The Complainant is A.P. Møller-Mærsk A/S of Copenhagen, Denmark, represented by an internal representative.
The Respondent is Walter Surhand of Manchester, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
The disputed domain name <maersk-driling.com> is registered with Directi Internet Solutions Pvt. Ltd. d/b/a PublicDomainRegistry.com.
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on March 23, 2010. On March 24, 2010, the Center transmitted by email to March 24, 2010 a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On March 30, 2010, Directi Internet Solutions Pvt. Ltd. d/b/a PublicDomainRegistry.com. transmitted by email to the Center its verification response confirming that the Respondent is listed as the registrant and providing the contact details. The Center verified that the Complaint satisfied the formal requirements of the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (the “Policy” or “UDRP”), the Rules for Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (the “Rules”), and the WIPO Supplemental Rules for Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (the “Supplemental Rules”).
In accordance with the Rules, paragraphs 2(a) and 4(a), the Center formally notified the Respondent of the Complaint, and the proceedings commenced on April 6, 2010. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was April 26, 2010. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent's default on April 27, 2010.
The Center appointed WiIliam A. Van Caenegem as the sole panelist in this matter on May 4, 2010. The Panel finds that it was properly constituted. The Panel has submitted the Statement of Acceptance and Declaration of Impartiality and Independence, as required by the Center to ensure compliance with the Rules, paragraph 7.
The Complainant's Community trade mark No 003483039 MAERSK was registered on June 26, 2006. The trade mark MAERSK and device No VR 199704997 was registered in Denmark on November 21, 1997, in relation to numerous categories of goods and services, including gas, fuels, oil well drilling, oil and gas extraction, processing of oil and gas, and combating oil pollution. The domain name maersk-drilling.com was registered by the Complainant on November 1, 2007. The disputed domain name was registered on October 29, 2009.
The Complainant is the owner of the trade mark MAERSK, which is registered in many countries in relation to numerous categories of goods and services, including gas, fuels, oil well drilling, oil and gas extraction, processing of oil and gas, and combating oil pollution. The Complainant submits trade mark registration certificates in Europe (Community trade mark), China and Denmark as examples.
The Complainant also owns the domain names <maersk.com> and <maersk-drilling.com>. The Complainant contends that the contested domain name is misleadingly similar to the registered trade mark MAERSK, in that it wholly incorporates that mark. Further, the second part of the domain name is the same as the Complainant's <maersk-drilling.com> domain name, except for a deliberate but slight misspelling, so that consumers would believe that the disputed domain name and the contents available through it are part of the AP Møller-Maersk Group.
The Complainant further contends that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name, as it made no preparations nor actually used the domain name in connection with any bona fide offering of goods or services, and does not make a legitimate non-commercial or fair use of the domain name. Further the Respondent is ‘Walter Surhand' and is not commonly known by the names Maersk or Maersk Driling/Maersk Drilling, and has neither had nor acquired any legitimate reasons for using the names at issue.
The Complainant further contends that the Respondent has registered and used the disputed domain name in bad faith, in that it did not have a legitimate interest in the domain name prior to registering it. The Complainant contends that the Respondent has used the disputed domain name for illegitimate purposes, by attempting to defraud people using the Complainant's name, trademarks and intellectual property. The Complainant asserts that the Respondent has used the disputed domain name to forward emails purporting to come from the Complainant to prospective job applicants for work with Maersk Drilling. The emails require the candidates to pay fees to the Respondent to obtain visas, work permits etc. as a prerequisite for supposed hiring by the Complainant to fill false and non-existent job opportunities. Once the potential candidate has payed fees in the order of USD 2-3000.00 the candidate never hears from the parties behind the offending emails again, whereupon they contact the Complainant only to learn that it has no connection with the Respondent and its activities.
The Complainant further contends that the deliberate and slight misspelling of the domain name is clearly done to lead the potential applicants to believe emails forwarded genuinely originate with the Complainant. The Respondent continuing to control the disputed domain name will allow the fraudulent activities described to continue.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant's contentions.
The disputed domain name is not identical to the trade mark MAERSK. However, it contains the trade mark in its entirety and as its initial and thus most striking part. The addition of a generic term such as ‘driling' is not apt to distinguish the domain name or disassociate it from the Complainant. Given that the Complainant has trade mark registrations, and is active in the drilling industry, and owns and operates the domain name <maersk-drilling.com> in that regard, and is a very large multinational corporation, the disputed domain name strongly suggests a connection with the Complainant, which does not exist.
Therefore the Panel finds that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to the Complainant's trade mark MAERSK.
There is no evidence before the Panel that the Respondent is or was at any time known under or by reference to the contested domain name or the word ‘Maersk', or ‘Maersk Dri(l)ling'. The Respondent has demonstrated no rights or legitimate interests in relation to the mark, and offers no goods or services by way of the contested domain name or any website associated with it. The website to which the domain name resolves contains a short ‘index' of meaningless hyperlinks (‘cgi-bin/; images/; postinfo.html ) which themselves do not resolve to any further content.
Therefore the Panel finds that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain names.
The disputed domain name incorporates a well known trade mark of a multinational corporation which employs more than 120000 employees in over 130 countries, and which is distinctive and has no commonly understood inherent meaning. Further the inclusion of the word ‘driling', which, although slightly misspelled, refers clearly to one of the Complainant's industrial activities, demonstrates that the domain name was consciously chosen by the Respondent with a view to pursuing for its own benefit some suggestion of a connection with the Complainant's activities. The very close misspelling of the word ‘driling' further indicates careful deliberation and suggests a lack of good faith. The inference is open to the Panel that the disputed domain name was registered with the intention of trading on the proximity to the Complainant's mark and domain name by misleading web users as to the existence of some legitimate connection.
There is no evidence of the disputed domain name in fact being used for the offering of legitimate goods or services in the area of drilling or drilling equipment. Such would in any case be fundamentally at odds with the kind of deliberate misspelling upon which the Respondent has relied to obtain domain name registration. The website to which the domain name resolves does not contain anything to indicate that it was not registered to pursue some purpose relying on the misleading suggestion of a connection with the Complainant.
The Complainant asserts that the domain name is being used to defraud people deliberately induced to believe that certain emails of the Respondent actually originate with the Complainant. The Complainant does not put any further documents or proofs in evidence, but has written to the Respondent asserting these allegations and in any case certified the accuracy and completeness of the information contained in its Complaint. The Respondent has not contested the Complainant's allegations and assertions in this regard.
Therefore the Panel finds that the disputed domain name was registered and used in bad faith.
For all the foregoing reasons, in accordance with paragraphs 4(i) of the Policy and 15 of the Rules, the Panel orders that the domain name <maersk-driling.com> be cancelled.
William A. Van Caenegem
Dated: May 18, 2010