WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Emirates National Oil Company Limited - ENOC LLC v. Enoc in
Case No. D2014-1723
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Emirates National Oil Company Limited - ENOC LLC of Dubai, United Arab Emirates, represented by Al Tamimi & Company, United Arab Emirates.
The Respondent is Enoc in of "Egiw", United States of America.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <enocae.net> is registered with OnlineNic, Inc. d/b/a China-Channel.com (the "Registrar").
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the "Center") on October 2, 2014. On October 2, 2014, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On October 3, 2014, 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 15, 2014. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was November 4, 2014. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent's default on November 7, 2014.
The Center appointed Nathalie Dreyfus as the sole panelist in this matter on November 19, 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.
On November 24, 2014, the Panel issued an Administrative Panel Procedural Order according to the Rule 12 of the Rules, requesting that the Complainant provide the Panel with additional documented proof of their assertions. On November 25, 2014, the Center transmitted the Panel Order to the Complainant and notified the Parties. The Complainant replied on November 25, 2014, and brought the required clarifications. On November 25, 2014, the Center informed the Parties of the Complainant's submission.
4. Factual Background
The Complainant is the owner of the trademark ENOC registered on April 4, 2000, in classes 4 and 42 in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), their country of origin. ENOC LLC has registered the ENOC trademark in more than 95 countries worldwide. The Complainant brought evidence that the ENOC trademark is well-known in the UAE and Middle East Region. The Complainant informed the Panel that ENOC started as a government-owned oil and gas player and that they have an important contribution to the economies of Dubai and of the UAE in general.
The disputed domain name was registered on December 20, 2013.
5. Parties' Contentions
ENOC informs the Panel that they have over 6,000 employees globally in over 30 active subsidiaries and international joint ventures, the Group's business portfolio includes refining, oil trade, terminalling and storage, bunkering, aviation fuel marketing, lubricants blending and marketing, informational technology, with core operations in the Middle East, Asia, and Africa. The Complainant main operating company is in the UAE, the home country of ENOC LLC, a leading regional integrated oil and gas group operating in the UAE, the Middle East and Far East regions.
The Complainant says that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to their trademark. The disputed domain name is comprised of the Complainant's registered trademark ENOC and "AE", representing the country code abbreviation for "Arab Emirates", which adds a geographical term. Such use is insufficient to distinguish the disputed domain name from the Complainant's trademark.
The Complainant finds the addition of the suffix "AE" to the ENOC trademark in the disputed domain name is extremely confusing because ENOC is an UAE well-known trademark in the Middle East region.
The Complainant says that Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. The Respondent has no relationship with the Complainant, as no license or authorization of any kind has been given. The Complainant also alleges that the Respondent has attempted to hide his identity and contact details, which would be proof of lack of legitimate interests in the disputed domain name.
The Complainant also says that the Respondent has registered and used the disputed domain name in bad faith. The Complainant contends that due to the fact that the ENOC trademark is well-known, the Respondent was aware of its existence when he had registered the disputed domain name. Also, the Complainant explains that the disputed domain name is used to promote fake recruitment services on behalf of the ENOC group. Furthermore, the only purpose of the registration and use of the disputed domain name is to attract users/job seekers for the Respondent's own commercial gain by pretending to be the Complainant.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant's contentions and is therefore in default.
6. Discussion and Findings
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The disputed domain name <enocae.net> incorporates the ENOC trademark in its entirety. This is sufficient to establish confusing similarity for purposes of the Policy. That is particularly true where the disputed domain name incorporates a widely known trademark, as in this case. See, e.g., Telstra Corporation v. Barry Cheng Kwok Chu, WIPO Case No. D2000-0423; Pfizer Inc. v. United Pharmacy Ltd, WIPO Case No. D2001-0446; Utensilerie Associate S. p. A. v. C & M, WIPO Case No. D2003-0159; PepsiCo Inc. vs. Kieran McGarry, WIPO Case No. D2005-0629; C&A. Veltins GmbH &Co. KG vs. Heller Highwater Inc., WIPO Case No. D2004-0466.
The addition of the generic term "ae" does not affect a finding that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to the ENOC registered trademark. The mere addition of a geographic descriptor does not change the confusing nature of the similarity, see, e.g., Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Lars Stork, WIPO Case No. D2000-0628; America Online, Inc. v. Dolphin@Heart, WIPO Case No. D2000-0713; Telstra Corporation Limited v. Ozurls, WIPO Case No. D2001-0046.
The likelihood of confusion between the disputed domain name and the ENOC trademark is reinforced by the fact that the Complainant is mainly operating in the UAE. The suffix ".ae" is precisely the country code top-level domain (ccTLD) of the UAE.
Therefore, the Panel finds that the <enocae.net> disputed domain name is clearly confusingly similar to the ENOC trademark and, as a result, finds that the requirement of paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Policy is met.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
The Complainant contends that they have not licensed or otherwise authorized Respondent to use their trademark. Such allegation is not contested by the Respondent.
