WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Tradeweb Europe Limited and Tradeweb Markets LLC v. WhoisGuard, Inc. / Daniel Ridan
Case No. D2020-2204
1. The Parties
Complainants are Tradeweb Europe Limited, United Kingdom (the “First Complainant”), and Tradeweb Markets LLC, United States of America (the “Second Complainant”), both represented by Allen & Overy LLP, United Kingdom.
Respondent is WhoisGuard, Inc., Panama / Daniel Ridan, Nigeria.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <tradeweb.ltd> is registered with NameCheap, Inc. (the “Registrar”).
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on August 20, 2020. On August 21, 2020, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On August 21, 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 Complainants on August 26, 2020 providing the registrant and contact information disclosed by the Registrar, and inviting Complainants to submit an amendment to the Complaint. Complainants filed an amended Complaint on August 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 Respondent of the Complaint, and the proceedings commenced on September 15, 2020. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was October 5, 2020. Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified Respondent’s default on October 8, 2020. Due to an administrative issue at the moment of the notification of the Complaint, Respondent was granted a five day period in which to indicate whether it wishes to participate to this proceeding. No response was received by the Center. Accordingly, the Center proceeded to Panel Appointment.
The Center appointed Roberto Bianchi as the sole panelist in this matter on October 21, 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
According to the Complaint, Complainants are affiliates of the Tradeweb group, a builder and operator of electronic marketplaces in the financial sector. The Second Complainant launched its first multi-dealer online marketplace for US Treasuries in 1998. The group expanded to the United Kingdom in 2000, when the First Complainant was established with the opening of an office in London. The Tradeweb group has offices in the United States, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong, and China. The notional value traded daily on Complainant´s platform exceeds USD 790 billion.
The First Complainant owns the following trademark registrations for TRADEWEB:
- United Kingdom Trademark No 00003116931, registered on October 9, 2015, filed on July 8, 2015, in Classes 35, 36, and 42, and
- European Union Trademark No. 014348718, registered on December 1, 2015, filed on July 8, 2015, in Classes 35, 36, 3,8 and 42;
The Second Complainant owns the following trademark registration for TRADEWEB:
- United States Trademark No. 2201787, registered on November 3, 1998, filed on May 24, 1996, in Class 36. First use in commerce: January 16, 1998.
Complainants operate their website at the <tradeweb.com> domain name, registered in 1998.
The disputed domain name was registered on June 26, 2020.
At the time of rendering the Decision, on the website at the disputed domain name, Internet users were invited to sign up and register to invest in, inter alia, “profitable and reliable investment´s plans”. Such plans included a “3% daily for 2 days” plan, with a minimum investment of $50, “a 4% daily for 3 days” plan, with a minimum investment of $1,000, a “6% daily for 4 days” plan, with a minimum investment of $5,000, and a “8% daily for 4 days” plan, with a minimum investment of $10,000. In the “About Us” section of the website, a legend stated, “© 2019 tradeweb.ltd is a private limited company registered in United Kingdom under Company No. 09617457”.
5. Parties’ Contentions
Complainants contend as follows:
The disputed domain name is identical or confusingly similar to the TRADEWEB trademark, in which Complainants have rights. Disregarding the “.ltd” Top-Level Domain, the disputed domain name consists solely of the term “Tradeweb” and is therefore identical to Complainants’ mark.
Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name. Respondent is not using the disputed domain name in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services, is not commonly known by the disputed domain name, and is not making a legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the disputed domain name without intent for commercial gain. Respondent has been identified by the Registrar as Daniel Ridan, whose address is in Nigeria. A Google search of Respondent shows that a person by this name has a publicly-available social media presence both on Facebook and Linkedin. It is clear from these social media profiles that Respondent has no affiliation to a company called Tradeweb and has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. Respondent has no ties to the United Kingdom, whereas the website at the disputed domain name states that it is the website of a company based in the United Kingdom.
The disputed domain name was only registered on June 26, 2020. Respondent is based in Nigeria and has no ties to the United Kingdom. Respondent is using a forged Certificate of Incorporation on the website at the disputed domain name, listing one of Complainants’ group entities as the company name and the registration number and address shown correspond to separate entities entirely. The addresses provided on the website are all based in the United Kingdom, with no mention of Nigeria. As a result, Complainants can find no evidence that Respondent is known by any name related to the disputed domain name, nor that it has legitimate rights or interests in respect of the disputed domain name.
The domain name was registered and is being used in bad faith. Respondent registered the disputed domain name for use in current and future scams / phishing operations. Respondent is based in Nigeria and forged the incorporation certificate shown on its website by using the name of a company in the Tradeweb group, Tradeweb LLC. In addition, Complainants’ business is the first result that comes up in a Google search for Tradeweb.
Respondent’s website is not linked to a real company, nor to one authorized by the United Kingdom’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) (which is a criminal offence) and has been set up with the sole purpose of defrauding people.
Complainants conclude that Respondent’s registration and use of the disputed domain name is in bad faith.
Respondent did not reply to Complainants’ contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
By submitting printouts taken from the corresponding official trademark databases, Complainants have shown to the satisfaction of the Panel that each owns registrations for the TRADEWEB trademark. See section 4 above.
