WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center

ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION

OANDA Corporation v. Domain Administrator, See PrivacyGuardian.org / Dinesh Rafjaine

Case No. D2021-2420

1. The Parties

The Complainant is OANDA Corporation, United States of America (“United States” or “U.S.”), represented by Donahue Fitzgerald LLP, United States.

The Respondent is Domain Administrator, See PrivacyGuardian.org, United States / Dinesh Rafjaine, Malaysia.

2. The Domain Name and Registrar

The disputed domain name <premiumoandatrade.com> (the “Disputed Domain Name”) is registered with NameSilo, LLC (the “Registrar”).

3. Procedural History

The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on July 24, 2021. On July 26, 2021, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the Disputed Domain Name. On July 26, 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 July 27, 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 August 2, 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 August 5, 2021. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was August 25, 2021. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on August 26, 2021.

The Center appointed Nick J. Gardner 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 U.S. company, which provides currency exchange and financial information services and products. The word “OANDA” is a coined term with no other meaning save in relation to the Complainant. The Complainant provides services on a worldwide basis and has millions of customers.

The Complainant owns various trademark registrations for the word OANDA in numerous jurisdictions around the world, including for example U.S. trademark No. 2874938, registered on August 17, 2004. These trademarks are referred to as the OANDA trademark in this decision. The Complainant is also the registrant of the domain name <oanda.com> which it uses to resolve to a website promoting its business.

The Disputed Domain Name was registered on April 2, 2021. The filed evidence shows it has been linked to a website (the “Respondent’s Website”) which purports to be that of the Complainant and which solicits Internet users to register and provide data and likely then seeks to commit some form of fraud upon innocent visitors.

5. Parties’ Contentions

A. Complainant

The Complainant’s contentions can be summarized as follows.

The Disputed Domain Name is confusingly similar to the Complainant’s OANDA trademark. The Complainant relies upon both its registered trademarks and says it has common law trademark rights in the term “OANDA”.

The Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the trademark OANDA.

The Disputed Domain Name was registered and is being used in bad faith. The Complainant claims the use of the Disputed Domain Name in connection with a phishing scheme is clear evidence of bad faith and that the Respondent’s motive was dishonest due to financial gain.

B. Respondent

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

6. Discussion and Findings

Preliminary Matters

The Panel notes that no communication has been received from the Respondent. However, given that the Complaint and Written Notice were sent to the relevant addresses disclosed by the Registrar, then the Panel considers that this satisfies the requirement in paragraph 2(a) of the UDRP Rules to “employ reasonably available means calculated to achieve actual notice”. Accordingly, the Panel considers it is able to proceed to determine this Complaint and to draw inferences from the Respondent’s failure to file any Response. While the Respondent’s failure to file a Response does not automatically result in a decision in favor of the Complainant, the Panel may draw appropriate inferences from the Respondent’s default (see, e.g., Verner Panton Design v. Fontana di Luce Corp, WIPO Case No. D2012-1909).

The Panel also notes this is a case where one Respondent (Domain administrator, See PrivacyGuardian.org) appears to be a privacy or proxy service.

The Panel in this case adopts the approach of most UDRP panels, as outlined in WIPO Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions, Third Edition (“WIPO Overview 3.0”) at section 4.4.5, as follows:

“Panel discretion

In all cases involving a privacy or proxy service and irrespective of the disclosure of any underlying registrant, the appointed panel retains discretion to determine the respondent against which the case should proceed.

Depending on the facts and circumstances of a particular case, e.g., where a timely disclosure is made, and there is no indication of a relationship beyond the provision of privacy or proxy registration services, a panel may find it appropriate to apply its discretion to record only the underlying registrant as the named respondent. On the other hand, e.g., where there is no clear disclosure, or there is some indication that the privacy or proxy provider is somehow related to the underlying registrant or use of the particular domain name, a panel may find it appropriate to record both the privacy or proxy service and any nominally underlying registrant as the named respondent.”

In the present case, the Panel considers the substantive Respondent to be Dinesh Rafjaine and references to the Respondent are to that person and/or entity.

Substantive Matters

To succeed, in accordance with paragraph 4(a) of the Policy, the Complainant must satisfy the Panel that:

(i) the Disputed Domain Name is identical with or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which the Complainant has rights;

(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 Panel finds the Disputed Domain Name is confusingly similar to the OANDA trademark. Previous UDRP panels have consistently held that domain names are identical or confusingly similar to a trademark for purposes of the Policy “[…] when the domain name includes the trademark, or a confusingly similar approximation, regardless of the other terms in the domain name” (Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Richard MacLeod d/b/a For Sale, WIPO Case No. D2000-0662). It is established that, where a mark is the distinctive part of a disputed domain name, the disputed domain name is considered to be confusingly similar to the registered mark (DHL Operations B.V. v. DHL Packers, WIPO Case No. D2008-1694).

