WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Salesforce.com, Inc. v. Pankaj Jha1
Case No. D2020-1120
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Salesforce.com, Inc., United States of America (“United States”), represented by Winterfeldt IP Group PLLC, United States.
The Respondent is Pankaj Jha, India.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <dreamforce-conference.com> 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 May 5, 2020. On May 5, 2020, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On May 6, 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 Center sent an email communication to the Complainant on May 8, 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 May 11, 2020.
The Center verified that the Complaint together with 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 May 15, 2020. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was June 4, 2020. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on June 5, 2020.
The Center appointed Andrew F. Christie as the sole panelist in this matter on June 16, 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 was founded in 1999. It provides a customer relationship management platform, and a variety of other cloud-based software products, to over 150,000 companies worldwide. Its global headquarters are in San Francisco, and it has regional headquarters in Switzerland, India and Japan. In the fiscal year 2019, the Complainant had USD 13.28 billion in revenue and 35,000 employees worldwide.
The Complainant is the owner of several trademark registrations for the word trademark DREAMFORCE, including United States Trademark Registration No. 3035403 (registered on December 27, 2005), and International Trademark Registration No. 855205 (registered on March 29, 2005). The Complainant owns numerous domain names that include the DREAMFORCE trademark, including <dreamforce.com> (registered on May 2, 1998) and <dreamforce2020.com> (registered on August 31, 2015).
The domain name <salesforce.com> has been used in the Complainant’s business since its inception in 1999. The domain name <dreamforce.com> directs Internet users to the Complainant’s website located at “www.salesforce.com/dreamforce”, at which substantial use is made of the DREAMFORCE trademark. The DREAMFORCE trademark is used in connection with the Complainant’s four-day annual Dreamforce conference involving seminars, conferences, workshops and computer application training, in the fields of marketing, promotion, sales, customer information, customer relationship management, sales support and employee efficiency. The Dreamforce 2019 conference had 171,000 attendees from over 120 countries, as well as 16 million online participants.
The disputed domain name was registered on July 8, 2019. The Complainant has provided screenshots, said to be taken on April 21, 2020, showing that the disputed domain name resolved to a website purporting to be about the Dreamforce 2020 conference and offering travel and hotel accommodation services pertaining to the conference.
On April 21, 2020, the Complainant sent a notice and takedown letter to the web host then associated with the disputed domain name, requesting disablement of the hosting services for the disputed domain name. A screenshot, said to be taken on April 28, 2020, shows the disputed domain name resolving to a web page displaying an error message. The Complainant has provided a screenshot, said to be taken on May 1, 2020, showing that the disputed domain name once again resolving to a website purporting to be about the Dreamforce 2020 conference, and offering travel and hotel accommodation services pertaining to the conference.
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) the disputed domain name contains the Complainant’s DREAMFORCE trademark in its entirety, with the addition of a hyphen followed by the descriptive term “conference”, which only exacerbates the confusing similarity as the DREAMFORCE trademarks are used in connection with an annual conference; and (ii) the addition of the generic Top-Level Domain (“gTLD”) “.com” is irrelevant in determining whether the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to the Complainant’s DREAMFORCE trademark.
The Complainant contends that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name because: (i) the Respondent is not associated or affiliated with the Complainant; (ii) the Respondent has never been authorized by the Complainant to use the DREAMFORCE trademark in any manner; (iii) the disputed domain name was registered well after the Complainant had registered and/or used the DREAMFORCE trademark and had established extensive goodwill in its trademark; (iv) the disputed domain name does not reflect the Respondent’s common or organization name; (v) the disputed domain name has been used in connection with fraudulent, deceptive, misleading and infringing activity, intended to impersonate the Complainant or a legitimate and authorized vendor of the Complainant, and to induce the Complainant’s customers and Dreamforce conference participants or prospective participants to provide personal and financial information, and potentially pay for fraudulent travel arrangements and accommodation services relating to the Dreamforce conference; and (vi) the Respondent’s use of the disputed domain name in connection with phishing and fraudulent housing and hotel accommodation services for the Dreamforce conference does not constitute a bona fide sale of goods or services, or a legitimate noncommercial or fair use.
The Complainant contends that the disputed domain name was registered and is being used in bad faith because: (i) the Respondent is acting in opposition to the Complainant and disrupting the Complainant’s business through the use of the disputed domain name in connection with a website intended to impersonate a legitimate Salesforce resource or a legitimate business offering accommodation services relating to the Complainant’s Dreamforce conference; (ii) the Respondent is not providing accommodation services and is instead duping unsuspecting consumers into providing personal and financial information to the Respondent and paying the Respondent for purported services that are not supplied; (iii) this fraudulent activity is calculated to enrich the Respondent at the expense of unsuspecting consumers, thereby harming consumers and the goodwill associated with the Complainant’s SALESFORCE and DREAMFORCE brands, and disrupting participation in the Complainant’s Dreamforce conference; (iv) the use of the Complainant’s well-known DREAMORCE trademark to intentionally confuse and mislead conference participants into paying the Respondent for fraudulent travel and accommodation services, for the Respondent’s commercial gain, is clear evidence of bad faith registration and use of the disputed domain name; (v) the website resolving from the disputed domain name specifically mentions the Complainant, and refers to the Complainant in such a way as to falsely represent that the Respondent is associated with the Complainant; (vi) the disputed domain name is only valuable because of its association with the DREAMFORCE brand; and (vii) the Respondent willfully registered the disputed domain name incorporating the DREAMFORCE trademark to unfairly capitalize on the valuable goodwill the Complainant has built in its DREAMFORCE trademark, with the intention of confusing consumers so as to fraudulently induce payments for fake conference accommodations, for the Respondent’s commercial gain.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
Once the gTLD “.com” is ignored (which is appropriate in this case), the disputed domain name consists of the whole of the Complainant’s registered word trademark DREAMFORCE followed by a hyphen and the word “conference”. The Complainant’s word trademark DREAMFORCE is clearly recognizable within the disputed domain name. The addition of the hyphen and word “conference”, which relates to the Complainant’s four-day annual conference marketed under the name “Dreamforce”, does not avoid a finding of 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 DREAMFORCE 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 has been used to resolve to a website that purports, falsely, to be an offering of the Complainant’s four-day annual conference and to sell travel and accommodation services to conference attendees. 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 DREAMFORCE trademark. The evidence on the record provided by the Complainant with respect to the use of its DREAMFORCE 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 a possible attempt to effect a fraud on the general public. 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 <dreamforce-conference.com> be transferred to the Complainant.
Andrew F. Christie
Date: June 30, 2020
1 The Respondent was initially identified as “Registration Private, Domains By Proxy, LLC” which was then amended to reflect the Registrar-confirmed underlying registrant, and that for purposes of this dispute, the Panel will only treat “Pankaj Jha” as the Respondent.