WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Accenture Global Services Limited v. Super Privacy Service LTD c/o Dynadot / Lisa Wong
Case No. D2020-1292
1. The Parties
1.1 The Complainant is Accenture Global Services Limited, Ireland, represented by McDermott Will & Emery LLP, United States of America (“United States”).
1.2 The Respondent is Super Privacy Service LTD c/o Dynadot, United States / Lisa Wong, Indonesia.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
2.1 The disputed domain name <accenture-rugby.com> (the “Domain Name”) is registered with Dynadot, LLC (the “Registrar”).
3. Procedural History
3.1 The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on May 22, 2020. At that time, the publicly available WhoIs details for the Domain Name displayed the name and contact details of the Registrar’s privacy service. On May 22, 2020, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the Domain Name. On May 23, 2020, the Registrar transmitted by email to the Center its verification response disclosing the underling registrant and contact information for the Domain Name. The Center sent an email communication to the Complainant on May 25, 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 27, 2020.
3.2 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”).
3.3 In accordance with the Rules, paragraphs 2 and 4, the Center formally notified the Respondent of the Complaint, and the proceedings commenced on May 29, 2020. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was June 18, 2020. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on June 19, 2020.
3.4 The Center appointed Matthew S. Harris as the sole panelist in this matter on July 7, 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
4.1 The Complainant is part of the well-known multinational provider of consultancy and other business process services. It began operating under the “Accenture” name on January 1, 2020. It is a Fortune Global 500 business and its spending on advertising is substantial, amounting to approximately USD 70 million per annum since 2009.
4.2 The Complainant is the owner of various registered trade marks around the world that incorporate or comprise the term “Accenture”. These include:
(i) United States registered trade mark No. 3091811 with a registration date of May 16, 2006 for ACCENTURE as a typed drawing in classes 9, 16, 35, 36, 37, 41, and 42; and
(ii) International trade mark registration No. 828118 for ACCENTURE and design registered on February 24, 2004 in classes 9, 16, 18, 25, 28, 35, 36, 37, 41, 42, and 45, which has proceeded to registration in excess of 20 countries and which takes the following form:
4.3 In 2014 the Domain Name was registered by the Complainant’s vendor Omobono Ltd and was thereafter used until 2020 to promote the Complainant’s sponsorship of the RBS 6 Nations Rugby Championship as its “Official Technology Partner”. The Domain Name was then allowed to lapse and was re-registered without the Complainant’s authority on March 22, 2020.
4.4 The current registrant of the Domain Name appears to be an individual based in Indonesia, although the extent to which these registration and contact details are genuine is not clear.
4.5 The Domain Name has been used since its re-registration to display a website in Indonesian displaying various articles on online gambling and promoting the online bookmaker “Sobobet”. However, at the time of this decision that website is no longer operating from the Domain Name.
5. Parties’ Contentions
5.1 The Complainant refers to its business and marks and gives a description of how the Domain Name was used before it was allowed to lapse, and how it has subsequently been used since re-registration. It further contends that “Accenture” is a coined rather than a descriptive or generic term.
5.2 The Complainant claims that the Domain Name is identical to its ACCENTURE trade marks, contending that the “.com” generic Top-Level Domain (“gTLD”) should be ignored and the term “rugby” in the Domain Name does nothing to reduce its confusing similarity with the Complainant’s marks.
5.3 The Complainant further contends that none of the examples of a right or legitimate interest set out in the Policy apply in this case and that as a consequence the burden of proof shifts to the Respondent. Further the Complainant claims that the use being made by the Respondent involves the intentional attraction of Internet users, and employs the ACCENTURE trade mark and its previous sponsorship of a famous rugby tournament, to create user confusion, and then capitalizes on misdirected traffic to generate revenue through its website related to online gambling. This is said to not to involve a legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the Domain Name.
5.4 The Complainant further contends that the Domain Name is being used in a manner that falls within the scope of paragraph 4(b)(iv) of the Policy. In this respect, it claims that the “Respondent had constructive notice that the ACCENTURE mark was a registered trade mark in the United States and many other jurisdictions worldwide” and that the Respondent was or should have been aware of the Complainant’s trade marks at the time that the Domain Name was registered. It also relies upon the use actually made of the Domain Name for a gambling related website. Finally, it contends that the well-known status of its marks it use of the domain name <accenture.com> show that “there is no reason for [the] Respondent to have registered the Domain Name other than to trade off the reputation and goodwill of [the] Complainant’s Marks”.
