WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Roper Industries, Inc. v. Roper Industries, Inc., David Willis
Case No. D2014-1039
1. The Parties
Complainant is Roper Industries, Inc. of Sarasota, Florida, of United States of America ("USA"), represented by Caesar, Rivise, Bernstein, Cohen, & Pokotilow, Ltd., USA.
Respondent is Roper Industries, Inc., David Willis of Sarasota, Florida, USA.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <roperindustriesinc.com> (the "Domain Name") is registered with GoDaddy.com, LLC (the "Registrar").
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the "Center") on June 17, 2014. On June 18, 2014, the Center transmitted by e-mail to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the Domain Name. On June 19, 2014, the Registrar transmitted by e-mail to the Center its verification response disclosing registrant and contact information for the Domain Name which differed from the named Respondent and contact information in the Complaint. In response to a notification by the Center that the Complaint was administratively deficient, Complainant filed an amended Complaint on June 23, 2014.
The Center verified that the Complaint together with the amended 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 Respondent of the Complaint, and the proceedings commenced on June 30, 2014. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was July 20, 2014. Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified Respondent's default on July 21, 2014.
The Center appointed Robert A. Badgley as the sole panelist in this matter on July 24, 2014. 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
Complainant Roper Industries, Inc. is a diversified firm engaged in various fields of technology, including medical and scientific imaging products and software, radio frequency products, industrial technology products, and energy systems and controls. Complainant's gross sales in 2013 were approximately USD 3.2 billion. Complainant has been operating under the "Roper" name since 1957 to identify and distinguish its various business activities. The "Roper"'s name appears prominently on the company's printed materials, and on the website "www.roperind.com", which site has operated since 1999. Forbes Magazine has identified Complainant as one of the top 100 "World's Most Innovative Companies."
The Domain Name was registered on June 2, 2014. The Domain Name has been used by Respondent as an e-mail address, "[…]@RoperIndustriesInc.com." Using this e-mail address, Respondent has approached a number of banks in order to seek loans, evidently attempting to create the impression that Respondent is an officer of Complainant and hence has authority to seek financing from the banks in question. According to Complainant, Respondent seeks to commit fraud by falsely holding himself out to prospective lenders as an officer of Roper Industries. Annexed to the Complaint are a number of e-mail exchanges in which bank officials have responded to Respondent's e-mails and, for a time at least, such bank officers appear to have been duped by the content of Respondent's e-mails (discussing loans for the lease of certain equipment), and the fact that he has used the Domain Name to convey a sense of legitimacy to his false identity.
5. Parties' Contentions
The salient facts upon which Complainant relies are set forth in the previous section. Complainant maintains that it has satisfied the three elements required under the Policy for a transfer of the Domain Name.
Respondent did not reply to Complainant's contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
Paragraph 4(a) of the Policy lists the three elements which Complainant must satisfy with respect to the Domain Name:
(i) the Domain Name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which Complainant has rights; and
(ii) Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Domain Name; and
(iii) the Domain Name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
This Panel is satisfied that there is sufficient evidence in the record to support Complainant's plausible and undisputed contention that Complainant holds unregistered or common law rights in the name "Roper".
The Domain Name is confusingly similar to the mark, inasmuch as it entirely incorporates the dominant term "Roper" and merely appends the terms "Industries" and "Inc." The addition of these two generic terms does not reduce the confusing similarity between the Domain Name and the mark.
Accordingly, the Panel concludes that Policy paragraph 4(a)(i) has been satisfied by Complainant.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
Pursuant to paragraph 4(c) of the Policy, Respondent may establish its rights or legitimate interests in a Domain Name, among other circumstances, by showing any of the following elements:
(i) before any notice to you [Respondent] 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 [Respondent] (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 [Respondent] are 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 or service mark at issue.
Complainant has made out a prima facie case, thus, shifting the burden of production to Respondent to demonstrate any rights or legitimate interests in the Domain Name. It is undisputed that Respondent has not been authorized by Complainant to use the "Roper name" in any manner, and that the parties have no relationship. There is no evidence that Respondent is commonly known by the Domain Name, even though he apparently seeks to be commonly known by the Domain Name at least in local banking circles. All of the evidence in this record indicates that Respondent is attempting falsely to hold himself out as an officer of Complainant in order to obtain through false pretenses bank funds.
Accordingly, the Panel concludes that Policy paragraph 4(a)(ii) has been satisfied by Complainant.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
Paragraph 4(b) of the Policy provides that the following circumstances, "in particular but without limitation," are evidence of the registration and use of the Domain Name in "bad faith":
(i) circumstances indicating that Respondent has registered or has 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 its documented out of pocket costs directly related to the Domain Name; or
(ii) that Respondent has 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 Respondent has engaged in a pattern of such conduct; or
(iii) that Respondent has registered the Domain Name primarily for the purpose of disrupting the business of a competitor; or
(iv) that by using the Domain Name, Respondent has intentionally attempted to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to Respondent's 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 Respondent's website or location or of a product or service on Respondent's website or location.
The website at the Domain Name states "Roper transforms simple ideas into powerful results to create compelling shareholder value. Our engineered products and technology solutions enjoy leadership positions across a diverse set of global, niche markets. Outstanding execution by our businesses coupled with our asset-light business model enable us to generate compelling cash flow, which we invest to create new value. They're simple ideas – yet they all come together to generate powerful results."
The Panel concludes from the undisputed record in this case that Respondent is apparently a scammer who registered and is using the Domain Name to create a legitimate-appearing e-mail address for itself, with the ultimate aim of duping lenders into parting with their money under the false impression that they are actually doing business with Complainant. In this Panel's opinion, this shows bad faith registration and use under any measure.
Accordingly, the Panel concludes that Policy paragraph 4(a)(iii) has been satisfied by Complainant.
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 <roperindustriesinc.com> be transferred to Complainant.
Robert A. Badgley
Date: July 27, 2014