World Intellectual Property Organization

WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center

ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION

Babcock International Group PLC and Babcock International Limited v. Babcock Intl / ‘Babcock’/‘Intl, Babcock’

Case No. D2012-2010

1. The Parties

The Complainants are Babcock International Group PLC and Babcock International Limited of London, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, represented by D Young & Co LLP, United Kingdom.

The Respondent is ’Babcock Intl’ / ‘Babcock’/‘Intl, Babcock’ of Dublin, Ireland.

2. The Domain Names and Registrar

The disputed domain names <babcockintl.com> and <babcockintl.net> are registered with Everyones Internet, Ltd. dba SoftLayer (the “Registrar”).

3. Procedural History

The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on October 11, 2012. On October 11, 16 and 18, 2012, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain names. On October 18, 2012, the Registrar 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 October 31, 2012. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was November 20, 2012. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on November 21, 2012.

The Center appointed Andrew J. Park as the sole panelist in this matter on December 4, 2012. 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.

4. Factual Background

The Complainants are Babcock International Group PLC and Babcock International Limited of London, United Kingdom (“UK”). Babcock International Ltd is a wholly owned subsidiary of Babcock International Group PLC. The co-Complainants share a common grievance against the Respondent and it is equitable and procedurally efficient for the complaints of both co-Complainants to be consolidated into a single Complaint. For purposes of this proceeding, the Complainants will be referred to in the singular as Complainant.

The Complainant is a leading UK engineering support services organization that delivers support to government departments, public bodies, and industry across the world. The Complainant employs tens of thousands of employees worldwide.

The Complainant is the registrant of several registered trademarks that comprise the mark BABCOCK, which covers a range of engineering-related products and services. For example, in the United Kingdom, the Complainant owns several registered trademarks for the mark BABCOCK, including but not limited to: UK 756323 filed on August 3, 1956; UK 765660 filed on May 17, 1957; UK 2507175 filed on January 23, 2009.

The Complainant has valuable goodwill and unregistered rights as a consequence of its extensive use of the marks BABCOCK and BABCOCK INTERNATIONAL, over many years. In the United Kingdom alone, the Complainant delivers services by references to the marks BABCOCK and/or BABCOCK INTERNATIONAL, in a wide range of sectors and industries, including but not limited to energy, transport, communications, and emergency services.

The Complainant is also the registrant of a large portfolio of domain names incorporating the BABCOCK and/or BABCOCK INTERNATIONAL marks. For example, the domain name used in relation to an official website of the Complainant is <babcockinternational.com>, which the Complainant registered before July 2012. Indeed, the Complainant is the registrant of more than seventy (70) domain names that comprise the BABCOCK mark.

The Respondents are entities named “Babcock Intl”, “Babcock” and “Intl, Babcock”, all located in Dublin, Ireland. For purposes of this proceeding, the Respondents will be referred to in the singular as Respondent.

The Respondent registered the disputed domain names <babcockintl.com> and <babcockintl.net> on September 3, 2012 and September 5, 2012, respectively. The Respondent is not affiliated with the Complainant whatsoever. The Respondent directed Internet users to the disputed domain names via an email campaign and sought personal information from the Internet users on the linked website. The disputed domain names <babcockintl.com> and <babcockintl.net> were both linked to a website that appeared virtually identical to the Complainant’s website at “www.babcockinternational.com”.

5. Parties’ Contentions

A. Complainant

The Complainant argues that the disputed domain names should be transferred to the Complainant because they are (1) confusingly similar to the BABCOCK and BABCOCK INTERNATIONAL trademarks, (2) the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain names, and (3) the disputed domain names were registered and are being used in bad faith.

First, the Complainant contends that the disputed domain names are identical or similar to its registered and unregistered trademark rights in BABCOCK and BABCOCK INTERNATIONAL. In particular, the Complainant argues that the disputed domain names are confusingly similar to the BABCOCK and BABCOCK INTERNATIONAL marks because they fully incorporate the “Babcock” name in conjunction with the letters “intl” – the latter being a natural and commonly used abbreviation for the word “international”.

Second, the Complainant contends that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain names. In particular, the Complainant argues that the Respondent first registered the disputed domain names many years after the Complainant adopted and first used the BABCOCK and BABCOCK INTERNATIONAL marks. The Complainant argues that the Respondent is neither an agent nor a licensee of the Complainant, nor affiliated in any way with the Complainant. Furthermore, the Complainant argues that the disputed domain names are linked to a website that appears identical, or virtually identical, to the Complainant’s official website at “www.babcockinternational.com”, thereby creating a misleading impression to Internet users that the website is somehow connected with or authorized by the Complainant. The Complainant further contends that the disputed domain names were unlawfully used by the Respondent in a concerted “phishing” scheme – i.e., attempting to acquire personal information by masquerading as a trustworthy entity, namely the Complainant.