The Panel notes that the disputed domain name incorporates the TRADEWEB trademark in its entirety, with only the addition of the “.ltd” generic Top Level Domain. Accordingly, the Panel finds that the disputed domain name is identical to the TRADEWEB trademarks in which Complainants have rights.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
The Panel also notes that according to the relevant WhoIs data provided by the Registrar, the registrant of the disputed domain name, i.e., Respondent, is Daniel Ridan, with an address in Nigeria. There is no evidence or claim that this person might be known by the disputed domain name. Thus, Policy paragraph 4(c)(ii) is inapplicable.
The Panel further notes that In the “About Us” section of the website at the disputed domain name, a legend states, “© 2019 tradeweb.ltd is a private limited company registered in United Kingdom under Company No. 09617457”. The website also contains an image of a certificate of incorporation given at Companies House, Cardiff, May 21, 2018, corresponding to TRADEWEB L.L.C., Company Number 8-49994. However, there is no evidence that Respondent has any relationship either to Trade Web Limited or to Tradeweb L.L.C. In fact, Complainant submitted as evidence an email dated August 2, 2020 sent by Trade Web Limited to Complainants’ counsel, stating that this company has “nothing to do with the website mentioned on the letter” (i.e., the website at the disputed domain name) and that their address was used without their permission. It appears that Respondent, a resident in Nigeria, has no links to Tradeweb Limited LLC or to any “Trade Web company” in the United Kingdom.
In addition, Complainant has shown that Tradeweb L.L.C., a company appearing on a certificate of incorporation displayed on the website at the disputed domain name, simply does not exist, and that the company number shown in the certificate corresponds to an unrelated entity. In short, it is evident that the owner of the website did not hesitate to forge a document in order to suggest a false relationship to a company.
Given the wide renown of Complainant as a trading platform for financial products, it is clear that through these utterly false statements, Respondent has attempted to create the impression that the website belongs to or is related to Complainants, in order to attract Internet users presumably looking for Complainants’ website. On the website at the disputed domain name, such users are invited to sign up and register to invest in, inter alia, “profitable and reliable investment´s plans”. These plans include a “3% daily for 2 days” plan, with a minimum investment of $50, “a 4% daily for 3 days” plan, with a minimum investment of $1,000, a “6% daily for 4 days” plan, with a minimum investment of $5000, and a “8% daily for 4 days” plan, with a minimum investment of $10,000.1 In the view of the Panel, these unrealistic returns strongly suggest that Respondent has set up a deceptive and fraudulent scheme aimed at luring inadvertent Internet users.
Moreover, in the “About Us” section of the website at the disputed domain name there is a text reading, “The Company obtained permission from UK company house [SIC] to operate as financial institution under the Financial institutions Act 1993 [SIC] on December 22, 1999 and listed in London Stock Exchange.” In this regard, the Panel agrees with Complainant that such Act simply does not exist. The Panel observes that there is no “Financial institutions Act 1993”. A “Finance Act 1993”, creating certain duties, does exist, but has nothing to do with financial institutions or authorized financial agents.2 Therefore, it is evident that Respondent is using false statements to create an impression of financial and professional soundness in Internet users visiting the website.
Obviously, this use of the disputed domain name is neither a bona fide use under Policy paragraph 4(c)(i), nor a fair or legitimate noncommercial use, without intent for commercial gain to misleadingly divert consumers under Policy paragraph 4 (c)(iii). Therefore, Complainant has succeeded in raising a prima facie case that Respondent lacks any rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name.
For its part, Respondent failed to present the Panel with any explanation as to its reasons to register and use the disputed domain name as shown. The Panel concludes that Respondent does not have any rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
Complainants have shown that the Second Complainant registered the TRADEWEB trademark in 1998, well over two decades before Respondent registered the disputed domain name. Complainants also have shown that on their trading platform, operated under the TRADEWEB trademark, a substantial trading of bonds and other financial instruments is being conducted daily. Moreover, Complainants’ platform has received numerous awards from publications and organizations specialized in that field. Annex 3 to the Complaint. It is therefore more likely than not that Respondent knew of, and targeted Complainants and their TRADEWEB marks at the time of registering the disputed domain name. Given the use of the website at the disputed domain name as shown, the Panel finds that such registration was in bad faith.
Complainants also have shown that Respondent is using Complainants’ name and TRADEWEB mark for a website at the disputed domain name to attract Internet users presumably looking for Complainants’ mark and website. Respondent is using a false incorporation certificate to support its offer of “investment plans” promising unrealistically high returns to be reaped in a few days, as well as a certificate of another company without authorization from its authorities, presumably to induce those users to undertake risky transactions. Whether or not such offering of investment products is itself illegal, it is clear that Respondent is deliberately creating confusion with Complainant´s TRADEWEB platform for commercial gain, which is evidence of registration and use in bad faith under Policy paragraph 4(b)(iv).
The Panel concludes that the disputed domain name was 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 <tradeweb.ltd> be transferred to the First Complainant, Tradeweb Europe Limited.
Date: November 14, 2020
1 On October 30, 2020, the Panel, in exercise of its general powers under Rules paragraph 10(a), visited the website at the disputed domain name
2 See United Kingdom’s Finance Act 1993, “An Act to grant certain duties, to alter other duties, and to amend the law relating to the National Debt and the Public Revenue, and to make further provision in connection with Finance”, at https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1993/34/introduction (visited on November 2, 2020.)