ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION

Under the ICANN Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy


Complainant:

TEAM CANINE, INC.

Respondent:

LEIGHTON OOSTHUISEN

Case Number:

AF-0882

Contested Domain Name:

teamcanine.com

Panel Member:

Ethan Katsh

1. Parties and Contested Domain Name

The Complainant is Team Canine, Inc., PO Box 12514, Scottsdale, AZ 85267 USA . The Respondent is Leighton Oosthuisen, 4640 E. Forest Pleasant Place, Cave Creek, AZ 85331 USA. The contested domain name is teamcanine.com. The domain name at issue is registered with Enom.

2. Procedural history

The Complaint in this matter was filed on-line through eResolution's website on June 22, 2001. The hardcopy of the Complaint Form was received on July 5, 2001. Payment was received on June 25, 2001in the prescribed amount for a single member panel.

Upon receiving all the required information, eResolutionís clerk proceeded to:

-  Confirm the identity of the Registrar for the contested Domain Name;

-  Verify the Registrarís Whois Database and confirm all the essential contact information for 
   Respondent;

-  Verify if the contested Domain Name resolved to an active Web page;

-  Verify if the Complaint was administratively compliant.

This inquiry lead the Clerk of eResolution to the following conclusions: the Registrar is Enom, the Whois database contains all the required contact information, the contested Domain Name resolves to an active Web page and the Complaint is administratively compliant.

An email was sent to the Registrar by eResolution Clerkís Office to obtain confirmation and a copy of the Registration Agreement on June 25, 2001.  The requested information was received June 26, 2001. 

The Clerk then proceeded to send a copy of the Complaint Form and the required Cover Sheet in accordance with paragraph 2 (a) of the ICANNís Rules for Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy.  The Clerkís 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 July 6, 2001.  This date is the official commencement date of the administrative proceeding.

Only the emails to the postmaster@teamcanine.com were returned Ďundeliverableí.  All the faxes were successful. 

The complaint, official notification and all the annexes were sent via registered mail with proof of service, to the respondent.  According to the Canada Post tracking system, all were delivered.

On July 26, 2001, the Respondent submitted, via eResolution Internet site, his response.  The signed version of the response was received on July 26, 2001. 

On August 2, 2001, the parties were notified that Ethan Katsh had been appointed and that a decision was to be, save exceptional circumstances, handed down on August 16, 2001. On August 3, 2001, Complainant requested the opportunity to file additional information. On August 7, 2001, the Panel agreed to allow either party to submit additional information until noon, Eastern Standard Time, on August 10, 2001.

3. Factual Backgrounds

Complainant, Team Canine, Inc., is an Arizona corporation offering dog training, basic obedience, and animal behavior modification services in the Phoenix metropolitan area. Respondent is also a dog trainer, operating a dog obedience and animal training school in the Phoenix Metropolitan area called the Animal Training Institute. The relevant facts and sequence of events is as follows:

-  Tamara Jaffe, one of the founders of Complainant, was an intern/employee with Respondent 
   from April, 1996 to March, 1999.

-  After leaving Respondentís employ, she started a business, Team Canine, began offering her 
   services as a dog trainer, and became a competitor to Respondentís business.

-  Tamara Jaffe and her husband, Brad Jaffe, have been operating Team Canine, Inc. as a canine 
   obedience and behavior modification business since March, 1999.

-  The Articles of Incorporation for Team Canine, Inc. were filed on March 29, 1999, and accepted 
    on April 5, 1999.

-  At the time of incorporation, no other Arizona business was using or had reserved the name 
   Team Canine.

-  Complainant started using the Team Canine logo in January, 2000.  It first filed its application 
   for registration of its Trademark/Service Mark with the Secretary of State for the State of 
   Arizona on or about June 1, 2000.  Trademark/Service Mark was finally approved on 
   September  13, 2000.

