WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Olayan Investments Company Establishment v. Whois Agent, Whois Privacy Protection Service, Inc. / Sulieman Olayan
Case No. D2016-2435
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Olayan Investments Company Establishment of Athens, Greece, represented by DLA Piper UK LLP, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland ("United Kingdom").
The Respondent is Whois Agent, Whois Privacy Protection Service, Inc. of Kirkland, Washington, United States of America ("United States") / Sulieman Olayan of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <olayans.com> is registered with eNom, Inc. (the "Registrar").
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the "Center") on December 1, 2016. On December 1, 2016, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On December 1, 2016, 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 December 6, 2016 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 December 12, 2016.
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 December 13, 2016. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was January 2, 2017. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent's default on January 3, 2017.
The Center appointed Carol Anne Been as the sole panelist in this matter on January 18, 2017. 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 a Liechtenstein company with its primary place of business in Greece. The Complainant alleges that it is the parent company of the Olayan Group of companies, a Saudi Arabian-based multinational enterprise founded in 1947. The Olayan Group includes approximately 50 companies worldwide that are engaged in distribution, manufacturing, services and investment activities, with approximately 35,000 employees. The founder and first Chairman of the Olayan Group was Suliman Saleh Olayan. Mr. Olayan died in 2002.
The Complainant owns numerous trademark registrations for the mark OLAYAN in the European Union (earliest registration issued in 2006), Saudi Arabia (no registration dates given), the United States (registered in 2005), and other jurisdictions. The Complainant's website is at "www.olayan.com".
The disputed domain name <olayans.com> was registered July 8, 2016. The disputed domain name is not directed to any active website.
The Respondent is identified as Whois Agent, Whois Privacy Protection Service, Inc. / Sulieman Olayan of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
5. Parties' Contentions
The Complainant alleges that disputed domain name is confusingly similar to the Complainant's OLAYAN trademark and domain name. The Complainant claims ownership of 45 active trademark registrations for the OLAYAN mark, and that the OLAYAN mark is widely used throughout the Olayan Group.
The Complainant notes that the disputed domain name varies from the Complainant's mark by the addition of a single "s" at the end of the OLAYAN mark. The Complainant alleges that many people might not notice the additional "s".
The Complainant alleges that the Respondent is using the name of the Olayan Group's deceased founder and first Chairman in emails sent using the disputed domain name, soliciting business cooperation with the sender. The Complainant alleges that these solicitations are a deliberate attempt to deceive the public into falsely believing that the disputed domain name and its user are connected with the Complainant.
The Complainant has brought eight successful UDRP proceedings against other respondents who used the OLAYAN mark in domain names. The facts recited in nearly all the decisions state that the respondents in those proceedings used the name of a person associated with the Olayan Group in email solicitations sent from the domain name at issue in those proceedings, falsely purporting to be sent from the Complainant or a related company with the deliberate intent to create confusion. The Complainant indicates its belief that the same people who are sending emails from the disputed domain name were responsible for the activities described in the prior proceedings.
The Complainant alleges that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the OLAYAN mark, and registered and uses the disputed domain name in bad faith.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant's contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The Complainant alleges that it owns trademark rights in the OLAYAN mark in the European Union, Saudi Arabia, the United States, and other jurisdictions. The Complainant asserts that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to the Complainant's OLAYAN mark and domain name <olayan.com>, since it differs from the Complainant's rights only by the addition of a final "s". The Complainant cites URDP decisions holding that the addition of a single letter to a complainant's mark in a domain name may be considered confusingly similar to the complainant's mark. In addition, a prior URDP decision concerning the OLAYAN mark involved the addition of a single letter. See, e.g., Olayan Investments Company Establishment v. Namesco Limited d/b/a Globaldomainprivacy.net / Jeffrey Nicholson, WIPO Case No. D2012-1303 (disputed domain name was <oolayan.com>).
The Respondent has not responded to this contention.
The Panel finds that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to the trademark in which the Complainant has rights.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
The Complainant alleges that the Respondent has concealed his/her/its real identity by using the name of the founder and first Chairman of the Olayan Group as the Respondent's purported name. The Complainant further alleges that it has not authorized the Respondent to use its mark, and that it is not aware of any use by the Respondent of a name corresponding to the disputed domain name in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services, or any legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the domain name. The Complainant points to the allegedly fraudulent behavior of the Respondent in soliciting business in emails using the disputed domain name for the email server as evidence that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name.
The Complainant alleges that the Respondent is unlikely to be named Sulieman Olayan, the name of the founder and first Chairman of the Olayan Group. The Complainant further alleges that the address provided for the Respondent in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, appears to be inaccurate and non-existent.
The Respondent has not responded to these contentions, thus failing to invoke any circumstances which could demonstrate any rights to or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. The Panel may draw such inferences as it considers appropriate in these circumstances, although the Complainant still bears the burden to make a prima facie case against the Respondent. See, e.g., Olayan Investments Company v. Glenn Johnson, WIPO Case No. D2016-0918.
In the absence of any response from the Respondent providing another explanation for these activities under the disputed domain name, the Panel finds that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
The Complainant alleges that the disputed domain name was registered and is used in bad faith as part of a concerted attempt to deceive for commercial gain Internet users into paying sums of money to dishonest persons. The email server associated with the disputed domain name is being used to mislead Internet users into falsely believing they are dealing with the Complainant or related parties.
The Complainant alleges that the emails sent from the email server associated with the disputed domain name include the mark OLAYAN above its Arabic transliteration, and include a representation that the email is from Sulieman Olayan, President. The sample email provided by the Complainant solicits a "business cooperation" with the recipient company, offering to make introductions for the recipient company, serve as the office representative for the recipient company in Saudi Arabia, and promote the brand on social media channels, among other things. This solicitation presumably for a financial gain to the Respondent relies on enticing the recipients to falsely believe they are dealing with the Complainant or related parties. Apparently this scheme has been widely used, as the prior UDRP decisions concerning the OLAYAN mark involved similar activity.
The Respondent has not responded to this contention.
The Panel finds that the disputed domain name has been registered and is being used 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 <olayans.com> be transferred to the Complainant.
Carol Anne Been
Date: February 1, 2017