WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Alight Solutions, LLC v. Carolina Rodrigues, Fundacion Comercio Electronico
Case No. D2021-4025
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Alight Solutions, LLC, United States of America, represented by CSC Digital Brand Services AB, Sweden.
The Respondent is Carolina Rodrigues, Fundacion Comercio Electronico, Panama1.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <alightfinancialsoulutins.com> (the “Disputed Domain Name”) is registered with NameCheap, Inc. (the “Registrar”).
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on December 1, 2021. On December 2, 2021, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the Disputed Domain Name. On the same day, the Registrar transmitted by email to the Center its verification response confirming that the Respondent is listed as the registrant and providing the contact details.
The Center verified that the 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 December 3, 2021. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was December 23, 2021. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on December 27, 2021.
The Center appointed Gérald Page as the sole panelist in this matter on January 18, 2022. 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.
In line with the Complaint and the registration agreement, the language of the decision is English.
4. Factual Background
The Complainant Alight Solutions, LLC owns several trademarks, directly or through its subsidiary, including ALIGHT, United States trademark registration number 5,062,182, registered since October 18, 2016, for goods and services in classes 9 and 42; and, ALIGHT FINANCIAL SOLUTIONS, United States trademark registration number 5,556,786, registered since September 4, 2016, for goods and services in class 36. Registration of these trademarks has been duly evidenced.
The Complainant has been involved in the offering of HR and business solutions for at least 25 years, partially through acquisition in 2017 of Aon plc. The services are in particular offered digitally to many influential companies in the world, employing 15,000 people internationally, serving 4,300 clients, and covering 100 countries and 25 languages. The Complainant maintains therefore a solid presence on the Internet for such services using effectively its registered trademarks and the domain names <alight.com> and <alightfinancialsolutions.com>. The reputation of the Complainant is duly recognized by the business community.
The ALIGHT brand and trademarks are effectively used in the offering of such services.
The Disputed Domain Name was registered on February 19, 2021, and resolved to a website which contained multiple pay-per-click links at the time the Complaint was filed.
The Respondent has not challenged the above facts.
5. Parties’ Contentions
The Complainant contends, inter alia, that the three requisites of paragraph 4(a) of the Policy are met:
(i) The Complainant claims that the Domain Name is confusingly similar to ALIGHT’s registered trademarks in which the Complainant has rights and evidences its numerous trademarks and several domain names that it owns.
The Complainant explains that the Domain Name is a purposeful misspelling of the Complainant’s ALIGHT FINANCIAL SOLUTIONS trademark and domain name and must be considered confusingly similar to the Complainant’s trademark.
As the Disputed Domain Name differs from the Complainant’s trademark and domain name by just two letters, the Respondent’s domain must be considered a prototypical example of typosquatting, which intentionally takes advantage of Internet users that inadvertently type an incorrect address – often a misspelling of the complainant’s trademark – when seeking to access the trademark owner’s website. This means that a deliberate misspelling of a trademark registered as a domain name, which is intended to confuse Internet users, must be confusingly similar by design. Accordingly, WIPO Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions, Third Edition (“WIPO Overview 3.0”) at section 1.9 states that “[a] domain name which consists of a common, obvious, or intentional misspelling of a trademark is considered by panels to be confusingly similar to the relevant mark for purposes of the first element”.
In addition, WIPO Overview 3.0 at section 1.9 goes on to specifically cite (vi) the addition or interspersion of other terms or numbers, as an example of typosquatting. In light of this, the Disputed Domain Name must be considered as confusingly similar to the Complainant’s ALIGHT FINANCIAL SOLUTIONS trademark, as well as its <alightfinancialsolutions.com> domain name.
The Disputed Domain Name <alightfinancialsoulutins.com> must be considered confusingly similar to the Complainant’s ALIGHT FINANCIAL SOLUTIONS trademark in that it is similar to such trademark in both sight and sound. In other words, as written, this Disputed Domain Name is visually similar to the Complainant’s trademark, and also phonetically similar to the Complainant’s trademark in terms of pronunciation. Past Panels have held that such a domain name is confusingly similar to the trademark which it closely resembles. See WIPO Overview 3.0 at section 1.7 (“While each case is judged on its own merits, 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.”)
