WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Serco Group Plc v. N Rahmany
Case No. D2015-0894
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Serco Group Plc of Hampshire, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, represented by SafeNames Ltd., United States of America.
The Respondent is N Rahmany of Los Angeles, California, United States of America.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <serco.services> 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 May 27, 2015. On May 27, 2015, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On May 28, 2015, 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 June 10, 2015. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was June 30, 2015. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent's default on July 2, 2015.
The Center appointed J. Nelson Landry as the sole panelist in this matter on July 14, 2015. 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, an international service company, started its services activities in 1929 under Radio Corporation of America, formed a United Kingdom subsidiary RCA Services Limited and in 1987 was renamed Serco Limited and Serco Group Plc in 1988. It provides public services which presently include justice, immigration, defense, transport and healthcare in Europe, Asia Pacific and North America in respect which services it employs 120,000 persons to operate in over 30 countries including the United States of America.
The Complainant registered the SERCO trademark in the United Kingdom, the United States of America and the European Market under 13 classes comprising 5 classes for different services. The SERCO trademark was registered in the United Kingdom in 1993, in the United States of America and the European Market in 1999 (herein the "SERCO Trademark").
The Respondent registered the disputed domain name on March 10, 2015 along with 35 other domain names, many incorporating a well known trademark and some with the terms "services" such as <lockheedmartin.services>, <saabgroup.services>. Thus the Respondent currently owns a portfolio of at least 220 domain names, all registered at the email address given by the Respondent in its registration of the disputed domain name. Within these domain names, at least 49 included other well known trademarks such as Adidas, Armani, Facebook, Google, Mazda and Mitsubishi.
Since the date of its registration, the disputed domain name resolves to a Pay Per Click ("PPC") website.
Upon finding out about the registration of the disputed domain name, on April 27, 2015, the Complainant sent a cease and desist letter to the Respondent to which the Respondent replied in mentioning several US registrations for SERCO and offered the Complainant an opportunity to recover the disputed domain name in payment of its alleged cost price of USD 1,800 and was agreeable to transfer it upon receiving the payment of said sum. The Complainant offered to reimburse the registration cost of USD 20 upon receiving proof of payment, to which offer the Respondent did not reply
5. Parties' Contentions
The Complainant contends that the disputed domain name which comprises in its entirety its SERCO Trademark in which it has registered rights and interests, along with the descriptive term "services" corresponding to the type of activities offered and provided by the Complainant, which do not diminish the confusion in any way, is confusingly similar to its SERCO Trademark.
According to the representations and evidence of the Complainant, the disputed domain name which resolves to a PPC website is engaged in a commercial activity and in the absence of any response, the Respondent has provided no assertion or evidence as to a planned use of the disputed domain name in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services. To the contrary, according to the evidence, the Respondent is clearly attempting to sell the disputed domain name to generate substantial profit. Furthermore, the Complainant states that the Respondent is not known by the disputed domain name and that the Respondent was aware of the existence of the SERCO Trademark of the Complainant when he registered the disputed domain name, which use or registration was never licensed or authorized by the Complainant.
The Complainant submits that the disputed domain name was registered and is being used in bad faith on the basis that while its registration cost would be around USD 20, the Respondent asked for USD 1,800 to sell it. Furthermore, that in so registering the said disputed domain name, the Respondent is preventing the Complainant to reflect its Trademark in a domain name and that the Respondent has engaged in a pattern of such conduct when one considers the number of domain names he registered, many of which included well known trademarks, such as Adidas, Facebook, Google and many others.
Finally, the disputed domain name resolves to a PPC website which does correspond to an inappropriate use of the said domain name since, as held in UDRP decisions, "the concept of a domain name being used in bad faith is not limited to a positive action; inaction is within the concept". See Telstra Corporation Limited v. Nuclear Marshmallows, WIPO Case No. D2000-0003.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant's contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The Complainant has clearly established that it has rights in the SERCO Trademark registered in many geographical areas (including in the United States of America where the Respondent resides). The Panel notes that the disputed domain name incorporates the SERCO Trademark in its entirety along with the generic Top-Level Domain ("gTLD") ".services" which term covers the field in which the Complainant plays a prominent role, thereby contributing to mislead the Internet visitors in thinking that they have reached the website of the Complainant. The resulting confusion is not in any way diminished by the presence of the gTLD suffix ".services" as regularly held in UDRP decisions.
The Panel finds that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to the SERCO Trademark of the Complainant.
The first criterion of the Policy has been met.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
The Complainant has met its prima facie burden of showing that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name in its unchallenged statement of the absence of any business relationship with the Respondent and the absence of any agreement of license authorizing the Respondent to use its SERCO Trademark and register the disputed domain name.
According to the Complainant there is no evidence of the Respondent being commonly known by the term "serco" or the disputed domain name.
The Panel finds that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the domain name which was registered on the same date as 35 domain names, many incorporating well known trademarks. Furthermore, the disputed domain name resolving to a PPC website reflects a commercial activity rather than confer rights or legitimate interests arising from a bona fide offering of good and services as held in Compart AG v. Compart.com/Vertical Axis, Inc., WIPO Case No. D2009-0462, referred to by the Complainant. Furthermore such absence of rights is confirmed by the lack of any demonstrable preparation to use the disputed domain name in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services.
The Panel finds that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name.
The second criterion of the Policy has been met.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
The Complainant has provided significant evidence of bad faith conduct of the Respondent in registering the disputed domain name along with many others incorporating a well known trademark thereby engaging in a pattern of cybersquatting with, in the Panel's view, knowledge of the SERCO Trademark, confirmed by the addition of the term "services" corresponding to the line of activities of the Complainant. There is no good faith, but rather bad faith in said registration of the disputed domain name.
This Panel finds bad faith use of the said domain name in the requesting of a payment of USD 1,800 to recover the unsubstantiated costs price only within a few weeks of its registration, when such costs price is not particularized, despite a specific request by the Complainant. Furthermore the Panel cannot see how such a sum can be justified when the costs stated by the Complainant pursuant to its verification appears to be around USD 20 as mentioned by the Complainant in reiterating to the Respondent its offer to pay said USD 20 upon receiving justification thereof.
The Panel sees further evidence of bad faith use of the disputed domain name in the latter resolving to a PPC website which according to UDRP decisions quoted by the Complainant such use cannot be qualified as good faith use, see Compart AG v. Compart.com/Vertical Axis, Inc., WIPO Case No. D2009-0462. As represented by the Complainant, the Respondent is normally deemed responsible for content appearing on a website at its domain name even in the absence of direct control. There is no response filed by the Respondent nor any explanation or excuse in its email communications with the Complainant to show any good faith attempt toward preventing the inclusion of links which profit from trading on the Complainant's SERCO Trademark as shown by the Complainant.
The Panel finds that the disputed domain name was registered and used in bad faith.
The third criterion of the Policy has been 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 <serco.services> be transferred to the Complainant.
J. Nelson Landry
Date: July 21, 2015