WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Kforce Inc. v. TCS Marketing Services, Helen Rochas
Case No. D2013-1446
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Kforce Inc. of Tampa, Florida, United States of America, represented by Thomas & LoCicero PL, United States of America.
The Respondent is TCS Marketing Services, Helen Rochas of Phoenix, Arizona, United States of America.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <kforce-staffing.com> (the “Domain Name”) is registered with Launchpad.com Inc. (the “Registrar”).
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on August 15, 2013. On August 16, 2013, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the Domain Name. On August 19, 2013, 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 August 28, 2013. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was September 17, 2013. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on September 18, 2013.
The Center appointed Michelle Brownlee as the sole panelist in this matter on September 26, 2013. 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 Complainant owns United States trademark registration number 2,625,418 and European Community Trade Mark registration number 7,561,335 for the mark KFORCE in connection with personnel placement and recruitment services. The Complainant also owns several other United States trademark registrations that include the term KFORCE.
The Domain Name was registered on July 23, 2013.
5. Parties’ Contentions
The Complainant was incorporated in 1994. The Complainant offers staffing and employment services to individuals seeking employment and companies seeking employees throughout the United States and elsewhere. The Complainant operates offices in more than sixty cities and operates an Internet web site at the URL “www.kforce.com”. The web site provides listings of job openings, job-hunting information, job-seeking and career advice, a resume posting service, and general company information. The Complainant also owns the domain name <kforcestaffing.com>.
The Complainant contends that the Domain Name is confusingly similar to its KFORCE mark. The Complainant also submits that the Respondent has no rights to or legitimate interests in respect of the Domain Name and that the Respondent registered and is using the Domain Name in bad faith. The Complainant alleges that the Respondent posted job listings on online classified advertisement web sites that used an email address incorporating the Domain Name to which applicants were asked to respond and that the Respondent set up the Domain Name to redirect Internet users to the Complainant’s kforce.com web site. The Complainant states that when applicants responded to the job postings, they were asked for personal information, including their driver license and Social Security numbers. The Complainant argues that the Respondent intentionally misrepresents itself as the Complainant in order to fraudulently obtain personal information from job seekers.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
Paragraph 4(a) of the Policy provides that in order to be entitled to a transfer of a domain name, a complainant must prove the following three elements:
(1) the domain name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which the complainant has rights; and
(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.
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The Complainant has demonstrated that it has rights in the KFORCE mark. When a distinctive mark is paired with less distinctive terms, the combination will typically be found to be confusingly similar to the distinctive mark. See, e.g., MasterCard International Incorporated v. Michael J Yanda, Indy Web Productions, WIPO Case No. D2007-1140. In this case, the confusing similarity is exacerbated by the fact that the Domain Name combines the KFORCE mark with the word “staffing,” which is descriptive of the services offered by the Complainant. Under these circumstances, the Panel finds that the Domain Name is confusingly similar to the Complainant’s KFORCE mark.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
Paragraph 4(c) of the Policy provides that a respondent can demonstrate rights to or legitimate interests in a domain name by demonstrating one of the following facts:
(i) before receiving any notice of the dispute, the respondent used or made preparations to use the domain name in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services; or
(ii) the respondent has been commonly known by the domain name; or
(iii) the respondent is making a legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the domain name without intent for commercial gain, to misleadingly divert consumers or to tarnish the trademark at issue.
The Respondent has not presented evidence that the Respondent used or made preparations to use the Domain Name in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services, that the Respondent is commonly known by the Domain Name or that the Respondent is making a noncommercial or fair use of the Domain Name, or in any other way refuted the Complainant’s prima facie case. The Complainant has alleged, without any refutation by the Respondent that the Respondent is using the Domain Name in connection with email addresses that misrepresent a connection with the Complainant in order to collect personal information about job seekers and to redirect Internet users to the Complainant’s web site in order to further this deception. In the Panel’s view, this cannot be considered a bona fide offering of goods or services. Accordingly, the Panel finds that the Complainant has established this element of the Policy.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
Paragraph 4(b) of the Policy states that the following circumstances are evidence of registration and use of a domain name in bad faith:
(i) circumstances indicating that the respondent has registered or acquired the domain name primarily for the purpose of selling, renting, or otherwise transferring the domain name registration to the complainant who is the owner of the trademark or service mark or to a competitor of that complainant, for valuable consideration in excess of documented out-of-pocket costs directly related to the domain name; or
(ii) the respondent 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 the respondent has engaged in a pattern of such conduct; or
(iii) the respondent has registered the domain name primarily for the purpose of disrupting the business of a competitor; or
(iv) by using the domain name, the respondent has intentionally attempted to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to its web site or other online location, by creating a likelihood of confusion with the complainant’s mark as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation, or endorsement of its web site or location or of a product or service on its web site or location.
The Complainant has established bad faith under paragraph 4(b)(iv) of the Policy. The Complainant has alleged that the Domain Name is being used to send deceptive emails that attempt to collect personal information from job seekers and to redirect Internet users to the Complainant’s web site. The Respondent did not reply to these contentions. The Panel finds that the Respondent’s use of the Domain Name to falsely suggest an affiliation with the Complainant is in furtherance of an attempt to induce Internet users to provide personal information to the Respondent, which presumably results in commercial gain to the Respondent. Under the circumstances, the Panel finds that the Respondent has registered and used the Domain Name in bad faith.
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<kforce-staffing.com> be transferred to the Complainant.
Date: October 6, 2013