WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Accenture Global Services Limited v. Hulmiho Ukolen, Poste restante / Domain Admin, Whois protection
Case No. D2015-1519
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Accenture Global Services Limited of Dublin, Ireland, represented by DLA Piper US LLP, United States of America.
The Respondent is Hulmiho Ukolen, Poste restante of Finland / Domain Admin, Whois protection of Prague, Czech Republic.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <accentute.com> is registered with Hebei Guoji Maoyi (Shanghai) LTD aka HEBEI INTERNATIONAL TRADING (SHANGHAI) CO., LTD. dba HebeiDomains.com (the "Registrar").
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the "Center") on August 25, 2015. On August 26, 2015, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On August 29, 2015, the Registrar transmitted by email to the Center its verification response disclosing registrant and contact information for the disputed domain name which differed from the named Respondent and contact information in the Complaint. The Center sent an email communication to the Complainant on September 3, 2015 providing the registrant and contact information disclosed by the Registrar, and inviting the Complainant to submit an amendment to the Complaint. The Complainant filed an amended Complaint on September 4, 2015. On the same day, the Complainant also submitted a request that English be the language of the proceeding.
On September 14, 2015, the Center sent an email communication to the parties in both English and Finnish regarding the language of the proceeding. On the same day, the Complainant indicated to the Center that it had already submitted a request that English be the language of proceeding dated September 4, 2015. The Respondent did not comment on the language of the proceeding by the specified due date.
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 and 4, the Center formally notified the Respondent of the Complaint, and the proceedings commenced on September 21, 2015. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was October 11, 2015. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent's default on October 12, 2015.
The Center appointed George R. F. Souter as the sole panelist in this matter on October 19, 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 has been using the trademark ACCENTURE in connection with, inter alia, management consulting, technology and outsourcing services since 2001. It has registered its trademark ACCENTURE in 152 countries, and details have been submitted to the Panel.
The Complainant operates globally under its trademark ACCENTURE, and has offices and operations in more than 200 cities in 56 countries.
The Complainant spends copious amounts advertising its services under its ACCENTURE trademark; more than USD 66 million in 2011, more than USD 67 million in 2012, more than USD 69 million in 2013, and more than USD 70 million in 2014, for example.
Details of the renown of its ACCENTURE trademark in various business journals have been supplied to the Panel. For example, Interbrand's well-known "Best Global Brands Report" for 2014 ranked ACCENTURE in 44th position in the world.
The disputed domain name was registered on January 27, 2015.
5. Parties' Contentions
The Complainant alleges that the disputed domain name <accentute.com> is confusingly similar to its ACCENTURE mark, particularly in that it substantially reproduces the ACCENTURE mark only by the substitution of the letter "r" in "accenture" with a "t", "r" and "t" being keyboard neighbours, thus raising the issue of deliberate "typosquatting".
The Complainant states that, to the best of its knowledge, the Respondent lacks rights and legitimate interests in the disputed domain name, and emphasizes that it has not granted any type of permission to the Respondent to register or use the disputed domain name.
The Complainant alleges that the Respondent has registered the disputed domain name in bad faith, and is using the disputed domain name in bad faith in connection with a website which points to third party websites in English, including a webpage which likely contains malware.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant's contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
Paragraph 4(a) of the Policy lists three elements that the Complainant must prove to merit a finding that the disputed domain name be transferred to the Complainant:
(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. Language of the Proceeding
As stated above, on September 14, 2015, the Center notified the Parties in both English and Finnish that the language of the Registration Agreement for the disputed domain name was Finnish. The Complainant requested that the language of the proceeding should be English. The Respondent made no objection to this request. The Respondent Hulmiho Ukolen does not appear to be a Finnish name, and the Finnish Population Register contains no reference to any resident of Finland under either the first name or surname Hulmiho or Ukolen. Further, the websites to which the disputed domain name has resolved are in the English language. In the Panel's opinion, requiring the Complainant to submit its Complaint in Finnish in these circumstances would be unduly onerous. The Panel therefore exercises its discretion under paragraph 11 of the Rules and decides that the language of the proceeding in the present case should be English.