It is also established that the addition of a descriptive term or terms (such as here “premium” and “trade”) to a domain name has little, if any, effect on a determination of confusing similarity between the domain name and the mark (Quixtar Investments, Inc. v. Dennis Hoffman, WIPO Case No. D2000-0253); furthermore, the mere addition of a descriptive term does not prevent a finding of confusing similarity under the first element (PRL USA Holdings, Inc. v. Spiral Matrix, WIPO Case No. D2006-0189).

It is also well established that the generic Top-Level Domain (“gTLD”), in this case “.com”, does not affect the Disputed Domain Name for the purpose of determining whether it is identical or confusingly similar. See, for example, Rollerblade, Inc. v. Chris McCrady, WIPO Case No. D2000-0429.

The Panel also notes that the creation of a confusingly similar domain name was manifestly the Respondent’s intention as evidenced by the nature of the Respondent’s Website, which impersonates the Complainant.

In the light of the above analysis, the Panel has not found it necessary to consider the Complainant’s further arguments as to unregistered trademark rights.

Accordingly, the Panel finds that the Disputed Domain Name is confusingly similar to the Complainant’s trademark and hence the first condition of paragraph 4(a) of the Policy has been fulfilled.

B. Rights or Legitimate Interests

Paragraph 4(c) of the Policy provides a list of circumstances any of which is sufficient to demonstrate that a respondent has rights or legitimate interests in a domain name:

(i) before any notice to the respondent of the dispute, 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) the respondent has been commonly known by the 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 domain name, without intent for commercial gain to misleadingly divert consumers or to tarnish the trademark or service mark at issue.

None of these apply in the present circumstances. The Complainant has not authorised, licensed, or permitted the Respondent to register or use the Disputed Domain Name or to use the OANDA trademark. The Complainant has prior rights in the OANDA trademark which precede the Respondent’s acquisition of the Disputed Domain Name. The Complainant has therefore established a prima facie case that the Respondent does not have any rights or legitimate interests in the Disputed Domain Name and thereby the burden of production shifts to the Respondent to produce evidence demonstrating rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Disputed Domain Name (see, for example, Do The Hustle, LLC v. Tropic Web, WIPO Case No. D2000-0624; and Croatia Airlines d.d. v. Modern Empire Internet Ltd., WIPO Case No. D2003-0455).

The Panel finds that the Respondent has failed to produce any evidence to establish its rights or legitimate interests in the Disputed Domain Name. Accordingly, the Panel finds the Respondent has no rights or any legitimate interests in the Disputed Domain Name and the second condition of paragraph 4(a) of the Policy has been fulfilled.

C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith

In the present circumstances, the fact that the Disputed Domain Name was linked to a website which in substance impersonated the Complainant and was manifestly engaged in phishing activities lead the Panel to conclude the registration and use were in bad faith.

Under paragraph 4(b) of the Policy a non-exhaustive list of factors evidencing registration and use in bad faith comprises:

(i) circumstances indicating that you have registered or you have acquired the domain name primarily for the purpose of selling, renting, or otherwise transferring the domain name registration to the complainant who is the owner of the trademark or service mark or to a competitor of that complainant, for valuable consideration in excess of your documented out-of-pocket costs directly related to the domain name; or

(ii) you have registered the domain name in order to prevent the owner of the trademark or service mark from reflecting the mark in a corresponding domain name, provided that you have engaged in a pattern of such conduct; or

(iii) you have registered the domain name primarily for the purpose of disrupting the business of a competitor; or

(iv) by using the domain name, you have intentionally attempted to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to your website or other online location, by creating a likelihood of confusion with the complainant’s mark as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation, or endorsement of your website or location or of a product or service on your website or location.

In the present circumstances, the Panel agrees with the Complainant that factor (iv) applies, as the Respondent is clearly engaged in phishing which relies on a likelihood of confusion and which is clearly with a view to some form of dishonest financial gain. The Panel accepts that the Disputed Domain Name has been used in connection with such activity, which is intended to obtain data which can then in all probability be used in further fraudulent activity directed against the Complainant or its customers. See Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Limited v. Bashar Ltd., WIPO Case No. D2007-0031, and the cases therein referred to, for further analysis of why “phishing” activities amount to use in bad faith. See also Grupo Financiero Inbursa S.A. de CV v ibuirisa, WIPO Case No. D2006-0614 to similar effect.

The Panel also notes that the Respondent has not filed a Response and hence has not availed itself of the opportunity to present any case of good faith that it might have. The Panel infers that none exists.

Accordingly, the Panel finds that the Disputed Domain Name has been registered and is being used in bad faith and the third condition of paragraph 4(a) of the Policy has been fulfilled

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 <premiumoandatrade.com> be transferred to the Complainant.

Nick J. Gardner
Sole Panelist
Date: September 17, 2021