Morrison & Hecker L.L.P. 
v.
Nameisforsale.com, American Distribution Systems, Inc.,
Defaultdata.com, and Brian G. Wick
 
[Indexed as: Morrison & Hecker v. Nameisforsale.com, et al.]
[Indexed as: MORRISONANDHECKER.COM, et al.]

National Arbitration Forum
Administrative Panel Decision

Forum File No. FA 0003000094386
Judgement: May 11, 2000

Presiding Panelist: Judge Robert R. Merhige, Jr. [Retired]

Domain name - U.S. Service mark - Confusingly similar - Identical - Bad faith registration - Famous and distinctive mark - Respondent in default -  Deceit - Respondent changing registrant names in order to evade responsibility - Pattern of behaviour - Respondent registering names of 75 other law firms.

Complainant is a law firm which has been in continual existance for almost a century and has operated under the name Morrison & Hecker L.L.P. for more than forty years.  It practices both national and international law for a large range of clientele.  Respondent registered the sites MorrisonandHecker.com and MorrisonHecker.com.  Respondents are NameIsForSale, American Distribution Systems Inc. and Datadefault.com and the administrative contact for the three companies Brian Wick.

Held, Name Transferred to Complainant.

Respondent failed to submit a Response and is therefore in default. Nameisforsale.com transferred ownership of its domain names to ADSI, which were then later transferred to Defaultdata.com.  Brian Wick is listed as the administrative contact and used the same contact information for all companies.  The first registrant transfer occurred on the same date that two other large national law firms were granted temporary restraining orders against Nameisforsale.com.  It can be inferred that the registrant name changes were done to evade responsibility and supports a finding of bad faith.  There is evidence that Respondent has registered the names of at least 75 other law firms and put them to use in a disparaging manner.

Policies referred to

ICANN Rules for Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy, adopted October 24, 1999

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Merhige, Panelist: -

FINDINGS OF FACT AND CONCLUSIONS

The above entitled matter came on for an Administrative Hearing this date, before the undersigned on the Complaint of Morrison & Hecker L.L.P., against NameIsForSale.com, American Distribution Systems, Inc., Defaultdata.com, and Brian G. Wick (collectively "Respondent"). This matter has been brought under the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution rules and
policy adopted by the Internet Corporation for assigned names and numbers ("ICANN") and the rules for Uniform Name Dispute Resolution policy adopted by ICANN on October 24, 1999.

The record reflects that the Complaint herein satisfies the requirements of the policy, rules and supplemental rules; and in accord therewith, Respondent was sent a copy of the Complaint along with a notice that the same had been filed and was advised, pursuant to the rules that a response to said Complaint was due no later than April 24, 2000. Respondent has failed to respond to the Complaint herein and is therefore in default.

Complainant, Morrison & Hecker L.L.P., is a law firm which has been in continual existence for almost a century practicing both national and international law. For more than 40 years
the law firm has used the names of Morrison & Hecker and presently consists of approximately 175 attorneys. The firm’s clientele are located throughout the United States and abroad and range from individuals and small businesses to large, privately and publicly held national and international
corporations and its service mark is nationally known, recognized and associated with high quality legal services. Its contact individuals are Timothy J. Feathers, Brian L. Kruckenberg, and Mark A. Reiter, Morrison & Hecker L.L.P., 2600 Grand Avenue, Kansas City, Missouri 64108-4606.

The domain names in issue are morrisonandhecker.com and morrisonhecker.com registered by Respondent with Network Solutions as of the date of October 28, 1999. Respondent’s
administrative contact is said to be Brian Wick at e-mail address bgw@earthnet.net; telephone number is given as 303/893-0888. It is said to be registered by DefaultData.com, P. O. Box 481002, Denver, Colorado 80248, U.S.A.

The record further reflects similar registrations by an entity referred to as NameIsForSale.com which modified the ownership information in the Whois records to show that morrisonhecker.com and morrisonandhecker.com were owned by ADSI. On that date, Morrison & Foerster, L.L.P., and Jones, Day, Reavis & Pogue, two large national law firms, were granted TRO’s against NameIsForSale.com in the United States District Courts for the District of Colorado and Ohio,
respectively. It is fair to infer that as a result of these cases, NameIsForSale.com and its administrative contact Brian Wick, changed the registrant name for the domain names
morrisonhecker.com and morrisonandhecker.com from NameIsForSale.com to ADSI, a Colorado corporation of which Wick is President, Secretary, registered agent, sole Director and sole shareholder. The address and telephone number listed for ADSI on Register.com’s site was the exact same address and telephone number used by NameIsForSale.com. In addition, Brian
Wick was also ADSI’s administrative, technical and zone contact listed in the Whois database. Subsequently, on or about March 20, 2000, ADSI and its administrative contact Brian Wick again changed the registrant name for the domain names morrisonhecker.com and morrisonandhecker.com from ADSI to DefaultData.com. However, the address, telephone and
contact information for DefaultData.com remained the same as the two previously named registrants. On or about January 10, 2000, DefaultData.com was listed as a tradename of ADSI.

What would appear as Mr. Wick’s obvious effort to avoid responsibility for the wrongful and intentional effort to harm and disparage Complainant has convinced this arbitrator that
the use of the names of the several Respondents are each porous facades in a futile effort to protect Brian Wick. His actions are their actions and their actions are his. Mr. Wick’s efforts of transparent deceit warrant a conclusion of bad faith on the part of the Respondent. As further support for that finding is the fact that Respondent has registered morrisonhecker.com and morrisonandhecker.com along with approximately 75 other law firms and put them to use in a disparaging manner. This senseless and evil conduct would appear to be an aspect of the very conduct that Congress has
attempted to deter by its recent enactment of the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act, Pb.L. 106-113 ("ACPA"). That Act represents a new force against individuals who acting in bad faith, register, traffic in, and use domain names that are identical to, confusingly similar to, and,
dilutive, as in the instant case, of existing marks.

The mark, Morrison & Hecker L.L.P. qualifies as both a distinctive and famous mark and Complainant is entitled to the relief sought.

For the reasons herein stated and pursuant to the authority vested in the undersigned who has acted independently and has no known conflict in serving as the arbitrator in this proceeding, it is

DIRECTED that the registration of the domain names "morrisonhecker.com" and "morrisonandhecker.com" be forthwith transferred to the Complainant, Morrison & Hecker L.L.P.

May 11, 2000

Honorable Robert R. Merhige, Jr.

Retired Judge

Arbitrator

Domain Name Transferred