The Complainant is Salesforce.com, Inc., United States of America (the “United States”), represented by Winterfeldt IP Group PLLC, United States.
The Respondent is Privacydotlink Customer 2943125, Cayman Islands, Overseas Territory of the United Kingdom / Shulan Wu, China.
The disputed domain name <mysalesforce.com> (the “Disputed Domain Name”) is registered with Uniregistrar Corp (the “Registrar”).
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on August 30, 2019. On September 2, 2019, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the Disputed Domain Name. On September 3, 2019, 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 September 4, 2019, 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 September 5, 2019.
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 11, 2019. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was October 1, 2019. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on October 3, 2019.
The Center appointed Nick J. Gardner as the sole panelist in this matter on October 10, 2019. 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.
The Complainant is a United States corporation with its global headquarters in California. It was founded in 1999 and provides customer relationship management services and a variety of other cloud-based software as a service platform to over 150,000 companies worldwide. The SALESFORCE brand was ranked the 75th best global brand by Interbrand in 2018, with an estimated value over USD 6.4 million.
The Complainant is the exclusive owner of a number of registered trademarks consisting of the word SALESFORCE in various jurisdictions throughout the world, including for example:
- European Union Trade Mark for the word SALESFORCE with registration number 008433021, registered on March 29, 2012,
- International Trademark for the word SALESFORCE, having registration number 0910077, registered on March 16, 2006,
- United States Trademark for the word SALESORCE with registration number 3,138,749 registered as of September 5, 2006.
These trademarks are referred to in this decision as the SALESFORCE trademark.
The Complainant also claims common law rights in the term “mysalesforce”. In view of the Panel’s findings (below) the Panel does not need to consider this issue.
The Complainant is the owner of numerous domain names consisting of the term SALESFORCE, for instance, <salesforce.com>, <salesforce.org>, <salesforce.mobi>, and <salesforce.cloud>.
The Disputed Domain Name was registered on February 28, 2016. At the time of this decision, it does not resolve to an active website but evidence filed with the Complaint shows it has previously resolved to a parking page containing pay per click (“PPC”) links to third party sites, including to competitors of the Complainant.
The Complainant says that the Disputed Domain Name is confusingly similar to the SALESFORCE trademark in that it simply adds the non-distinctive word “my”.
The Complainant says that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the term “Salesforce” or “mysalesforce”.
The Complainant says that the Respondent’s registration and use of the Disputed Domain Name is in bad faith as it is seeking to monetize the Disputed Domain Name based on its association with the Complainant’s trademark.
No Response has been filed.
The Panel notes that no communication has been received from the Respondent. However, given the Complaint and Written Notice were sent to the relevant addresses disclosed by the Registrar then the Panel considers that this satisfies the requirement in paragraph 2(a) of the UDRP Rules to “employ reasonably available means calculated to achieve actual notice”. Accordingly, the Panel considers it is able to proceed to determine this Complaint and to draw inferences from the Respondent’s failure to file any Response. While the Respondent’s failure to file a Response does not automatically result in a decision in favor of the Complainant, the Panel may draw appropriate inferences from the Respondent’s default (see, e.g., Verner Panton Design v. Fontana di Luce Corp, WIPO Case No. D2012-1909).
The Panel also notes this is a case where one Respondent (“Privacydotlink Customer 2943125”) appears to be a privacy or proxy service.
The Panel in this case adopts the approach of most UDRP panels, as outlined in WIPO Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions, Third Edition (“WIPO Overview 3.0”) at section 4.4.5, as follows:
In all cases involving a privacy or proxy service and irrespective of the disclosure of any underlying registrant, the appointed panel retains discretion to determine the respondent against which the case should proceed.
Depending on the facts and circumstances of a particular case, e.g., where a timely disclosure is made, and there is no indication of a relationship beyond the provision of privacy or proxy registration services, a panel may find it appropriate to apply its discretion to record only the underlying registrant as the named respondent. On the other hand, e.g., where there is no clear disclosure, or there is some indication that the privacy or proxy provider is somehow related to the underlying registrant or use of the particular domain name, a panel may find it appropriate to record both the privacy or proxy service and any nominally underlying registrant as the named respondent.”
In the present case the Panel considers the substantive Respondent to be Shulan Wu and references to “the Respondent” are to that person.
To succeed, in accordance with paragraph 4(a) of the Policy, the Complainant must satisfy the Panel that:
(i) the Disputed Domain Name is identical with or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which the Complainant has rights;
(ii) the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Disputed Domain Name;
(iii) the Disputed Domain Name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.
The Complainant has rights in the SALESFORCE trademark. The Panel finds the Disputed Domain Name is confusingly similar to this trademark. It involves the addition of the non-distinctive word “my”. Previous UDRP panels have consistently held that domain names are identical or confusingly similar to a trademark for purposes of the Policy “when the domain name includes the trademark, or a confusingly similar approximation, regardless of the other terms in the domain name” (Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Richard MacLeod d/b/a For Sale, WIPO Case No. D2000-0662). It is established that, where a mark is the distinctive part of a disputed domain name, the disputed domain name is considered to be confusingly similar to the registered mark (DHL Operations B.V. v. DHL Packers, WIPO Case No. D2008-1694).
