WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center

ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION

BAE Systems Plc v. Jason Mattison, Jason Mattison Mattison

Case No. D2020-1396

1. The Parties

The Complainant is BAE Systems Plc, United Kingdom, represented by CMS Cameron McKenna Nabarro Olswang LLP, United Kingdom.

The Respondent is Jason Mattison, Jason Mattison Mattison, Greece.

2. The Domain Name and Registrar

The disputed domain name <baesystem.tech> (“Domain Name”) is registered with Hostinger, UAB (the “Registrar”).

3. Procedural History

The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on June 2, 2020. On June 2, 2020, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the Domain Name. On June 3, 2020, the Registrar transmitted by email to the Center its verification response disclosing registrant and contact information for the Domain Name which differed from the named Respondent and contact information in the Complaint. The Center sent an email communication to the Complainant on June 16, 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 June 19, 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 25, 2020. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was July 15, 2020. The Respondent did not submit any formal response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on July 17, 2020, following which the Respondent filed a short, informal communication to the Center.

The Center appointed Nicholas Smith as the sole panelist in this matter on July 28, 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 a multinational company, founded in 1999 following the acquisition of Marconi Electronic Systems by British Aerospace, specializing in defense, aerospace and security products. In 2019, the Complainant employed 87,800 staff globally and reported a global revenue of USD 24.9 billion. The Complainant owns numerous domain names including the domain name <baesystems.com> from which it operates its main website.

The Complainant holds trade mark registrations in the United States, United Kingdom, and European Union for marks containing the term BAE SYSTEMS (the “BAE SYSTEMS Mark”), each of which have a filing date on or before the year 2000 and are registered for goods and services in classes 9, 12, 13, 16, 37, and 42.

The Domain Name was registered on April 21, 2020. On the day of notification, the Domain Name was inactive. The evidence in the Complaint provided by the Complainant shows that the Domain Name has been used by the Respondent as an email address ([…]@baesystem.tech) from which the Respondent sent emails to the Complainant’s suppliers giving directions for the payment of funds to an account unconnected to the Complainant.

5. Parties’ Contentions

A. Complainant

The Complainant makes the following contentions:

(i) the Domain Name is identical or confusingly similar to the Complainant’s BAE SYSTEMS Mark;

(ii) the Respondent has no rights nor any legitimate interests in respect of the Domain Name; and

(iii) the Domain Name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.

The Complainant is the owner of the BAE SYSTEMS Mark, having registered the BAE SYSTEMS Mark in various jurisdictions. The Domain Name is highly similar if not identical visually and aurally to the BAE SYSTEMS Mark.

There are no rights or legitimate interests held by the Respondent in respect of the Domain Name. The Complainant has not granted any license or authorization for the Respondent to use the BAE SYSTEMS Mark. The Respondent does not use the Domain Name for a bona fide purpose or legitimate noncommercial purpose. Rather, the Domain Name is used for emails impersonating the Complainant (phishing), which does not grant the Respondent rights or legitimate interests in the Domain Name.

The Domain Name was registered and is being used in bad faith. The Domain Name is being used to send emails targeting the Complainant’s suppliers that impersonate the Complainant for a fraudulent purpose – namely directing that amounts be paid to bank accounts other than those operated by the Complainant. This amounts to an attempt to perpetuate fraud.

B. Respondent

The Respondent did not formally reply to the Complainant’s contentions, but on July 17, 2020, following the notification of the Respondent’s default the Respondent sent an email, the relevant portion being:

“What process do I have to go through to retain my domain I purchased with my own money from these bullies trying to claim my property?

My middle name is Bae and I run a small computer shop. Hence the name BAE System.”

6. Discussion and Findings

A. Identical or Confusingly Similar

To prove this element the Complainant must have trade or service mark rights and the Domain Name must be identical or confusingly similar to the Complainant’s trade or service mark.

The Complainant is the owner of the BAE SYSTEMS Mark, having registrations for the BAE SYSTEMS Mark as a trade mark in various jurisdictions, including the United States, United Kingdom, and the European Union.

Disregarding for the purposes of comparison the generic Top-Level Domain (“gTLD”) “.tech” (being a technical requirement for the registration of a domain name) the Domain Name consists of a misspelling of the BAE SYSTEMS Mark, being the deletion of the third “s”. The Panel finds that this minor misspelling does not prevent a finding of confusing similarity between the BAE SYSTEMS Mark and the Domain Name.