(ii) The Complainant further contends that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Domain Name: the Respondent is not related in any way to the Complainant’s business, he is not one of its agents and does not carry out any activity for, or has any business with it. No license or authorization has been granted to the Respondent to make any use, nor apply for registration of the Domain Name.
(iii) The Complainant adds that the Respondent registered the Domain Name in bad faith. The circumstances surrounding the registration by the Respondent show that he acted in bad faith.
The Complainant and its ALIGHT FINANCIAL SOLUTIONS and ALIGHT trademarks are known internationally, with trademark registrations across numerous countries or in. The Complainant has marketed and sold its goods and services using this trademark since June 2017, which is well before Respondent’s registration of the Disputed Domain Name on February 19, 2021.
By registering a domain name that comprises a misspelling of the Complainant’s ALIGHT FINANCIAL SOLUTIONS trademark, differing from said trademark by only two letters, the Respondent has created a domain name that is confusingly similar to the Complainant’s trademark, as well as its <alightfinancialsolutions.com> domain name.
Typosquatting itself has been taken as evidence of bad faith registration and use by past Panels. The Disputed Domain Name is a slight misspelling of the Complainant’s ALIGHT FINANCIAL SOLUTIONS trademark, as well as its <alightfinancialsolutions.com> domain name, differing from both by only two letters. As such, the Respondent is attempting to capitalize on typing errors committed by the Complainant’s customers in trying to locate the Complainant on the Internet. In other words, the Disputed Domain Name is a typosquatted version of the Complainant’s ALIGHT FINANCIAL SOLUTIONS trademark and has intentionally been designed to closely mimic the Complainant’s trademark and domain. Numerous Panels have found that registering a domain name to take advantage of traffic generated by typing errors committed by another’s customers, as here, is evidence of bad faith registration and use pursuant to Policy Paragraph 4(a)(iii). See WIPO Overview 3.0 at 3.1.4 (“Panels have consistently found that the mere registration of a domain name that is identical or confusingly similar (particularly domain names comprising typos or incorporating the mark plus a descriptive term) to a famous or widely-known trademark by an unaffiliated entity can by itself create a presumption of bad faith.”). See also Longs Drug Stores Cal., Inc. v. Shep Dog, WIPO Case No. D2004-1069 (finding typosquatting to be evidence of bad faith domain name registration). See also Lexar Media, Inc. v. Huang, WIPO Case No. D2004-1039 (“Typosquatting has been held under the Policy to be evidence of bad faith registration of a domain name”). See also Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Longo, WIPO Case No. D2004-0816 (“[typosquatting] is presumptive of registration in bad faith”).
The Disputed Domain Name can only be taken as intending to cause confusion among Internet users as to the source of the Disputed Domain Name, and thus, this Disputed Domain Name must be considered as having been registered and used in bad faith pursuant to Policy Paragraph 4(b)(iv), with no good faith use possible.
Moreover, the Respondent is currently offering to sell the Disputed Domain Name, which constitutes bad faith under Policy paragraph 4(b)(i) because the Respondent has demonstrated an intent to sell, rent, or otherwise transfer the Disputed Domain Name for valuable consideration in excess of his out‑of-pocket expenses. As aforementioned, this Disputed Domain Name is listed at SEDO, with interested users able to submit offers above USD 899.
In addition to the Disputed Domain Name, the Respondent currently holds registrations for several other domain names that misappropriate the trademarks of well-known brands and businesses. This fact demonstrates that the Respondent is engaging in a pattern of cybersquatting/typosquatting, which is evidence of bad faith registration and use of the Disputed Domain Name.
The Respondent, at the time of initial filing of the Complaint, had employed a privacy service to hide its identity, which past Panels have held serves as further evidence of bad faith registration and use.
Finally, on balance of the facts set forth above, it is more likely than not that the Respondent knew of and targeted the Complainant’s trademark, and the Respondent should be found to have registered and used the Disputed Domain Name in bad faith.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.
Therefore, he has not shown or even alleged any rights or legitimate interests in the Domain Name. Neither did he challenge any of the Complainant’s submissions. The assertion of bad faith itself remained unchallenged.
