WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Valero Energy Corporation and Valero Marketing and Supply Company v. Valero Energy
Case No. D2017-0075
1. The Parties
The Complainants are Valero Energy Corporation and Valero Marketing and Supply Company of San Antonio, Texas, United States of America (“United States”), represented by Fasthoff Law Firm PLLC, United States.
The Respondent is Valero Energy of Bayselya, Nigeria.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <valeropetroleum.org> (the “Domain Name”) is registered with PDR Ltd. d/b/a PublicDomainRegistry.com (the “Registrar”).
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on January 17, 2017. The Center transmitted its request for registrar verification to the Registrar on January 17, 2017. The Registrar replied on January 18, 2017, confirming that the Domain Name is registered with it, that the Respondent is the current registrant, that the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (the “Policy” or “UDRP”) applies to the registration, that a Registrar Lock has been applied to the Domain Name and will be maintained until its expiry, and that the registration agreement is in English. The Registrar also provided the full contact details held in respect of the Domain Name on its WhoIs database and stated that the Domain Name was registered on October 26, 2016 and will expire on October 26, 2017, and that it has not received a copy of the Complaint.
The Center verified that the Complaint satisfied the formal requirements of the 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 paragraphs 2 and 4 of the Rules, the Center formally notified the Respondent of the Complaint, and the proceedings commenced on January 24, 2017. In accordance with paragraph 5 of the Rules, the due date for Response was February 13, 2017. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on February 15, 2017.
The Center appointed Jonathan Turner as the sole panelist in this matter on February 23, 2017. The Panel has submitted the Statement of Acceptance and Declaration of Impartiality and Independence, as required by the Center to ensure compliance with paragraph 7 of the Rules. Having reviewed the file, the Panel is satisfied that the Complaint complied with applicable formal requirements, was duly notified to the Respondent and has been submitted to a properly constituted Panel in accordance with the UDRP, the Rules and the Supplemental Rules.
4. Factual Background
The Complainants have used the mark VALERO in their business of oil and gas exploration, production, processing and distribution since 1983. The Complainants have registered this mark in the United States in respect of these and related services, with the oldest registration having a registration date of January 8, 1985. They have also registered logos consisting primarily of the word “Valero” in respect of such services and in respect of gasoline and diesel fuel and lubricant base oil. The Complainants also operate a website at <valero.com> and use this domain name for email. The Complainants were listed by “Fortune” magazine in October 2016 as the 32nd largest company in the United States.
The Respondent has used the Domain Name for email correspondence in which he impersonated an executive of the Complainants and purported to engage another party as an intermediary between the Complainants and final buyers of crude oil or petroleum products. In the correspondence the Respondent asked the other party to send large advance payments in connection with the supposed transaction.
The Respondent has previously used the domain name <vaieroenergy.com> in a similar way. That domain name was held to have been registered and used in bad faith in Valero Energy Corporation, Valero Marketing and Supply Company v. Domain Admin, Privacy Protection Services, Inc. d/b/a PrivacyProtect.org / Valero Energy, WIPO Case No. 2016-1898.
The Domain Name is not directed to any website.
5. Parties’ Contentions
The Complainants contend that the Domain Name is confusingly similar to their VALERO mark, pointing out that the Domain Name consists of the mark together with the generic word “petroleum” and the generic Top-Level Domain (“gTLD”) ”.org”.
The Complainants submit that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Domain Name. They state that the Respondent has never been commonly known by the Domain Name, has not been licensed by the Complainants to use the VALERO mark or authorized to act on their behalf, and has not used or made demonstrable preparations to make legitimate use of the Domain Name. The Complainants point out that on the contrary, the Respondent has used the Domain Name for the purpose of a criminal scheme of advanced fee scam.
The Complainants further allege that the Domain Name was registered and is being used in bad faith to carry out a criminal scheme of advanced fee scam. They add that their VALERO mark is well-known, that the registration of the Domain Name prevents them from registering a domain that reflects their mark, and that the Respondent provided false contact details when registering the Domain Name.
The Complainants request a decision that the Domain Name be transferred to them.
As stated above, the Respondent did not reply to the Complainants’ contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
In accordance with paragraph 4(a) of the Policy, the Complainants must prove: (i) that the Domain Name is identical or confusingly similar to a mark in which they have rights; (ii) that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Domain Name; and (iii) that the Domain Name was registered and is being used in bad faith. It is appropriate to consider each of these requirements in turn.
In accordance with paragraph 14(b) of the Rules, the Panel shall draw such inferences as it considers appropriate from the Respondent’s default in failing to file a response. This includes the acceptance of plausible evidence of the Complainants which has not been disputed.
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The Panel finds that the Complainants have registered and unregistered rights in the mark VALERO. The Panel further finds that the Domain Name is confusingly similar to this mark, from which it differs only in the addition of the generic word “petroleum” and the gTLD. It is also clear from the evidence that the Domain Name was registered with the intention that it would be confused with the Complainant’s mark. The first requirement of the UDRP is satisfied.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
The Panel is satisfied on the evidence that the Respondent has not used the Domain Name for any bona fide offering of goods or services and has not made any legitimate noncommercial or fair use. On the contrary, the Respondent has used the Domain Name only for the purpose of fraud. It is also clear that the Respondent is not commonly known by the Domain Name or any corresponding name and that it is not authorized by the Complainants to use any such name.
In the circumstances the Panel finds that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the Domain Name. The second requirement of the UDRP is satisfied.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
The Panel finds on the evidence that the Domain Name was registered and is being used for the purpose of facilitating the impersonation of an executive of the Complainants with a view to effecting advance fee fraud. This conduct is plainly in bad faith.
All three requirements of the UDRP are satisfied and it is appropriate to order that the Domain Name be transferred to the Complainants.
For the foregoing reasons, in accordance with paragraphs 4(i) of the Policy and 15 of the Rules, the Panel orders that the Domain Name, <valeropetroleum.org> be transferred to the Complainants.
Date: March 6, 2017