WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Archer-Daniels-Midland Company v. bungeteam
Case No. D2021-2710
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Archer-Daniels-Midland Company, United States of America (“United States”), represented by Innis Law Group LLC, United States.
The Respondent is bungeteam, India.
2. The Domain Names and Registrar
The disputed domain names <adm-globalfund.com> and <adm-work.com> are registered with Alibaba.com Singapore E-Commerce Private Limited (the “Registrar”).
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on August 17, 2021. On August 18, 2021, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain names. On August 20, 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 Respondent and contact information in the Complaint. The Center sent an email communication to the Complainant on August 22, 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 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 the 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. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on September 22, 2021.
The Center appointed Theda König Horowicz as the sole panelist in this matter on October 20, 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 multinational food processing and commodities trading corporation founded in 1902. It has its headquarters in Chicago, Illinois, United States.
The Complainant uses the name and mark ADM in connection with its business and associated products and services. It also owns several trademark registrations for its ADM mark in the United States in connection with its products and services, including trademark registration No. 1,386,430 of March 18, 1986. The Complainant also owns trademark registrations around the world for its ADM mark.
In addition, the Complainant owns and uses the domain name <adm.com> for a website concerning its group and its many products and services.
The disputed domain name <adm-work.com> was registered by the Respondent on May 30, 2021. It resolves to a website which copies the Complainant’s official website (layout, corporate colors, etc.).
The disputed domain name <adm-globalfund.com> was registered by the Respondent on June 2, 2021. It resolves to a website displaying an employee login portal.
5. Parties’ Contentions
The Complainant alleges that the disputed domain names are confusingly similar to its famous ADM trademark. The addition of the terms “work” or “globalfund” in the disputed domain names increase the confusing similarity as they refer to the Complainant’s activity. Furthermore, the ADM trademark is completely incorporated in the disputed domain names and is the most prominent portion of these. The Complainant refers in this regard to several prior UDRP panel decisions which have recognized the confusing similarity in similar cases.
The Complainant further alleges that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain names for the following reasons:
- The Respondent is not commonly known by the disputed domain names;
- The Respondent is not making a fair or legitimate use of the disputed domain names;
- The Respondent is attempting to misleadingly divert consumers or to tarnish the Complainant’s ADM trademark;
- The Respondent does not use or has not made preparations to use the disputed domain names with a bona fide offering of goods or services;
- The Respondent is using the disputed domain names for the primary purpose of attempting to divert funds intended for the Complainant, to mislead Internet users interested in the Complainant’s employment to its own website, and to gather information and funds from these Internet users attempting to login with personal information; and
- The Respondent’s website includes the Complainant’s ADM trademarks, copyrights, branding, information and other content whereby the Complainant did not authorize the Respondent to do so.
Finally, the Complainant asserts that the Respondent has registered and is using the disputed domain names in bad faith. In particular, the Complainant underlines that the Respondent is using the ADM trademark, name, and global online presence via the disputed domain names for fraudulent purposes. Indeed, the Respondent has created a nearly identical copy of the Complainant’s official website through the disputed domain name <adm-work.com> and has attempted to gather information and funds through the disputed domain name <adm-globalfund.com>. Furthermore, the disputed domain names were registered in bad faith considering the worldwide fame of the ADM trademark.
Moreover, the Complainant also suspects that the Respondent uses another domain name targeting another trademark owner for possible phishing activity.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
Under paragraph 4(a) of the Policy, in order to prevail, a complainant must prove the following three elements for obtaining the transfer of a domain name:
(i) that the domain name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which the complainant has rights;
(ii) that the respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the domain name; and
(iii) that the domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The Complainant showed trademark rights in ADM through several trademark registrations worldwide.
According to section 1.7 of the WIPO Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions, Third Edition (“WIPO Overview 3.0”): “The standing (or threshold) test for confusing similarity involves a reasoned but relatively straightforward comparison between the complainant’s trademark and the disputed domain name. This test typically involves a side-by-side comparison of the domain name and the textual components of the relevant trademark to assess whether the mark is recognizable within the disputed domain name. […] In cases where a domain name incorporates the entirety of a trademark, or where at least a dominant feature of the relevant mark is recognizable in the domain name, the domain name will normally be considered confusingly similar to that mark for purposes of UDRP standing.”