Furthermore, the Respondent did not submit any Response to the Complaint. The consensus view of WIPO UDRP panelists is that the Respondent's default does not automatically result in a decision in favor of the Complainant and that the Complainant must establish each of the three elements required by paragraph 4(a) of the UDRP. However, paragraph 14(b) of the Rules provides that, in the absence of exceptional circumstances, a panel shall draw such inferences as it considers appropriate from a failure of a party to comply with a provision or requirement of the Rules.
The Panel finds no exceptional circumstances in this case for the failure of Respondent to submit a Response. As a result, the Panel infers that Respondent does not deny the facts asserted and contentions made by Complainant from these facts. Reuters Limited v. Global Net 2000, Inc., WIPO Case No. D2000-0441; LCIA (London Court of International Arbitration) v. Wellsbuck Corporation, WIPO Case No. D2005-0084; Ross-Simons, Inc. v. Domain.Contac, WIPO Case No. D2003-0994. As other previous UDRP panels have also established, asserted facts that are not unreasonable will be taken as true and respondent will be subject to the inferences that flow naturally from the information provided by the complainant, LLC v. Matthew Smith, WIPO Case No. D2005-0540.
The Panel finds that the Respondent is neither using the disputed domain name in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services, nor is it making a legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the disputed domain name. On the contrary, the Respondent used the domain name in order to mislead job-seekers by pretending to be the Complainant.
In short, the Complainant has satisfied their burden of providing sufficient evidence to show that Respondent lacks rights to or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name, and Respondent has failed to provide the Panel with any of the types of evidence set forth in paragraph 4(c) of the Policy from which the Panel might conclude that Respondent has any rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name.
In light of the foregoing, the Panel finds that the requirement of paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy is met.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
Paragraph 4(b) of the Policy states that evidence of registration and use in bad faith by the holder includes, but is not limited to:
(i) circumstances indicating that the holder has registered or has 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 trademark or to a competitor of that complainant, for valuable consideration in excess of the holder's documented out-of-pocket costs directly related to the domain name; or
(ii) the holder has registered the domain name in order to prevent the owner of the mark or service mark from reflecting the mark in a corresponding domain name, provided that the holder has engaged in a pattern of such conduct; or
(iii) the holder has registered the domain name primarily for the purpose of disrupting the business of a competitor; or
(iv) by using the domain name, the holder has intentionally attempted to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to the holder's website or other online location, by creating a likelihood of confusion with the complainant's mark as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation, or endorsement of the website or location or of a product or service on the holder's website or location.
To support their case that the Respondent acted in bad faith, the Complainant asserts that the Respondent knew of their trademark, evidenced by the multiple references to the Complainant's trademark.
The Complainant contends that the Respondent is fallaciously promoting recruitment services on behalf of the ENOC group through the disputed name by using the ENOC trademark, which makes it impossible for the Respondent not to know about the existence of the trademark. Indeed, the Panel is convinced that due to the fact that the ENOC trademark is widely known, the Respondent was aware of its existence at the moment when the disputed domain name was registered.
The burden is on the Respondent to make the appropriate enquiries to ensure that the registration of the domain name does not infringe or violate third party rights. Previous UDRP panels have also referred to Paragraph 2 of the Policy: "It is your [the domain-name holder's] responsibility to determine whether your domain name registration infringes or violates someone else's rights". The Respondents' apparent lack of any good faith attempt to ascertain whether or not the disputed domain name was infringing someone else's trademark, such as by conducting trademarks searches or search engine searches, supports a finding of bad faith (see, Mobile Communication Service Inc. v. WebReg, RN, WIPO Case No. D2005-1304; L'Oreal v. Domain Park Limited, WIPO Case No. D2008-0072; Bouygues v. Chengzhang, Lu Ciagao, WIPO Case No. D2007-1325; Media General Communications, Inc. v. Rarenames, WebReg, WIPO Case No. D2006-0964; mVisible Technologies Inc. v. Navigation Catalyst Systems, Inc., WIPO Case No. D2007-1141; Grundfos A/S v. Texas International Property Associates, WIPO Case No. D2007-1448).
Also, the Complainant contends that the Respondent is using the disputed domain name intentionally to attract job-seekers for his own commercial gain by pretending to be the Complainant. At the moment when the Panel examined the disputed domain name, the address could no longer be found. In order to establish the content of the disputed domain name, the Panel addressed an Order to the Complainant to provide further evidence of the use in bad faith. The Complainant brought the demanded evidence and proved that the Respondent was using the ENOC trademark in order to mislead users and job seekers.
The Respondent was not promoting real job offers from the ENOC Group, but tried to mislead users by pretending to be the ENOC Group and asked for personal data for fake recruitment purposes.
The Panel is of the view that such use represents a clear case of use in bad faith of the disputed domain name under the paragraph 4(b)(iv) of the Policy.
In light of the foregoing, the Panel finds that the requirement of paragraph 4(a)(iii) of the Policy is met.
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 name <enocae.net> be transferred to the Complainant.
Date: December 3, 2014