WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Alfa Laval Corporate AB v. Name Redacted
Case No. D2018-1450
1. The Parties
Complainant is Alfa Laval Corporate AB of Lund, Sweden, represented by Advokatbyrån Gulliksson AB, Sweden.
Respondent is Name Redacted1 .
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <alfalavalgroup.com> is registered with Tucows Inc. (the “Registrar”).
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on June 29, 2018. On June 29, 2018, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On June 29, 2018, the Registrar transmitted by email to the Center its verification response disclosing registrant and contact information for the disputed domain name which differed from named Respondent and contact information in the Complaint. The Center sent an email communication to Complainant on July 4, 2018 providing the registrant and contact information disclosed by the Registrar, and inviting Complainant to submit an amendment to the Complaint. Complainant filed an amendment to the Complaint on July 5, 2018.
The Center verified that the Complaint together with the amendment to 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 July 10, 2018. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was July 30, 2018. Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified Respondent’s default on August 2, 2018.
The Center appointed Stephanie G. Hartung as the sole panelist in this matter on August 10, 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
Complainant is a company organized under the laws of Sweden that belongs to one of the leading companies in the field of heat transfer, separation and fluid handling.
Complainant has provided evidence that it is the registered owner of numerous trademarks worldwide relating to the designation “Alfa Laval”, including, inter alia, the following:
- Word mark ALFA LAVAL, International Registration No. 1111236, Registration Date: November 9, 2011, Status: Active;
- Word mark ALFA LAVAL, Swiss Federal Institute of Intellectual Property (IGE IPI), Registration
No. P-527932; Publication Date: December 7, 2004, Status: Active;
- Word mark ALFA LAVAL, United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), Registration No. 0764251, Registration Date: February 4, 1964; Status: Active.
Moreover, Complainant has evidenced to own the domain name <alfalaval.com> which redirects to Complainant’s main website at “www.alfalaval.com” where Complainant promotes its business and related services worldwide.
Respondent, according to the WhoIs information for the disputed domain name, is a company residing in Switzerland and has registered the disputed domain name on June 15, 2018. As of the time of the rendering of this decision, the disputed domain name resolves to a default page at “www.alfalavalgroup.com” informing Internet users that this page is currently offline.
Complainant has provided an email dated June 26, 2018, which was apparently sent by Respondent using an email address under the disputed domain name, namely <[…]@alfalavalgroup.com> which pretended to have been sent by Complainant’s newly appointed Chief Financial Officer in an attempt to request an urgent invoice payment to Respondent.
Complainant requests that the disputed domain name be transferred to Complainant.
5. Parties’ Contentions
Complainant contends to run a world renowned business founded in 1907, which has intensively used the ALFA LAVAL trademark for more than 100 years so that nowadays it is one of the most famous and well-known trademarks in various business sectors, including heat transfer, centrifugal separation and gas and fluid handling. Complainant submits that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to its ALFA LAVAL trademark as it incorporates the latter in its entirety merely adding the descriptive word “group” as a suffix. Moreover, Complainant asserts that Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name since (1) there is no relationship between Complainant and the disputed domain name, (2) Complainant has found no evidence of any offering of goods or services under the disputed domain name or any sign of any legitimate or fair use of the ALFA LAVAL trademark and (3) on the contrary, the disputed domain name apparently has been used for so-called phishing activities, impersonating Complainant’s newly appointed CFO in order to induce other of Complainant’s employees to make payments to Respondent. Finally, Complainant argues that Respondent registered and is using the disputed domain name in bad faith since (1) the disputed domain name has been evidently registered to take unfair and illegitimate advantage of the ALFA LAVAL trademark for phishing activities and (2) Respondent is using a domain name privacy service which under the circumstances must be considered as a further indication of bad faith.
Respondent did not reply to Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
Under paragraph 4(a) of the Policy, Complainant carries the burden of proving:
(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.
Respondent's default in the case at hand does not automatically result in a decision in favor of Complainant, however, paragraph 5(f) of the Rules provides that if Respondent does not submit a response, in the absence of exceptional circumstances, the Panel shall decide the dispute solely based upon the Complaint. Further, the Panel may draw such inferences as are appropriate from Respondent's failure to submit a Response.
