WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
AB Electrolux v. Domains By Proxy, LLC, DomainsByProxy.com / Taylor Durham, Electrolux Home Products International
Case No. D2020-0519
1. The Parties
The Complainant is AB Electrolux, Sweden, represented by SILKA Law AB, Sweden.
The Respondent is Domains By Proxy, LLC, DomainsByProxy.com, United States of America (“United States”) / Taylor Durham, Electrolux Home Products International, United States.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <electroluxgroup.org> 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 March 3, 2020. On March 4, 2020, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On March 5, 2020, 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 Complainant filed an amendment to the Complaint on March 6, 2020.
The Center verified that the Complaint together with the amendment to the 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 March 10, 2020. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was March 30, 2020. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on April 2, 2020.
The Center appointed Andrew F. Christie as the sole panelist in this matter on April 9, 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, after 90 years of operation, is now a global leader in home and professional appliances. The ELECTROLUX brand is the Complainant’s flagship brand for kitchen and cleaning appliances for consumers and professional users. In 2018, the Complainant had sales of SEK 124 billion and about 55,000 employees.
The Complainant is the owner of registrations of trademarks containing or including the word ELECTROLUX in more than 150 countries around the world, including International Trademark Registration No. 836605 for a device trademark registered on March 17, 2004.
The Complainant has registered a number of domain names containing the term “electrolux” in generic Top-Level Domains (“gTLD”) and country-code Top-Level Domains (“ccTLD”), including <electrolux.com>, created on June 1, 2006, and <electroluxgroup.com>, created on July 13, 2013. The Complainant uses these domain names to connect to a website through which it informs potential customers about its ELECTROLUX trademark and its products and services.
The disputed domain name was registered on February 18, 2020. It currently does not resolve to an active website. The Complainant provided a copy of email correspondence dated between February 21 and February 26, 2020, between a job applicant and persons purporting to be “Human Resources HR Department” and “Hiring Manager” of “Electrolux Group”. The Complainant also provided a copy of an undated “Employment Offer Letter” to the job applicant from a person purporting to be “Chief Accounting Officer” of “Electrolux Group”. The email from the job applicant was sent to an email address established using the disputed domain name.
5. Parties’ Contentions
The Complainant contends that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to a trademark in which the Complainant has rights because: (i) it directly and entirely incorporates the Complainant’s well-known registered trademark ELECTROLUX; (ii) it contains the generic word “group”, the mere addition of which does not differentiate the disputed domain name from the registered trademark; and (iii) the addition of the gTLD “.org” does not add any distinctiveness to the disputed domain name.
The Complainant contends that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name because: (i) it is used in connection with an employment-related identity-theft scam, and was created to initiate a scam that involves fraudulent job offer letters, invoices and checks bearing the Complainant’s name and logo sent from emails using “@electroluxgroup.org”; (ii) the use of the disputed domain name for an illegal activity such as constructing an email composition containing the disputed domain name for deceiving purposes cannot confer rights or legitimate interests on the Respondent; (iii) the disputed domain name currently does not resolve to an active website, but it is used by the Respondent as an email address to forward scam letters incorporating offer letters and invoices for materials having the look and feel of emanating from the Complainant; (iv) the Respondent has never used, or made preparations to use, the disputed domain name or any name corresponding to it in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services; and (v) the Respondent is impersonating the Complainant in an effort to obtain personal information from innocent job-seekers.
The Complainant contends that the disputed domain name is registered and is being used in bad faith because: (i) the Respondent uses the disputed domain name to facilitate an email scam and to steal the Complainant’s identity and convey fraudulent messages to third parties which disrupt the Complainant’s business; (ii) the Respondent should have known about the Complainant’s rights due to the fact that the Complainant’s trademark had significant goodwill and reputation when the disputed domain name was registered, (iii) the Respondent registered the disputed domain name in full knowledge of the Complainant’s rights and for its own pecuniary gain; (iv) the Respondent uses a privacy service with a view to masking its true identity; (v) the Respondent bears no relationship to the trademark, and the disputed domain name has no other meaning except for referring to the Complainant’s name and trademark; and (vi) the only intention of the registration of the disputed domain name was to capitalize on the Complainant’s goodwill and to deceive potential future employees.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
Once the gTLD “.org” is ignored (which is appropriate in this case), the disputed domain name consists of the whole of the Complainant’s registered word trademark ELECTROLUX followed by the word “group”. The Complainant’s word trademark ELECTROLUX is clearly recognizable within the disputed domain name. The addition of the dictionary word “group” does not avoid the confusing similarity between the disputed domain name and the Complainant’s word trademark. Accordingly, the Panel finds that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to a trademark in which the Complainant has rights.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
The Respondent is not a licensee of, or otherwise affiliated with, the Complainant, and has not been authorized by the Complainant to use its ELECTROLUX trademark. The Respondent has not provided any evidence that it has been commonly known by, or has made a bona fide use of, the disputed domain name, or that it has, for any other reason, rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. The evidence provided by the Complainant shows that the disputed domain name is being used as part of an email address that purports, falsely, to be an email address of the Complainant. According to the present record, therefore, the disputed domain name is not being used in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services, or for a legitimate noncommercial or fair use. Accordingly, the Panel finds that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
The disputed domain name was registered many years after the Complainant first registered its ELECTROLUX trademark. The evidence on the record provided by the Complainant with respect to the use of its ELECTROLUX trademark, combined with the absence of any evidence provided by the Respondent to the contrary, is sufficient to satisfy the Panel that, at the time of registration of the disputed domain name, the Respondent knew of the Complainant’s trademark. Furthermore, the evidence on the record provided by the Complainant indicates that the Respondent has used the disputed domain name to impersonate the Complainant in an attempt to effect identity theft. Accordingly, the Panel finds that the disputed domain name has been 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 disputed domain name <electroluxgroup.org> be transferred to the Complainant.
Andrew F. Christie
Date: April 23, 2020