The disputed domain names contain the ADM trademark in its entirety. The mere addition of the terms
“-work” and “-globalfund” does not prevent a finding of confusing similarity. See section 1.8, WIPO Overview 3.0.
Under these circumstances, the Panel concludes that the disputed domain names are confusingly similar to the Complainant’s mark.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
Paragraph 4(c) of the Policy contains a non-exhaustive list of circumstances that may demonstrate when a respondent has rights or legitimate interests in the use of a domain name. The list includes:
(i) the use of the domain name in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services;
(ii) being commonly known by the domain name; or
(iii) the making of a legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the domain name, without intent for commercial gain to misleadingly divert consumers.
Once the Complainant establishes a prima facie case against the Respondent under this ground, the burden of production shifts to the Respondent to rebut it. See section 2.1, WIPO Overview 3.0.
The Complainant made sufficient statements in order to demonstrate that the Respondent would have no rights or legitimate interests into the disputed domain names.
In particular, the Panel notes that the case file does not show that the Respondent would have trademark rights in ADM or is commonly known by the disputed domain names or that a legitimate business would be run by the Respondent under the disputed domain names.
Based on the above, the Panel considers that the Complainant has made a prima facie case and the burden of production shifts to the Respondent who has chosen not to reply.
As already stated before, nothing is contained in the case file which would show that the disputed domain names have been legitimately used by the Respondent or that the Respondent would have any rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain names. Furthermore, the nature of the disputed domain names, incorporating the Complainant’s well-known trademarks with the additional terms related to the Complainant’s businesses, carries a risk of implied affiliation (see section 2.5.1, WIPO Overview 3.0).
Additionally, the Complainant has shown that the Respondent has used the disputed domain name <adm-work.com> for phishing activity, and the disputed domain name <adm-globalfund.com> to gather information and funds from Internet users. In this regard, prior UDRP panels have categorically held that the use of a domain name for illegal activity (e.g., phishing) can never confer rights or legitimate interests on a respondent (see section 2.13.1., WIPO Overview 3.0.).
Consequently, the Panels finds that the Complainant has established its case under paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
The Complainant has shown that its ADM trademark has been used and registered since at least 1986 in the United States and many other countries. It is undisputed that the ADM trademarks have been widely used notably on the Complainant’s official website “www.adm.com”. Further, the disputed domain name <adm-work.com> resolves to a website which copies elements of the Complainant’s official website (layout, colors, etc.).
Hence, the Panel finds that the Respondent knew or should have known the Complainant and its respective trademarks, and deliberately registered the confusingly similar disputed domain names (see section 3.2.2, WIPO Overview 3.0).
The disputed domain names resolve to fraudulent webpages. The disputed domain name <adm-globalfund.com> resolves to a website laid out as an employment platform where details of Internet users are required, such as a login mobile number and password. The disputed domain name <adm-work.com> resolves to a website which appears to be a nearly identical copy of the Complainant’s official website.
Moreover, the Complainant has provided evidence to show that it was contacted by a third party, inquiring whether it was using the disputed domain name <adm-work.com> for job recruitment. In particular, this third party requested the Complainant to confirm whether an ID card that he or she received was in fact from the Complainant. Further, this third party was being asked to invest specific amounts of money for various employees. This third party’s inquiry also included a screenshot of the website at the disputed domain name <adm-globalfund.com>, which was being used to mislead individuals into believing it funds for the Complainant’s employees.
Both disputed domain names are thus being used in bad faith.
The Panel also notes that the Respondent has chosen to remain silent within the proceeding which is further indication of bad faith in the present circumstances.
In light of the above, the Panel finds that the Respondent has registered and used the disputed domain names in bad faith, and that the Complainant has established its case under paragraph 4(a)(iii) 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, <adm-globalfund.com> and <adm-work.com>, be transferred to the Complainant.
Theda König Horowicz
Date: November 11, 2021