It is also established that mere addition of a dictionary or descriptive term does not prevent a finding of confusing similarity under the first element (PRL USA Holdings, Inc. v. Spiral Matrix, WIPO Casew No. D2006-0189).
It is also well established that the generic Top-Level Domain (“gTLD”), in this case “.com”, does not affect the Disputed Domain Name for the purpose of determining whether it is identical or confusingly similar. See, for example, Rollerblade, Inc. v. Chris McCrady, WIPO Case No. D2000-0429.
Accordingly the Panel finds that the Disputed Domain Name is confusingly similar to the Complainant’s trademark and hence the first condition of paragraph 4(a) of the Policy has been fulfilled.
The Panel finds the SALESFORCE trademark is, on the evidence before the Panel, a term in which the Complainant has developed a significant reputation.
Paragraph 4(c) of the Policy provides a list of circumstances any of which is sufficient to demonstrate that a respondent has rights or legitimate interests in a domain name:
(i) before any notice to the respondent of the dispute, use of, or demonstrable preparations to use, the domain name or a name corresponding to the domain name in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services; or
(ii) the respondent has been commonly known by the 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 domain name, without intent for commercial gain to misleadingly divert consumers or to tarnish the trademark or service mark at issue.
None of these apply in the present circumstances. The Complainant has not authorised, licensed, or permitted the Respondent to register or use the Disputed Domain Name or to use SALESFORCE trademark. The Complainant has prior rights in the SALESFORCE trademark which precede the Respondent’s acquisition of the Disputed Domain Name. The Complainant has therefore established a prima facie case that the Respondent does not have any rights or legitimate interests in the Disputed Domain Name and thereby the burden of production shifts to the Respondent to produce evidence demonstrating rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Disputed Domain Name (see, for example, Do The Hustle, LLC v. Tropic Web, WIPO Case No. D2000-0624; Croatia Airlines d.d. v. Modern Empire Internet Ltd., WIPO Case No. D2003-0455).
The Panel finds that the Respondent has failed to produce any evidence to establish its rights or legitimate interests in the Disputed Domain Name. Accordingly the Panel finds the Respondent has no rights or any legitimate interests in the Disputed Domain Name and the second condition of paragraph 4(a) of the Policy has been fulfilled.
Under paragraph 4(b) of the Policy a non-exhaustive list of factors evidencing registration and use in bad faith comprises:
(i) circumstances indicating that you have registered or you have acquired the domain name primarily for the purpose of selling, renting, or otherwise transferring the domain name registration to the complainant who is the owner of the trademark or service mark or to a competitor of that complainant, for valuable consideration in excess of your documented out-of-pocket costs directly related to the domain name; or
(ii) you have registered the domain name in order to prevent the owner of the trademark or service mark from reflecting the mark in a corresponding domain name, provided that you have engaged in a pattern of such conduct; or
(iii) you have registered the domain name primarily for the purpose of disrupting the business of a competitor; or
(iv) by using the domain name, you have intentionally attempted to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to your web site or other on-line location, by creating a likelihood of confusion with the complainant's mark as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation, or endorsement of your web site or location or of a product or service on your web site or location.
The Panel concludes that (iv) applies as the Disputed Domain Name is likely to attract traffic because of confusion with the Complainant’s mark, and the Respondent derives commercial gain as a result. The website linked to the Disputed Domain Name comprised a series of PPC links to other third-party websites. The Panel infers that some consumers, once at this website will follow the provided links and “click through” to other sites which offer products some of which may compete with those of the Complainant. The Respondent presumably earns “click through” linking revenue as a result. The Panel infers the website is automatically generated. This does not however matter. It is well established that where a domain name is used to generate revenue in respect of “click through” traffic, and that traffic has been attracted because of the name’s association with the Complainant, such use amounts to use in bad faith, see for example Shangri-La International Hotel Management Limited v. NetIncome Ventures Inc., WIPO Case No. D2006-1315; Owens Corning v. NA, WIPO Case No. D2007-1143; McDonald’s Corporation v. ZusCom, WIPO Case No. D2007-1353; Villeroy & Boch AG v. Mario Pingerna, WIPO Case No. D2007-1912; Rolex Watch U.S.A., Inc. v. Vadim Krivitsky, WIPO Case No. D2008-0396.
Particularly with respect to ‘automatically’ generated pay-per-click links, panels have held that a respondent cannot disclaim responsibility for content appearing on the website associated with its domain name (nor would such links ipso facto vest the respondent with rights or legitimate interests).
Neither the fact that such links are generated by a third party such as a registrar or auction platform (or their affiliate), nor the fact that the respondent itself may not have directly profited, would by itself prevent a finding of bad faith”.
As a result the Panel finds that the Disputed Domain Name has been registered and is being used in bad faith. Accordingly the third condition of paragraph 4(a) of the Policy has been fulfilled.
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 <mysalesforce.com> be transferred to the Complainant.
Nick J. Gardner
Date: October 25, 2019
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