The Complainant is Accenture Global Services Limited, Ireland, represented by McDermott Will & Emery LLP, United States of America (“United States” or “USA”).
The Respondent is Registration Private, Domains By Proxy, LLC / Name Redacted, Lithuania.
The disputed domain name <accenturehrteam.info> (the “Domain Name”) is registered with GoDaddy.com, LLC (the “Registrar”).
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on July 8, 2019, naming the Respondent as Registration Private / Domains By Proxy, LLC.
The Center transmitted its request for registrar verification to the Registrar on July 9, 2019. The Registrar’s reply on July 10, 2019, confirmed that the Domain Name is registered with it, that the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (the “Policy” or “UDRP”) applies, that the Domain Name expires on May 27, 2020, and will remain locked during this proceeding, and that the language of the registration agreement is English.
However, the Registrar stated that the Respondent named in the Complaint was not the registrant of the Domain Name. The Registrar provided the full contact details for the Domain Name held on its WhoIs database, which identified the registrant by the name of an officer of the Complainant with an email address that incorporated a miss-spelling of the Complainant’s mark.
The Center invited the Complainant on July 18, 2019 to amend the Complaint to reflect the registrant information received from the Registrar. The Complainant submitted an amended Complaint on July 23, 2019, naming the Respondent in line with the contact details held by the Registrar, but requested that this name be redacted.
The Center verified that the amended Complaint satisfied the formal requirements of the 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 paragraphs 2 and 4 of the Rules, the Center formally notified the Respondent of the Complaint, and the proceedings commenced on July 25, 2019. In accordance with paragraph 5 of the Rules, the due date for Response was August 14, 2019. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on August 15, 2019.
The Center appointed Jonathan Turner as the sole panelist in this matter on August 23, 2019. The Panel has submitted the Statement of Acceptance and Declaration of Impartiality and Independence, as required by the Center to ensure compliance with paragraph 7 of the Rules. Having reviewed the file, the Panel is satisfied that the amended Complaint complied with formal requirements, was duly notified to the Respondent and has been submitted to a properly constituted Panel in accordance with the UDRP, the Rules and the Supplemental Rules.
The Complainant provides management consulting, business process, technology, outsourcing and other services. It has offices and operations in more than 200 cities in 56 countries.
The Complainant commenced using the mark ACCENTURE in relation to its services at the beginning of 2001. The Complainant has registered this mark in the USA and in more than 140 other countries. The registrations include United States Trade Mark No. 3,091,811, registered on May 16, 2006, pursuant to an application on October 6, 2000.
The Complainant has promoted the mark ACCENTURE through its website at “www.accenture.com” and extensive advertising expenditure ranging from USD 67 million to USD 77 million in each of the years from 2009 to 2017. The mark has been recognized by a number of analysts as a leading global brand.
The Complainant supports social development projects such as an initiative called “SKILLS TO SUCCEED” that has equipped more than 1.2 million people around the world with the skills to find a job or build a business. The Complainant also sponsors sports championships and cultural activities.
The Domain Name was registered on May 27 2019. It does not locate any Internet resource. The Complainant sent emails on June 18 and July 1, 2019, to the address listed in the public WhoIs data for the Domain Name, inquiring as to the Respondent’s purpose for registering the Domain Name. The Respondent did not reply.
The Complainant contends that the Domain Name is confusingly to the mark ACCENTURE in which it has registered and unregistered rights. The Complainant points out that the Domain Name consists of this mark followed by descriptive terms and the generic Top-Level Domain (“gTLD”) suffix, which is normally discounted in making the comparison required by the first substantive requirement of the UDRP. The Complainant notes that the letters “hr” are commonly used to refer to “human resources” and that “team” is used in a business context to refer to a department or group of people.
The Complainant submits that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the Domain Name or any corresponding name. The Complainant points out that the Respondent has not made any use of the Domain Name, has not been authorized by the Complainant to use it, and is not commonly known by it or any corresponding name.
