WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center

ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION

Hudson Global, Inc. v. Jagdish Kumar

Case No. D2019-1462

1. The Parties

The Complainant is Hudson Global, Inc., United States of America (“United States”), represented by Olshan Frome Wolosky LLP, United States.

The Respondent is Jagdish Kumar, India.

2. The Domain Name and Registrar

The disputed domain name <hudson-rpo.com> (the “Disputed Domain Name”) is registered with Wix.com Ltd. (the “Registrar”).

3. Procedural History

The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on June 24, 2019. On June 25, 2019, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the Disputed Domain Name. On June 26, 2019, the Registrar transmitted by email to the Center its verification response, confirming that the Respondent is listed as the registrant and providing the contact details and contact information for the Disputed Domain Name. On July 2, 2019, the Center requested the Complainant to amend the Complaint to reflect the correct contact information of the Registrar. The Complainant filed an amended Complaint on the same day.

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 July 3, 2019. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was July 23, 2019. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on July 24, 2019.

The Center appointed Michael D. Cover as the sole panelist in this matter on July 31, 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 Hudson Global, Inc., a Delaware, United States corporation. The Complainant provides recruitment process outsourcing (RPO) services, employer branding services and other recruitment services to businesses worldwide and its predecessors in business have provided such services since 1999. The Complainant itself was incorporated in 2003 and rebranded from HUDSON to HUDSON RPO in December 2018.

The Complainant is the proprietor of the United States registered trademark HUDSON, registered on June 24, 2008, and a pending United States trademark registration for HUDSON RPO dating from December 18, 2017, details of which are set out in Annex 4 to the Complaint. The Complainant is also the proprietor of registered trademarks for HUDSON RPO in several jurisdictions outside the United States, including Australia, Benelux, China, the European Union, Hong Kong, China, Japan, New Zealand, the Republic of Korea and Singapore, and pending trademark applications in a number of other countries.

All that is known about the Respondent is that the Respondent is Jagdish Kumar of India.

The Disputed Domain Name was registered on February 1, 2019. The Complainant wrote a cease and desist letter to the Respondent on May 22, 2019 but no response was received. The Disputed Domain Name resolved to a website allegedly offering the Complainant’s services and displaying the Complainant’s HUDSON RPO trademark. The Disputed Domain Name is being used in a fraudulent scheme.

5. Parties’ Contentions

A. Complainant

Identical or Confusingly Similar

The Complainant submits that the Disputed Domain Name is confusingly similar to the Complainant’s trademark HUDSON, which was registered in the United States in 2008 and which has been used by the Complainant since 2003, and is identical to the Complainant’s trademark HUDSON RPO, in which the Complainant claims rights since the date of the United States trademark application, namely December 18, 2017, which, the Complainant points out, was two years prior to the registration of the Disputed Domain Name.

The Complainant also submits that the Disputed Domain Name is confusingly similar to the Complainant’s corporate name, in which the Complainant claims prior rights from 16 years prior to the registration of the Disputed Domain Name, as well as being nearly identical to the Complainant’s domain name <hudsonrpo.com>, with the only difference being the addition of the dash between “Hudson” and “rpo”.

Rights or Legitimate Interests

The Complainant submits that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the Disputed Domain Name. The Complainant supports this by submitting that the Respondent is not the proprietor of any trademark or service mark identical to the Disputed Domain Name. The Complainant continues that the Complainant has not entered into any license agreement by which the Respondent would have a legitimate right to use the Complainant’s corporate name or its trademarks HUDSON or HUDSON RPO.

The Complainant also submits that the Respondent is not commonly known by the name HUDSON or HUDSON RPO. The Complainant continues that the Respondent is not making legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the Disputed Domain Name. The Complainant draws the Panel’s attention to Annex 11 to the Complaint, which, the Complainant says, shows that the Complainant has received notifications from people who have been contacted by the Respondent and where the Respondent is falsely claiming to be the HR Manager for the Complainant.

The Complainant submits that such use cannot amount to legitimate noncommercial or fair use and draws the Panel’s attention to UDRP decisions such as Beiersdorf AG v. PrivacyGuardian.org/Edward Peter Inc., WIPO Case No. D2016-2289) in that regard.

This having been said and having set out all the information within the Complainant’s knowledge regarding the Respondent’s lack of rights or legitimate interests in the Disputed Domain Name, the Complainant continues, the burden is upon the Respondent to refute the submission that it has no rights or legitimate interests in the Disputed Domain Name.