-  Respondent registered the teamcanine.com domain name in February, 2000. It has been used 
   to link to a Web site, moviepet.com, which linked to animaltraining.com, the Web site of the 
   Respondentís business, Partners Animal Institute.

4. Parties' Contentions

A. Complainant :

Complainant asserts that respondent has no legitimate business use for the name ďTeam Canine,Ē that the web site accessed by the URL made no reference to any business, goods, or services known as Team Canine, and that the domain name, teamcanine.com, was registered in bad faith for the purpose of selling it, to interfere with Complainantís business, and/or to attract internet users to a web site or on-line location for commercial gain by relying on the mistaken impression that the domain name relates to Team Canine, Inc.

B. Respondent:

Respondent denies that the domain name was registered in an attempt to create confusion, draw clients, or interfere with the Complainants business. Respondent states that there has been no attempt to sell the domain name to the client, nor interfere with their business. Respondent was a founder of the Canine Institute in South Africa and claims that the domain name www.teamcanine.com was obtained to be used by the Canine Instituteís demonstration and movie team, and not in an attempt to create bad faith with any other party. He claims that the phrase Team Canine has been used by the Canine Institute movie team on and off since 1987.

5. Discussions and Findings

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

1) that the domain name registered by the respondent is identical or confusingly similar to a 
    trademark or service mark in which the Complainant has rights; and,

2) that the respondent has no legitimate interests in respect of the domain name; and,

3) that the domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.

Therefore, the question before this panel is whether Complainant has met its burden with respect to the three elements. 

(i)   The panel finds that Complainant has met its burden with respect to the first element in that the domain name is identical to the protected mark.

(ii)  The panel finds that Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the domain name at issue.  Respondent is not currently using the domain name <teamcanine.com> nor has Respondent provided sufficient evidence of demonstrable preparations to use the domain name or a name corresponding to the domain name in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services.  There was also no evidence submitted that would support a finding that Respondent has been commonly known by the domain name. 

(iii)  The panel finds that Complainant has met its burden in establishing that the domain at issue was registered and is being used in bad faith. 

The UDRP lists the following circumstances as evidence of a registration and use in bad faith in ∂ 4(b):

(i)   circumstances indicating that Respondent has registered or Respondent has acquired the domain name primarily for the purpose of selling, renting, or otherwise transferring the domain name registration to the complainant who is the owner of the trademark or service mark or to a competitor of that complainant, for valuable consideration in excess of Respondentís documented out-of-pocket costs directly related to the domain name; or

(ii)   Respondent has registered the domain name in order to prevent the owner of the trademark or service mark from reflecting the mark in a corresponding domain name, provided that Respondent has engaged in a pattern of such conduct; or

(iii)  Respondent has registered the domain name primarily for the purpose of disrupting the business of a competitor; or

(iv)  by using the domain name, Respondent has intentionally attempted to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to Respondentís web site or other on-line location, by creating a likelihood of confusion with the complainant's mark as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation, or endorsement of Respondentís web site or location or of a product or service on Respondentís web site or location. 

The panel finds that the evidence submitted supports the conclusion that Respondent registered the domain name at issue to disrupt the business of a competitor (i.e., Complainant) and attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to Respondentís web site by creating a likelihood of confusion with the complainant's mark. The submitted evidence indicates that the parties are in competition with each other and that Respondent was aware of Complainant. Each of the parties, quite clearly, believes that the other has acted improperly in a variety of ways. This proceeding, however, is limited to a consideration of whether the domain name has been registered and used in bad faith and that Respondent had no legitimate rights to the name. Other allegations of impropriety and illegality are appropriately dealt with in other forums.

6. Conclusion

The panel finds that the <teamcanine.com> domain name is identical or confusingly similar to Complainantís trademark, that Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the domain name, that Respondent registered and used the domain name in bad faith, and that the <teamcanine.com> domain name should be transferred to Complainant.

7. Signature

 

(s) Ethan Katsh

Amherst, Massachusetts 

August 19, 2001