WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Vattenfall AB v. Harold Gasa
Case No. D2020-1181
1. The Parties
Complainant is Vattenfall AB, Sweden, represented by Zacco Sweden AB, Sweden.
Respondent is Harold Gasa, South Africa.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The Disputed Domain Name <vattenfallgroup.com> (“Disputed Doman 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 May 12, 2020. On May 12, 2020, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the Disputed Domain Name. On May 13, 2020, the Registrar transmitted by email to the Center its verification response confirming that Respondent is listed as the registrant and providing the contact details.
The Center verified that 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 Respondent of the Complaint, and the proceedings commenced on May 27, 2020. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was June 16, 2020. Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified Respondent’s default on June 18, 2020.
The Center appointed Lawrence K. Nodine as the sole panelist in this matter on July 8, 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
Headquartered in Sweden and owned by the Swedish state, Complainant is the parent company of the Vattenfall Group, one of the largest European energy companies. For over 100 years, Complainant and its subsidiary have provided energy to customers in many European markets, including Sweden, Germany, the Netherlands, Denmark, and the United Kingdom. Complainant employs nearly 20,000 people and serves millions of customers. Complainant owns several registrations in various jurisdictions for its VATTENFALL trademark, including European Union Trademark No. 005376876, registered on June 12, 2008. Complainant’s primary domain name is <vattenfall.com>, registered in 1996. Complainant uses the subdomain <group.vattenfall.com> to present information pertaining to the Vattenfall Group.
Respondent registered the Disputed Domain Name on March 6, 2020. The Disputed Domain Name does not resolve to an active website. On April 30, 2020, Respondent solicited, via the email address “[ ... ]@vattenfallgroup.com,” products from a third party supplier. The signature in Respondent’s email included Complainant’s name, address, and logo. The email purportedly was sent by “Fredrik Adam,” whose title is “Procurement Manager.” Complainant does not employ an individual with that name.
On April 28, 2020, Complainant sent Respondent a cease-and-desist letter, requesting that Respondent transfer the Disputed Domain Name to Complainant. Respondent did not reply to Complainant’s letter.
5. Parties’ Contentions
Complainant asserts that it has established rights in the mark VATTENFALL and that the Disputed Domain Name is confusingly similar to the VATTENFALL mark. Complainant contends that the additional term “GROUP” in the Disputed Domain Name strengthens the likelihood of confusion as Complainant uses the terms “VATTENFALL GROUP” to refer to the entire group of companies owned by Complainant.
Complainant further asserts that Respondent lacks rights or legitimate interests in the Disputed Domain Name and that Complainant has not licensed or authorized Respondent’s use of Complainant’s mark. Complainant contends that Respondent is not commonly known by the Disputed Domain Name and is not using the Disputed Domain name in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services.
As to Respondent’s bad faith, Complainant contends that Respondent registered the Disputed Domain Name with the intent to exploit Complainant’s VATTENFALL mark and to take advantage of third parties. Further, Complainant asserts that Respondent has been using the Disputed Domain Name to perpetuate a scam. According to Complainant, there is no plausible bona fide use that Complainant could make of the Disputed Domain Name.
Respondent did not reply to Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
Complainant’s trademark registrations establish that it has rights in the VATTENFALL trademark. The Disputed Domain Name is confusingly similar to Complainant’s mark. Respondent’s addition of the term “group” in the Disputed Domain Name does not prevent a finding of confusing similarity. See WIPO Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions, Third Edition (“WIPO Overview 3.0”), section 1.8.
Complainant has satisfied paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Policy.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
Complainant has presented a prima facie case for Respondent’s lack of rights or legitimate interests in the Disputed Domain Name, which Respondent has failed to rebut. The use of a domain name for phishing schemes “can never confer rights or legitimate interests on a respondent”. WIPO Overview 3.0, section 2.13.1. The Panel finds that Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Disputed Domain Name.
Complainant has satisfied paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
Respondent registered and has used the Disputed Domain Name in bad faith. The evidence establishes that Respondent was aware of Complainant and its VATTENFALL trademark at the time Respondent registered the Disputed Domain Name. This awareness is established by the Disputed Domain Name’s similarity to Complainant’s “Vattenfall Group” business name and the Disputed Domain Name’s proximity to Complainant’s <group.vattenfall.com> subdomain. Moreover, Respondent included Complainant’s real business name and address, as well as an image of Complainant’s logo, in the email soliciting products from a third-party supplier. The Panel finds that, with obvious awareness of Complainant’s rights and reputation, Respondent registered the Disputed Domain Name in bad faith to create a false association with Complainant to perpetuate a phishing scheme.
The Panel finds Complainant has satisfied paragraph 4(a)(iii) of the Policy.
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, <vattenfallgroup.com> be transferred to Complainant.
Lawrence K. Nodine
Date: July 22, 2020