WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center

ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION

Antipodes Partners Limited v. Withheld for Privacy ehf, Privacy service provided by Withheld for Privacy ehf / Diamond global, Tycryptotrading

Case No. DCO2021-0065

1. The Parties

The Complainant is Antipodes Partners Limited, Australia, represented by K&L Gates, Australia.

The Respondent is Withheld for Privacy ehf, Privacy service provided by Withheld for Privacy ehf, Iceland / Diamond global, Tycryptotrading, United States of America (“United States”).

2. The Domain Name and Registrar

The disputed domain name <antipodesinvestor.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 August 20, 2021. On August 20, 2021, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On August 20, 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 August 23, 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 25, 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 30, 2021. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was September 19, 2021. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on September 20, 2021.

The Center appointed Federica Togo as the sole panelist in this matter on September 27, 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 the registered owner of several trademarks worldwide consisting and/or containing ANTIPODES, e.g. Australian trademark registration No. 2023202 ANTIPODES registered on July 15, 2019, for “Financial services; investment services” amongst others, in class 36; International trademark registration No. 1515622 ANTIPODES with priority July 15, 2019, registered amongst others for “Financial services; investment services” in class 36 on January 14, 2020.

It results from the information disclosed by the Registrar that the disputed domain name was registered on January 11, 2021.

Furthermore, the undisputed evidence provided by the Complainant proves that the disputed domain name <antipodesinvestor.co> is very similar to the official domain names <antipodespartners.com> and <antipodespartners.com.au> used by the Complainant and resolved to a web page used to impersonate the Complainant indicating as corporate office addresses, the ones corresponding to the Complainant’s corporate office addresses, showing the names, positions, and photographs of staff employed by the Complainant, displaying a fake corporate registration certificate of “Antipodes Investor” (allegedly an officially registered company in Australia, which however does not exist). Furthermore, the website to which the disputed domain name resolves is signed off by the alleged Chairman and Founder of “Antipodes Investor” featuring a photograph of the Complainant’s Founder and Chief Information Officer. Finally, it contains a link where the visitors can make a minimum deposit of up to USD 100,000 to start a trading account, seemingly in order to retrieve sensible information.

5. Parties’ Contentions

A. Complainant

It results from the Complainant’s undisputed allegations that the Complainant is a leading Australian-based investment management firm first established in 2015. It manages over AUD 8 billion in assets across a diverse range of asset classes, but with a specialisation in global shares.

In addition, the Complainant operates the domain names <antipodespartners.com> and <antipodespartners.com.au> in order to promote its products and services.

The Complainant contends that its trademark ANTIPODES is well known.

The Complainant further contends that the disputed domain name is identical or confusingly similar to the Complainant’s trademark ANTIPODES, since it incorporates the whole of the mark, with only the addition of the word “investor”, which in the context of the website hosted at that domain is wholly descriptive of the services purportedly provided under the disputed domain name.

The Complainant further contends that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. According to the Complainant, the disputed domain name is being used to impersonate the Complainant in order to perpetuate a fraud and/or phishing scam, for the following reasons: the website at the disputed domain name indicated as corporate office addresses, the ones corresponding to the Complainant’s corporate office addresses. These are the addresses for the Complainant’s head office and London office, but the infringing website has no association with the Complainant and only the Complainant’s business operates out of those addresses. Moreover, the website to which the disputed domain name resolves shows the names, positions, and photographs of staff employed by the Complainant. These staff members work for the Complainant, not the Respondent. Furthermore, the website to which the disputed domain name resolves claims that “Antipodes Investor” is an officially registered company in Australia, displaying a fake corporate registration certificate. A search of the Australian Securities and Investment Commission register shows that “Antipodes Investor” is not registered as a company in Australia. Furthermore, the website to which the disputed domain name resolves is signed off by the alleged Chairman and Founder of Antipodes Investor and features a photograph of the Complainant’s Founder and Chief Information Officer. Finally, it encourages visitors to make a minimum deposit of up to USD 100,000 to start a trading account.

