The Complainant established its case and the Panel transferred the Domain Names to the Complainant. The Registrant did not respond to the Complaint.
The Complainant, a musical instrument retailer operating 252 retail locations across the United States, is the owner of the Canadian trademarks GUITAR CENTER and GUITAR CENTER & DESIGN. Although the disputed Domain Names were registered before the Complainant's trademarks, the Panel found that the Complainant had rights in its marks prior to registration.
The Complaint produced evidence that it had used the GUITAR CENTER mark in radio advertisements in Windsor, Ontario. Furthermore, the Complainant argued that the marks had notoriety worldwide in Canada due to the historic Hollywood Rock Walk located at its flagship store in Los Angeles. Finally, the Complainant sells goods through guitarcenter.com, including to customers in Canada. Between 2006 and 2011, the Complainant’s records identified thousands of Canadian customers.
To establish bad faith, the Panel noted that at least three other CDRP Complaints have been successfully brought against the Registrant.