WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center

ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION

Adecco Group AG v. Jack Umbral

Case No. D2019-1124

1. The Parties

The Complainant is Adecco Group AG, Switzerland, represented by Meyerlustenberger Lachenal Rechtsanwälte, Switzerland.

The Respondent is Jack Umbral, Germany, self-represented.

2. The Domain Name and Registrar

The disputed domain name <ceoforonemonth.com> is registered with GoDaddy.com, LLC (the “Registrar”).

3. Procedural History

The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on May 15, 2019. On May 16, 2019, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On May 17, 2019, 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 20, 2019 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 21, 2019.

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 27, 2019. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was June 16, 2019. Twelve emails were received from the Respondent throughout the proceeding. However, no official Response was filed with the Center.

The Center appointed Wilson Pinheiro Jabur as the sole panelist in this matter on June 26, 2019. 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 is a human resources solutions provider based in Switzerland.

According to its website (“https://www.adeccogroup.com/our-company/history/”), it is a leader in career transition, leadership development, and talent mobility which renders services in several countries around the world; having become, by the year 2000, the No. 1 recruitment company in the United States of America, with revenues of 11.6 billion Euros.

The “CEO FOR ONE MONTH” program is described in the Complainant’s webpage available at “https://www.ceofor1month.com/about/#ceoforonemonth” as “the unique opportunity to become the ‘CEO for One Month’, under the direct supervision of the CEO of the Adecco Group, Alain Dehaze. The selected Global ‘CEO for One Month’ will get a taste of how to run a multinational company with 34,000 employees in 60 countries. This experience could be a huge boost to any career! ‘CEO for One Month’ will run in 47 countries, where the first step will be for candidates to apply to become ‘CEO for One Month’ in their country of residence, before making it to a shortlist of 10 top performers. Of the final 10 candidates, 1 will be chosen to become Global ‘CEO for One Month’.”

The Complainant is the owner of several registrations for the CEO FOR ONE MONTH trademark around the world in classes 35 and 41 (Annex 6 to the Complaint), amongst which:

- Swiss Trademark Registration No. 707957, filed on May 11, 2015 and registered on October 6, 2017; and

- International Trademark Registration No. 1379734, registered on October 11, 2017.

The disputed domain name is <ceoforonemonth.com> and was registered on May 7, 2018. The disputed domain name presently is used in connection with a parked page displaying pay-per-click (“PPC”) advertisements.

5. Parties’ Contentions

A. Complainant

The Complainant asserts to be an international and well-known corporation that launched a campaign by the name of CEO FOR ONE MONTH to promote inter alia its HR-services, having filed applications for such trademark in covering 57 countries during the years 2017 and 2018.

As to the disputed domain name, the Complainant asserts that it is identical to its registered trademark, entirely incorporating it.

According to the Complainant, the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name given that:

(i) the Respondent owns no intellectual property rights in the term CEO FOR ONE MONTH;

(ii) the Respondent is not using the disputed domain name and there are neither any demonstrable preparations to such use;

(iii) the Complainant’s trademark is original and distinctive and the use in commerce by the Respondent would infringe the Complainant’s trademark rights in 57 countries;

(iv) the Respondent, in the email exchanges between the Complainant and the Respondent prior to the filing of the Complaint, made no claim of a legitimate interest over the disputed domain name, apart from trying to sell it for amounts that far exceeds the Respondent’s out-of-pocket expenses in registering the disputed domain name, which further indicates the Respondent’s lack of rights or legitimate interests.

Moreover, the Complainant asserts that the registration of the disputed domain name was done clearly in bad faith given that the Respondent acquired it, after the Complainant’s trademark applications had been published, for the sole purpose of selling it to the Complainant, an international and well-known corporation for a fancy price that exceeds the out-of-pocket expenses incurred in its registration. In addition to that, the Complainant argues that the Respondent tried to conceal his true identity by retaining privacy services and only partially disclosing his contact details (what is evidence by the indication of an address which lacks street reference).

Furthermore, the Complainant asserts that the disputed domain name has been parked for one year, having the Respondent approached the Complainant on May 6, 2019 offering it for sale, indicating that “[he is] waiting for [the Complainant’s] serious offer” (Annex 4 to the Complaint). In spite of the Complainant’s subsequent offer of EUR 2,000 (email of May 7, 2019, Annex 5 to the Complaint), the Respondent requested on May 13, 2019 EUR 4,040 for the disputed domain name (Annex 5 to the Complaint). All of the aforesaid, under the Complainant’s view, indicates that the Respondent acquired the disputed domain name in a bad faith attempt to trade on the Complainant’s name and reputation.

