WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Brevan Howard Asset Management LLP v. Withheld for Privacy Purposes, Privacy service provided by Withheld for Privacy ehf / Michael Andrews, Christian James, Ryan Alcantara
Case No. D2021-2185
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Brevan Howard Asset Management LLP, United Kingdom, represented by Schillings International LLP, United Kingdom.
The Respondents are Withheld for Privacy Purposes, Privacy service provided by Withheld for Privacy ehf, Iceland / Michael Andrews, United Kingdom, Christian James, United Kingdom, and Ryan Alcantara, Philippines.
2. The Domain Names and Registrars
The disputed domain names <accounts-brevanhowardmanagement.com>, <brevanhowardassetsmanagement.com> and <brevanhowardmanagement.com> are registered with NameCheap, Inc. (the “Registrar”).
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on July 7, 2021. On July 8, 2021, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain names. On July 8, 2021, the Registrar transmitted by email to the Center its verification response disclosing registrant and contact information for the disputed domain names, which differed from the named Respondents and contact information in the Complaint. The Center sent an email communication to the Complainant on July 12, 2021, providing the registrant and contact information disclosed by the Registrar, and requesting the Complainant to amend the Complaint adding the Registrar-disclosed registrants as formal Respondents and provide relevant arguments or evidence demonstrating that all named Respondents are, in fact, the same entity and/or that all domain names are under common control; and/or file a separate complaint for any domain name(s) for which it is not possible to demonstrate that all named Respondents are in fact the same entity and/or that all domain names are under common control and indicate (by short amendment or reply email) which domain name(s) will no longer be included in the current Complaint. The Complainant filed an amended Complaint on July 16, 2021.
On July 27, 2021, the Center noted that there appears to be at least prima facie grounds sufficient to warrant accepting the Complaint for the Panel’s final determination of the consolidation request on appointment.
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 Respondents of the Complaint, and the proceedings commenced on July 27, 2021. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was August 16, 2021. The Respondents did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondents’ default on August 17, 2021.
The Center appointed Evan D. Brown as the sole panelist in this matter on September 2, 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 financial services firm. It owns the trademark BREVAN HOWARD, which is the subject of United Kingdom trademark registration UK00903004892, registered on October 15, 2004.
The <brevanhowardmanagement.com> disputed domain name was registered on December 10, 2020; <brevanhowardassetsmanagement.com> was registered on March 17, 2021; and
<accounts-brevanhowardmanagement.com> was registered on April 14, 2021.
The Respondents used the disputed domain names to set up web pages which the Complainant asserts were “deliberately designed to mislead users into believing that [they were] legitimately associated with the Complainant”. For example, each website contained a logo that incorporated the BREVAN HOWARD trademark.
5. Parties’ Contentions
The Complainant contends that the disputed domain names are identical or confusingly similar to the Complainant’s registered trademarks; that the Respondents have no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain names; and that the disputed domain names were registered and are being used in bad faith.
The Respondents did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
To succeed, the Complainant must demonstrate that all of the elements listed in paragraph 4(a) of the Policy have been satisfied:
(i) the disputed domain names are identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which the Complainant has rights; and
(ii) the Respondents have no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain names; and
(iii) the disputed domain names have been registered and are being used in bad faith.
All three of these elements have been met in this case.
A. Consolidation of Multiple Respondents
The Complainant requests the Panel hear the present dispute – brought by one Complainant against three Respondents – as a consolidated complaint. The Panel grants the request.
Paragraph 10(e) of the Rules states that a “[p]anel shall decide a request by a Party to consolidate multiple domain name disputes in accordance with the Policy and these Rules”. Paragraph 10(c) of the Rules provides, in relevant part, that “the [p]anel shall ensure that the administrative proceeding takes place with due expedition”.
Section 4.11.2 of the WIPO Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions, Third Edition (“WIPO Overview 3.0”) summarizes the consensus view of UDRP panels on the consolidation of multiple respondents as follows:
“Where a complaint is filed against multiple respondents, panels look at whether (i) the domain names or corresponding websites are subject to common control, and (ii) the consolidation would be fair and equitable to all parties. Procedural efficiency would also underpin panel consideration of such a consolidation scenario.
