WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Kraft Heinz Foods Company v. Name Redacted
Case No. D2017-2130
1. The Parties
Complainant is Kraft Heinz Foods Company of Chicago, Illinois, United States of America (“United States”), internally represented.
Respondent is Name Redacted.1
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <kraftheinzglobal.com> (the “Domain Name”) is registered with NetEarth One Inc. d/b/a NetEarth (the “Registrar”).
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on October 31, 2017. On November 1, 2017, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the Domain Name. That same day, 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 9, 2017. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was November 29, 2017. Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified Respondent’s default on November 30, 2017.
The Center appointed Harrie R. Samaras as the sole panelist in this matter on December 21, 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 Kraft Heinz Foods Company, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Kraft Heinz Company that is the fifth-largest food and beverage company in the world.
Complainant, through its affiliated companies, owns trademark registrations around the world for the trademarks KRAFT and HEINZ (“the KRAFT and HEINZ Marks” or “the Marks”). For the HEINZ Mark, they include U.S. Registrations Nos. 62,182 (registered April 23, 1907); 1,935,618 (registered November 14, 1995), and 2,224,447 (registered February 16, 1999). For the KRAFT Mark, they include U.S. Registrations Nos. 554,187 (January 29, 1952), 670,330 (November 25, 1958), and 2,217,573 (January 12, 1999). Complainant also owns the domain name <kraftheinzcompany.com>, which it registered on March 24, 2015.
The Domain Name was registered on May 8, 2017.
5. Parties’ Contentions
In addition to Complainant’s registered trademarks for the KRAFT Mark and HEINZ Mark, Complainant also asserts common law rights in the combined KRAFT HEINZ Mark.
The Domain Name incorporates the KRAFT and HEINZ Marks. The only difference between the Domain Name and Complainant’s <kraftheinzcompany.com> domain name is the removal of the word “company” and the insertion of the word “global.” The KRAFT and HEINZ Marks remain the dominant or principal component of the Domain Name.
There is evidence of actual confusion among Internet users. As demonstrated by the fraudulent emails provided, the owner of the Domain Name solicits the sale of various items, including super refined canola oil and agricultural nuts, all with the intent to deceive the Internet user to believe (s)he was negotiating a business arrangement with one of Complainant’s Officers. Potential buyers expressed confusion regarding whether emails originating from the Domain Name were legitimate.
Respondent is not licensed or otherwise authorized in any way to act on behalf of Complainant or sell its products. Respondent does not use the Domain Name in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services. Respondent has no website to advertise any goods of his or her own. The owner of the Domain Name does not send email messages under his or her actual name, choosing instead to steal the identity of one of Complainant’s Officers. Respondent has not been commonly known by the Domain Name and has not acquired any trademark rights related to the Domain Name.
The KRAFT and HEINZ Marks are widely known and registered worldwide. Respondent was aware of Complainant’s rights in the Marks when registering the Domain Name. There is no conceivable legitimate reason for Respondent to register the Domain Name. This is a phishing expedition. The attached emails establish that Respondent used the Domain Name for the sole purpose of defrauding unsuspecting Internet users by diverting their business and cash for commercial gain. Respondent is doing so by (a) creating a likelihood of confusion with Complainant’s mark as to the source of Complainant’s products; (b) stealing the identities of Complainant’s Officers; (c) using illegitimately the Kraft Heinz website; and (d) plagiarizing poorly Complainant’s press release.
Respondent did not reply to Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The Panel finds that Complainant has trademark rights in the KRAFT and HEINZ Marks by virtue of the many trademark registrations around the world including those mentioned above.
The Panel also finds that the Domain Name <kraftheinzglobal.com> is confusingly similar to Complainant's well-known KRAFT and HEINZ Marks. The Domain Name incorporates the Marks in their entirety and merely adds the descriptive term “global.” This evidence is itself sufficient to satisfy Complainant's burden under the first factor, EAuto, Inc. v. E Auto Parts, Inc., WIPO Case No. D2000-0121; see also, Playboy Enterprises International Inc. v. Global Media Domain Trust, WIPO Case No. D2006-1543. And, in fact, there is evidence of actual confusion here.
For the foregoing reasons, the Panel finds that paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Policy has been satisfied.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
Complainant contends that Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the Domain Name because Respondent: (1) is not licensed or otherwise authorized in any way to act on behalf of Complainant or sell its products; (2) does not use the Domain Name in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services. Respondent has no website to advertise any goods of his or her own; (3) Respondent does not send email messages under his or her actual name, choosing instead to steal the identity of one of Complainant’s Officers; and (4) has not been commonly known by the Domain Name and has not acquired any trademark rights related to the Domain Name.
Complainant has raised a prima facie presumption of Respondent’s lack of rights or legitimate interests, and Respondent has failed to rebut that presumption. The Panel is therefore satisfied that Complainant has carried its burden of proving that Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the Domain Names.
The Panel therefore holds that Complainant has satisfied paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
The Panel concludes, on the evidence submitted by Complainant, that Respondent has registered and used the Domain Name in bad faith. Complainant's long-standing and worldwide rights in the KRAFT and HEINZ Marks are uncontroverted, as is the fact that Respondent registered the Domain Name long after Complainant established its rights in the Marks and was using them worldwide. Furthermore, in this case adding the term “global” to the registered KRAFT and HEINZ Marks, particularly in view of Complainant’s global business operations, creates a likelihood of confusion and demonstrates bad faith in its attempt to suggest an affiliation with Complainant. See Labrador II, Inc. v. Viva La Pets Inc., WIPO Case No. D2016-0010.
Furthermore, the fraudulent scheme that Respondent has pursued here to sell alleged products purportedly on behalf of Complainant is clear evidence that Respondent knew of Complainant and its rights in the Marks when registering the Domain Name. That scheme included: (1) registering a confusingly similar Domain Name under the name of an officer of Complainant using Complainant’s postal address; (2) sending emails to Complainant’s customers and potential customers under the name of another officer of Complainant; (3) redirecting Internet users to Complainant’s website; (4) referring to Complainant’s NASDAQ trading symbol “KHC”; and (5) plagiarizing Complainant’s press release company description.
The well-planned phishing scheme perpetrated by Respondent demonstrates that the Domain Name has been used in bad faith. Respondent registered the Domain Name for purposes of: (1) defrauding others into revealing business information to someone who isn’t who they say they are; (2) financial gain – contracting for the sale of goods; and (3) exposing Complainant to liability, for example, for executing contracts, without permission, in the name of Complainant for goods that it does not sell.
The Panel therefore holds that Complainant has satisfied paragraph 4(a)(iii) of the Policy.
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, <kraftheinzglobal.com> be transferred to Complainant.
Harrie R. Samaras
Date: December 22, 2017
1 As it appears, the Respondent has fraudulently used the identity of one of Complainant’s employees when registering the Domain Name. The Panel has decided that no purpose can be served by including the named Respondent in this Decision, and has therefore redacted Respondent’s name from the caption and body of this decision. The Panel has, however, attached as Annex 1 to this Decision an instruction to the Registrar regarding transfer of the Domain Name that includes the named Respondent, and has authorized the Center to transmit Annex 1 to the Registrar as part of the order in this proceeding. However, the Panel has further directed the Center, pursuant to paragraph 4(j) of the Policy and paragraph 16(b) of the Rules, that Annex 1 to this Decision shall not be published due to exceptional circumstances. See Banco Bradesco S.A. v. FAST-12785241 Attn. Bradescourgente.net / Name Redacted, WIPO Case No. D2009-1788.