B. Respondent

The Respondent did not formally reply to the Complaint. He has however submitted 10 (ten) conflicting email messages to the Center which are below summarized.

On May 21, 2019 the Respondent sent a first email message to the Center stating that “according to ICANN rule, .com is first received”, and objecting to the automatic transfer lock applied to the disputed domain name.

On May 22, 2019 the Respondent sent a second and third email messages to the Center stating that the Complainant’s CEO FOR ONE MONTH program started in 2011 and wondering why the Complainant would not have registered the disputed domain name until 2018; he further reiterated that the price for the disputed domain name was EUR 4,040 and stated that if the Complainant would agree to that, he would transfer the disputed domain name immediately.

Later that same day the Respondent sent his fourth email message to the Center apologizing for his earlier messages and stating that he was accepting EUR 2,000 for the disputed domain name.

On May 24, 2019 the Respondent’s sent a fifth email message to the Center inquiring about the Complainant’s reply to his acceptance.

One hour later the Respondent sent his sixth email message to the Center attaching, among others (i) a string of correspondence exchanged on February 10 and 11, 2019 between an Internet Service Provider who approached Mr. Yeter Maldar, who appeared to be the owner of the disputed domain name, and who offered the disputed domain name for EUR 4,600; and (ii) a Cease and Desist Letter that the Complainant sent on February 12, 2019 to Mr. Yeter Maldar, requesting the transfer of the disputed domain name.

On May 25, 2019, the Respondent sent his seventh and eighth email messages to the Center submitting evidence of the reason why he bought the disputed domain name and claiming that the Complainant had shown a contradictory behavior, pressured him and made threats against him to take the issue of the disputed domain name to Court, should he not accept the Complainant’s offer of EUR 2,000 for the disputed domain name.

On May 27, 2019, the Respondent sent his ninth email message to the Center indicating that he had contacted the Complainant directly stating that he would give the disputed domain name for free if the Complainant was to withdraw from the case, since that he “had no intention of using it”.

The Respondent’s tenth email message to the Center, dated June 4, 2019, reiterates the Respondent’s previous allegations and remarks and indicates that his last offer would be of EUR 500 for the disputed domain name.

On June 11, 2019 the Respondent submits a eleventh email message to the Center whereby he (i) reiterates that the Complainant’s CEO FOR ONE MONTH program was initiated in 2011 and later globalized in 2014; as well as (ii) argues that the Complainant had more than enough time to register the disputed domain name, but choose not to do so; (iii) further informing that he would agree to transfer the disputed domain name for EUR 2,000.

On June 15, 2019 in his twelfth and last email, the Respondent asserts that the Complainant is “one of the world’s largest companies” but “slept for more than eight years” having not registered the disputed domain name which it is now trying to obtain for free after having made pressures and threatens to take the issue to Court, what would place the Complainant in bad faith.

6. Discussion and Findings

Paragraph 4(a) of the Policy sets forth the following three requirements which have to be met for this Panel to order the transfer of the disputed domain name to the Complainant:

(i) the disputed domain name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which the Complainant has rights; and

(ii) the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name; and

(iii) the disputed domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.

The Complainant must prove in this administrative proceeding that each of the aforesaid three elements is present in order to obtain the transfer of the disputed domain name.

A. Identical or Confusingly Similar

The Complainant has established rights in the CEO FOR ONE MONTH trademark duly registered in dozens of jurisdictions.

The Panel finds that the disputed domain name <ceoforonemonth.com> merely reproduces the Complainant’s CEO FOR ONE MONTH trademark, apart from the generic Top-Level domain (“gTLD”), which is not be taken into account (as discussed in section 1.11 of the WIPO Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions, Third Edition (“WIPO Overview 3.0”), the applicable gTLD in a domain name is viewed as a standard registration requirement and as such is disregarded under the first element confusing similarity test).

The first element of the Policy has therefore been established.

