WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center

ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION

Accenture Global Services Limited v. brown techblog

Case No. DCO2021-0019

1. The Parties

The Complainant is Accenture Global Services Limited, Ireland, represented by McDermott Will & Emery LLP, United States of America.

The Respondent is brown techblog, Nigeria.

2. The Domain Name and Registrar

The disputed domain name <accenture-investment.co> is registered with NameCheap, Inc. (the “Registrar”).

3. Procedural History

The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on February 7, 2021. On February 18, 2021, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On February 18, 2021, 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 February 25, 2021. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was March 17, 2021. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on March 19, 2021.

The Center appointed Angelica Lodigiani as the sole panelist in this matter on April 14, 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 operates in 51 countries worldwide, providing a broad range of services and solutions in the strategy, consulting, financial, digital, technology and operation fields, under the trademark ACCENTURE. The Complainant is using its ACCENTURE trademark since 2001.

The Complainant owns over 1,000 registrations for the trademarks ACCENTURE and ACCENTURE & Design, in more than 140 countries worldwide. Among these, the Complainant is the owner of United States trademark registration No. 3,091,811, filed on October 26, 2000 and registered on May 16, 2006, for various goods and services in classes 9, 16, 35, 36, 37, 41, and 42.

The Complainant has invested substantial amounts in the promotion of its ACCENTURE trademarks, which have been included among the “Best Global Brands” in several publications, since 2002. The Complainant has also sponsored and collaborated with various groups on renowned cultural initiatives and sport events, such as the Louvre Museum, and the RBS 6 Nations Rugby Championship, to name only a few.

The disputed domain name was registered on December 11, 2020. At the time of the filing of the Complaint, it led to a website offering investment services.

5. Parties’ Contentions

A. Complainant

The Complainant contends that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to the ACCENTURE trademark. In the case at issue, the trademark ACCENTURE is the most distinctive element of the disputed domain name. The term “investment” creates a direct reference to the Complainant’s financial services business and therefore increases the potential confusion with the Complainant’s ACCENTURE mark.

The Complainant further contends that the Respondent lacks rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. The Respondent is not affiliated with the Complainant, nor has it been licensed or permitted to use the Complainant’s trademark on any domain name. To the best of the Complainant’s knowledge and belief, the Respondent is not commonly known by the disputed domain name.

The Complainant maintains that the Respondent is not using the disputed domain name for a valid purpose. At the time of the filing of the Complaint, the disputed domain name led to a website offering financial investments and the linking of digital wallets to its website, which suggests that the Respondent is using the ACCENTURE trademark to trick consumers into sending money to the Respondent. Moreover, the website displayed the Complainant’s registered trademark, encouraged the use of the email address “admin@accenture-investment.co”, and falsely linked the Complainant’s company registration document from the United Kingdom Companies House for its affiliated entity Accenture PLC, as the Respondent’s own certificate of incorporation. The Respondent was therefore using the disputed domain name to pass itself off as the Complainant, offering alleged financial services through its website. Such use does not amount to a legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the disputed domain name.

In respect of the registration and use of the disputed domain name in bad faith, the Complainant maintains that given the Complainant’s worldwide reputation and the ubiquitous presence of the ACCENTURE trademarks on the Internet, the Respondent was or should have been aware of the ACCENTURE marks long before the registration of the disputed domain name. The Respondent was using the disputed domain to mislead Internet users searching for the Complainant and to redirect them to its website where it holds itself out as the Complainant and promotes competing services.

Considering the reputation of the ACCENTURE trademark and the Complainant’s services related to the financial field, there is no reason for the Respondent to have registered the disputed domain name other than to trade off the reputation and goodwill of the Complainant’s trademark.

B. Respondent

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

6. Discussion and Findings

A. Identical or Confusingly Similar

The Complainant owns various registrations for the trademark ACCENTURE. The disputed domain name incorporates the Complainant’s trademark in its entirety, followed by a hyphen and the word “investment”.