Third, the Complainant contends that the Respondent registered and used the disputed domain names in bad faith. In particular, the Complainant argues that the disputed domain names were selected with the deliberate intention of confusing Internet users into believing that the Respondent and the website linked to the disputed domain names are commercially connected with the Complainant. The Complainant further argues that the linked website was deliberately made to resemble the Complainant’s official website. Moreover, the Complainant argues that the Respondent intentionally provided the Registrar with inaccurate and incomplete WhoIs contact details.

For all these reasons the Complainant requests the transfer of the disputed domain names.

B. Respondent

The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.

6. Discussion and Findings

Paragraph 4(a) of the Policy sets forth three requirements, which have to be met for the Panel to order the transfer of the disputed domain names to the Complainant. Those requirements are that: (i) the disputed domain names are identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which the Complainant has rights; and (ii) the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain names; and (iii) the disputed domain names have been registered and are being used in bad faith.

The Panel has to decide the Complaint on the basis of the statements and documents submitted and in accordance with the Policy, the Rules and any rules and principles of law that it deems applicable, pursuant to paragraph 15(a) of the Rules. In accordance with paragraph 14(b) of the Rules, if the Respondent does not submit a Response, in the absence of exceptional circumstances, the Panel shall decide the dispute based upon the Complaint.

A. Identical or Confusingly Similar

The Complainant has established its rights in the marks BABCOCK and BABCOCK INTERNATIONAL by virtue of the evidence of its United Kingdom registered trademarks in the name BABCOCK, its valuable goodwill and unregistered rights as a consequence of its extensive use of the marks BABCOCK and BABCOCK INTERNATIONAL, and its large portfolio of registered domain names incorporating the BABCOCK and/or BABCOCK INTERNATIONAL marks.

The next question is whether the disputed domain names are identical or confusingly similar to the BABCOCK and BABCOCK INTERNATIONAL marks. The answer to this question is yes. The disputed domain names incorporate in their entirety the BABCOCK mark. The fact that a domain name wholly incorporates a complainant’s registered mark is typically sufficient to establish identity or confusing similarity for purposes of the Policy despite the addition of other words to such marks. E.g., EAuto, L.L.C. v. EAuto Parts, WIPO Case No. D2000-0096 (“parts” added to mark EAUTO in <eautoparts.com>). Moreover, the fact that the disputed domain names further include the letters “intl” does not prevent a risk of confusion with the trademark because the letters “intl” are a natural and commonly used abbreviation for the word “international”. Finally, the disputed domain names are also nearly identical or confusingly similar to the domain name <babcockinternational.com> that was registered to the Complainant before the Respondent obtained the disputed domain names.

For the above reasons, the Panel finds that the disputed domain names are identical or confusingly similar to the Complainant’s BABCOCK and BABCOCK INTERNATIONAL marks.

B. Rights or Legitimate Interests

Paragraph 4(c) of the Policy provides a non-exclusive list of circumstances that, if found by the Panel to be proved based on its evaluation of all evidence submitted, shall demonstrate rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. Those circumstances are described as follows:

“(i) before any notice to you of the dispute, your use of, or demonstrable preparations to use, the domain name or a name corresponding to the domain name in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services; or

(ii) you (as an individual, business, or other organization) have been commonly known by the domain name, even if you have acquired no trademark or service mark rights; or

(iii) you are making a legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the domain name, without intent for commercial gain to misleadingly divert customers or to tarnish the trademark or service mark at issue.”

The Respondent, in not responding to the Complaint, has failed to invoke any of the circumstances, which could demonstrate, pursuant to paragraph 4(c) of the Policy, any rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain names. This entitles the Panel to draw any such inferences from such default as it considers appropriate pursuant to paragraph 14(b) of the Rules (see e.g., Talk City, Inc. v. Michael Robertson, WIPO Case No. D2000-0009 or Isabelle Adjani v. Second Orbit Communications, Inc., WIPO Case No. D2000-0867). The Complainant should nevertheless make out a prima facie case that the Respondent lacks rights or legitimate interests (see Croatia Airlines d.d. v. Modern Empire Internet Ltd., WIPO Case No. D2003-0455; Belupo d.d. v. WACHEM d.o.o., WIPO Case No. D2004-0110).

