WIPO Abitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Accenture Global Services Limited v. Registration Private, Domains by Proxy, LLC / Thomas Clark
Case No. D2019-1465
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Accenture Global Services Limited, Ireland, represented by McDermott Will & Emery LLP, United States of America (“United States”).
The Respondent is Registration Private, Domains by Proxy, LLC, United States / Thomas Clark, United States.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <accenturellv.com> (the “Disputed Domain Name”) 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 June 25, 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 25, 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 July 2, 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 July 4, 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 July 12, 2019. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was August 1, 2019. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on August 2, 2019.
The Center appointed Lynda Braun as the sole panelist in this matter on September 2, 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 an international company headquartered in Ireland that provides management consulting and technology and outsourcing services under the name and trademark ACCENTURE. The Complainant has used the trademark since 2001 and operates offices in 200 cities in 56 countries. The Complainant has received significant media attention for its services and has become distinctive and famous worldwide. The Complainant owns the domain name <accenture.com>, which it registered in August 2000, and which and resolves to its official corporate website at “www.accenture.com”. The Complainant owns registered trademarks in over 140 countries for the ACCENTURE trademark, including United States Registration No. 3,091,811, filed in 2000 and registered on May 16, 2006. In the United States the ACCENTURE trademark is registered for various goods and services in international classes 9, 16, 35, 36, 37, 41, and 42 (hereinafter referred to as the “ACCENTURE Mark”. The Complainant owns more than 1,000 registrations for the ACCENTURE Mark and the ACCENTURE & Design Mark as well as other trademarks incorporating the term ACCENTURE, for its management consulting and technology and outsourcing services.
The Disputed Domain Name was registered on June 2, 2019. The Respondent is currently using the Disputed Domain Name to direct Internet users to a website that resolves to a landing page that states: “404. That’s an error. The requested URL / was not found on this server. That’s all we know.” The page lacks other content, demonstrating that the Disputed Domain Name is currently being used passively.
The Respondent has apparently configured the Disputed Domain Name for email functions.
5. Parties’ Contentions
The following are the Complainant’s contentions:
- the Disputed Domain Name is confusingly similar to the Complainant’s trademark or trademarks;
- the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Disputed Domain Name;
- the Disputed Domain Name was registered and is being used in bad faith; and
- the Complainant seeks the transfer of the Disputed Domain Name from the Respondent to the Complainant in accordance with paragraph 4(i) of the Policy.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
In order for the Complainant to prevail and have the Disputed Domain Name transferred to the Complainant, the Complainant must prove the following (Policy, paragraph 4(a)(i-iii)):
(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.
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
This element consists of two parts: first, does the Complainant have rights in a relevant trademark and, second, is the Disputed Domain Name identical or confusingly similar to that trademark. The Panel concludes that the Disputed Domain Name is confusingly similar to the ACCENTURE Mark.
It is uncontroverted that the Complainant has established rights in the ACCENTURE Mark based on its many years of use as well as its numerous registered trademarks that include or incorporate the ACCENTURE Mark. The general rule is that “registration of a mark is prima facie evidence of validity, which creates a rebuttable presumption that the mark is inherently distinctive”. See CWI, Inc. v. Domain Administrator c/o Dynadot, WIPO Case No. D2015-1734. The Respondent has not rebutted this presumption, and therefore the Panel finds that the Complainant has enforceable rights in the ACCENTURE Mark.
The Disputed Domain Name consists of the ACCENTURE Mark in its entirety followed by the letters “LLV”, and then followed by the generic Top-Level Domain (“gTLD”) “.com”. Numerous UDRP Panels have stated that the addition of descriptive words or random letters to a trademark is insufficient to avoid confusing similarity. See Allianz Global Investors of America, L.P. and Pacific Investment Management Company (PIMCO) v. Bingo-Bongo, WIPO Case No. D2011-0795; Hoffman-La Roche, Inc. v. Wei-Chun Hsia, WIPO Case No. D2008-0923; Nintendo of America, Inc. v. Fernando Sascha Gutierrez, WIPO Case No. D2009-0434. Moreover, the addition of a gTLD such as “.com” in a domain name is technically required. Thus, it is well established that such element may typically be disregarded when assessing whether a domain name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark. See Proactiva Medio Ambiente, S.A. v. Proactiva, WIPO Case No. D2012-0182.
