WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center

ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION

Accenture Global Services Limited v. Rahul Sharma

Case No. D2019-2580

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 Rahul Sharma, India.

2. The Domain Name and Registrar

The disputed domain name <blraccenture.com> is registered with One.com A/S (the “Registrar”).

3. Procedural History

The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on October 21, 2019. On October 22, 2019, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On October 23, 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 October 23, 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 October 28, 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 October 30, 2019. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was November 19, 2019. On October 31, 2019, the Center received an email from the Respondent, indicating “I dont [sic] know what is going on”. No substantive Response was filed with the Center. On November 20, 2019, the Center informed the Parties that it would proceed to appoint the Panel.

The Center appointed Tuukka Airaksinen as the sole panelist in this matter on November 29, 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 business providing a broad range of services and solutions in strategy, consulting, digital, technology, and operations under the name “Accenture”. The Complainant is the proprietor of the trademark ACCENTURE, which has been used since January 1, 2001. The Complainant’s trademark ACCENTURE has been registered inter alia in the United States under No. 2665373 on December 24, 2002. The Complainant’s trademark has been registered in more than 140 countries. The Complainant also owns and operates the website under the domain name <accenture.com> since August 30, 2000.

The disputed domain name was registered on July 31, 2019.

5. Parties’ Contentions

A. Complainant

The disputed domain name is confusingly similar to the Complainant’s trademark ACCENTURE. The only difference is the addition of the letters “blr” preceding the Complainant’s trademark. The Complainant’s trademark is a distinctive and famous trademark and the addition of random characters to a trademark in a domain name fails to negate confusing similarity.

The Respondent has never been authorized by the Complainant to register or use the Complainant’s trademark or to apply for or use any domain name incorporating the Complainant’s trademarks. The Respondent is also not using the disputed domain name in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services, or in a legitimate noncommercial manner and is not commonly known by the disputed domain name.

Given the Complainant’s worldwide reputation, the Respondent must have been aware of the Complainant and its trademarks when registering the disputed domain name. The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s message concerning the disputed domain name. The Respondent has held the disputed domain name for nearly three months and has not used it for any legitimate purpose. Given the well-known status of the Complainant’s trademark, there is no reason for the Respondent to have registered the disputed domain name other than to trade off on the Complainant’s reputation.

B. Respondent

The Respondent did not substantively respond to the Complaint.

6. Discussion and Findings

In order to obtain the transfer of a domain name, a complainant must prove the three elements of paragraph 4(a) of the Policy, regardless of whether the respondent files a response to the complaint. The first element is that the domain name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which the complainant has rights. The second element a complainant must prove is that the respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the domain name. The third element a complainant must establish is that the domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.

A. Identical or Confusingly Similar

Paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Policy requires that the Complainant establish that the disputed domain name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which the Complainant has rights. Consequently, the Complainant must prove that it has rights to a trademark, and that the disputed domain name is identical or confusingly similar to this trademark.

The disputed domain name includes the Complainant’s trademark ACCENTURE in its entirety, with the addition of the added letters “blr”. According to Wikipedia, the letters “blr” may, among other things, refer to Belarus. “Where the relevant trademark is recognizable within the disputed domain name, the addition of other terms (whether descriptive, geographical, pejorative, meaningless, or otherwise) would not prevent a finding of confusing similarity under the first element. The nature of such additional term(s) may however bear on assessment of the second and third elements.” See section 1.8 of the WIPO Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions, Third Edition (“WIPO Overview 3.0”). The Complainant’s trademark ACCENTURE is clearly recognizable in the disputed domain name.

Accordingly, the Panel finds that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to the Complainant’s respective trademark and hence the first element of the Policy has been fulfilled.

B. Rights or Legitimate Interests

Paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy requires that the Complainant establish that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests to the disputed domain name.

It is widely accepted among UDRP panels that once a complainant has made a prima facie showing indicating the absence of the respondent’s rights or legitimate interests in a disputed domain name the burden of production shifts to the respondent to come forward with evidence of such rights or legitimate interests. If the respondent fails to do so, the complainant is deemed to have satisfied the second element of the Policy. See, e.g., Document Technologies, Inc. v. International Electronic Communications Inc., WIPO Case No. D2000-0270, and section 2.1 of the WIPO Overview 3.0.

The Complainant has credibly submitted that the Respondent is neither affiliated with the Complainant in any way nor has it been authorized by the Complainant to use and register the disputed domain name, that the Respondent has no prior rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name, and that the Respondent has not made and is not making a legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the disputed domain name and is not commonly known by the disputed domain name in accordance with paragraph 4(c)(ii) of the Policy.

Accordingly, the Panel finds that the Complainant has made a prima facie case that has not been rebutted by the Respondent. Considering the Panel’s findings below, the Panel finds that there are no other circumstances that provide the Respondent with any rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain names. Therefore, the Panel finds that the second element of the Policy is fulfilled.

C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith

Paragraph 4(a)(iii) of the Policy requires that the Complainant establish that the disputed domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith. Paragraph 4(b) of the Policy provides that the following circumstances, in particular but without limitation, if found by the Panel to be present, shall be evidence of the registration and use of a domain name in bad faith:

“(i) circumstances indicating that [the respondent has] registered or has acquired the 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 [the respondent’s] documented out-of-pocket costs directly related to the domain name; or

(ii) [the respondent has] registered the domain name in order to prevent the owner of the trademark or service mark from reflecting the mark in a corresponding domain name, provided that [the respondent has] engaged in a pattern of such conduct; or

(iii) [the respondent has] registered the domain name primarily for the purpose of disrupting the business or competitor; or

(iv) by using the domain name, [the respondent has] intentionally attempted to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to [the respondent’s] website or other online location, by creating a likelihood of confusion with the complainant’s mark as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation, or endorsement of [the respondent’s] website or location or of a product or service on [the respondent’s] website or location.”

The Complainant has submitted that the Respondent must have been aware of the Complainant when registering the disputed domain name because of the fame of the Complainant’s trademark. The Panel agrees that the Complainant has demonstrated that the Complainant’s trademark is well known around the world for business services and as such it is inconceivable that the Respondent would not have been aware of the Complainant and its trademark when registering the disputed domain name.

The disputed domain resolves to a passive holding page. According to Section 3.3 of WIPO Overview 3.0, the non-use of a domain name does not prevent a finding of bad faith under the doctrine of passive holding. When looking at the totality of the circumstances in this case, the Panel finds that the Complainant’s trademark is well known, it is clearly confusingly similar to the Complainant’s trademark, and the Respondent has failed to respond to the Complaint or the Complainant’s prior message. The Respondent has also not put the disputed domain name into any legitimate use that could negate these findings.

Hence, looking at the overall circumstances of the case, the Panel finds that the disputed domain name was registered and is being used in bad faith. Therefore, the Panel finds that the third element of the Policy is fulfilled.

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 <blraccenture.com> be transferred to the Complainant.

Tuukka Airaksinen
Sole Panelist
Date: December 13, 2019