6. Discussion and Findings
Paragraph 15(a) of the Rules instructs the Panel as to the principles the Panel has to use in deciding the dispute: “A Panel shall decide a complaint on the basis of the statement and documents submitted and in accordance with the Policy, these Rules and any rules and principles of law that it deems applicable.”
Paragraph 4(a) of the Policy states that, for a complaint to be granted, the Complainant must prove each of the following:
(i) That the Domain Name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which the Complainant has rights; and
(ii) That the Respondent has no rights or no legitimate interests in respect of the Domain Name; and
(iii) That the Domain Name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
It is well established that the Complainant has been using the ALIGHT and ALIGHT FINANCIAL SOLUTIONS trademark since 2017 and that it has rights on several trademarks consisting of these terms.
The protected ALIGHT trademark is present in its entirety in the Domain Name.
The Panel finds that the disputed Domain Name <alightfinancialsoulutins.com> is confusingly similar to the registered trademark ALIGHT FINANCIAL SOLUTIONS owned by the Complainant since the Respondent has merely added a single letter “u” and deleted the letter “o” to the registered trademark. As stated in ACCOR v. I&M Raamatupidamise O/Accora Consult OÜ, WIPO Case No. D2006-0650, concerning the domain name <accora.com>, the panel stated “The Domain Name at issue reproduces entirely the mark ACCOR with the mere addition of the single letter ‘a’ which moreover makes no difference with the Complainant’s (which was ACCOR) trademarks and may also be interpreted to be a misspelled suffix of ACCOR. Indeed the single letter ‘a’ is an obvious attempt to ‘typosquat’ the Domain Name and is insufficient to avoid confusion”. See along the same lines ACCOR v. Eduardo Marchiori Leite, WIPO Case No. D2004-0680, where the panel stated “Respondent’s domain name <thalassar.com> incorporates Complainant’s registered trademark THALASSA in its entirety, and adds only the letter ‘r’ to the mark. The addition of the letter ‘r’ adds nothing distinctive, and the emphasis remains on the name THALASSA to attract the attention of Internet users. The deletion or addition of one letter is an insignificant change for the purposes of the Policy paragraph 4(a)(i)”. See also Reuters Limited. v. Global Net 2000, Inc, WIPO Case No. D2000-0441.
The Panel finds that the disputed Domain Name <alightfinancialsoulutins.com> is also confusingly similar to the registered trademark ALIGHT and ALIGHT FINANCIAL SOLUTIONS owned by the Complainant, since the mere addition of the letter “u” and the deletion of the letter “o” do not prevent confusing similarity between the Domain Name and the Complainant’s trademark.
In view of the above, the Panel finds that the Complainant has proven that the Domain Names are confusingly similar to the trademarks in which the Complainant has rights in accordance with paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Policy.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
According to paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy, the Complainant has to prove that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the Domain Name. In connection with the burden of production, several decisions of UDRP panels have held that “although Paragraph 4(a) of the Policy requires that the Complainant prove[s] the presence of this element (along with the other two), once a Complainant makes a prima facie showing [of his rights or legitimate interests], the burden of production on this factor shifts to the Respondent to rebut the showing by providing concrete evidence that it has rights to or legitimate interests in the Domain Name” (see Document Technologies, Inc. v. International Electronic Communications Inc., WIPO Case No. D2000-0270; see also Universal City Studios, Inc. v. David Burns and Adam-12 Dot Com, WIPO Case No. D2001-0784; Ets Leobert, SARL v. Jeonggon Seo, WIPO Case No. D2009-0004).
The Complainant underlines without being contradicted, that the Respondent is not related in any way to its business. There is no evidence of any license or authorization granted to the Respondent to use the disputed domain name. The Complainant has therefore established a prima facie case that the Respondent lacks rights or legitimate interests in the use of the Domain Name.
The Respondent, through his silence, has not shown the existence of any rights or legitimate interests in respect to the disputed domain name. He has not shown either that he uses or intends to use the Domain Name.
In similar circumstances, UDRP panels have regularly decided that the Respondent has neither rights nor legitimate interests in the domain name (see Credit Industriel et Commercial S.A. v. Jeongyong Cho, WIPO Case No. D2013-1263).
