage from the parking of the disputed domain names by GoDaddy.com, Inc., and notes that the use of the disputed domain names made by GoDaddy.com, Inc. is completely independent form him.

The Respondent contends that the offering of the disputed domain names at auction with a reserve price of US$100 does not justify a conclusion of bad faith.

The Respondent, however, offers no alternative explanation for his acquiring the disputed domain names.

 

6. Discussion and Findings

A. Identical or Confusingly Similar

Placed side-by-side, the confusing similarity of each of the disputed domain names to the Complainant’s registered trademarks is self-evident. This is not disputed by the Respondent.

Accordingly, the Panel finds that the Complainant has established the first element of the Policy.

B. Rights or Legitimate Interests

The Complainants’ trademark rights are undisputed also. The Respondent gives no reason for his selection of the disputed domain names. The Respondent merely denies that he is making any improper use of the disputed domain names, and denies that he is involved in any way in GoDaddy.com, Inc.’s use of the disputed domain names, or derives any benefit from such use.

The undeniable fact that the Respondent has selected a series of domain names which so obviously bear reference to the Complainants’ trademarks, including domain names with gambling references and even one referring to the Complainants’ interests in the Golden Palace Monkey lead in the circumstances of this case overwhelmingly to a conclusion that the Respondent chose the disputed domain names solely because of their similarity to the Complainants’ trademarks. The Panel further notes that none of the three criteria indicative of rights or legitimate interests (as set out in paragraph 4(c) of the Policy) appear applicable in the present case.

Accordingly, the Panel finds that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain names.

C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith

For the Complainants to establish bad faith for the purposes of the the Policy in respect of each of the disputed domain names, the Complainant need only establish “circumstances indicating that [the Respondent] registered … the domain name primarily for the purpose of selling, renting, or otherwise transferring the domain name registration to [the Complainants] or to a competitor of [the Complainants] for valuable consideration in excess of [the Respondent’s] documented out-of-pocket costs directly related to the domain name” (Paragraph 4(b)(i) of the Policy).

The Respondent denies bad faith. The Panel accepts the possibility of the Respondent’s assertions that he derives no commercial advantage from the activities of GoDaddy.com, Inc. and that he may well have no intention to use the disputed domain names to attract Internet users to any website of the Respondent for any purpose.

However, the Respondent has not denied that he acquired each of the disputed domain names at US$8.95 or less from GoDaddy.com, Inc. nor that he has offered each of them for auction on the Afternic website at a reserve of US$100.

It is a reasonable conclusion from the uncontested facts, and the fact that each of disputed domain names includes elements identical or confusingly similar to the Complainants’ trademarks, and that most include gambling references as well as the “goldenpalacemonkey” element, that the Respondent was fully aware of the Complainants’ websites and their reputation in registering the disputed domain names.

It is a further reasonable conclusion from these circumstances that only the Complainants or a competitor would be prepared to pay US$100 or more for any of the disputed domain names and that this was the intention of the Respondent in acquiring the domain names and subsequently offering them for sale.

The Panel accordingly concludes in these circumstances that the Respondent registered and has been using each of the disputed domain names in bad faith.

 

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 disputed domain names:

<atgoldenpalace.com>
<goldenpalacbingo.com>
<goldenpalacebingo.info>
<goldenpalacebingol.com>
<goldenpalaceblackjack.org>
<goldenpalacec.com>
<goldenpalaceevents.net>
<goldenpalaceflash.net>
<goldenpalacehotel.net>
<goldenpalacemonkey.net>
<goldenpalaceomaha.com>
<goldenpalacepokerl.com>
<goldenpalaceroulette.net>
<goldenpalacesbingo.com>
<goldenpalaceshop.net>
<goldenpalaceskill.com>
<jgoldenpalacepoker.com>
<pokergoldenpalace.net> and
<www-goldenpalacebingo.com>

be transferred to the Complainant.


William P. Knight
Sole Panelist

Dated: November 28, 2006

 

Источник информации: https://internet-law.ru/intlaw/udrp/2006/d2006-1302.html

 

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