WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
ABB Asea Brown Boveri Ltd. v. Muhammad Ansar Ul Hassan, ABB Middle East
Case No. D2017-2015
1. The Parties
Complainant is ABB Asea Brown Boveri Ltd. of Zürich, Switzerland, represented by CSC Digital Brand Services AB, Sweden.
Respondent is Muhammad Ansar Ul Hassan, ABB Middle East of Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <abbmiddleeast.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 October 17, 2017. On October 17, 2017, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On October 18, 2017, the Registrar transmitted by email to the Center its verification response confirming that 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 Respondent of the Complaint, and the proceedings commenced on November 8, 2017. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was November 28, 2017. Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified Respondent’s default on November 29, 2017.
The Center appointed Lynda J. Zadra-Symes as the sole panelist in this matter on December 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
Complainant is the owner of the trademark ABB which it uses in connection with products and services in the areas of power and automation technology (see, e.g., European Union Trade Mark No. 000039248, registered on November 13, 1998). Complainant, based in Zurich, employs 132,000 people, operates in approximately 100 countries and has revenues of almost USD 34 billion. In 2016, Complainant’s ABB trademark was ranked number five on Interbrand’s list of most valuable brands in Switzerland, and in 2014 was the most valuable B2B brand in Switzerland. Complainant has won many industry awards for its innovations and as a global sustainability leader.
Complainant has a large presence in the Middle East, with offices in different countries. Complainant also owns numerous registrations for the ABB trademark in several classes and countries, including in the United Arab Emirates, where Respondent is located.
Complainant is also the owner of numerous domain names including its ABB trademark, including <abb.com>, where Complainant operates its website.
The disputed domain name was registered on December 31, 2015. The disputed domain name appears to have been used in connection with a fraudulent email scheme.
5. Parties’ Contentions
Complainant contends that the disputed domain name is identical or confusingly similar to Complainant’s ABB trademark, that Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name and that the disputed domain name was registered and is being used in bad faith.
Respondent did not reply to Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
Complainant has the burden of proving each of the following three elements under paragraph 4(a) of the Policy in order to be entitled to a transfer of the disputed domain name:
(i) that the disputed domain name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which Complainant has rights; and
(ii) that Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name; and
(iii) that the disputed domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
Complainant has established registered trademark rights in the mark ABB. The disputed domain name incorporates the mark in its entirety except for the addition of the geographic descriptor “middle east”. This adds no distinguishing feature, particularly in view of Complainant’s widespread use of the mark in the Middle East, including in the United Arab Emirates.
The Panel finds that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to a trademark in which Complainant has rights.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
Based on previous UDRP decisions, “a complainant is required to make out a prima facie case that the respondent lacks rights or legitimate interests. Once such a prima facie case is made, the burden of production shifts to the respondent to come forward with appropriate allegations or evidence demonstrating rights or legitimate interests in the domain name. If the respondent fails to come forward with such appropriate allegations or evidence, a complainant is generally deemed to have satisfied paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the UDRP”. See WIPO Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions, Third Edition (“WIPO Overview 3.0”), section 2.1.
Complainant’s allegations in the Complaint and evidence submitted on this issue are sufficient to make out a prima facie case that Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name.
There is no evidence that Respondent has been commonly known by the disputed domain name. Respondent is not a licensee of Complainant’s trademarks and has not otherwise obtained authorization to use Complainant’s marks.
Respondent has not made use of the disputed domain name in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services. Respondent is using the disputed domain name to create the impression that Respondent’s website and email is one that is authorized and administered by Complainant, for the sole purpose of receiving and sending emails which have the appearance of coming from Complainant. The emails, sent from the email addresses associated with the disputed domain name “@abbmiddleeast.com” were listed in fake job postings where Respondent is posing as Complainant. Respondent’s emails also include Complainant’s primary domain name, <abb.com>. By sending emails from the disputed domain name and featuring the email address in fake job offers, Respondent is attempting to pass itself off as Complainant in an attempt to “phish” personal information from Complainant’s prospective employees. Further, once an unsuspecting applicant has submitted a job application, Respondent is requesting USD 380 in order to confirm the job offer. This use of the disputed domain name does not constitute a bona fide offering of goods or services or a legitimate noncommercial or fair use.
The Panel finds that Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
Paragraph 4(b) of the Policy lists a number of circumstances that, without limitation, are deemed to be evidence of registration and use of a domain name in bad faith. Circumstances that “shall be evidence” of bad faith include facts indicating an intentional attempt to attract for commercial gain Internet users to a website by creating a likelihood of confusion with another’s mark as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation, or endorsement of the website.
The virtually identical nature of the disputed domain name to Complainant’s mark as well as the way it is used by the Respondent as a means of “phishing” personal information from Complainant’s prospective employees indicate that the disputed domain name was registered for fraudulent purposes. In light of these facts, it is not possible to conceive of a plausible situation in which Respondent would have been unaware of Complainant’s trademark at the time the disputed domain name was registered. Indeed, the facts strongly imply bad faith.
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 <abbmiddleeast.com> be transferred to Complainant.
Lynda J. Zadra-Symes
Date: December 28, 2017