WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center

ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION

Hays plc v. Aditya Sharma

Case No. D2020-3550

1. The Parties

Complainant is Hays plc, United Kingdom, represented by Osborne Clarke, United Kingdom.

Respondent is Aditya Sharma, India.

2. The Domain Name and Registrar

The disputed domain name <hays-recruiter.com> 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 December 30, 2020. On December 30, 2020, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On December 31, 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 January 12, 2021, 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 January 15, 2021.

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 January 19, 2021. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was February 8, 2021. Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified Respondent’s default on February 11, 2021.

The Center appointed M. Scott Donahey as the sole panelist in this matter on February 24, 2021. 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 a leading global expert in qualified professional and skilled recruitment. It employs 11,000 people worldwide. Complainant through its predecessors, was founded over 50 years ago in the United Kingdom. In the 1970’s it expanded into Australia and Ireland, and in the 1980’s its rapid expansion continued. It became part of Hays plc and became known as Hays, the core brand of Complainant’s recruiting business today. In 2019, Complainant placed more than 81,000 people in permanent jobs and 254,000 people in temporary and contractor roles, with a global profit before taxes of just over GBP 231 million. Complaint, Annex 4.

Complainant is the owner of a number of trademarks consisting of or incorporating the mark HAYS. Trademarks consisting solely of the mark HAYS were registered in the United States of America (October 25, 2011), in the European Union (October 19, 1999), and in the United Kingdom (October 16, 1992). Complaint, Annex 5.

Respondent registered the disputed domain name on September 2, 2020. Complaint, Annex 1. Almost immediately following the registration, Respondent used the disputed domain name to transmit emails to members of the public offering recruitment services. Complaint, Annex 6. To those who replied to Respondent’s emails, Respondent requested that they furnish confidential documents such as certificates and passports. Respondent frequently offered to provide verification certificates for a fee. In these communications, Respondent held itself out as employees or affiliates of Complainant. Complaint, Annex 6.

Attempts by Complainant to contact Respondent directly using the telephone numbers displayed in the emails have been unsuccessful.

The “job listing” in respect of which Respondent has contacted those who replied to Respondent’s email originated from “www.shine.com”, a recruitment website. Communications from a forum post on “www.quora.com” indicate that members of the public believe “www.shine.com” to frequently be used to perpetrate fraud. Complaint, Annex 7.

5. Parties’ Contentions

A. Complainant

Complainant contends that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to its HAYS registered trademark. Complainant asserts that Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name. Finally, Complainant alleges that the disputed domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.

B. Respondent

Respondent did not reply to Complainant’s contentions.

6. Discussion and Findings

“A Panel shall decide a complaint on the basis of the statements and documents submitted and in accordance with the Policy, these Rules and any rules and principles of law that it deems applicable.”

Paragraph 4(a) of the Policy directs that the complainant must prove each of the following:

(i) that the domain name registered by the respondent is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which the complainant has rights; and,

(ii) that the respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the domain name; and,

(iii) that the domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.

A. Identical or Confusingly Similar

The disputed domain name consists of the longstanding HAYS trademark registered by Complainant followed by a hyphen and the English word, ”recruiter,” which word is descriptive of the business in which Complainant has long been involved and for which Complainant is well known. Accordingly, the Panel finds that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to Complainant’s trademark.

B. Rights or Legitimate Interests

While the overall burden of proof in UDRP proceedings is on the complainant, UDRP panels have recognized that proving a respondent lacks rights or legitimate interests in a domain name may result in the often impossible task of “proving a negative”, requiring information that is often primarily within the knowledge or control of the respondent. As such, where a complainant makes out a prima facie case that the respondent lacks rights or legitimate interests, the burden of production on this element shifts to the respondent to come forward with relevant evidence demonstrating rights or legitimate interests in the domain name. If the respondent fails to come forward with such relevant evidence, the complainant is deemed to have satisfied the second element. WIPO Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions, Third Edition (“WIPO Overview 3.0”), section 2.1.

In the present case, Complainant alleges that Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name and Respondent has failed to assert any such rights. Accordingly, the Panel finds that Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name.

C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith

Respondent is using the disputed domain name as a source of communications to Internet users seeking to utilize Complainant’s services as an employment recruiter. Respondent is seeking to persuade Internet users seeking employment positions that Respondent is affiliated with Complainant, and that if Internet users would provide them with certain confidential documents or payment for services, Respondent, acting as an affiliate of Complainant, would assist the user in finding gainful employment. Respondent seeks money and/or confidential documents in order to assist the Internet user in obtaining a position. In order to persuade job hunters that it is legitimate, Respondent poses as an employee or agent of Complainant. Accordingly, the Panel finds that Respondent has registered and is using the disputed domain name in bad faith.

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 disputed domain name <hays-recruiter.com>, be transferred to Complainant.

M. Scott Donahey
Sole Panelist
Date: March 3, 2021