It is generally recognized that “where the relevant trademark is recognizable within the disputed domain name, the addition of other terms (whether descriptive, geographical, pejorative, meaningless, or otherwise) would not prevent a finding of confusing similarity under the first element”. See section 1.8 of WIPO Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions, Third Edition (“WIPO Overview 3.0”).

The trademark ACCENTURE is fully recognizable within the disputed domain name. The hyphen lacks distinctive character and the word “investment” is descriptive and refers to part of the Complainant’s activity. Therefore, in the Panel’s view, the addition of these elements cannot prevent a finding of confusing similarity between the disputed domain name and the Complainant’s trademark.

Therefore, the Panel is satisfied that the first condition under the Policy is met.

B. Rights or Legitimate Interests

Paragraph 4(c) of the Policy sets out the following circumstances which, without limitation, if found by the panel, shall demonstrate that the respondent has rights to, or legitimate interests in, a disputed domain name, for the purposes of paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy:

(i) before any notice to [the respondent] of the dispute, [the respondent’s] use of, or demonstrable preparations to use, the [disputed] domain name or a name corresponding to the [disputed] domain name in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services; or

(ii) [the respondent] (as an individual, business, or other organization) [has] been commonly known by the [disputed] 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 [disputed] domain name, without intent for commercial gain to misleadingly divert consumers or to tarnish the trademark or service mark at issue.

The Complainant states that the Respondent is neither affiliated with, nor has it been licensed or permitted to use, the Complainant’s ACCENTURE mark or any domain names incorporating the ACCENTURE mark. Furthermore, the Complainant maintains that the Respondent is not commonly known by the disputed domain name.

At the time of the filing of the Complaint, the disputed domain name resolved to a webpage containing several references to the Complainant as mentioned above. Furthermore, in an attempt to gain credibility, the website linked to the Complainant’s company registration document from United Kingdom Companies House for its affiliated entity Accenture PLC, as the Respondent’s own certificate of incorporation. Therefore, the Respondent has engaged in a dishonest impersonation of the Complainant to mislead Internet users as to the origin of the disputed domain name and connected website and to attract them to the Respondent’s website to solicit purported financial investments. Such use does not amount to a bona fide offering of goods or services, or to a legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the disputed domain name, within the meaning of paragraphs 4(c)(i) and (iii) of the Policy.

For all circumstances highlighted above and in the absence of contrary arguments by the Respondent, the Panel is satisfied that also the second requirement under the Policy is met.

C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith

The Panel is convinced that the Respondent registered and has been using the disputed domain name in bad faith for a number of reasons.

First, in line with other previous decisions, the Panel finds that the Complainant and its trademarks are well known. Previous UDRP panels have found that the Complainant’s trademark ACCENTURE enjoys wide reputation (see, among others, Accenture Global Services Limited v. Yongkun Wang, W.KING / 王永坤, WIPO Case No. D2017-2324; Accenture Global Services Limited v. Super Privacy Service LTD c/o Dynadot / Lisa Wong, WIPO Case No. D2020-1292; and Accenture Global Services Limited v. Mark Henry, WIPO Case No. D2020-1691). Furthermore, the Complainant’s trademark is a coined word, which the Respondent cannot have selected to register as part of its disputed domain name by mere coincidence.

Lastly, the Respondent has been using the disputed domain name to falsely pose as the Complainant for an illegitimate commercial gain, to trade off the reputation and goodwill of the Complainant’s ACCENTURE trademark and to misleadingly divert Internet traffic from the Complainant’s official website.

Therefore, the Panel finds that the Respondent has intentionally attempted to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to its website by creating a likelihood of confusion with the Complainant’s ACCENTURE trademark as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation or endorsement of the Respondent’s website, and to disrupt the business of a competitor.

In light of the foregoing, the Panel is satisfied that also the third and last condition under the Policy is met.

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 <accenture-investment.co> be transferred to the Complainant.

Angelica Lodigiani
Sole Panelist
Date: April 28, 2021