Registered and Used in Bad Faith

The Complainant submits that the confusing similarity between the Disputed Domain Name and the Complainant’s trademarks HUDSON and HUDSON RPO is itself evidence of bad faith.

The Complainant continues that the Respondent was surely aware of the Complainant’s trademark and business when the Respondent registered the Disputed Domain Name and submits that is obvious that the Respondent’s website was set up purposely to mislead consumers into thinking that they were dealing with the Complainant and not the Respondent. Given the foregoing, says the Complainant, it is clear that the Respondent’s intention for registering the Disputed Domain Name was primarily for the purpose of disrupting the business of the Complainant and/or to attract for commercial gain, Internet users to the Respondent’s website by creating a likelihood of confusion with the Complainant’s mark as to the source, affiliation or endorsement of the Respondent’s website.

The Complainant notes that it did send a cease and desist letter to the Respondent but that it had not received a response.

B. Respondent

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

6. Discussion and Findings

The Complainant must demonstrate that, on the balance of probabilities, the Disputed Domain Name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or a service mark in which the Complainant has rights, the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Disputed Domain Name and that the Disputed Domain Name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.

A. Identical or Confusingly Similar

The Panel accepts that the Complainant has established registered rights in its HUDSON trademark, which was registered more than 10 years before the registration of the Disputed Domain Name.

The Panel also accepts that the Complainant has established rights in its as yet unregistered trademark HUDSON RPO in the United States, which the Complainant has used since late 2017, again well before the registration of the Disputed Domain Name.

The Panel also accepts that the Disputed Domain Name is confusingly similar to both the Complainant’s registered trademark HUDSON and its unregistered trademark HUDSON RPO. It has been long established that the addition of a generic Top-Level Domain such as “.com” does not avoid a finding that the Disputed Domain Name is confusingly similar to the Complainant’s trademark. The Disputed Domain Name incorporates both of the Complainant’s trademarks in full.

The Panel accordingly finds that Disputed Domain Name is confusingly similar to the Complainant’s trademarks HUDSON and HUDSON RPO, in which the Complainant has rights, and that paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Policy has been satisfied by the Complainant.

B. Rights or Legitimate Interests

The Panel accepts that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the Disputed Domain Name. The Respondent has not been licensed by the Complainant to use the Complainant’s trademarks HUDSON or HUDSON RPO. The Panel accepts that the burden then shifts to the Respondent.

The Respondent has not used the Disputed Domain Name in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services, that it has been commonly known by the Disputed Domain Name nor that it has been making legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the Disputed Domain Name, without intent for commercial gain or to misleadingly divert consumers or to tarnish the HUDSON or HUDSON RPO trademarks of the Complainant. The Panel accepts the evidence of the Complainant set out in Annex 11 and Annex 12 to the Complaint that such use as has been taking place has been targeted at the Complainant and certainly cannot be described as legitimate noncommercial or fair use.

The Panel therefore finds that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the Disputed Domain Name and that paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy has been met.

C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith

The Panel accepts that the Disputed Domain Name has been registered and is being used in bad faith. The use of the Disputed Domain Name in connection with attempts to imitate the HR Manager of the Complainant supports this.

The Policy paragraph 4(b) sets out the non-limiting lists of circumstances which shall be evidence of the registration and use of a domain name in bad faith. In this case, it is a reasonable inference that the Complainant’s trademark HUDSON, in use for many years, had become well known and that the Respondent was aware of the Complainant’s rights when registering the Disputed Domain Name.

The email set out in Annex 11 to the Complaint and the website set out in Annex 12 to the Complaint show the attention of attempting to attract for commercial gain Internet users to an online location by creating a likelihood of confusion with the Complainant’s HUDSON and HUDSON RPO trademarks as to the source or affiliation of a service on the Respondent’s website. This intention is further indicated by the Respondent choosing the “rpo” element, as used by the Complainant, in addition to the Complainant’s well-known trademark HUDSON.

The Panel accordingly finds that the Disputed Domain Name has been registered and is being used in bad faith and that paragraph 4(a)(iii) of the Policy has been met by the Complainant.

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 <hudson-rpo.com> be transferred to the Complainant.

Michael D. Cover
Sole Panelist
Date: August 13, 2019