Accordingly, the first element of paragraph 4(a) of the Policy has been met by the Complainant.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
Under the Policy, a complainant is required to make out a prima facie case that the respondent lacks rights or legitimate interests in the domain name. Once such a prima facie case is made, the respondent carries the burden of production of evidence demonstrating rights or legitimate interests in the domain name. If the respondent fails to do so, the complainant is deemed to have satisfied paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy. See WIPO Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions, Third Edition (“WIPO Overview 3.0”), at section 2.1.
In this case, the Panel finds that the Complainant has made out a prima facie case. In particular, the Respondent has not submitted any arguments or evidence to rebut the Complainant’s prima facie case and there is no evidence in the record that the Respondent is in any way associated with the Complainant. Furthermore, the Complainant has not authorized, licensed or otherwise permitted the Respondent to use its ACCENTURE Mark. The Respondent does not operate any business under the name “Accenture” or “Accenturellv” nor is the Respondent making a legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the Disputed Domain Name. Moreover, the Respondent has not made 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.
Accordingly, the second element of paragraph 4(a) of the Policy has been met by the Complainant.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
This Panel finds that, based on the record, the Complainant has demonstrated the existence of the Respondent’s bad faith pursuant to paragraph 4(b) of the Policy.
First, bad faith may be found where the Respondent knew of the registration and use of the ACCENTURE Mark prior to registering the Disputed Domain Name. See Façonnable SAS v. Names4sale, WIPO Case No. D2001‐1365. Such is the case here in which the Respondent registered the Disputed Domain Name long after the Complainant first used and obtained its numerous registrations worldwide for the ACCENTURE Mark. See Expedia, Inc. v. European Travel Network, WIPO Case No. D2000-0137 (finding bad faith where the respondent registered the domain name after the complainant established rights and publicity in the complainant’s trademarks). Given the Complainant’s worldwide reputation and the ubiquitous presence of the ACCENTURE Mark on the Internet, the Respondent was or should have been aware of the ACCENTURE Mark long prior to registering the Disputed Domain Name. See Accenture Global Services Limited v. ICS Inc./PrivacyProtect.org, WIPO Case No. D2013-2098(finding that it was unlikely that the respondent was not aware of the Complainant and its ACCENTURE mark at the time the Disputed Domain Name was registered). It therefore strains credulity to believe that the Respondent had not known of the Complainant or its ACCENTURE Mark when registering the Disputed Domain Name. See Myer Stores Limited v. Mr. David John Singh, WIPO Case No. D2001-0763.
Second, by using the Disputed Domain Name passively to resolve to a landing page having no substantive content, the Respondent has registered and is using the Disputed Domain Name in bad faith. It has long been held in UDRP decisions that the passive or inactive holding of a domain name that incorporates a registered trademark without a legitimate Internet purpose may indicate that the domain name is being used in bad faith under paragraph 4(a)(iii) of the Policy. See Telstra Corporation Limited v. Nuclear Marshmallows, WIPO Case No. D2000-0003.
Third, the registration of a domain name that is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark by an entity that has no relationship to that mark is suggestive of bad faith registration.
Finally, since the Respondent has apparently configured the Disputed Domain Name for email functions, having connected the Disputed Domain Name to a mail server responsible for sending and accepting email messages on behalf of the Disputed Domain Name, such conduct suggests that the Respondent may have intended to use the Disputed Domain Name for phishing or other fraudulent purposes. See Carrefour v. WhoisGuard, Inc., WhoisGuard Protected / Robert Jurek, Katrin Kafut, Purchasing clerk, Starship Tapes & Records, WIPO Case No. D2017-2533 (finding bad faith in the respondents’ registration of the disputed domain name when configuration of email servers at the domain presented a risk that the respondents were engaged in a phishing scheme).
Accordingly, the third element of paragraph 4(i) of the Policy has been met by the Complainant.
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 <accenturellv.com> be transferred to the Complainant.
Date: September 7, 2019