WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Archer-Daniels-Midland Company v. Steve Co. / Stave Co. Ltd
Case No. D2017-2110
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Archer-Daniels-Midland Company of Illinois, United States of America ("United States"), represented by Innis Law Group LLC, United States.
The Respondent is Steve Co. / Stave Co. Ltd of Adana, Turkey.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <adm-com.xyz> (the "Domain Name") 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 27, 2017. On October 30, 2017, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the Domain Name. On October 31, 2017, the Registrar transmitted by email to the Center its verification response.
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 3, 2017. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was November 23, 2017. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent's default on November 29, 2017
The Center appointed Alan L. Limbury as the sole panelist in this matter on December 4, 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 provides a wide range of goods and services in many countries around the world and trades through its website "www.adm.com". It owns several registrations for the trademark ADM, including United States Federally registered trademark No. 1386430, registered on March 18, 1986, claiming first use in commerce in 1923.
The Domain Name was registered on July 3, 2017. It does not resolve to an active website.
According to the Complainant, at least one customer of the Complainant received emails in the name of an employee of the Complainant sent from the Domain Name, suggesting that a payment intended for the Complainant be paid into a different bank account. For some time the customer continued to communicate with the Respondent in the mistaken belief that the emails were from the Complainant (Complaint annex 8).
5. Parties' Contentions
The Domain Name is identical or confusingly similar to Complainant's ADM mark. The Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the Domain Name, which was registered and is being used in bad faith.
The Complainant has not licensed or otherwise permitted the Respondent to use its ADM mark, register the Domain Name nor send emails on its behalf. Using the Domain Name to send emails, the Respondent has hacked into the Complainant's and its customer's email accounts and fraudulently attempted to impersonate an actual employee of the Complainant and to divert, to a third-party's account, money for a product or service provided to its customer by the Complainant (Complaint, Annex 8). Based on the visual similarities between the <adm.com> and <adm-com.xyz> domain names, the Respondent is using the Domain Name for the primary purpose of committing an unlawful phishing scheme to acquire sensitive information from the Complainant's customers for its own financial gain.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant's contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
In accordance with paragraph 4(a) of the Policy, to obtain transfer of the Domain Name, the Complainant must prove the following three elements: (i) the Respondent's Domain Name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which the Complainant has rights; (ii) the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the Domain Name; and (iii) the Respondent has registered and is using the Domain Name in bad faith.
Under paragraph 15(a) of the Rules, "A Panel shall decide a complaint on the basis of the statements and documents submitted and in accordance with the Policy, these Rules and any rules and principles of law that it deems applicable".
A respondent is not obliged to participate in a proceeding under the Policy, but if it fails to do so, asserted facts may be taken as true and reasonable inferences may be drawn from the information provided by the complainant. See Reuters Limited v. Global Net 2000, Inc., WIPO Case No. D2000-0441.
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The Domain Name comprises the Complainant's ADM trademark, together with the hyphenated suffix "-com" and the generic Top-Level Domain ".xyz", which do nothing to distinguish the Domain Name from that mark. Accordingly the Panel finds that the Domain Name is confusingly similar to the Complainant's mark.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
The Panel finds that the ADM mark is distinctive and widely known. The Complainant's assertions are sufficient to constitute a prima facie showing of absence of rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Domain Name on the part of the Respondent. The evidentiary burden therefore shifts to the Respondent to show that it does have rights or legitimate interests in the Domain Name. See Cassava Enterprises Limited, Cassava Enterprises (Gibraltar) Limited v. Victor Chandler International Limited, WIPO Case No. D2004-0753. The Respondent has made no attempt to do so.
In the circumstances of this case, the Panel finds that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Domain Name.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
The Complainant's evidence satisfies the Panel that the Respondent registered and has used the Domain Name for the purpose of impersonating an employee of the Complainant so as fraudulently to obtain money due to the Complainant. The Respondent has not sought to counter the Complainant's allegations.
Accordingly, the Panel finds that the Respondent registered the Domain Name in bad faith and has been using it 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 Domain Name, <adm-com.xyz> be transferred to the Complainant.
Alan L. Limbury
Date: December 8, 2017