WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Hays plc v. Privacy service provided by Withheld for Privacy ehf / George Smith
Case No. D2021-2564
1. The Parties
Complainant is Hays plc, United Kingdom, represented by Osborne Clarke LLP, United Kingdom.
Respondent is Privacy service provided by Withheld for Privacy ehf, Iceland / George Smith, Canada.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <hayscanada.com> (hereinafter “Disputed Domain Name”) registered with NameCheap, Inc. (the “Registrar”).
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on August 6, 2021. On August 9, 2021, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the Disputed Domain Name. On August 9, 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 Complainant on August 13, 2021, providing the registrant and contact information disclosed by the Registrar, and inviting Complainant to submit an amendment to the Complaint. Complainant filed an amended Complaint on August 26, 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 Respondent of the Complaint, and the proceedings commenced on September 1, 2021. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was September 21, 2021. Respondent did not submit any response.
The Center appointed Lawrence K. Nodine as the sole panelist in this matter on October 6, 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
Complainant offers recruitment services in many countries and employs approximately 11,000 people. Complainant was founded over 50 years ago as the ‘Career Care Group’ in 1968 in the United Kingdom. In the ensuing decades, Complainant expanded around the world, and, in 1986, the Career Care Group was acquired by Hays plc and re-branded to HAYS, which is the core brand of the Complainant’s business to this day.
Complainant is a FTSE 250 company. In 2018, the Complainant placed 77,000 people in permanent jobs and 244,000 people into temporary and contractor roles. In 2018 the Complainant exceeded GBP 1bn net in fees and delivered recruitment services in 33 countries under the HAYS brand name. In 2019, the Complainant placed 81,100 people in permanent jobs and 254,000 people into temporary and contractor roles, with a global profit before tax of just over GBP 231 million (the operating profit for the United Kingdom was just under GBP 49m).
Complainant owns numerous registrations for the trademark HAYS in many jurisdictions including the United Kingdom (No.00001395978); the European Union( No. 000005637); the United States of America (No. 4043786); and Canadian ( No. TMA636271).
5. Parties’ Contentions
Complainant contends that it has satisfied all requirements of the Policy paragraphs 4(a) and based on the following allegations and evidence.
Complainant submitted substantial evidence that Respondent is using the Disputed Domain Name to impersonate Complainant and conduct a fraudulent scheme to extract confidential information and money from Internet users. As it would not serve the public interest to detail Respondent’s fraudulent techniques, precise details are omitted here. Suffice it to say that Complainant has alleged and submitted substantial evidence that Respondent advertises the availability of non-existent employment opportunities, and communicates with deceived Internet users. Although there is no active website associated with the Disputed Domain Name, Respondent uses the Disputed Domain Name as an email address, seeks to obtain highly confidential information and requests payments. The scheme is elaborate, and includes, for example, advertising employment opportunities for non-existent companies, such as the allegedly fake Beaver Construction Group, to which Respondent referred inquiring Internet users via an allegedly deceptive website at <beaversconstructiongroup.com>. Complainant engaged counsel to investigate the Respondent and determined that no business operating under the Disputed Domain Name is registered to do business in Canada, that the address associated with the Disputed Domain Name is an empty residential address. Complainant has attempted to contact Respondent at all available contact addresses, including telephone calls, but without any response.
Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions. However, after the Registrar identified the Registrant as George Smith, and confirmed that a lock had been placed on the Disputed Domain Name, the Center received a communication from Respondent stating:
“I’m a freelancer who specializes in web design. Hayscanada.com, a domain I acquired for a customer, is presently on block alert. Please remove this domain from my account since I am no longer dealing with this customer. As a result, I do not need to be the owner of this domain. Would you mind letting me know how I can get rid of this domain? And because I’ve been receiving emails for a while now, I’ve given up the domain because they’re no longer helpful to me. I have nothing to do with hayscanada.”
Complainant attempted to communicate with regarding this message, but received no response. At the Panelist’s request, Complainant confirmed that it did not choose to pursue a voluntary transfer any further.
While the Panel notes that the Respondent claims to have registered the Disputed Domain Name for a customer, no further information has been provided by the Respondent regarding his customer. The Panel notes that certain obligations arise from the registration of a domain name (and the acceptance of the registration agreement), and in the circumstances of the case (noting no further details of the customer are known) the Panel will consider the Registrar-confirmed registrant of the Disputed Domain Name (i.e.: George Smith) as the Respondent. Therefore, references to the use by the Respondent shall be construed to include the final user of the Disputed Domain Name (if any).
6. Discussion and Findings
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The Panel finds that Complainant has rights in the trademark HAYS, as evidenced by the several trademark registrations detailed above. The Panel also finds that the Disputed Domain Name is confusingly similar to Complainant’s trademark. The addition of “Canada” does not prevent a finding of confusing similarity. WIPO Jurisprudential Overview 3.0 (hereinafter “WIPO Overview 3.0”) section 1.8.
The Panel finds that Complainant has satisfied Policy paragraph 4)a)(i).
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
Complainant has carried its burden to demonstrate that Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the Disputed Domain Name. The allegations of fraud are supported by substantial unrebutted evidence. It goes without saying that a phishing scheme is not legitimate. WIPO Overview 3.0 section 2.13.1.
The Panel finds that Complainant has satisfied Policy paragraph 4)a)(ii).
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
The Panel finds that Respondent registered and uses the Disputed Domain Name in bad faith. Respondent’s deliberate impersonation of Complainant is evidence that Respondent was fully aware of Complainant when it registered the Disputed Domain Name. The subsequent fraudulent use of the Disputed Domain Name in a phishing scheme is evidence not only of bad faith use, but also confirms that the registration was made in bad faith from the outset. WIPO Overview section 3.1.4. The evidence that Respondent failed to respond to repeated efforts to communicate further confirms that Respondent registered and uses the Disputed Domain Name in bad faith.
The Panel finds that Complainant has satisfied Policy paragraph 4)a)(iii).
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 <hayscanada.com> be transferred to the Complainant.
Lawrence K. Nodine
Date: October 22, 2021