WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
SODEXO v. Carolina Rodrigues
Case No. D2020-2475
1. The Parties
Complainant is SODEXO, France, represented by Areopage, France.
Respondent is Carolina Rodrigues, Panama.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <sodexeo.com> (the “Disputed Domain Name”) is registered with GoDaddy.com, LLC (the “Registrar”).
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on September 24, 2020. On September 24, 2020, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the Disputed Domain Name. On September 25, 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 Complainant on September 28, 2020 providing the registrant and contact information disclosed by the Registrar, and inviting Complainant to submit an amendment to the Complaint. Complainant filed an amended Complaint on September 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 Respondent of the Complaint, and the proceedings commenced on October 5, 2020. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was October 25, 2020. Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified Respondent’s default on October 27, 2020.
The Center appointed Lawrence K. Nodine as the sole panelist in this matter on November 10, 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
Founded in 1966, Complainant, SODEXO (formerly known as SODEXHO), is one of the largest companies in the world that specializes in food services and facilities management. Complainant operates in 67 countries across the globe, with 470,000 employees and 100 million consumers. Through its website, “www.sodexo.com”, Complainant uses the mark SODEXO in connection with restaurant and catering services as well as facility management and workplace services. Complainant also has a specific domain name dedicated to its operations in Panama <sodexo.pa>. Complainant owns numerous trademark registrations in various jurisdictions for its SODEXO and SODEXHO trademarks, including International Trade Mark Registration 964615, registered on January 8, 2008 for SODEXO & Design based on French Trade Mark Registration 073513766, registered on July 16, 2007.
Complainant has brought three prior disputes against Respondent for SODEXO-formative domain names. Respondent registered the current Disputed Domain Name on September 4, 2020. Complainant provided evidence that the Disputed Domain Name resolved to a parking page featuring per-per-click (“PPC”) links relating to food. The Disputed Domain Name does not presently resolve to an active website.
5. Parties’ Contentions
Complainant asserts that it has established rights in the marks SODEXO and SODEXHO, and that the Disputed Domain Name is confusingly similar to SODEXO, merely adding an extra “e” to Complainant’s mark.
Complainant also asserts that Respondent lacks rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Disputed Domain Name. According to Complainant, Complainant has not authorized, licensed or otherwise permitted Respondent’s use of the SODEXO and SODEXHO marks. Further, Complainant alleges Respondent is not actively using the Disputed Domain Name in connection with a website.
As to Respondent’s bad faith, Complainant contends that Respondent registered and is using the Disputed Domain as a parking page featuring PPC links to Complainant’s competitor’s websites for restaurants. Complainant asserts that Respondent is using the Disputed Domain to exploit potential confusion with the well-known marks SODEXO / SODEXHO by attracting Internet users and inciting them to click on third party commercial links. According to Complainant, Respondent knew or should have been aware of Complainant’s SODEXO/SODEXHO mark at the time Respondent registered the Disputed Domain Name, as Respondent has been in three prior domain disputes with Complainant for the four following SODEXO-formative disputed domains: <sodexorewardhib.com>, <benefitssodexo.com>, <sodexovoya.com> and <sodexobenefifscdnter.com>.
Thus, according to Complainant, Respondent registered and is using the Disputed Domain Name in bad faith.
Respondent did not reply to Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
Complainant’s trademark registrations establish that it has rights in the SODEXO and SODEXHO marks. The Disputed Domain Name is confusingly similar to the SODEXO mark. Replacing one letter in Complainant’s mark does not dispel the confusing similarity.
Complainant has satisfied paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Policy.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
Complainant has presented a prima facie case for Respondent’s lack of rights or legitimate interests in the Disputed Domain Name, which Respondent has failed to rebut. Moreover, Respondent’s use of the Disputed Domain Name in connection with a PPC website is not a legitimate bona fide use. See WIPO Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions, Third Edition (“WIPO Overview 3.0”), section 2.9.
The Panel finds that Complainant has satisfied paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
The Panel finds that Respondent has registered and used the Disputed Domain Name in bad faith. The Disputed Domain Name consists of Complainant’s SODEXO mark, along with an additional letter “e” after the “x.” Given the similarity between Complainant’s marks and the Disputed Domain Name, as well as the fact that Complainant’s use of its marks predates Respondent’s registration of the Disputed Domain Name, it is more likely than not that Respondent registered the Disputed Domain Name with the intent to create a likelihood of confusion with Complainant’s marks.
Many Internet Users will mistakenly type the Disputed Domain Name. The Panel finds that Respondent intentionally created this opportunity for typographical error. Government Employees Insurance Company v. Domain Administrator, Fundacion Privacy Services Ltd, WIPO Case No. D2018-2527. Indeed, this is manifestly Respondent’s deliberate pattern - Complainant prevailed against Respondent in three prior UDRP cases involving the SODEXO trademark. The Panel finds that Respondent has engaged in a flagrant pattern of bad faith registration and use of domain names likely to be confused with Complainant’s marks.
The Panel also finds that Respondent’s use of the disputed domain name in connection with a website with pay-per-click links for services competitive with Complainant’s services demonstrates bad faith use. See id., Wayfair LLC v. Xiamen Privacy Protection Service Co., Ltd. / zhang qin, WIPO Case No. D2018-2032. The fact that the Disputed Domain Name does not presently resolve to an active website, does not prevent a finding of bad faith.
Complainant has satisfied 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 <sodexeo.com> be transferred to Complainant.
Lawrence K. Nodine
Date: November 24, 2020