WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Halliburton Energy Services, Inc. v. Contact Privacy Inc. Customer 1245724370 / Mike firm
Case No. D2020-1239
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Halliburton Energy Services, Inc., United States of America, represented by Polsinelli PC, United States of America (“United States”)
The Respondent is Contact Privacy Inc. Customer 1245724370, Canada / Mike firm, United States.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <halliiburton.com> is registered with Google LLC (the “Registrar”).
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on May 16, 2020. On May 18, 2020, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On May 19, 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 27, 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 28, 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 June 3, 2020. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was June 23, 2020. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on July 6, 2020.
The Center thereupon appointed Nicolas Ulmer as the sole panelist in this matter on July 17, 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 part of a large multinational corporate group that, notably, provides products and services to the energy industry. According to the Complaint and its Annexes, the Complainant, or its group, has more than 50,000 employees, and has in recent years had annual revenue in excess of USD 20 billion.
The Complainant identifies and attaches proof of two United States Patent and Trademark Office trademarks for HALLIBURTON, registration Nos. 2,575,819 and 2,575,840, in numerous classes, with both registrations dating from June 4, 2002; and attaches as annexes to the Complaint a list of several hundred “Haliburton-formative” trademarks it holds in some 60 countries.
Little is known about the Respondent who has made use of a privacy screen but may be a person going by the name “Mike firm” or “Mikefirm” with an address in Palm Beach, Florida, United States.
The disputed domain name was registered on October 23, 2019, and currently resolves to a blank website.
5. Parties’ Contentions
The Complainant asserts that the disputed domain name is an intentional “typosquatted” variation of its
well-known trademark, and that the double “i” in the disputed domain name does not diminish its confusing similarity to the Complainant’s mark within the meaning of the Policy.
The Complainant further asserts that the Respondent has no right to use its trademarks and is not using the disputed domain name for any legitimate purpose.
On the contrary, the Complainant asserts that the disputed domain name can only have been registered in bad faith. The Complainant alleges, with affidavit and documentary evidence, that the disputed domain name was used - on the very day of its registration - in an attempted billing and banking scam with a customer of the Complainant.
Thereupon, the Complainant requests that the disputed domain name be transferred to it.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The disputed domain name contains the entirety of the Complainant’s registered and well-established trademark with the addition of an “i” ( i.e., “Halliiburton ” in lieu of “Halliburton”). It is long established in UDRP case law that a slight misspelling or additional letter resulting in a confusingly similar approximation of a trademark can readily be found to be confusingly similar within the meaning of the Policy. See, e.g., Fuji Photo Film U.S.A., Inc. v. LaPorte Holdings, WIPO Case No. D2004-0971; Estée Lauder Inc. v. estelauder.com, estelauder.net and Jeff Hanna, WIPO Case No. D2000-0869. In the instant case the addition of a second “i” after the double “l”s in the trademarked word HALLIBURTON results in a disputed domain name that is almost visually identical to the trademarked name and is of confusing similarity to the Complainant’s trademark.
Paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Policy is accordingly proven by the Complainant.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
The Complaint makes clear that the Respondent is not affiliated with the Complainant and has no known right to make use of its trademarks in the disputed domain name or otherwise. There is, moreover, no reason or basis to believe that the Respondent is known by the name “Halliiburton” or some variation thereof. Furthermore, far from making any legitimate use of the disputed domain name, the Complainant submits that the Respondent is making use of it for possible criminal conduct.
UDRP jurisprudence provides that a complainant needs to establish at least a prima facie case that the respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name. See section 2.1 of WIPO Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions, Third Edition (“WIPO Overview 3.0”); Croatia Airlines d.d. v. Modern Empire Internet Ltd., WIPO Case No. D2003-0455. Where such a prima facie case is made, the burden shifts to the respondent to demonstrate its rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. If the respondent fails to do so, the complainant is generally deemed to have satisfied paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy. See also, Meizu Technology Co., Ltd. v. “osama bin laden”, WIPO Case No. DCO2014-0002; H & M Hennes & Mauritz AB v. Simon Maufe, Akinsaya Odunayo Emmanuel and Nelson Rivaldo, WIPO Case No. D2014-0225.
The Complainant has here established such a prima facie case, and the Respondent has failed to answer the Complaint. Further, there is no evidence or indicia in the case file that would rebut or contradict the Complainant’s assertions as to the Respondent’s absence of any rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. It can therefore be affirmed that the Complainant has met its burden under paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
The disputed domain name evidently seeks to recite and/or invoke a well-known trademark, and differs from the trademark with only a slight and difficult to perceive typo; this alone is strong indicia of bad faith registration and a future bad faith use. It is obvious the disputed domain name could not be chosen by serendipity. The fact that the disputed domain name currently resolves to a blank web site, does not diminish this finding of bad faith; indeed, it is here difficult to see what good faith use could have been intended for the disputed domain name.
This is underscored by the evidence that the holder of the disputed domain name, immediately upon its registration, sought to use it in a scam whereby the confusing similarity of the disputed domain name to the Complainant’s trademarks was intended to trick a customer of the Complainant in a billing matter. There is, furthermore, nothing in the Respondent’s behaviour or actions that points to any good faith or legitimate purpose in its registration and use of the disputed domain name.
It follows that the Complainant has also met its burden under 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, <halliiburton.com> be transferred to the Complainant.
Date: July 30, 2020