The Complainant owns several United Kingdom registered trademarks in the name BABCOCK and has used each of these trademarks as an identifier of its goods and services long before the Respondent registered the disputed domain names <babcockintl.com> and <babcockintl.net> on September 3, 2012 and September 5, 2012, respectively. The Complainant is also the registrant of the domain name <babcockinternational.com> which it uses as its primary website. On the other hand, the Respondent does not appear to own a registered trademark in the terms “babcock” or “babcock intl” and does not otherwise appear to trade under these names. Moreover, the Complainant has not authorized, licensed, or otherwise consented to the use of the term “babcock” – either alone or in combination with other letters or words – by the Respondent or any person operating the website to which the disputed domain names direct Internet users.

Under these circumstances and absent evidence to the contrary, the Panel is unable to find any evidence that would establish that the Respondent has rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain names.

Furthermore, as pointed out and evidenced by the Complainant, the disputed domain names appear to be used by the Respondent in a concerted “phishing” scheme – i.e., attempting to acquire personal information by masquerading as a trustworthy entity, namely the Complainant. This is clearly not a bona fide offering of goods or services under paragraph 4(c)(i) of the Policy.

For the above reasons, the Panel finds that the Respondent does not have rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain names.

C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith

Paragraph 4(b) of the Policy provides a non-exclusive list of circumstances that evidence registration and use of a domain name in bad faith. Any one of the following conduct is sufficient to support a finding of bad faith:

“(i) circumstances indicating that you have registered or you have acquired the domain name primarily for the purpose of selling, renting, or otherwise transferring the domain name registration to complainant who is the owner of the trademark or service mark or to a competitor of that complainant, for valuable consideration in excess of your documented out-of-pocket costs directly related to the domain name; or

(ii) you have registered the domain name in order to prevent the owner of the trademark or service mark from reflecting the mark in a corresponding domain name, provided that you have engaged in a pattern of such conduct; or

(iii) you have registered the domain name primarily for the purpose of disrupting the business of a competitor; or

(iv) by using the domain name, you have intentionally attempted to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to your website or other on-line location, by creating a likelihood of confusion with complainant’s mark as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation, or endorsement of your website or location or of a product or service on your website or location.”

As already mentioned, the Respondent did not file any response to the Complaint, failing thereby to invoke any circumstance which could demonstrate good faith in the registration or use of the disputed domain names. Nevertheless, the Panel still has the responsibility of determining which of the Complainant’s assertions are established as facts, and whether the conclusions asserted by the Complainant can be drawn from the established facts (see Harvey Norman Retailing Pty Ltd v. Oxford-University, WIPO Case No. D2000-0944).

The evidence, which is not rebutted by the Respondent, shows that the Respondent had attempted to attract for commercial gain Internet users to the website at the disputed domain names by creating a likelihood of confusion with the Complainant’s BABCOCK and BABCOCK INTERNATIONAL marks as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation or endorsement of the Respondent’s website. Accordingly, the Panel finds that the only credible explanation for the registration and use of the disputed domain names is to take advantage of the similarity between the disputed domain names and the Complainant’s marks to draw Internet users to that site for commercial advantage. No convincing evidence has been presented showing the Respondent has any connection to the name “babcock” – either alone or in connection with any other words, i.e., “babcock intl”.

Additionally, the Panel finds that the Respondent’s behavior constitutes evidence of the registration and use of the disputed domain names in bad faith under paragraph 4(b)(iv) of the Policy. As discussed above, by the time the disputed domain names were registered to the Respondent (September 3, 2012 and September 5, 2012), the Complainant’s BABCOCK and BABCOCK INTERNATIONAL marks already had a significant reputation within the engineering support services community. Moreover, the Complainant had been using the BABCOCK mark for more than 60 years.

Accordingly, the evidence provided by the Complainant with respect to the Respondent’s use of the disputed domain names indicates that the Respondent has used the disputed domain names to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to a website by creating a likelihood of confusion with the Complainant’s marks as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation or endorsement of that website. Accordingly, this Panel is satisfied that the Respondent has used the disputed domain names in bad faith.

For the above reasons, the Panel finds that the Complainant has shown that the disputed domain name have been registered and are being used in bad faith by the Respondent.

7. Decision

For the foregoing reasons, in accordance with paragraphs 4(i) of the Policy and 15 of the Rules, the Panel orders that the disputed domain names <babcockintl.com> and <babcockintl.net> be transferred to the Complainant Babcock International Group PLC.

Andrew J. Park
Sole Panelist
Date: December 21, 2012

 

Explore WIPO