Finally, the Complainant contends that the disputed domain name was registered and is being used in bad faith. The Respondent likely chose the disputed domain name with full knowledge of the Complainant and its rights. By registering and using the disputed domain name in the manner described above, the Respondent has intentionally confused consumers into thinking that: the products or services promoted, offered for sale or sold at the disputed domain name are the products or services of the Complainant; the Respondent and/or the disputed domain name may have some affiliation, sponsorship, endorsement or other connection with the Complainant; and the products or services promoted, offered for sale or sold at the disputed domain name are bona fide and legitimate when in all likelihood, they are a scam.

B. Respondent

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

6. Discussion and Findings

Paragraph 15(a) of the Rules instructs this Panel to “decide a complaint on the basis of the statements 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 requires a complainant to prove each of the following three elements in order to obtain an order that the disputed domain name be transferred or cancelled:

(i) the disputed domain name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which the Complainant has rights; and
(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.

The Panel will therefore proceed to analyze whether the three elements of paragraph 4(a) of the Policy are satisfied.

A. Identical or Confusingly Similar

Pursuant to paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Policy, the Complainant must establish rights in a trademark or service mark and secondly establish that the disputed domain name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark in which the Complainant has rights.

It results from the evidence provided that the Complainant is the registered owner of various trademark registrations for the mark ANTIPODES. Reference is made to those listed in Section 4 above.

UDRP panels have found that a disputed domain name is confusingly similar to a complainant’s trademark where the disputed domain name incorporates the complainant’s trademark in its entirety (e.g. Accenture Global Services Limited v. WhoisGuard Protected, WhoisGuard, Inc. / William Douglas, WIPO Case No. D2021-0774; Compagnie Générale des Etablissements Michelin v. Milen Radumilo, WIPO Case No. DCO2020-0090; LEGO Juris A/S v. ken Teo, WIPO Case No. D2020-2380; Sanofi v. WhoisGuard Protected, WhoisGuard, Inc. / Todd Peter, WIPO Case No. D2020-2060; Virgin Enterprises Limited v. Domains By Proxy LLC, Domainsbyproxy.com / Carolina Rodrigues, Fundacion Comercio Electronico, WIPO Case No. D2020-1923; F. Hoffmann-La Roche AG v. Jason Barnes, ecnopt, WIPO Case No. D2015-1305; Compagnie Générale des Etablissements Michelin v. Christian Viola, WIPO Case No. D2012-2102; Volkswagen AG v. Nowack Auto und Sport - Oliver Nowack, WIPO Case No. D2015-0070; The Chancellor, Masters and Scholars of the University of Oxford v. Oxford College for PhD Studies, WIPO Case No. D2015-0812; Rhino Entertainment Company v. DomainSource.com, Inc., WIPO Case No. D2006-0968; SurePayroll, Inc. v. Texas International Property Associates, WIPO Case No. D2007-0464; and Patagonia, Inc. v. Registration Private, Domains By Proxy, LLC / Carolina Rodrigues, Fundacion Comercio Electronico, WIPO Case No. D2019-1409). This Panel shares this view and notes that the Complainant’s registered trademark ANTIPODES is fully included in the disputed domain name, followed by the term “investor”, which cannot prevent a finding of confusing similarity between the disputed domain name and the Complainant’s trademark since the Complainant’s trademark is clearly recognizable in the disputed domain name. Finally, the country code Top-Level Domain “.co” of the disputed domain name is generally disregarded under the first element confusing similarity test (see WIPO Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions, Third Edition (“WIPO Overview 3.0”) at section 1.11.1).

B. Rights or Legitimate Interests

Pursuant to paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy, the Complainant must secondly establish that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name.

Paragraph 4(c) of the Policy contains a non-exhaustive list of circumstances which, if found by the Panel to be proved, shall demonstrate the Respondent’s rights or legitimate interests to the disputed domain name. In the Panel’s view, based on the undisputed allegations stated above, the Complainant has made a prima facie case that none of these circumstances are found in the case at hand and, therefore, that the Respondent lacks rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name.

