WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center

ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION

Sodexo v. WhoisGuard Protected, WhoisGuard, Inc. / Gabriella Garlo

Case No. D2021-0465

1. The Parties

The Complainant is Sodexo, France, represented by Areopage, France.

The Respondent is WhoisGuard Protected, WhoisGuard, Inc., Panama, / Gabriella Garlo, Brazil.

2. The Domain Name and Registrar

The disputed domain name <sodexo.link> is registered with NameCheap, Inc. (the “Registrar”).

3. Procedural History

The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on February 15, 2021. On February 16, 2021, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On February 16, 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 17, 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 19, 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 February 24, 2021. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was March 16, 2021. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on March 17, 2021.

The Center appointed Nayiri Boghossian as the sole panelist in this matter on March 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

The Complainant was founded in 1966 and operates in the field of foodservices and facilities management. Between 1966 and 2008, the Complainant operated under the trademark SODEXHO, which has since then been changed to SODEXO. The Complainant uses the domain name <sodexo.com> to provide its services.

The Complainant owns a number of trademark registrations for the trademark SODEXO such as International Registration no. 964615, registered on January 8, 2008, and International Registration no. 1240316, registered on October 23, 2014, and European Union Trademark Registration no. 008346462, registered on February 1, 2010.

The Respondent registered the disputed domain name on September 7, 2020.

5. Parties’ Contentions

A. Complainant

The Complainant contends that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to the Complainant’s trademark SODEXO/ SODEXHO. The trademark SODEXO has been considered well known by previous UDRP panels. The disputed domain name is identical to the Complainant’s trademark SODEXO and company name.

The Complainant contends that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. The Respondent is not affiliated with nor authorized by the Complainant to use its trademark. The Respondent was not commonly known by the disputed domain name.

The Complainant contends that the disputed domain name was registered and is being used in bad faith. The Respondent was aware of the Complainant’s trademark SODEXO as it is a fanciful word that has no meaning and a well-known trademark. As per prior UDRP panels, knowledge of the trademark is an inference of bad faith. The disputed domain name resolves to a website that spreads virus, which is considered by prior UDRP panels as evidence of bad faith.

B. Respondent

The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.

6. Discussion and Findings

A. Identical or Confusingly Similar

The Complainant owns trademark registrations for the trademark SODEXO. The Panel is satisfied that the Complainant has established its ownership of the trademark SODEXO.

The disputed domain name comprises the Complainant’s trademark SODEXO in its entirety. The generic Top-Level Domain (“gTLD”) “.link” should generally be ignored when assessing confusing similarity as established by prior UDRP decisions.

Consequently, the Panel finds that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to the trademark of the Complainant and that the Complainant has satisfied paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Policy.

B. Rights or Legitimate Interests

The Complainant has made a prima facie showing that the Respondent does not have any rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name, particularly by asserting that it never authorized the Respondent to use its trademark as part of the disputed domain name.

The Respondent has not provided evidence of circumstances of the types specified in paragraph 4(c) of the Policy, or of any other circumstances, giving rise to rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name.

Moreover, the Panel finds that the disputed domain name carries a high risk of implied affiliation. See section 2.5.1 of the WIPO Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions, Third Edition (“WIPO Overview 3.0”).

Consequently, the Panel finds that the Complainant has met the requirement under the Policy of showing that the Respondent does not have any rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. Accordingly, the Complainant has satisfied paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy.

C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith

The Complainant’s trademark is a well-known trademark as established by prior UDRP decisions. It had been registered for more than a decade by the time the disputed domain name was registered. Also, the trademark SODEXO is fanciful as it does not have a dictionary meaning. Therefore, the Respondent must have been fully aware of the Complainant and its trademark when it registered the disputed domain name.

The disputed domain name resolves to a webpage that according to the material on file seems to distribute virus, which is evidence of bad faith. See section 3.4 of the WIPO Overview 3.0. Lastly, the Respondent used a privacy service, which in the circumstances of this case is a further indication of bad faith.

Accordingly, the Panel finds that the Complainant has satisfied paragraph 4(a)(iii) of the Policy.

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 <sodexo.link> be transferred to the Complainant.

Nayiri Boghossian
Sole Panelist
Date: April 7, 2021