ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Under the ICANN Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution
1. Parties and Contested Domain Name
The Complainant is Big O Dodge of Greenville, Inc., of Greenville, South Carolina, USA. Complainant does business as Big O Dodge.
The Respondent is Turf Touch, Inc., also of Greenville, South Carolina, USA.
The contested domain name is bigododge.com, which was registered with NameSecure.com on January 10, 2000. The domain name does not revert to an active web site.
2. Procedural History
The electronic version of the Complaint form was filed on-line through eResolution's Website on January 19, 2001. The hardcopy of the Complaint Form and annexes were received on January 25, 2001. Payment was received on the same date.
The Clerk's Office fulfilled all its responsibilities under Paragraph 2(a) in forwarding the Complaint to the Respondent, notifying the Complainant, the concerned Registrar and ICANN on February 8, 2001. This date is the official commencement date of the administrative proceeding.
Only the email to the email@example.com was returned 'undeliverable'. The complaint, official notification and all the annexes were sent via registered mail with proof of service, to the respondent.
The Respondent did not submit a Response neither via eResolution's website nor a signed version.
On March 12, 2001, Ms. Sandra A. Sellers, accepted to act as panelist in this case and filed the necessary Declaration of Independence and Impartiality. On March 13, 2001, the parties were notified that Ms. Sellers had been appointed and that a decision was to be, save exceptional circumstances, handed down on March 27, 2001.
3. Factual Background
The Complainant, Big O Dodge of Greenville, Inc., has been doing business for sixteen years under the unregistered service mark "Big O Dodge" in the selling of new Dodge vehicles, and related services. The Complainant uses "Big O Dodge" in its signage, employee business cards and advertising.
In March 2000, Complainant attempted to register the domain name "bigododge.com", only to find that it had been registered two months earlier by Respondent. Alternatively, Complainant registered "bigododgeinc.com." However, many customers have called the dealership to inquire about Complainant's website address, because they could not find Complainant's site at "bigododge.com," the most logical choice.
After learning that the domain name "bigododge.com" already had been registered, Complainant sent an email to Respondent, and received a reply from "Scott" on March 14, 2000. (Attachment 2 to the Complaint.) The reply reads:
Mr. Pugliese, thank you for you [sic] interest in the domain name www.bigododge.com.
The domain www.bigododge.com is a first tier name; and many first tier names sell for $100,000, plus.
Currently, the price for the domain www.bigododge.com is $18,000, though I could get $65,000 for the name. However, during the next week only, I may sell the domain www.bigododge.com for $15,000.
Hurry, these domains are a once in a lifetime opportunity, and the domain www.bigododge.com would fit nicely with the company Big O Dodge.
Also, it will provide another revenue generating source, as you know. And, it's a very cost-effective means of advertising.
First come, first served. So, don't let the name get away -
I may even sweeten the deal with the domain www.big-o-dodge.com, which could make a nice link, if you buy the other name.
Please email or call me at the following, only if your [sic] serious. No kicking tires; I'm a very busy person. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org phone: 1.864.421.0547 (leave msg.)
Additionally, the complaint indicates that someone from Complainant spoke to Mr. Houston, Respondent's administrative contact, prior to this arbitration. The complaint states, "When I spoke to Mr. Houston prior to this arbitration, he confided in me that he has no intention in using this name, but only to profit [sic] from the sale of this domain name."
Respondent has not filed a response to these statements.
3. Parties' Contentions
Complainant contends that the contested domain name is identical or confusingly similar to Complainant's service mark, and that many people have been confused. Complainant also contends that Respondent had no legitimate reason for registering the contested domain name, and that Respondent registered in bad faith solely for the purpose of selling the domain name to Complainant.
Respondent has not responded to these contentions.
4. Discussion and Findings
This appears to be a classic case of cybersquatting. Respondent lives in the city in which Complainant's auto dealership is located, and presumably is aware of Complainant's business. Respondent registered a domain name that is identical to the service mark under which Complainant has done business for 16 years. Respondent has not used the domain name since registering it over fourteen months ago, and appears to have no other legitimate interest in the domain name. When contacted by Complainant, Respondent offered to sell the domain name to Complainant for $15,000, which is well beyond Respondent's reasonable costs of registration of the domain name. Allegedly, Respondent also admitted that he had registered the domain name solely to profit on its sale. Respondent had an opportunity to respond to and disprove these contentions but failed to do so.
Accordingly, under Paragraph 4(A) of the UDRP, this Panel finds that Complainant has proven that:
1) the domain name registered by the respondent is identical or confusingly similar to a service mark in which the complainant has rights; and
2) the respondent has no legitimate interests in respect of the domain name; and
3) the domain name has been registered and used in bad faith.
This Panel finds that Complainant has met all the requirements of UDRP 4(a). Complainant's request to transfer the domain name bigododge.com to Complainant is GRANTED.
March 27, 2001
McLean, VA, USA
(s) Sandra A. Sellers