SiTV, Inc. of Glendale, California, just lost its bid to grab the domain name Nuvo.com in a UDRP.
The one member panel decision of Michael A. Albert rejected the claim even though the domain holder, which is now a Bankruptcy Trustee, did not file a formal response.
The opinion did not mention the registration date of the domain or any change in ownership.
The domain name Nuvo.com has a original registration date of August 24, 1994
Here are the highlights:
Complainant has a United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) trademark registration for its NUVO mark (Reg. No. 4,511,148, filed September 9, 2011, registered April 8, 2014), used in connection with broadcasting via global computer or data networks.
On August 13, 2014, the attorney for the Respondent emailed the Center and stated: “we do not operate this company any longer and… further communications will need to be directed to the trustee.” Respondent’s attorney subsequently identified a bankruptcy trustee. However, the disputed domain remains registered to the Respondent. The Rules define a “respondent” as “the holder of a domain-name registration against which a complaint is initiated.” Furthermore, prior Panels have issued decisions in spite of pending bankruptcy proceedings.
In the instant case, Complainant provides minimal evidence that Respondent lacks rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. Complainant merely states the conclusory assertion that “there is no indication or evidence that Respondent has used or has made any demonstrable preparations to use, the domain name or a name corresponding to the domain name in connection with a bona fide offering of any goods or services, and Respondent never has been known by the domain name.”
Respondent has failed to file a formal Response rebutting Complainant’s purported prima facie case.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
Complainant’s bad faith argument rests on the allegation that “[i]t is apparent that the domain name was registered or acquired primarily for the purpose of selling, renting, or otherwise transferring the domain registration to the owner of the trademark or service mark… or to another third party domain name reseller.” Complainant supports this assertion by stating that “Respondent has made no use of the domain.”
Prior panels have considered various factors in evaluating whether the passive holding of a domain name amounts to bad faith, including:
(i) Whether the Complainant’s trademark has a strong reputation that is widely known;
(ii) Whether the Respondent has provided evidence of any actual or contemplated good faith use;
(iii) Whether it is possible to conceive of any plausible actual or contemplated active use of the domain name by the Respondent that would not be illegitimate.
See, e.g., Telstra Corp. Ltd. v. Nuclear Marshmallows, WIPO Case No. D2000-0003.
On balance, this Panel concludes that Complainant has failed to demonstrate that Respondent’s passive holding of the disputed domain rises to the level of bad faith.
Accordingly, the Panel concludes that Complainant has failed to satisfy the third element of the Policy.