PHH Vehicle Management Services, LLC

[Indexed as PHH Vehicle Management Services v. CPIC Net]

National Arbitration Forum
Domain Name Dispute Administrative Decision

File No.: No.: FA0006000094958
Commenced: 5 June 2000
Judgement: 3 July 2000

Arbitrator:  James A. Carmody

Domain name – Domain name dispute resolution – Common law trademarks – No response from Respondent – Infer Complainant’s claims true - Confusingly similar – Complainant’s rights in marks  – Knowledge that domain names were misleading – Intentional diversion of business – No rights or legitimate interests – Respondent not commonly known by domains – Inclusion of Complainant’s marks in domains for profit – No intent to develop site – Bad faith registration – Domains registered same day as partnership announced – No intent for legitimate business use – Offer to sell a domain site for amount greater than out-of-pocket costs. 

Complainant has common law trademarks in PHH that it uses in conjunction with its business. Complainant entered into partnership with another company to use the names ARVAL/PHH and PHH/ARVAL. This information was disseminated in a worldwide press release.  Respondent registered the domain names PHHARVAL.COM and ARVALPHH.COM the day of the news release. When contacted by Complainant, Respondent offered to transfer the domain name for $10 000. Respondent did not file a response, so there is an inference that Complainant’s claims are true.

Held, Names Transferred

The domain names registered were confusingly similar to Complainant’s rights in the marks PHH, PHHARVAL, and ARVALPHH.  Failure to respond to Complainant’s allegations indicates that Respondent new that the disputed domain names were misleading and registered for the purpose of diverting business away from Complainant. 
Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the domain names. Respondent is not commonly known by the marks in the domains, and is using these marks for profit. Moreover, Respondent indicated that it has no intention to develop a website associated with the domain names. 
The domain names were registered and are being used in bad faith. The primary purpose of registering the domain names was to transfer it to Complainant for valuable consideration. Respondent registered the domain name the very same day that the agreement was announced by Complainant. Furthermore, Respondent has no intention of using the domain names for a legitimate purpose. 

Policies referred to

Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy, adopted August 26, 1999

Cases referred to

Hewlett-Packard Company v. Full System, FA 94637 (Nat. Arb. Forum May 22, 2000)

World Wrestling Federation v. Bosman, D99-0001 (WIPO Jan. 14, 2000)

