WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Accenture Global Services Limited v. Registration Private, Domains By Proxy, LLC / Name Redacted
Case No. D2021-0479
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Accenture Global Services Limited, Ireland, represented by McDermott Will & Emery LLP, United States of America (“United States”).
The Respondent is Registration Private, Domains By Proxy, LLC, United States / Name Redacted.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <accenturebusiness.com> is registered with Wild West Domains, LLC (the “Registrar”).
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on February 17, 2021. On February 17, 2021, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On February 17, 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 18, 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 23, 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 25, 2021. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was March 17, 2021. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on March 21, 2021.
The Center appointed Angelica Lodigiani as the sole panelist in this matter on April 1, 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 an Irish company that operates in 51 countries worldwide, providing a broad range of services and solutions in strategy, consulting, digital, technology and operations, under the trademark ACCENTURE. The Complainant is using its ACCENTURE trademark since 2001.
The Complainant owns a wide range of registrations for the trademark ACCENTURE in more than 140 countries worldwide, among these, United States trademark registration No. 3091811, filed on October 6, 2000 and registered on May 16, 2006, for various goods and services in classes 9, 16, 35, 36, 37, 41 and 42.
The Respondent registered the disputed domain name on January 5, 2021, using a privacy service and giving as his name the name of one of the Complainant’s officers. The disputed domain name leads to a parking page containing sponsored links providing access to third parties’ websites.
5. Parties’ Contentions
As a preliminary request, the Complainant asked for the redaction of the name of the Respondent from this decision. As the Respondent’s name coincides with the name of one of the Complainant’s officers, listing his name as the Respondent in this case would undermine his reputation.
On the merits of the case, the Complainant contends that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to the ACCENTURE trademarks as the only difference between the two signs is the addition of the descriptive term “business”. As the trademark ACCENTURE is entirely reproduced in the disputed domain name, and the term “business” lacks distinctive character, the Internet users are very likely to be confused as to whether an association exists between the disputed domain name and the Complainant.
The Complainant further contends that the Respondent lacks rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name for various reasons.
According to the Complainant, the Respondent is neither affiliated with the Complainant, nor has it been licensed or permitted to use the Complainant’s ACCENTURE trademarks or any domain name incorporating these trademarks. To the best of the Complainant’s knowledge and belief, the Respondent is not commonly known by the disputed domain name. The disputed domain name was registered under the name of [Name Redacted], an officer of the Complainant who denied his involvement in the registration of the disputed domain name. Therefore, the Respondent has chosen the disputed domain name to create a direct affiliation with the Complainant and its business. The Respondent is using the dispute domain name to resolve to a website containing sponsored click-through links and websites, which are likely to generate income to the Respondent from misdirected traffic from the trademark in which the Complainant has rights. In view of the foregoing, the Respondent is not making a legitimate, noncommercial fair use of the disputed domain name without intent for commercial gain. Rather, it appears that the Respondent has chosen the disputed domain name to trade off the reputation and goodwill associated with the Complainant’s trademarks, and to appear associated or affiliated with the Complainant in order to benefit from misdirected Internet traffic.
In respect of the registration and use of the disputed domain name in bad faith, the Complainant maintains that given the Complainant’s worldwide reputation and the ubiquitous presence of the ACCENTURE trademarks on the Internet, the Respondent was or should have been aware of the ACCENTURE marks long before the registration of the disputed domain name. Furthermore, the Respondent used the disputed domain name to redirect Internet users to commercial websites through various sponsored click-through links, which is evidence of registration and use of the disputed domain name in bad faith.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
6.1. Preliminary Procedural Issue: Redaction of the Respondent’s name
The Respondent appears to have illegitimately used the name of one of the officers of the Complainant when registering the disputed domain name. This officer has denied his involvement in the registration of the disputed domain name. Under these circumstances, in order to avoid any reputational damage to the Complainant’s officer, the Panel considers it appropriate to redact the Respondent’s name from the present decision (see also Lidl Stiftung & Co. KG v. Name Redacted, WIPO Case No. D2020-1441).
