WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Accenture Global Services Limited v. Contact Privacy Inc. Customer 1248189542 / Gary Gasgstetter
Case No. D2020-2778
1. The Parties
Complainant is Accenture Global Services Limited, Ireland, represented by McDermott Will & Emery LLP, United States of America (“United States”).
Respondent is Contact Privacy Inc. Customer 1248189542, Canada / Gary Gasgstetter, United States.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <accenturplc.com> (the “Disputed Domain Name”) is registered with Google LLC (the “Registrar”).
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on October 22, 2020. On October 22, 2020, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the Disputed Domain Name. On October 22, 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 October 23, 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 October 30, 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 November 3, 2020. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was November 23, 2020. Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified Respondent’s default on November 25, 2020.
The Center appointed Peter Wild as the sole panelist in this matter on December 4, 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
Complainant is an international business which has been providing a wide range of services in the field of strategy, consulting and digital technology since 2001. It operates in more than 50 countries. Complainant is the owner of many trademark registrations, in 140 countries, for ACCENTURE, e.g. United States Trademark Registration No. 76154620 filed on October 26, 2000.
The Disputed Domain Name was registered on September 22, 2020, and it currently does not resolve to an active website.
5. Parties’ Contentions
Complainant shows an international portfolio of trademark protection for ACCENTURE, all of the trademarks clearly predating the registration of the Disputed Domain Name. According to Complainant, the Disputed Domain Name is confusingly similar to Complainant’s trademark ACCENTURE as it is included almost in its entirety. The generic Top-Level Domain (“gTLD”) “.com” does not influence the overall impression and is irrelevant for recognising the identity of the Disputed Domain Name. According to Complainant, the addition of a gTLD to the Disputed Domain Name is completely without legal significance and removing the final letter “e” of the ACCENTURE trademark and replacing it with the letters “plc” in the Disputed Domain Name constitutes “typosquatting” and is insufficient to materially distinguish a domain name from another’s trademark. The trademark ACCENTURE is worldwide well-known and enjoys a high reputation, which Complainant supports with evidence of awards and rankings.
Complainant furthermore claims that Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the term “accenture” and that the Disputed Domain Name has been registered and used in bad faith to profit from the well-known status of Complainant’s trademark.
Respondent did not reply to Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
Complainant is owner of the well-known trademark ACCENTURE in many countries, going back almost 20 years. Complainant shows with awards and listings that its trademark is well known. Previous UDRP panels have confirmed that ACCENTURE is a well-known trademark. In addition, a number of previous UDRP panels confirmed Complainant’s rights. See Accenture Global Services Limited v. ICS Inc./PrivacyProtect.org, WIPO Case No. D2013-2098.
The Disputed Domain Name contains, almost in its entirety and prominently, Complainant’s trademark ACCENTURE. The addition of a gTLD to the Disputed Domain Name is “completely without legal significance.” See PepsiCo, Inc. v. PEPSI, SRL and EMS Computer Industry, WIPO Case No. D2003-0696. Removing the final letter “e” of the ACCENTURE trademark and replacing it with the letters “plc” in the Disputed Domain Name is insufficient to prevent a finding of confusing similarity between the Domain Name and Complainant’s trademark. See Accenture Global Services Limited v. Mark Gregory, WIPO Case No. D2019-1334.
In line with this, the Panel decides that Complainant has rights in the trademark ACCENTURE and that the Disputed Domain Name is confusingly similar to Complainant’s trademark.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
Complainant is required to make out a prima facie case that Respondent lacks rights or legitimate interests, see Croatia Airlines d.d. v. Modern Empire Internet Ltd., WIPO Case No. D2003-0455. Once such prima facie case is made, Respondent carries the burden of demonstrating rights or legitimate interests in the Disputed Domain Name. If Respondent fails to do so, Complainant is deemed to have satisfied paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy.
There is no reason to believe that Respondent’s name somehow corresponds with the Disputed Domain Name and Respondent does not appear to have any trademark rights associated with the term “accenture”. See VUR Village Trading No. 1 Limited t/a Village Hotels v. Carolina Rodrigues, Fundacion Comercio Electronico, WIPO Case No. D2019-1596.