Panels have considered a range of factors, typically present in some combination, as useful to determining whether such consolidation is appropriate, such as similarities in or relevant aspects of (i) the registrants’ identity(ies) including pseudonyms, (ii) the registrants’ contact information including email address(es), postal address(es), or phone number(s), including any pattern of irregularities, (iii) relevant IP addresses, name servers, or webhost(s), (iv) the content or layout of websites corresponding to the disputed domain names, (v) the nature of the marks at issue (e.g., where a registrant targets a specific sector), (vi) any naming patterns in the disputed domain names (e.g., <mark-country> or <mark-goods>), (vii) the relevant language/scripts of the disputed domain names particularly where they are the same as the mark(s) at issue, (viii) any changes by the respondent relating to any of the above items following communications regarding the disputed domain name(s), (ix) any evidence of respondent affiliation with respect to the ability to control the disputed domain name(s), (x) any (prior) pattern of similar respondent behavior, or (xi) other arguments made by the complainant and/or disclosures by the respondent(s).”
In this case, among other things, the disputed domain names present similar content and all target the Complainant’s mark in a similar way. The disputed domain names were registered near one another in time. The Panel accepts these arguments in favor of consolidation and grants the request to consolidate.
B. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The incorporation of a trademark in its entirety is sufficient to establish that a disputed domain name is identical or confusingly similar to the complainant’s registered mark. See, Britannia Building Society v. Britannia Fraud Prevention, WIPO Case No. D2001-0505. In this case, the disputed domain names contain the Complainant’s trademark BREVAN HOWARD in its entirety. The additional words “assets” and “management” in certain of the disputed domain names in this context do not prevent a finding of confusing similarity between disputed domain names and the Complainant’s mark. Similarly, the addition of the Top-Level Domain “.com” to the disputed domain names does not avoid confusing similarity.
A registered trademark provides a clear indication that the rights in the mark shown on the trademark certificate belong to its respective owner. See, Advance Magazine Publishers Inc., Les Publications Conde Nast S.A. v. Voguechen, WIPO Case No. D2014-0657. The Complainant has demonstrated its rights because it has shown that it is the owner of a trademark registration for the mark BREVAN HOWARD as noted above.
Accordingly, the Complainant has shown that the disputed domain names are identical or confusingly similar to a trademark in which the Complainant has rights, and has prevailed on this first element of the Policy.
C. Rights or Legitimate Interests
The Panel evaluates this element of the Policy by assessing whether the Complainant has made a prima facie showing that the Respondents lack rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain names. If the Complainant makes that showing, the burden of demonstrating rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain names shifts to the Respondents.
The Complainant has made a prima facie showing that the Respondents lack rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain names. By failing to respond to the Complaint, the Respondents did not overcome their burden of demonstrating rights or legitimate interests, and no other facts in the record tip the balance in the Respondents’ favor.
Paragraph 4(c) of the Policy instructs respondents on a number of ways they could demonstrate rights or legitimate interests (“you” and “your” in the following refers to the particular respondent):
(i) before any notice to you of the dispute, your use of, or demonstrable preparations to use, the domain name or a name corresponding to the domain name in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services; or
(ii) you (as an individual, business, or other organization) have been commonly known by the domain name, even if you have acquired no trademark or service mark rights; or
(iii) you are making a legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the domain name, without intent for commercial gain to misleadingly divert consumers or to tarnish the trademark or service mark at issue.
In this case, there are several indicators concerning the Respondents’ lack of rights or legitimate interests. The Complainant asserts that at no point has the Complainant granted the Respondents any rights to use the BREVAN HOWARD trademark or otherwise trade using its name. Further, the use of the disputed domain names in a manner to deceive visitors is not a bona fide business use of the disputed domain names. And the Respondents have not been commonly used by the disputed domain names, nor have they made any noncommercial or fair use of the disputed domain names.
Accordingly, the Complainant has satisfied this second element under the Policy.
D. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
The Policy requires the Complainant to establish that the disputed domain names were registered and are being used in bad faith. Based on the available record, the Panel finds that the Respondents registered and are using the disputed domain names in bad faith. Using the disputed domain names to establish websites that use the Complainant’s trademark, in an effort to deceive Internet users (i.e., misleading users into believing that the Respondents are legitimately associated with the Complainant), is a strong example of bad faith under the Policy.
Accordingly, the Complainant has satisfied this third element of the Policy.
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 names <accounts-brevanhowardmanagement.com>, <brevanhowardassetsmanagement.com> and <brevanhowardmanagement.com> be transferred to the Complainant.
Evan D. Brown
Date: September 16, 2021