B. Identical or Confusingly Similar
It is well established in decisions under the UDRP that generic Top-Level Domain ("gTLD") indicators (e.g., ".com", ".info", ".net", ".org") may typically be considered irrelevant in assessing confusing similarity between a trademark and a disputed domain name. The Panel agrees with this view and considers the gTLD indicator ".com" to be irrelevant in the present case.
In the Panel's opinion, the Complainant has demonstrated clear rights to its ACCENTURE trademark, and the Panel agrees with the panel in Accenture Global Services Limited v. ICS INC./PrivacyProtect.org, WIPO Case No. D2013-2098, that the trademark ACCENTURE can be regarded as well-known.
Accenture is a coined term, as is Accentute. The Panel does not, therefore, need to consider whether any "external", or "dictionary" meaning may exist in either Accenture or Accentute which might render a single letter difference as giving rise to dissimilar meanings or impressions. The overall impressions of both Accenture and Accentute are, in the Panel's opinion, confusingly similar. The Panel is additionally of the opinion that Accentute has been "inspired" by fore-knowledge of the Complainant's ACCENTURE mark, and regards it as extremely unlikely that the substitution of the "r" in "accenture" by a "t" is coincidental, therefore opening the possibility of deliberate "typosquatting", which has been generally disapproved of by panels in prior UDRP decisions. The Panel, consequently, finds that the Complainant has satisfied the requirement of paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Policy.
C. Rights or Legitimate Interests
It is the consensus view of UDRP panels, with which the Panel agrees, that a prima facie case advanced by the complainant will generally be sufficient for the complainant to be deemed to have satisfied the requirement of paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy, provided the respondent does not come forward with evidence demonstrating rights or legitimate interests in the domain name and the complainant has presented a sufficient prima facie case to succeed under paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy.
The Panel regards the submissions put forward by the Complainant as sufficient to be regarded as a prima facie case, and the Respondent did not take the opportunity to advance any claim of rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name to rebut this prima facie case.
Accordingly, the Panel finds that the Complainant has satisfied the requirements of paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy.
D. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
The Panel is of the view that the finding that a respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in a disputed domain name, may lead, in appropriate circumstances, to a finding that a disputed domain name was registered in bad faith. The Panel regards the circumstances of the present case, in which the only difference between the Complainant's nine-letter "coined" trademark and the disputed domain name is substitution of one consonant by another (and these consonants being adjacent to one another on standard "QWERTY" keyboards) in the suffix, giving rise to extreme suspicion of deliberate "typosquatting", are sufficient to justify a finding that the disputed domain name has been registered in bad faith, and the Panel, according, finds that the disputed domain name was registered and used in bad faith.
The Panel notes that the Respondent Hulmiho Ukolen has appeared as respondent in a number of prior UDRP cases, for example Société nouvelle d'études, d'éditions et de publicité SNEEP v. Whois Protection / Hulmiho Ukolen, WIPO Case No. D2015-0663 and American Woodmark Corporation v. Domain Admin, this company does not own this domain name s.r.o. / Hulmiho Ukolen, Poste restante, WIPO Case No. D2015-0641. In these prior UDRP cases a pattern of abusive registrations is, in the Panel's opinion clear. It is the consensus view of panels in prior cases under the UDRP, for example Home Interiors & Gifts, Inc. v. Home Interiors, WIPO Case No. D2000-0046, Telstra Corporation Limited v. Ozurls, WIPO Case No. D2001-0046, Investone Retirement Specialists, Inc. v. Motohisa Ohno, WIPO Case No. D2005-0643, Playboy Enterprises International, Inc. v. Tom Baert, WIPO Case No. D2007-0968, AMPO, S. COOP v. Contactprivacy.com, Taeho Kim, Philippine, WIPO Case No. D2009-0177 and Wikimedia Foundation Inc. v. Kevo Ouz a/k/a Online Marketing Realty, WIPO Case No. D2009-0798, with all of which the Panel agrees, that where a pattern of abusive registrations can be elicited, a finding that a respondent falls foul of the provisions of paragraph 4(a)(iii) of the Policy is justified. The Panel so finds in the circumstances of the present case, and, accordingly finds that the Respondent falls foul of the provisions of paragraph 4(a)(iii) of the Policy.
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 <accentute.com> be transferred to the Complainant.
George R. F. Souter
Date: November 2, 2015