WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Bechtel Group, Inc. v. Lorenzo Winter
Case No. D2017-2122
1. The Parties
Complainant is Bechtel Group, Inc. of San Francisco, California, United States of America (“United States”), represented by CSC Digital Brand Services AB, Sweden.
Respondent is Lorenzo Winter of Baltimore, Maryland, United States.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <bechtelquickgroup.org> is registered with NameSilo, LLC (the “Registrar”).
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on October 31, 2017. On October 31, 2017, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On October 31, 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 16, 2017. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was December 6, 2017. Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified Respondent’s default on December 7, 2017.
The Center appointed M. Scott Donahey as the sole panelist in this matter on December 20, 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 holding company for a large group of construction and engineering companies doing business around the world. Complainant was founded in 1898 and has completed more than 25,000 projects in more than 160 countries. As of 2015, Complainant employed more than 55,000 employees worldwide. Complaint, Annex 6.
Complainant is the owner of the domain name <bechtel.com>, which it initially registered on June 20, 1994. Complaint, Annex 4. The website to which Complainant’s domain name resolves received more than 120,000 unique visitors during the period ending August 2, 2017. Complaint, Annexes 5 and 7. Complainant registered the famous BECHTEL trademark and service mark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office as early as August 31, 1976, and has done business continuously under that mark since the turn of the twentieth century. Complaint, Annex 1.
Respondent registered the disputed domain name <bechtelquickgroup.org> on November 18, 2016. Complaint, Annex 2. Respondent initially used the disputed domain name to resolve to a website at which it sought to obtain personal information from visitors who arrived at the site thinking it was affiliated with Complainant. Complaint, Annex 3.
Upon discovering the existence and use of the disputed domain name, Complainant sent Respondent a series of cease-and-desist letters by email on January 25, 2017, February 6, 2017, and February 17, 2017, the last of which was captioned “FINAL NOTICE”. Respondent did not respond to any of these communications.
5. Parties’ Contentions
Complainant contends that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to Complainant’s trade name and registered trademark, in that it incorporates the word “bechtel,” which corresponds to Complainant’s registered mark, BECHTEL, and the English words “quick” and “group”, and the generic Top-Level Domain (“gTLD”) “.org”, also suggesting Complainant’s trade name, Bechtel Group, Inc. Complainant further alleges that Complainant did not authorize Respondent to use either its registered mark or its trade name. Finally, Complainant contends that Respondent has registered and is using the disputed domain name in bad faith, since it was originally used to resolve to a website that appeared to be affiliated with Complainant and sought to lure visitors in disclosing personal information in the mistaken belief that the visitor had arrived at a website affiliated with Complainant.
Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
Paragraph 15(a) of the Rules instructs the Panel as to the principles the Panel is to use in determining the dispute:
“A Panel shall decide a complaint on the basis of the statements and documents submitted in accordance with the Policy, these Rules and any rules and principles of law that it deems applicable.”
Paragraph 4(a) of the Policy directs that the complainant must prove each of the following:
1) that the domain name registered by the respondent is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which the complainant has rights; and,
2) that the respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the domain name; and,
3) that the domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The disputed domain name consists of Complainant’s registered mark BECHTEL and the English words “quick” and “group,” the name being registered within the “.org” gTLD. The Panel finds that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to Complainant’s mark and also to Complainant’s trade name Bechtel Group.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
While the overall burden of proof in UDRP proceedings is on the complainant, panels have recognized that proving a respondent lacks rights or legitimate interests in a domain name may result in the often impossible task of “proving a negative”, requiring information that is often primarily within the knowledge or control of the respondent. As such, where a complainant makes out a prima facie case that the respondent lacks rights or legitimate interests, the burden of production on this element shifts to the respondent to come forward with relevant evidence demonstrating rights or legitimate interests in the domain name. If the respondent fails to come forward with such relevant evidence, the complainant is deemed to have satisfied the second element. WIPO Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions, Third Edition (“WIPO Overview 3.0”).
In the present case, Complainant alleges that Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name and Respondent has failed to assert any such rights. Accordingly, 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
Respondent has used the disputed domain name to resolve to a website at which it attempted to obtain personal information from visitors who arrived at the website thinking that the site was affiliated with Complainant. Accordingly, 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 <bechtelquickgroup.org> be transferred to the Complainant.
M. Scott Donahey
Date: December 21, 2017