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The Panel concludes that the disputed domain name <alfalavalgroup.com> is confusingly similar to the ALFA LAVAL trademark in which Complainant has rights.
The disputed domain name incorporates the ALFA LAVAL trademark in its entirety. Numerous UDRP panels have recognized that incorporating a trademark in its entirety can be sufficient to establish that the disputed domain name is at least confusingly similar to a registered trademark (see e.g. PepsiCo, Inc. v. PEPSI, SRL (a/k/a P.E.P.S.I.) and EMS Computer Industry (a/k/a EMS), WIPO Case No. D2003-0696). Moreover, it has been held in many UDRP decisions and has become a consensus view among panelists (see WIPO Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions, Third Edition (“WIPO Overview 3.0”), section 1.8), that the addition of a generic wording to a trademark in a domain name is normally insufficient, in and of itself, to avoid the finding of confusing similarity under the first element of the UDRP. Accordingly, the mere addition of the generic term “group” does not dispel the confusing similarity arising from the incorporation of Complainant’s ALFA LAVAL trademark in the disputed domain name.
Therefore, Complainant has established the first element under the Policy set forth by paragraph 4(a)(i).
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
The Panel is further convinced on the basis of Complainant’s undisputed contentions that Respondent has not made use of the disputed domain name in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services, nor has Respondent been commonly known by the disputed domain name, nor can it be found that Respondent has made a legitimate noncommercial or fair use thereof without intent for commercial gain.
Respondent obviously has not been authorized to use Complainant’s ALFA LAVAL trademark, either as a domain name or in any other way. Also, there is no reason to believe that Respondent’s name somehow corresponds with the disputed domain name and Respondent does not appear to have any trademark rights associated with the term “Alfa Laval”. Finally, Respondent has not used the disputed domain name for a bona fide offering of products or services nor for a legitimate noncommercial or fair purpose. On the contrary, Respondent apparently sent at least one fake email under the disputed domain name impersonating Complainant’s CFO in order to induce other of Complainant’s employees to make unauthorized payments to Respondent.
Accordingly, Complainant has established a prima facie case that Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name. Now, the burden of production shifts to Respondent to come forward with appropriate allegations or evidence demonstrating to the contrary (see WIPO Overview 3.0, section 2.1). Given that Respondent has not submitted a Response, it has not met that burden.
Therefore, the Panel finds that Complainant has also satisfied paragraph 4(a)(ii) and, thus, the second element of the Policy.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
The Panel finally holds that the disputed domain name was registered and is being used by Respondent in bad faith.
Utilizing the disputed domain name for phishing activities by sending an email impersonating Complainant’s CFO for fraudulent purposes, namely enducing unauthorized payments to Respondent, is a clear indication that Respondent intentionally attempted to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to its own email communication by creating a likelihood of confusing with Complainant’s ALFA LAVAL trademark as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation or endorsement of Respondent’s fake email. Such circumstances are evidence of registration and use of the disputed domain name in bad faith within the larger meaning of paragraph 4(b)(iv) of the Policy.
Therefore, the Panel finds that Complainant has also satisfied the third element under the Policy as set forth by paragraph 4(a)(iii).
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 <alfalavalgroup.com> be transferred to Complainant.
Stephanie G. Hartung
Date: August 21, 2018
1 On the basis of the case file presented to the Panel, it seems that Respondent is not the true holder and registrant of the disputed domain name. In light of a potential identity theft, the Panel, therefore, has redacted Respondent’s name from this decision. However, the Panel has attached as Annex 1 to this decision an instruction to the Registrar regarding transfer of the disputed domain name, which includes the name and contact details of Respondent as listed in the WhoIs for the disputed domain name. The Panel has authorized the Center to transmit Annex 1 to the Registrar as part of the order in this proceeding, and has indicated Annex 1 to this Decision shall not be published due to the exceptional circumstances of this case. See: ASOS plc. v. Name Redacted, WIPO Case No. D2017-1520; Banco Bradesco S.A. v. FAST-12785241 Attn. Bradescourgente.net / Name Redacted, WIPO Case No. D2009-1788