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The Complainant owns various registrations for the trademark ACCENTURE. The disputed domain name incorporates the Complainant’s trademark in its entirety followed by the descriptive term “business”, which is unable to exclude confusing similarity. Therefore, the Panel is satisfied that the first condition under the Policy is met.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
Paragraph 4(c) of the Policy sets out the following circumstances which, without limitation, if found by the panel, shall demonstrate that the respondent has rights to, or legitimate interests in, a disputed domain name, for the purposes of paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy:
(i) before any notice to [the respondent] of the dispute, [the respondent’s] use of, or demonstrable preparations to use, the [disputed] domain name or a name corresponding to the [disputed] domain name in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services; or
(ii) [the respondent] (as an individual, business, or other organization) [has] been commonly known by the [disputed] domain name, even if [the respondent has] acquired no trademark or service mark rights; or
(iii) [the respondent is] making a legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the [disputed] domain name, without intent for commercial gain to misleadingly divert consumers or to tarnish the trademark or service mark at issue.
The Complainant states that the Respondent is neither affiliated with, nor has it been licensed or permitted to use, the Complainant’s ACCENTURE mark or any domain names incorporating the ACCENTURE mark. Furthermore, the Complainant maintains that the Respondent is not commonly known by the disputed domain name.
At the time of the filing of the Complaint, the disputed domain name formerly resolved to a page containing sponsored links to websites promoting services in fields identical and similar to those offered by the Complainant. It is likely that the Respondent derives a financial gain from each click on those sponsored links. The use of a domain name to host a parked page with sponsored links does not represent a bona fide offering of goods or services, within the meaning of paragraph 4(c)(i) of the Policy where such links compete with or capitalize on the reputation and goodwill of the complainant’s mark or otherwise mislead Internet users. See WIPO Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions, Third Edition (“WIPO Overview 3.0”), section 2.9, and cases cited therein. As the Respondent is presumably earning revenue each time an Internet user clicks on a sponsored link, it may not be held that the Respondent is making a legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the disputed domain name within the meaning of paragraph 4(c)(iii) of the Policy.
For all these reasons, and in the absence of any counter-argument from the Respondent, the Panel is satisfied that also the second condition under the Policy has been met.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
The Panel is convinced that the Complainant and its trademarks are well-known. Previous UDRP Panels have found that the Complainant’s trademark ACCENTURE enjoys reputation (see, among others, Accenture Global Services Limited v. Yongkun Wang, W.KING / 王永坤, WIPO Case No. D2017-2324; Accenture Global Services Limited v. Super Privacy Service LTD c/o Dynadot / Lisa Wong, WIPO Case No. D2020-1292; Accenture Global Services Limited v. Mark Henry, WIPO Case No. D2020-1691, etc. Therefore, the Panel finds it highly likely that the Respondent had actual knowledge of the Complainant’s business and marks when it registered the disputed domain name.
Furthermore, the Complainant’s trademark is a coined word, which the Respondent cannot have selected to register as part of his domain name by mere coincidence. The fact that the Respondent registered the disputed domain name under the name of [Name Redacted], which is one of the officers of the Complainant is a further indication of the fact that when the disputed domain name was registered, the Respondent was well aware of the Complainant, and of its business and trademark.
The disputed domain name is being used to access a website containing sponsored links to websites promoting services identical or similar to those offered by the Complainant under the ACCENTURE mark. Therefore, the Respondent is capitalizing on the reputation and goodwill of the Complainant and its trademark to generate revenue from each misdirected user. In view of this, the Panel finds that the disputed domain name has been registered and used to intentionally attempt to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to the Respondent’s website, by creating a likelihood of confusion with the Complainant’s mark as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation, or endorsement of the Respondent’s website.
In consideration of the foregoing, the Panel is satisfied that also the third and last condition under the Policy is met.
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, <accenturebusiness.com> be transferred to the Complainant.
For purposes of properly executing this order, the Panel also directs the Registrar’s attention to Annex 1 hereto that identifies the individual listed as registrant of the disputed domain name in the formal record of registration, and orders that the disputed domain name <accenturebusiness.com> be transferred to the Complainant.
The Panel directs the Center that Annex 1 shall not be published along with this decision.
Date: April 15, 2021