The Complainant alleges that the Domain Name was registered and is being used in bad faith. The Complainant observes that the Respondent must have known of the Complainant under its well-known and distinctive mark, and that the Domain Name is obviously confusingly similar to this mark. The Complainant also notes the absence of any explanation in response to its emails and that the Domain Name was falsely registered in the name of one of its senior officers. In these circumstances, the Complainant maintains that the Respondent registered and is passively using the Domain Name in bad faith to intentionally mislead the public.
The Complainant requests a decision that the Domain Name be transferred to it. The Complainant also requests that the name of the Respondent (as presented to the Registrar) be redacted in line with the decision in Banco Bradesco S.A. v. FAST-12785241 Attn. Bradescourgente.net / Name Redacted, WIPO Case No. D2009-1788, since the inclusion of this name would unfairly suggest that a decision had been made against the officer of the Complainant whose name was used by the Respondent.
As stated above, the Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.
In accordance with paragraph 4(a) of the Policy, to succeed in this Complaint, the Complainant must prove: (i) that the Domain Name is identical or confusingly similar to a mark in which it has rights: (ii) that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Domain Name; and (iii) that the Domain Name has been registered and is being used in bad faith. It is convenient to consider each of these requirements in turn.
In accordance with paragraph 14(b) of the Rules, the Panel shall draw such inferences as it considers appropriate from the Respondent’s failure to file a response. This includes the acceptance of plausible evidence of the Complainant which has not been disputed.
The Panel finds on the evidence that the Complainant has registered and unregistered rights in the mark ACCENTURE.
The Panel further finds that the Domain Name is confusingly similar to this mark. The Domain Name consists of this mark followed by the string “hrteam” and the gTLD suffix, “.info”. As the Complainant points out, “hr” is commonly used to refer to “human resources” and “team” is often used to refer to a department or group of a business, while the gTLD suffix should be discounted, as stated in section 1.11 of the WIPO Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions, Third Edition (“WIPO Overview 3.0”). The Panel considers that many Internet users would assume that the Domain Name refers to a human resources department or group of the Complainant. Furthermore, particularly as “hrteam” is liable to be understood in this way, the mark ACCENTURE is clearly recognizable in the Domain Name. As stated in section 1.8 of the WIPO Overview 3.0 “[w]here 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”.
The first requirement of the UDRP is satisfied.
The Panel finds on the undisputed evidence that the Respondent has made no use of the Domain Name whether for a bonafide offering of goods or services or for a legitimate noncommercial or fair use. Nor has the Respondent made any demonstrable preparations for any such use.
It is also clear that the Respondent is not commonly known by the Domain Name or any corresponding name and that it has not been authorized by the Complainant to use the Domain Name.
In the circumstances, the Panel finds that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the Domain Name. The second requirement of the UDRP is satisfied.
It is clear that the Respondent knew of the Complainant’s reputation and intended to target the Complainant by its registration of the Domain Name. This might have been inferred from the extent of the Complainant’s reputation under the mark ACCENTURE, the obvious confusing similarity of the Domain Name to this mark, and the lack of any reply by the Respondent to the Complainant’s requests for an explanation. However, it is not necessary to rely solely on this inference because this conclusion is evident from the fact that the registration was made, obviously falsely, in the name of a senior officer of the Complainant with an email address that incorporated a miss-spelling of the Complainant’s mark.
In the absence of any satisfactory explanation from the Respondent, the Panel finds that the Domain Name was registered and is being used passively in bad faith.
All three requirements of the UDRP are satisfied and it is appropriate to direct that the Domain Name be transferred to the Complainant.
The Panel accepts the Complainant’s request that the name of the Respondent (as presented to the Registrar) be redacted, since the inclusion of this name in published copies of the decision or information about it would unfairly suggest that a decision had been made against the officer of the Complainant whose name was falsely used by the Respondent.
For the foregoing reasons, in accordance with paragraphs 4(i) of the Policy and 15 of the Rules, the Panel orders that the Domain Name, <accenturehrteam.info> be transferred to the Complainant.
The Panel further directs that the Respondent’s name (as presented to the Registrar) be redacted from all published copies of this decision and published information relating to it.
Date: September 5, 2019
Stay updated! Get new cases and decisions by daily email.