WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Accenture Global Services Limited v. Stexpress, Stex Logistics
Case No. D2015-0899
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Accenture Global Services Limited of Chicago, United States of America (“United States”), represented by DLA Piper LLP, United States.
The Respondent is Stexpress, Stex Logistics of Owerri, Nigeria.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <accentureconsultantus.com> 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 May 28, 2015. On May 28, 2015, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On May 29, 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 1, 2015. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was June 21, 2015. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on June 22, 2015.
The Center appointed Fleur Hinton as the sole panelist in this matter on June 24, 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 commenced use of the trademark ACCENTURE in 2001 and has used it since that date in relation to services including management consulting services, technology services and outsourcing services. Between that date and the present it has commenced using the trademark in respect of other services including recruitment services in which it now has a substantial worldwide reputation. The Complainant offers these services in more than 200 cities in over 56 countries. It registered the domain name <accenture.com> on August 30, 2000 and operates a website at that address which provides a great deal of information about the Complainant’s service offering. The Respondent is situated in Nigeria, where the Complainant also is active, including through use of a dedicated website at”www.accenture.com/ng”.
The Complainant has registered the trademark in the United States and in over 150 other countries including Nigeria. In that country the Complainant has 9 registrations incorporating the trademark, some of them including a design. These registrations are in classes 9, 16, 35, 36, 41 and 42.
The trademark has been and is promoted globally in all forms of media. The Complainant’s budget for it is large. In 2009 it spent USD 77 million and has spent at least between USD 30 and USD 40 million each year since then. In addition the trademark has been recognized as a leading global brand by well-known brand consultants and valuers.
The Complainant and its trademark have won many awards for the services provided and for being a company and a trademark recognized for good employment practices. The trademark is also known as one in respect of which charitable activities are provided, particularly in the developing world.
The Respondent registered the disputed domain name on April 20, 2015.
5. Parties’ Contentions
The Complainant submits first that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to the trademark. The trademark is distinctive and extremely well-known. The only additional material used by the Respondent is, respectively, the descriptive term “consultant” and the geographic indicator, “us”. The use of “consultant” increases the likelihood of confusion as the Complainant is known to be a firm of consultants and “us” is a reference to the Complainant being located in the United States.
Second, the Complainant submits that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. The Complainant has not licensed or otherwise authorized the Respondent to use the disputed domain name. Further, the Respondent has not demonstrated that, prior to its registration of the disputed domain name it had made preparations for a bona fide offering of goods or services. The Respondent has not shown that it is generally known by the disputed domain name or that it is making a legitimate non-commercial offering. Instead, the Complainant has email evidence that the Respondent has posed as a recruitment consultant based in Alaska. In view of the Complainant’s extensive reputation as a provider of recruitment services, the Complainant submits that the Respondent’s reasons for using the disputed domain name is to divert potential clients of the Complainant to itself for commercial gain and to obtain confidential information from potential employees under false pretenses.
Third, the Complainant argues that, by virtue of the Complainant’s worldwide reputation in the trademark, the Respondent has constructive knowledge of that trademark. Therefore, the Respondent’s action in registering the disputed domain name was done in bad faith. The Respondent’s activities in using the disputed domain name for the purpose of diverting customers from the Complainant for commercial gain and for the purpose of obtaining the confidential information of potential employees demonstrates that the disputed domain name is being used in bad faith.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
The Policy requires that the Panel make its finding on the basis of the following:
(i) the disputed domain name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which the Complainant has rights; and
(ii) the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name; and
(iii) the disputed domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The Panel finds that the disputed domain name encompasses the entirety of the trademark. The additional material in the disputed domain name comprises the descriptive word “consultant”, and the component “us” which may be read either as a reference to the United States or to the first person plural objective pronoun.
The Complainant has referred to a number of cases to support its argument that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to the trademark. The Panel does not find it necessary to examine them in any depth. It is well accepted, that in the case of descriptive terms used in conjunction with a trademark as part of a disputed domain name, those descriptive terms are to be ignored when comparing the trademark with the disputed domain name for purposes of the Policy. The Panel accepts the Complainant’s reference to Accenture Global Services Limited v. ICS Inc. / PrivacyProtect.org, WIPO Case No. D2013-2098 in which the panel found that the addition of descriptive material, especially when it relates to the services provided by reference to the complainant’s trademark, may render higher the likelihood of the disputed domain name being confusingly similar to the trademark.
The Panel also notes that this likelihood is increased by the fact that the trademark enjoys a very extensive international reputation. The Panel finds that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to the trademark.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
In order to establish that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name, the Complainant must establish a prima facie case. The Complainant has neither licensed nor authorized the Respondent to use the disputed domain name.
The Complainant has copies of email correspondence in which someone acting for the Respondent has contacted a potential employee claiming to be the Complainant and claiming, further, to act as a recruitment agent for major oil companies. The Complainant’s in-house counsel sent emails to the Respondent on April 30 and May 15, 2015, objecting to the Respondent’s use and received no reply.
The Panel finds that the Complainant has established a prima facie case the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. The Respondent has not made any attempt to explain its actions in adopting an internationally known trademark, has not lodged a response in these proceedings and has failed to provide any information to demonstrate that, prior to its registration of the disputed domain name, it had made preparations for a bona fide offering of goods or services. The Respondent has not shown that it is generally known by the disputed domain name or that it is making a legitimate noncommercial offering. Under these circumstances the Panel finds that the Complainant has established that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
The Complainant has argued that the Respondent registered the domain name in bad faith because it had constructive knowledge of the extensive worldwide reputation of the Complainant in the trademark. That fact should have been sufficient to alert the Respondent that registering the disputed domain name incorporating the trademark may be conduct in bad faith. The Complainant argues further that the Respondent is using the trademark in bad faith because of its action in posing to members of the public as a recruitment agency using the disputed domain name which incorporates the Complainant’s internationally well-known trademark.
In support of the first proposition the Complainant refers to the panel’s decision in Caesar’s World Inc. v. Forum LLC., WIPO Case No. D2005-0517. The Panel did not rely on the doctrine of constructive knowledge for the finding that the respondent in that case had registered the disputed domain name <caesarspalacepoker.com> in bad faith. Instead the Panel found that the respondent either knew or should have known of the complainant’s trademark CAESARS PALACE because of its worldwide reputation. Further, the panel said, the addition of the word “poker” made it plain that the respondent was aware of the complainant’s field of activity.
In that case the respondent linked its website at the disputed domain name to other gambling websites and the panel found, therefore, that the use of the disputed domain name in this way was use in bad faith.
The Complainant’s trademark has an international reputation in relation to consultancy services including recruitment services and it is difficult to see how the Respondent could have failed to have been aware of it. This situation is exacerbated by the fact that the Complainant’s in-house counsel twice contacted the Respondent informing it of the Complainant’s position and objected to the Respondent’s use of the disputed domain name. The Respondent has made no attempt to explain its behavior. In the present case the Panel finds that the Respondent’s registration of the disputed domain name was made in bad faith.
The Respondent then used the disputed domain name so as to give the impression that it was the Complainant or associated with the Complainant, again without any attempt to explain its behavior. The Panel finds that this is a use of the disputed domain name in bad faith.
The Panel finds that the Respondent registered and is using the disputed 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 disputed domain name <accentureconsultantus.com> be transferred to the Complainant.
Date: June 25, 2015