Panel Decision referred to

Carmody, Panelist: -

The Complainant is PHH Vehicle Management Services, LLC, Hunt Valley, MD, USA ("Complainant"). The Respondent is CPIC Net, Closter, NJ, USA ("Respondent").
The domain names at issue are “PHHARVAL.COM” and “ARVALPHH.COM”, registered with Easyspace Ltd.
 Hon. James A. Carmody,  as Panelist.
Complainant submitted a Complaint to the National Arbitration Forum ("The Forum") electronically on June 5, 2000; The Forum received a hard copy of the Complaint on June 5, 2000. 
On June 13, 2000, Easyspace confirmed by e-mail to The Forum that the domain names “PHHARVAL.COM” and “ARVALPHH.COM” are registered with Easyspace and that the Respondent is the current registrant of the name. 
On June 5, 2000, a Notification of Complaint and Commencement of Administrative Proceeding (the "Commencement Notification"), setting a deadline of June 26, 2000 by which Respondent could file a Response to the Complaint, was transmitted to Respondent via email, post and fax, and to all entities and persons listed on Respondent’s registration as technical, administrative and billing contacts by email. 
On June 26, 2000, having received no Response from Respondent, using the same contact details and methods as were used for the Commencement Notification, The Forum transmitted to the parties a Notification of Respondent Default. 
On June 27, 2000, pursuant to Complainant’s request to have the dispute decided by a Single Member panel, The Forum appointed Hon. James A. Carmody as Panelist.
Having reviewed the communications records in the case file, the Administrative Panel (the "Panel") finds that The Forum has discharged its responsibility under Paragraph 2(a) of the Uniform Rules "to employ reasonably available means calculated to achieve actual notice to Respondent." Therefore, the Panel may issue its Decision based on the documents submitted and in accordance with the ICANN Policy, ICANN Rules, The Forum’s Supplemental Rules and any rules and principles of law that the panel deems applicable, without the benefit of any Response from the Respondent.
The Complainant requests that the domain names be transferred from the Respondent to the Complainant.
A. Complainant
The Complainant contends that the Respondent has registered two domain names that are confusingly similar to its common law trademarks, in continuous use since the 1940’s,  by the Complainant.  Further, the Complainant contends that the Respondent is a “Cybersquatter” and thus has no rights or legitimate interests to the domain names and has registered and is using the domain names in bad faith. 
B.     Respondent
The Respondent submitted no response in this matter and all reasonable factual inferences will be drawn from the Complaint.
Since 1946 the Complainant and its predecessors in interest have used the PHH mark in connection with automotive fleet management services and other related goods.  The Complainant has invested substantial sums of money in developing and marketing its products and services in connection with its mark.  The Complainant uses <> to market its services on the Internet.
On April 18, 2000, the Complainant announced that it had formed a partnership with BNP Paribas Group under the names Arval/PHH and PHH/Arval.  The Complainant made this announcement via press releases sent around the world.
On the same day,  April 18, 2000, the Respondent registered the domain names “PHHARVAL.COM” and “ARVALPHH.COM”.  On May 15, 2000, the Complainant contacted the Respondent’s administrative contact regarding transfer of the said names.  In that conversation, the Respondent admitted to registering the domain names after hearing of the Arval/PHH partnership and with no intention of using the domain names for a legitimate business purpose.  The Respondent refused to transfer the domain names and requested that the Complainant pay $10,000 for both domain names.
Paragraph 4(a) of the ICANN Uniform Domain Name Dispute Policy (“Policy”) directs that the complainant must prove each of the following three elements to support a claim that a domain name should be cancelled or transferred:
(1) the domain name registered by the Respondent is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which the Complainant has rights; 
(2) the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the domain name; and
(3) the domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.
The Complainant has offered exhibits in support of its claims, whereas the Respondent has submitted no response in the matter.  The Respondent’s failure to dispute the allegations of the Complainant permits the inference that the Complainant’s allegations are true.  Further, the Respondent’s failure to respond leads one to believe that the Respondent knows that its use of the domain names is misleading and intentionally diverting business from the Complainant.  See Hewlett-Packard Company v. Full System, FA 94637 (Nat. Arb. Forum May 22, 2000).  Applying the Policy to the issue in this case furthers these inferences.
Identical and/or Confusingly Similar
The Complainant has rights in the marks PHH, PHHARVAL, and ARVALPHH.
Rights or Legitimate Interests
The Respondent does not assert any rights or legitimate interests to the domain name in question. 
The name does not reflect a name by which the Respondent is commonly known.  Policy  4(c)(ii).  Rather, the Respondent is using a portion of the Complainant’s marks for its profit.  The Respondent also admitted no intention to develop the site.  Thus, the Respondent is not using the domain names in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or service.  Policy  4(c)(i).
Bad Faith
The Respondent does not deny that its actions were taken in bad faith.
The Respondent registered the said domain name for the primary purpose of selling or otherwise transferring the domain name to the Complainant for valuable consideration.  Policy  4(b)(i).  It is not a coincidence that the Respondent registered the domain names in question on the same day that the Complainant announced its partnership with Arval.  Further evidence of the Respondent’s bad faith is the Respondent’s admission that he had no intention of using the site for a legitimate business purpose.  Instead, one month after registering the sites, the Respondent offered to sell one of the sites to the Complainant for a price in excess of any out-of-pocket costs directly related to registering and maintaining the domain name.  See World Wrestling Federation v. Bosman, D99-0001 (WIPO Jan. 14, 2000).  This is evidence of bad faith.  Policy  4(b)(i).
Having established all three elements required by the ICANN Policy Rule 4(a), it is the decision of the panel that the requested relief be granted. 
Accordingly, for all of the foregoing reasons, it is ordered that the domain names, “PHHARVAL.COM” and “ARVALPHH.COM” be transferred from the Respondent to the Complainant. 

Domain Names Transferred