WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Archer-Daniels-Midland Company v. WhoisGuard Protected, WhoisGuard, Inc. / Todd Peter
Case No. D2020-2222
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Archer-Daniels-Midland Company, United States of America (“United States”), represented by Innis Law Group LLC, United States.
The Respondent is WhoisGuard Protected, WhoisGuard, Inc., Panama / Todd Peter, Canada.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <ca-adm.com> 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 21, 2020. On August 24, 2020, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On August 24, 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 August 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 August 29, 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 September 11, 2020. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was October 1, 2020. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on October 9, 2020.
The Center appointed Tobias Zuberbühler as the sole panelist in this matter on October 23, 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 was founded in 1902 and is presently an international company in the nutrition industry with over 30,000 employees serving more than 140 countries around the world, including the United States, India and Canada. The Complainant is a market leader in various business areas and maintains its global presence online, via its various websites. The ADM trademark was adopted and has been continuously used in the United States since as early as 1923 in connection with numerous products and services.
The Complainant owns numerous trademark registrations for the ADM trademark in the United States, India, and Canada for a wide range of goods and services, including the United States trademark ADM (Reg. No. 2769690, registered on September 30, 2003), the Indian trademark ADM (Reg. No. 2223754, registered on October 20, 2011) and the Canadian trademark ADM (Reg. No. TMA707334, registered on February 13, 2008).
The Complainant further holds the domain name <adm.com> under which the official website of the Complainant is available. The Complainant holds several other domain names incorporating the ADM trademark. The Complainant advertises and sells its services through its <adm.com> domain name.
The disputed domain name was registered on March 20, 2020. Fraudulent emails regarding non-existent job opportunities at the Complainant’s Canadian subsidiary were sent from an email address incorporating the disputed domain name. In the meantime, the website has been flagged as a suspected phishing site.
5. Parties’ Contentions
The Complainant alleges that it has satisfied all elements of the Policy, paragraph 4(a).
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
On the basis of the facts and evidence introduced by the Complainant, and with regard to paragraphs 4(a), (b) and (c) of the Policy, the Panel concludes as follows:
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The Complainant has submitted sufficient evidence to demonstrate its registered rights in the ADM trademark.
The ADM trademark is wholly reproduced in the disputed domain name.
A domain name is “identical or confusingly similar” to a trademark for the purposes of the Policy when the domain name includes the trademark, or a confusingly similar approximation, regardless of other terms in the domain name (Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Richard MacLeod d/b/a For Sale, WIPO Case No. D2000-0662).
The Complainant’s ADM trademark is recognizable within the disputed domain name. Section 1.8 of the WIPO Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions, Third Edition (“WIPO Overview 3.0”) establishes that the addition of other terms (whether descriptive, geographical, pejorative, meaningless, or otherwise) would not prevent a finding of confusing similarity under the first element. Hence, the addition of the term “ca”, which stands for the two-letter country code for Canada, does not prevent a finding of confusing similarity.
The Complainant has thus fulfilled the requirements of paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Policy.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
There are no indications before the Panel of any rights or legitimate interests of the Respondent in respect of the disputed domain name. The Complainant contends that the Respondent is neither affiliated with the Complainant nor making any bona fide use of the disputed domain name.
The Complainant has credibly demonstrated that the Respondent used the disputed domain name and an email address incorporating the disputed domain name for collecting user data, including personal details and passport details, by masquerading as a recruiter for non-existent job opportunities at the Complainant’s Canadian subsidiary. This cannot be considered as a bona fide offering of goods or services or a noncommercial use.
Based on the Complainant’s credible contentions, the Panel finds that the Complainant, having made out a prima facie case which remains unrebutted by the Respondent, has fulfilled the requirements of paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
Under the circumstances of this case, it can be inferred that the Respondent was aware of the Complainant’s trademark when registering the disputed domain name.
The evidence submitted by the Complainant supports a finding that the Respondent was engaged in an attempt to pass himself off as the Complainant and to use an email address related to the disputed domain name for his own commercial benefit. The Respondent therefore used the disputed domain name in bad faith (see Claudie Pierlot v. Yinglong Ma, WIPO Case No. D2018-2466).
Accordingly, the Complainant has also fulfilled 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 <ca-adm.com> be transferred to the Complainant.
Date: November 6, 2020