WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Accenture Global Services Limited v. Privacy Protection / Yabani Eze, Sugarcane Internet Nigeria Limited
Case No. D2021-0311
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Accenture Global Services Limited, Ireland, represented by McDermott Will & Emery LLP, United States of America.
The Respondent is Privacy Protection, United States of America / Yabani Eze, Sugarcane Internet Nigeria Limited, Nigeria.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <careersataccenture.com> is registered with Sav.com, LLC (the “Registrar”).
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on February 2, 2021. On February 2, 2021, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On February 23, 2021, 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 February 24, 2021 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 February 27, 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 the Respondent of the Complaint, and the proceedings commenced on March 2, 2021. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was March 22, 2021. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on March 23, 2021.
The Center appointed Lorenz Ehrler as the sole panelist in this matter on April 15, 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
The Complainant is a company of the Accenture group that provides various business consulting services. The Accenture group has offices and operations in more than 50 countries.
Since the year 2000, the Complainant owns the trademark ACCENTURE, which now materializes in more than 1,000 trademark registrations claiming various goods and services in more than 140 countries. It also owns and operates a website at “www.accenture.com”.
The Complainant’s trademarks and domain name put forward in the Complaint were thus registered long before the registration of the disputed domain name <careersataccenture.com>. The disputed domain name was registered by the Respondent on November 29, 2020.
The disputed domain name <careersataccenture.com> resolves to a hosted website that promotes sponsored click-through links and websites. In other words, it redirects users to sponsored websites.
5. Parties’ Contentions
The Complainant contends that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to its ACCENTURE trademarks. It stresses the fact that the disputed domain name entirely comprises the aforementioned distinctive sign.
Furthermore, the Complainant states that the Respondent is not affiliated or related to it in any way, and that it did not authorize the Respondent to use the trademark and trade name in question. The Complainant also states that the Respondent is not generally known by the disputed domain name and that it has not acquired any trademark rights in it.
Lastly, the Complainant contends that the Respondent uses the disputed domain name and the website operated under the disputed domain name in a way to create confusion with the Complainant’s trademark ACCENTURE, and with the purpose of generating revenue by running click-through links or to redirect users to sponsored websites, which in its view constitutes bad faith.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
According to paragraph 4(a) of the Policy, the Complainant must prove that:
(i) the disputed 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) the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name; and
(iii) the disputed domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The Complainant holds several trademarks for ACCENTURE. These trademarks are registered for various goods and services, in more than 140 countries of the world. The trademarks put forward by the Complainant are sufficient to ground the Complaint.
Under the UDRP, the identical or confusingly similar requirement under paragraph 4(a) of the Policy only requires identity or confusing similarity between the Complainant’s trademarks and the Respondent’s disputed domain name. There is no requirement of similarity of goods and/or services (e.g., AIB-Vincotte Belgium ASBL, AIB-Vincotte USA Inc. / Corporation Texas v. Guillermo Lozada, Jr., WIPO Case No. D2005-0485).
The existence of a confusing similarity within the meaning of paragraph 4(a) of the Policy is not in doubt in the present case, given that the main element in the disputed domain name, i.e. “accenture”, is identical with the Complainant’s distinctive trademark ACCENTURE. The incorporation of a trademark in its entirety is typically sufficient to establish that a domain name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark (RapidShare AG, Christian Schmid v. InvisibleRegistration.com, Domain Admin, WIPO Case No. D2010-1059). The other elements of the disputed domain name, i.e. the elements “careers” and “at”, are not sufficient to avoid confusing similarity. Indeed, the addition of merely dictionary words to a trademark in a domain name is insufficient to avoid a finding of confusing similarity under the first element of the UDRP (Ansell Healthcare Products Inc. v. Australian Therapeutics Supplies Pty, Ltd., WIPO Case No. D2001-0110, Swarovski Aktiengesellschaft v. new-swarovskicrystal-shop.net, WIPO Case No. D2013-1043).
As far as the generic Top-Level Domain (“gTLD”) “.com” is concerned, this element has a technical function and therefore does not need to be taken into account when assessing the issue of identity or confusing similarity.
The Panel therefore finds that paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Policy is satisfied.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
The Complainant contends that the Respondent does not have any rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. The Complainant has shown that it owns the ACCENTURE trademark, and it has explicitly contested having granted the Respondent any right to use its trademark.
In particular, Complainant contends (i) that the Respondent has not been commonly known as “Accenture” and (ii) that it has not used, or demonstrably prepared to use, the disputed domain name in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services. To the contrary, the Complainant has shown that the disputed domain name resolves to a website that contains sponsored links to third party websites, which – in the absence of any authorisation by the Complainant – cannot be possibly viewed as a bona fide use. Actually, it seems very likely that the Respondent receives commercial revenue from the display of links to third party offerings. For this reason, there is no bona fide offering of goods or services according to paragraph 4(c)(i) of the Policy (Baccarat SA v. Speedeenames.com / Troy Rushton, WIPO Case No. D2010-0953).
Therefore, the Complainant has made a prima facie showing that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. In line with previous UDRP panel decisions, this means that the burden of production shifts to the Respondent (e.g., Belupo d.d. v. WACHEM d.o.o, WIPO Case No. D2004-0110; Croatia Airlines d.d. v. Modern Empire Internet Ltd., WIPO Case No. D2003-0455).
The Respondent having failed to respond to the Complaint, this Panel concludes that the Respondent does not have any rights or legitimate interests with respect to the disputed domain name.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
It results from the Panel’s factual findings that the Respondent primarily registered and is using the disputed domain name to display links to third party websites, and that it thereby intends to generate commercial revenue. The Panel therefore finds that by using the Complainant’s trademark as the distinctive element of the disputed domain name, the Respondent creates a risk of confusion, at least in the sense that the visitors to the website will, at least initially, expect a website operated by the Complainant, or by someone associated with the Complainant. ln any case, the visitors will have the impression that the website to which the disputed domain name resolves is associated with, or endorsed by, the owner of the ACCENTURE trademark, i.e.,the Complainant.
The Complainant rightly points out that, due to the indisputable notoriety of the ACCENTURE trademark, the Respondent cannot have ignored the trademark when registering the disputed domain name.
The Panel thus finds that the Respondent registered and is using the disputed domain name to intentionally attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to its website, by creating a likelihood of confusion with the Complainant’s mark as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation, or endorsement of its website (paragraph 4(b)(iv) of the Policy).
The Panel therefore finds that paragraph 4(a)(iii) of the Policy is satisfied.
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 <careersataccenture.com> be transferred to the Complainant.
Date: April 23, 2021