5.5 The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
6.1 There are no exceptional circumstances within paragraph 5(f) of the Rules so as to prevent this Panel from determining the dispute based upon the Complaint, notwithstanding the failure of the Respondent to lodge a Response.
6.2 Notwithstanding the default of the Respondent, it remains incumbent on the Complainant to make out its case in all respects set out in paragraph 4(a) of the Policy. Namely, the Complainant must prove that:
(i) the Domain Name is identical or confusingly similar to a trade mark or service mark in which the Complainant has rights (paragraph 4(a)(i)); and
(ii) the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Domain Name (paragraph 4(a)(ii)); and
(iii) the Domain Name has been registered and is being used in bad faith (paragraph 4(a)(iii)).
6.3 However, under paragraph 14(b) of the Rules, where a party does not comply with any provision of the Rules, the Panel shall “draw such inferences therefrom as it considers appropriate”.
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
6.4 The Panel accepts that the Complainant has registered trade mark rights in the term “Accenture”.
6.5 The Panel also accepts that the only sensible reading of the Domain Name is as the term “Accenture” in combination with the word “rugby” and the “.com” gTLD.
6.6 The Complainant overstates its case when it tries to contend that the Domain Name and its trade marks are identical. They are obviously not. It is on somewhat firmer ground with its contentions as to the significance or otherwise of the “.com” gTLD and the inclusion of the term “rugby”. But ultimately the application of the first element of the Policy is straightforward in this case. That is because in order to satisfy the first element of the Policy it is usually sufficient for a complainant to show that the relevant mark is “recognizable with the disputed domain name” (see section 1.7 of the WIPO Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions, Third Edition (“WIPO Overview 3.0”)). There is no doubt that this is so here.
6.7 The Complainant has therefore made out the requirements of paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Policy.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
6.8 The Panel is satisfied, for reasons that are set out in greater detail later in this decision in the context of the issue of bad faith, that the Domain Name was registered and has been held by the Respondent to take advantage of the reputation of the Complainant’s business and ACCENTURE trade marks and, in particular, by drawing Internet users to the Respondent’s website in order to promote a third party online bookmaker.
6.9 Not only is there no right or legitimate interest in a domain name held for such a purpose, but it provides positive evidence that no such right or legitimate interest exists. If follows that the Complainant has therefore made out the requirements of paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
6.10 The Complainant claims the Respondent has constructive notice of its trade marks. It is a contention that the Panel finds unconvincing. As is addressed by section 3.2.2 of the WIPO Overview 3.0, the concept of constructive notice has a limited role under the Policy. Some panels have applied it where both parties are based in the United States, but (a) that is not the case here, and (b) even in such a case, applying rules that depend upon the nationality or location of the parties strikes the Panel as inherently problematic for a Policy that is intended to operate globally in a consistent manner (see also paragraph 4.15 of the WIPO Overview 3.0).
6.11 Nevertheless, the Panel has little doubt that the Respondent had actual knowledge of the Complainant’s business and marks. First, the Panel accepts that the term “Accenture” has a high degree of reputation worldwide. Second, there is the fact that the term “Accenture” is a coined term with no obvious descriptive meaning and where it is inherently improbable that this term would be independently chosen without intending some form of reference to the Complainant’s business and marks. Last, but not least, there is the fact that the Domain Name itself had been used by the Complainant over a number of years in respect of its involvement with the RBS 6 Nations Rugby Championship. It is improbable that a person seeking to register the Domain Name would not have known or investigated how the Domain Name was previously used prior to its registration (whether by using the Internet Archive or otherwise).
6.12 Further, the Panel accepts the Complainant’s contention that the Domain Name was registered and held in order to use the association of the Domain Name with the Complainant (either directly or perhaps indirectly because of the Complainant’s past use of the Domain Name in connection with the RBS 6 Nations Rugby Championship) in order to draw Internet users to the Respondent’s website. This is apparent from the content of the Domain Name itself, which can only be understood as a reference to the Complainant and the fact that the content of the website operated by the Respondent is unrelated to the Complainant. The Panel accepts that the Complainant is also correct in asserting that this activity falls within the scope of paragraph 4(b)(iv) of the Policy and that these are circumstances that provide evidence of bad faith registration and use. If follows that the Complainant has therefore made out the requirements of paragraph 4(a)(iii) of the Policy.
7.1 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 <accenture-rugby.com> be transferred to the Complainant.
Matthew S. Harris
Date: July 9, 2020