According to the Complaint, which has remained unchallenged, the Complainant has no relationship in any way with the Respondent and did not authorize the Respondent’s use of its trademarks or the registration of the disputed domain name.

Furthermore, the Panel notes that there is no evidence showing that the Respondent might be commonly known by the disputed domain name in the sense of paragraph 4(c)(ii) of the Policy.

In addition, UDRP panels have categorically held that the use of a domain name for illegal activity can never confer rights or legitimate interests on a respondent, e.g. impersonation/passing off, or other types of fraud (see WIPO Overview 3.0 at section 2.13.1 with further references). It results from the undisputed evidence before the Panel that the disputed domain resolved to a web page used to impersonate the Complainant, indicating as corporate office addresses, the ones corresponding to the Complainant’s corporate office addresses, showing the names, positions, and photographs of staff employed by the Complainant, displaying a fake corporate registration certificate of “Antipodes Investor” (allegedly an officially registered company in Australia, which however does not exist). Furthermore, the website to which the disputed domain name resolves is signed off by the alleged Chairman and Founder of “Antipodes Investor” featuring a photograph of the Complainant’s Founder and Chief Information Officer.

In the case at hand, the Complainant submitted substantial evidence of such illegal activities by showing that the website contains a link where the visitors can make a minimum deposit of up to USD 100,000 to start a trading account, seemingly in order to retrieve sensible information.

The Panel considers this evidence as sufficient to support the Complainants’ credible claim of illegal activity by the Respondent.

It is acknowledged that once the Panel finds a prima facie case is made by a complainant, the burden of production under the second element shifts to the respondent to come forward with relevant evidence demonstrating rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. Since the Respondent in the case at hand failed to come forward with any allegations or evidence, this Panel finds, in the circumstances of this case, that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name.

The Complainants have therefore satisfied paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy.

C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith

According to paragraph 4(a)(iii) of the Policy, the Complainant must thirdly establish that the disputed domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith. The Policy indicates that certain circumstances specified in paragraph 4(b) of the Policy may, “in particular but without limitation”, be evidence of the disputed domain name’s registration and use in bad faith.

Based on the evidence submitted by the Complainant, this Panel has no doubt that the Respondent positively knew or should have known that the disputed domain name consisted of the Complainant’s trademark when it registered the disputed domain name. This is underlined by the fact that the disputed domain name is clearly constituted by the Complainant’s registered trademark ANTIPODES and the term “investor”, which clearly refers to the Complainant’s area of activity (see WIPO Overview 3.0 at section 3.2.1). Registration of the disputed domain name in awareness of the ANTIPODES mark and in the absence of rights or legitimate interests in this case amounts to registration in bad faith.

In addition, the use of the disputed domain name in such an illegal scheme additionally demonstrates that the Respondent not only knew of the Complainant, its business and marks, but also attempted to pass itself off as the Complainant (see Septodont ou Septodont SAS ou Specialites Septodont v. Dugan Morgan, WIPO Case No. D2020-1817; Virgin Enterprises Limited v. Registration Private, Domains by Proxy, LLC / Name Redacted, WIPO Case No. D2018-0645; and Jcdecaux SA v. Whois Privacy Protection Foundation / Anderson Paul, WIPO Case No. D2019-1143).

Finally, the further circumstances surrounding the disputed domain name’s registration and use confirm the findings that the Respondent has registered and is using the disputed domain name in bad faith, including (1) a clear absence of rights or legitimate interests coupled with no credible explanation for the Respondent’s choice of the domain name, (2) other indicia generally suggesting that the Respondent had somehow targeted the Complainant, (3) the Respondent registered the disputed domain name through a privacy shield service to hide its identity and contact details, (4) the Respondent did not provide any response with conceivable explanation of its behavior.

Consequently, the Panel finds that the disputed domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith pursuant to paragraph 4(a)(iii) of the Policy. The Complainants are therefore deemed to also have satisfied the third element, paragraph 4(a)(iii) of the Policy.

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 <antipodesinvestor.co> be transferred to the Complainant.

Federica Togo
Sole Panelist
Date: October 11, 2021