B. Rights or Legitimate Interests

Paragraph 4(c) of the Policy provides a non-exclusive list of circumstances that may indicate a respondent’s rights or legitimate interests in a disputed domain name. These circumstances are:

(i) before any notice of the dispute, the respondent’s use of, or demonstrable preparations to use, the disputed domain name or a name corresponding to the disputed domain name in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services; or

(ii) the respondent (as an individual, business, or other organization) has been commonly known by the disputed domain name, even if the respondent has not acquired trademark or service mark rights; or

(iii) the respondent is making a legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the disputed domain name, without intent for commercial gain to misleadingly divert consumers or to tarnish the trademark or service mark at issue.

The Respondent, in his informal but extensive correspondence with the Center and the Complainant has failed to invoke any of the circumstances which could demonstrate, pursuant to paragraph 4(c) of the Policy, any rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. This entitles the Panel to draw any inferences from such default as it considers appropriate, pursuant to paragraph 14(b) of the Rules. Nevertheless, the burden of proof is still on the Complainant to make at least a prima facie case against the Respondent under the second element of the Policy.

In that sense, under this Panel view, the Complainant has made a prima facie case against the Respondent under the second element of the Policy given that:

(i) there is no indication that the Respondent owns registered trademarks or trade names corresponding to the disputed domain name, or any possible link between the Respondent and the disputed domain name that could be inferred from the details known of the Respondent or the webpage relating to the disputed domain name;

(ii) the Respondent is not using the disputed domain name and there are neither any demonstrable preparations to such use;

(iii) the Respondent, in the email exchange between the Complainant and the Respondent prior to the filing of the Complaint, made no claim of a legitimate interest over the disputed domain name, apart from trying to sell it for amounts that far exceeds the Respondent’s out-of-pocket expenses in registering the disputed domain name, which further indicates the Respondent’s lack of rights or legitimate interests.

In addition to that, other factors corroborate with the Panel’s finding of the Respondent’s absence of rights or legitimate interests: (i) the Respondent’s express recognition that the Complainant is “one of the world’s largest companies” and his acknowledgment of the previous existence of the Complainant’s CEO FOR ONE MONTH PROGRAM since 2011 (as per the Respondent’s various email messages sent to the Center) and (ii) the Respondent’s express indication that he “had no intention of using” the disputed domain name.

Under these circumstances and absent evidence to the contrary, the Panel finds that the Respondent does not have rights or legitimate interests with respect to the disputed domain name.

C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith

The Policy indicates in paragraph 4(b)(i) that bad faith registration and use can be found when the respondent has intentionally registered or acquired a domain name primarily for the purpose of selling, renting, or otherwise transferring the domain name registration to the complainant who is the owner of the trademark or service mark or to a competitor of that complainant, for valuable consideration in excess of your documented out-of-pocket costs directly related to the domain name.

As already mentioned, the Respondent’s express recognition that the Complainant is “one of the world’s largest companies” and his acknowledgment of the previous existence of the Complainant’s CEO FOR ONE MONTH PROGRAM since 2011, in addition to his express indication that he “had no intention of using” the disputed domain name, indicate that the Respondent clearly targeted the Complainant and its trademark when registering the disputed domain name.

In this case, (i) the successive offers for sale of the disputed domain name raging from EUR 4,600 to EUR 2,000 by the Respondent to the Complainant, (ii) the use of the disputed domain name in connection with a parked PPC website and (iii) the Respondent’s choice to retain a privacy protection service and then (iv) providing insufficient contact details so as to conceal his true identity or make it more difficult to be found corroborate a finding of bad faith in the registration and use of the disputed domain name.

Lastly, it is this Panel’s impression that the Respondent, upon realizing that his initial offers of the disputed domain name for EUR 4,600 (February 2019) or EUR 4,040 (May 2019) would not be accepted by the Complainant but not wishing to loose the Complainant’s initial offers made before the beginning of this proceeding for EUR 2,000, the Respondent sought rather desperately to receive EUR 2,000 for the disputed domain name.

Being the Respondent’s last offer for such amount, in spite of previous indications that he would transfer the disputed domain name for free or for EUR 500, such amount would seem to consist absent evidence otherwise, as past panels have already established, an amount in excess of the ordinary out-of-pocket costs directly related to the disputed domain name.

For the reasons stated above, the Respondent’s conduct amounts, in this Panel’s view, to bad faith registration and use of the disputed domain name.

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, <ceoforonemonth.com>, be transferred to the Complainant.

Wilson Pinheiro Jabur
Sole Panelist
Date: July 10, 2019