WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Kraft Heinz Foods Company v. Sarah Ventre
Case No. D2016-2309
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Kraft Heinz Foods Company of Chicago, Illinois, United States of America (“United States”), internally represented.
The Respondent is Sarah Ventre of Phoenix, Arizona, United States.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <kraftlheinzcompany.com> is registered with Ascio Technologies Inc. (the “Registrar”).
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on November 11, 2016. On November 14, 2016, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On November 17, 2016, 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 and 4, the Center formally notified the Respondent of the Complaint, and the proceedings commenced on November 18, 2016. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was December 8, 2016. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on December 9, 2016.
The Center appointed Evan D. Brown as the sole panelist in this matter on December 27, 2016. 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 is one of the largest food companies in the world and owns numerous trademark registrations in several jurisdictions, such as KRAFT (U.S. Reg. No. 0554187, registered on January 29, 1952) and HEINZ (U.S. Reg. No. 0031048, registered on December 28, 1897). It also claims common law trademark rights in the combined words KRAFT HEINZ. The Respondent – as described by the Complainant – registered the disputed domain name on October 31, 2016 and has used it to send deceptive email messages, including messages to employees of the Complainant, and using – without authorization – the name of the Complainant’s chief operating officer.
5. Parties’ Contentions
The Complainant contends that the disputed domain name is identical or confusingly similar to the Complainant’s registered trademarks; that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name; and that the disputed domain name was registered and is being used in bad faith.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
According to paragraph 4(a) of the Policy, for this Complaint to succeed in relation to the disputed domain name, the Complainant must prove each of the following, namely that:
(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 Complainant undoubtedly has rights in the marks KRAFT and HEINZ. Both marks are among the most recognizable food brands in the world, having been in widespread use for many years. The disputed domain name is confusingly similar to these marks. It contains the marks in their entirety, separated by the letter “l” and next to the generic term “company”. This additional material (along with the generic Top-Level Domain “.com”) does nothing to meaningfully distinguish the disputed domain name from the Complainant’s marks for purposes of the Policy. Accordingly, the Panel finds in favor of the Complainant on this first element of the UDRP.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
The Complainant will be successful under this element of the UDRP if it makes a prima facie showing that the Respondent lacks rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name, and if that prima facie showing remains unrebutted by the Respondent. The Panel notes the Complainant’s assertions that using the domain name to send email messages in furtherance of identity theft is not a bona fide offering of goods or services. The Complainant also asserts that the Respondent has not been commonly known by the disputed domain name, and has not otherwise acquired any trademark rights related to the disputed domain name. These assertions establish the Complainant’s prima facie case. The Respondent has not answered the Complainant’s assertions, and, seeing no basis in the record to overcome the Complainant’s prima facie showing, the Panel finds that the Complainant has satisfied this second UDRP element.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
Because the Complainant’s marks are well-known, it is implausible to believe that the Respondent was not aware of those marks when it registered the disputed domain name. In the circumstances of this case, such a showing is sufficient to establish bad faith registration of the disputed domain name. Bad faith use is clear from the Respondent’s activities of using the disputed domain name to send a fraudulent email. For these reasons, the Panel finds that the Complainant has successfully met this third UDRP element.
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 <kraftlheinzcompany.com> be transferred to the Complainant.
Evan D. Brown
Date: January 10, 2017