Additionally, the Panel notes that the disputed domain name resolves to a page featuring pay-per-click links, some of which directly related to the Complainant’s services and industry. Such commercial use does not confer rights or legitimate interests, nor represent a bona fide offering of services, seeing as such use seeks to capitalize on the reputation and goodwill associated to the Complainant. WIPO Overview 3.0 at section 2.9.
The Panel therefore finds that the Complainant has satisfied the requirement under paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
According to paragraph 4(a)(iii) of the Policy, bad faith should be demonstrated both for registration and use of the Domain Name. Paragraph 4(b) of the Policy mentions “in particular but without limitation” four methods for showing bad faith registration and use of a disputed domain name.
Several UDRP panels have ruled on this issue, and it has been widely accepted that “the relevant issue is not whether the Respondent is undertaking a positive action in bad faith in relation to the Domain Name, but instead whether, in view of all the circumstances of the case, it can be said that the Respondent is acting in bad faith” (see Telstra Corporation Limited v. Nuclear Marshmallows, WIPO Case No. D2000-0003; see also Polaroid Corporation v. Jay Strommen, WIPO Case No. D2005-1005, Malayan Banking Berhad v. Beauty, Success & Truth International, WIPO Case No. D2008-1393).
Therefore, the Panel will examine all the circumstances of the case to determine whether the Respondent is acting in bad faith.
The Panel shares the view of a number of panel findings of “opportunistic bad faith” in the registration of renowned trademarks by unaffiliated entities under the circumstances of the respective proceedings, as found in Expedia, Inc. v. European Travel Network, WIPO Case No. D2000-0137; Prada S.A. v. Mark O’Flynn, WIPO Case No. D2001-0368; Ferrari S.p.A. v. Inter-Mediates Ltd., WIPO Case No. D2003-0050; and, The Nasdaq Stock Market, Inc. v. Act One Internet Solutions, WIPO Case No. D2003-0103.
Under the circumstances of this proceeding, the registration and use of the Complainant’s trademarks by an entity unconnected to the Complainant gives rise to the presumption of opportunistic bad faith.
The Panel deems that also paragraph 4(b)(i) of the Policy is applicable to the present case in light of evidenced listing for sale of the disputed domain name for an amount well in excess of the Respondent’s out-of-pocket costs. Indeed, the disputed domain name was listed on Sedo.com for USD 899, an amount that is certainly over the ordinary costs of registration of a domain name; see Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Brad Tauer, WIPO Case No. D2000-1076, where it was found “the amount sought, [USD] 475, far exceeds the domain name registration fee and Respondent did not present any documentation as to any other “out-of-pocket costs directly related to the domain name”.
Furthermore, noting the pay-per-click use to which the disputed domain name has been put, coupled together with the typosquatting nature of the disputed domain name when compared to the Complainant’s <alightfinancialsolutions.com> domain name and its trademarks, it is clear that Respondent intentionally attempted to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to its web site by creating a likelihood of confusion with the Complainant's mark as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation, or endorsement of the disputed domain name, pursuant to paragraph 4(b)(iv) of the Policy.
As additional circumstances suggesting bad faith, the Panel notes that there has been no Response in this case, the publicly available WhoIs is masked via the use of a privacy service, and the disclosed Respondent has been the subject of numerous prior UDRP proceedings, illustrating a pattern of bad‑faith registrations. See Government Employees Insurance Company v. Withheld for Privacy Purposes, Privacy Service Provided by Withheld for Privacy ehf / Carolina Rodrigues, Fundacion Comercio Electronico, WIPO Case No. D2021-2919.
The Panel is convinced that the Respondent has registered and is using the Domain Name in bad faith.
Accordingly, it finds that the Complainant has also satisfied the requirement 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 name, <alightfinancialsoulutins.com>, be transferred to the Complainant.
Date: February 1, 2022
1 The Panel notes that the publicly available WhoIs reflects the use of a privacy service, namely “Privacy service provided by Withheld for Privacy ehf”. Due to the Registrar’s disclosure of the underlying registrant, the Complaint was filed solely against the named Respondent, “Carolina Rodrigues”.