Respondent is not identified in the WhoIs database as “accenture”. Previous UDRP panels have held that a respondent was not commonly known by a disputed domain name for example if the WhoIs information was not similar to the disputed domain name. There is not any evidence in the case file showing that Respondent may be commonly known as “accenture”. The Panel therefore finds under paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy that Respondent is not commonly known by the Disputed Domain Name.
According to Complainant, Respondent is not affiliated with nor authorized by Complainant in any way to use the trademark and there is no other plausible reason for registration of the Disputed Domain Name than to take advantage of the goodwill and reputation associated with the trademark ACCENTURE. Furthermore, the Disputed Domain Name does not point to any active page which would indicate that Respondent did make any legitimate or bona fide use of Disputed Domain Name since its registration and Respondent did not file any such claims.
Based on these facts, the Panel holds that Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Disputed Domain Name.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
Complainant’s trademark ACCENTURE has been found to be well-known by previous UDRP panels, see section A above.
Given the distinctiveness of Complainant’s trademarks and reputation at the time of the registration of the Disputed Domain Name, it is reasonable to infer that Respondent has registered the Disputed Domain Name with full knowledge of Complainant’s trademarks, constituting opportunistic bad faith. The Panel finds it hard to see any other explanation than Respondent knew Complainant’s well-known trademark. See Ferrari S.p.A v. American Entertainment Group Inc, WIPO Case No. D2004-0673 and Revlon Consumer Products Corporation v. Terry Baumer, WIPO Case No. D2011-1051. The fact that Respondent did hide behind a privacy service for the registration is a further element in this case, which previous UDRP panels have seen as an indication of bad faith registration, see Accenture Global Services Limited v. Contact Privacy Inc. Customer 1245862228, Contact Privacy Inc. Customer 1245862228 / Michael Terry, WIPO Case No. D2019-3211.
Furthermore, the Disputed Domain Name points to no active page which could indicate any legitimate and good faith use. Passive holding has repeatedly been held to be bad faith use by previous UDRP panels, if certain circumstances are present. The WIPO Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions, Third Edition (“WIPO Overview 3.0”), at section 3.3, describes the circumstances under which the passive holding of a domain will be considered to be a bad faith registration: “While panelists will look at the totality of the circumstances in each case, factors that have been considered relevant in applying the passive holding doctrine include: (i) the degree of distinctiveness or reputation of the complainant’s mark, (ii) the failure of the respondent to submit a response or to provide any evidence of actual or contemplated good-faith use, (iii) the respondent’s concealing its identity or use of false contact details (noted to be in breach of its registration agreement), and (iv) the implausibility of any good faith use to which the domain name may be put.” See Andrey Ternovskiy dba Chatroulette v. WhoisGuard Protected, WhoisGuard, Inc. / Armando Machado, WIPO Case No. D2018-0082.
In the case at hand, all these elements are present and the selection of the Disputed Domain Name appears clearly to be connected to Complainant’s trademark; such use by someone with no affiliation with Complainant strongly suggests opportunistic bad faith, see Singapore Airlines Ltd. v. European Travel Network, WIPO Case No. D2000-0641; and Wikimedia Foundation Inc. v. Kevo Ouz a/k/a Online Marketing Realty, WIPO Case No. D2009-0798, where the panel also highlighted the fact that complainant’s mark predated respondent’s registration of the domain name, which is also true in the current case. Complainant contends that Respondent has not demonstrated any activity in respect of the Disputed Domain Name. It is not possible to conceive of any plausible actual or contemplated active use of the Disputed Domain Name by Respondent that would not be illegitimate or take advantage of the composition of the Disputed Domain Name and its similarity with the trademark ACCENTURE. See Telstra Corporation Limited v. Nuclear Marshmallows, WIPO Case No. D2000-0003.
For these reasons, the Panel concludes that Respondent has registered and is using the Disputed Domain Name 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 <accenturplc.com> be transferred to the Complainant.
Date: December 17, 2020