The Panel finds that the Domain Name is confusingly similar to the Complainant’s BAE SYSTEMS Mark. Consequently, the requirement of paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Policy is satisfied.

B. Rights or Legitimate Interests

To succeed on this element, a complainant must make out a prima facie case that the respondent lacks rights or legitimate interests in the domain name. If such a prima facie case is made out, then the burden of production shifts to the respondent to demonstrate rights or legitimate interests in the domain name.

Paragraph 4(c) of the Policy enumerates several ways in which a respondent may demonstrate rights or legitimate interests in a domain name:

“Any of the following circumstances, in particular but without limitation, if found by the panel to be proved based on its evaluation of all evidence presented, shall demonstrate your rights or legitimate interests to the domain name for purposes of paragraph 4(a)(ii):

(i) before any notice to you of the dispute, your use of, or demonstrable preparations to use, the domain name or a name corresponding to the domain name in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services; or

(ii) you (as an individual, business, or other organization) have been commonly known by the domain name, even if you have acquired no trade mark or service mark rights; or

(iii) you are making legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the domain name, without intent for commercial gain to misleadingly divert consumers or to tarnish the trade mark or service mark at issue.”

The Respondent is not affiliated with the Complainant in any way. It has not been authorized by the Complainant to register or use the Domain Name or to seek the registration of any domain name incorporating the BAE SYSTEMS Mark or a mark similar to the BAE SYSTEMS Mark. There is no evidence that the Respondent is commonly known by the Domain Name or any similar name. There is no evidence that the Respondent has used or made demonstrable preparations to use the Domain Name in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services or for a legitimate noncommercial use. Rather, it appears from the evidence submitted by the Complainant that the Respondent has used the Domain Name to send emails passing itself off as the Complainant and directing that a payment be made to an account unconnected to the Complainant. Such conduct is fraudulent and is not a bona fide offering of goods or services.

The Complainant has established a prima facie case that the Respondent lacks rights or legitimate interests in the Domain Name. The Respondent has had an opportunity to rebut the prima facie case that it lacks rights or legitimate interests but has failed to do so. In particular, the assertion that the Respondent runs a small computer shop and has the middle name “Bae” is entirely unsupported by evidence. The Panel finds that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the Domain Name under paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy.

C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith

For the purposes of paragraph 4(a)(iii), the following circumstances, in particular but without limitation, if found by the Panel to be present, shall be evidence of the registration and use of a domain name in bad faith (Policy, paragraph 4(b)):

(i) circumstances indicating that the Respondent has registered or has acquired the Domain Name primarily for the purpose of selling, renting, or otherwise transferring the Domain Name to the Complainant who is the owners of the trade mark or service mark or to a competitor of the Complainant, for valuable consideration in excess of its documented out-of-pocket costs directly related to the Domain Name; or

(ii) the Respondent has registered the Domain Name in order to prevent the owner of the trade mark or service mark from reflecting the mark in a corresponding domain name, provided that the Respondent has engaged in a pattern of such conduct; or

(iii) the Respondent has registered the Domain Name primarily for the purpose of disrupting the business of a competitor; or

(iv) by using the Domain Name, the Respondent has intentionally attempted to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to its website or other online location, by creating a likelihood of confusion with the Complainant’s mark as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation, or endorsement of the Respondent’s website or location or of a product or service on the Respondent’s website or location.

The Panel finds that the Respondent was aware of the Complainant at the time the Domain Name was registered. The Domain Name has been used to create an email account from which the Respondent sent emails targeting suppliers of the Complainant. The Respondent does not provide, nor is it apparent to the Panel, any plausible and supported reason why the Domain Name was registered other than by reference to the Complainant. The registration of the Domain Name in awareness of the Complainant and its rights in the BAE SYSTEMS Mark and in the absence of rights or legitimate interests amounts to registration in bad faith.

The Respondent is using the Domain Name to send emails seeking to mislead recipients as to the identity of the sender for its own commercial gain. Such conduct is deceptive, illegal, and in previous UDRP decisions has been found to be evidence of registration and use in bad faith, see The Coca-Cola Company v. Marcus Steiner, WIPO Case No. D2012-1804. The Panel finds that the Respondent is using the Domain Name in bad faith.

Accordingly, the Panel finds that the Respondent has registered and is using the Domain Name in bad faith under paragraph 4(a)(iii) of the Policy.

7. Decision

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 <baesystem.tech> be transferred to the Complainant.

Nicholas Smith
Sole Panelist
Date: August 3, 2020