WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center

ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION

International Business Machines Corporation v. WhoisGuard Protected, WhoisGuard, Inc. / Raj Champaneri

Case No. D2018-1141

1. The Parties

The Complainant is International Business Machines Corporation of Armonk, New York, United States of America (“United States”), internally represented.

The Respondent is WhoisGuard Protected, WhoisGuard, Inc. of Panama, Panama / Raj Champaneri of Morgan Hill, California, United States.

2. The Domain Name and Registrar

The disputed domain name <ibmcorpus.com> is registered with NameCheap, Inc. (the “Registrar”).

3. Procedural History

The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on May 22, 2018. On May 23, 2018, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On the same date, 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 May 29, 2018, 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 May 29, 2018.

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 May 31, 2018. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was June 20, 2018. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on June 21, 2018.

The Center appointed Douglas Clark as the sole panelist in this matter on July 9, 2018. 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 owns the trademark IBM in 170 countries and has been operating a range of businesses for decades, mainly information technology-related goods and services. The Complainant owns several United States trademark registrations, in several international classes under registration nos. 4,181,289 and 3,002,164.

The Respondent is an individual located in California, United States.

The disputed domain name was registered on September 26, 2016, which resolves to a page that appears to be a domain parking page.

5. Parties’ Contentions

A. Complainant

The Complainant submits that the disputed domain name contains the wording “ibm”, which incorporates its trademark in its entirety, is identical or confusingly similar to its registered trademark; that the Respondent had no rights or legitimate interests since the Respondent was not known by the disputed domain name; and that the disputed domain name had been registered and is being used in bad faith.

B. Respondent

The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.

Following the appointment of the Panel, the Respondent wrote to the Center stating that that it would like to transfer the disputed domain name. In reply to a query from the Panel sent by the Center, the Respondent confirmed it wished to transfer the disputed domain name without receiving any compensation.

6. Discussion and Findings

In the circumstances of this case where the Respondent has given its unequivocal consent to transfer, the Panel has the discretion to either suspend the proceedings to allow the parties to effect a transfer (See section 4.9 of the WIPO Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions, Third Edition (“WIPO Overview 3.0”)) or to order the remedy sought by the Complainant on the basis of the Respondent’s unilateral consent to transfer.

Section 4.10 of the WIPO Overview 3.0 provides that:

“Where parties to a UDRP proceeding have not been able to settle their dispute prior to the issuance of a panel decision using the “standard settlement process” described above, but where the respondent has nevertheless given its consent on the record to the transfer (or cancellation) remedy sought by the complainant, many panels will order the requested remedy solely on the basis of such consent. In such cases, the panel gives effect to an understood party agreement as to the disposition of their case (whether by virtue of deemed admission, or on a no-fault basis).

In some cases, despite such respondent consent, a panel may in its discretion still find it appropriate to proceed to a substantive decision on the merits. Scenarios in which a panel may find it appropriate to do so include (i) where the panel finds a broader interest in recording a substantive decision on the merits – notably recalling UDRP paragraph 4(b)(ii) discussing a pattern of bad faith conduct, (ii) where while consenting to the requested remedy the respondent has expressly disclaimed any bad faith, (iii) where the complainant has not agreed to accept such consent and has expressed a preference for a recorded decision, (iv) where there is ambiguity as to the scope of the respondent’s consent, or (v) where the panel wishes to be certain that the complainant has shown that it possesses relevant trademark rights.”

The parties have not made a request to suspend the proceeding for purposes of settlement. It appears that the simplest and most cost effective way to proceed in the current circumstances is for the Panel to order a transfer based on the consent of the Respondent to transfer.

In the circumstances of this case, the Panel does not consider it necessary to address the merits (See Rockwool International A/S v. Lin Chengxiong, WIPO Case No. D2012-0472).

7. Decision

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 <ibmcorpus.com> be transferred to the Complainant.

Douglas Clark
Sole Panelist
Date: July 23, 2018