WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Allen & Overy LLP v. Stephanie Lott
Case No. D2020-0300
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Allen & Overy LLP, United Kingdom, represented internally.
The Respondent is Stephanie Lott, United Kingdom.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <allenoverysllc.com> (the “Domain Name”) is registered with PDR Ltd. d/b/a PublicDomainRegistry.com (the “Registrar”).
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on February 10, 2020. On February 10, 2020, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the Domain Name. On February 11, 2020, the Registrar transmitted by email to the Center its verification response disclosing registrant and contact information for the Domain Name which differed from the named Respondent and contact information in the Complaint. The Center sent an email communication to the Complainant on February 11, 2020 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 February 14, 2020.
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 February 19, 2020. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was March 10, 2020. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on March 11, 2020.
The Center appointed Ian Lowe as the sole panelist in this matter on March 31, 2020. 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 leading global law firm founded in the City of London on January 1, 1930 by George Allen and Thomas Overy. It operates more than 40 offices across 31 countries in Europe, America, Asia Pacific and the Middle East. The Complainant comprises 5,400 people worldwide. Throughout its 90-year history, it has traded consistently under the brand “Allen & Overy”.
The Complainant is the proprietor of numerous registered trademarks globally comprising “allen” and “overy”, including European Union trademarks number 001500669 ALLEN & OVERY registered on May 22, 2001 and number 010411189 ALLENOVERY registered on March 21, 2012.
The Domain Name was registered on December 18, 2019. It does not resolve to an active website. However, it has been used to send emails from an email address “…@allenoverysllc.com” incorporating the name of a partner in the Brussels office of the Complainant and purporting to be sent by that partner. The email was a fraudulent email claiming to be sent by the lawyer for an individual who had died, leaving an estate of over USD 5 million, and who was said to be in a position to extract those funds with the assistance of the recipient.
The Panel has established through readily available public sources that the address for the Respondent in the United Kingdom, provided by the Registrar, does not exist.
5. Parties’ Contentions
The Complainant contends that the Domain Name is confusingly similar to its ALLEN & OVERY and ALLENOVERY trademarks (the “Marks”), that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Domain Name and that the Respondent registered and is using the Domain Name in bad faith within the meaning of paragraph 4(b)(iv) of the Policy.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
According to paragraph 4(a) of the Policy, for this Complaint to succeed in relation to the Domain Name the Complainant must prove that:
(i) the 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 Domain Name; and
(iii) the Domain Name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The Complainant has uncontested rights in the Marks, both by virtue of its many trademark registrations and as a result of its goodwill and reputation acquired through use of the ALLEN & OVERY mark over 90 years. Ignoring the generic Top-Level Domain (“gTLD”) “.com”, the Domain Name comprises the words “allen” and “overy” together with the letters “sllc”. In the Panel’s view, the omission of an ampersand or the word “and”, the addition of the letter “s” and the addition of the letters “llc” that commonly refer to a limited liability company, do not prevent a finding of confusing similarity between the Domain Name and the Marks. Accordingly, the Panel finds that the Domain Name is confusingly similar to a mark in which the Complainant has rights.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
The Complainant has submitted strong prima facie evidence that the Respondent can have no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Domain Name. It has provided evidence that the Respondent is using the Domain Name to establish a mail server to send deceitful emails seeking to lure recipients into a fraudulent scheme. By using a name confusingly similar to that of the Complainant and an email address similar to that of the Complainant, the Respondent has sought to mislead recipients into believing that they were dealing with the Complainant.
The Respondent has chosen not to respond to the Complaint and has accordingly failed to counter the prima facie case established by the Complainant. In the circumstances, the Panel finds that the Respondent does not have any rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Domain Name.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
The Panel considers that there is no doubt that the Respondent had the Complainant in mind when it registered the Domain Name and that it did so with the intention of using the Domain Name to deceive email recipients into believing that the emails were sent by the Complainant and that the Domain Name was registered by or associated with the Complainant. The Respondent appears to have registered the Domain Name using false contact details. In the view of the Panel, the Respondent has used the Complainant’s name in an attempt to lend respectability to the emails and improve the chances of luring the recipients into its fraudulent scheme for dishonest gain. This amounts to paradigm bad faith registration and use for the purposes of paragraph 4(a) of the Policy. In the circumstances, the Panel finds that the Domain Name was registered and is being used in bad faith.
For the foregoing reasons, in accordance with paragraphs 4(i) of the Policy and 15 of the Rules, the Panel orders that the Domain Name <allenoverysllc.com> be transferred to the Complainant.
Date: April 14, 2020