Booz Allen Hamilton Inc v. Guanrui, Groupfield Limited Case No




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ARBITRATION
AND
MEDIATION CENTER



ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION

Booz Allen Hamilton Inc. v. Guanrui, Groupfield Limited

Case No. D2015-1614

1. The Parties
The Complainant is Booz Allen Hamilton Inc. of McLean, Virginia, United States of America (“United States”), represented by Pattishall, McAuliffe, Newbury, Hilliard & Geraldson, United States.
The Respondent is Guanrui, Groupfield Limited of Singapore.

2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name is registered with PDR Ltd. d/b/a PublicDomainRegistry.com (the “Registrar”).

3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on September 9, 2015. On September 11, 2015, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On September 12, 2015, 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 September 15, 2015. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was October 5, 2015. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on October 6, 2015.
The Center appointed Christian Schalk as the sole panelist in this matter on October 16, 2015. 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 Panel has reviewed the record and confirms the Complaint’s compliance with the formal requirements. The Complaint was properly notified to the Respondent in accordance with paragraphs 2(a) and 2(b) of the Rules. The language of the proceedings is English.



4. Factual Background
The Complainant is a leading global strategy and technology consulting firm with more than 23,000 employees working in offices located on six continents. According to the Complainant, its trademark BOOZ ALLEN HAMILTON has been used since at least 1942. The Complainant explains in this context that besides the trademark BOOZ ALLEN HAMILTON, it uses also the shortened version thereof, which is BOOZ ALLEN. The Complainant has evidenced its trademark rights in BOOZ ALLEN HAMILTON by presenting copies of current trademark registration certificates from many countries on every continent. All these trademarks predate the registration of the disputed domain name on July 26, 2015. It is the same with the Complainant’s trademark rights in the word combination “BOOZ ALLEN” in the United States (United States trademark registration No. 3820454, registered July 20, 2010) and in the Benelux countries (Benelux trademark registration No. 785416, registered December 23, 2005).
The Complainant sent a cease-and-desist letter to the Respondent on August 24, 2015 where the Respondent was also asked to transfer the disputed domain name to the Complainant. The Respondent replied at the same day as follows: “Only $800. Thanks”
The disputed domain name resolves to a website which displays prominently on its right side a number of sponsored links and also links on the left side concerning matters related to apartments and real estate.

5. Parties’ Contentions
A. Complainant
The Complainant alleges that the disputed domain name is virtually identical or confusing similar to a trademark or service mark in which the Complainant has rights. The Complainant explains in this context that the disputed domain name is virtually identical to its trademarks since it includes the terms “BOOZ ALLEN” and the Top-Level Domain (“TLD”) extension “.biz”.
The Complainant alleges further, that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. The Complainant explains in this context that it has objected to the Respondent’s unauthorized use of the disputed domain name by a cease-and-desist letter of August 24, 2015. However, the Respondent replied by asking for USD 800 in exchange for the disputed domain name.
The Complainant states also, that it has not licensed or otherwise permitted the Respondent to use its trademarks nor to apply for use of any domain name incorporating or simulating these marks. The Complainant argues further that the Respondent is not commonly known by the disputed domain name and has not acquired any trademark or service mark rights to use the disputed domain name.
The Complainant alleges also that the Respondent has registered and is using the disputed domain name in bad faith. Aside from the actual knowledge of the Complainant’s trademark rights when the Respondent received the Complainant’s cease-and-desist letter, the Complainant asserts that the Respondent had legal constructive notice of the Complainant’s trademark rights given the Complainant’s trademark registrations since the filing of the first United States trademark application for BOOZ ALLEN HAMILTON in 1968. Therefore, the Complainant concludes, that the Respondent knew what it was doing: registering a domain name that incorporated entirely in itself a highly publicized trademark belonging to a third party. In addition, the Respondent offered to sell the disputed domain name to the Complainant’s attorney for USD 800.

B. Respondent

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




6. Discussion and Findings

The Panel shall decide a complaint on the basis of the statements and documents submitted and in accordance with the Policy, the Rules and any rules and principles of law it deems applicable (paragraph 15(a) of the Rules). Pursuant to paragraph 4(a) of the Policy, the disputed domain name can be transferred only where the Complainant has proven each of the following three elements:


(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.

A. Identical or Confusingly Similar

The Panel finds that the Complainant has established trademark rights in BOOZ ALLEN HAMILTON and in BOOZ ALLEN. The disputed domain name is identical to the Complainant’s trademarks in BOOZ ALLEN and is confusingly similar to BOOZ ALLEN HAMILTON since it features the terms BOOZ and ALLEN. They are the most frequently used terms of this trademark.


In addition, the “.biz” TLD suffix in the disputed domain name does not affect the determination that the disputed domain name is identical with the BOOZ ALLEN mark in which the Complainant has rights (see also Compagnie Générale des Etablissements Michelin v. Trendimg, WIPO Case No. D2010 0484; Köstrizer Schwarzbierbrauerei v. Macros-Telekom Corp., WIPO Case No. D2001-0936; Laboratoire Pharmafarm (SAS) v. M. Sivaramakrishan, WIPO Case No. D2001-0615 and cases cited therein).
For all these reasons, the Panel finds that the Complainant has fulfilled the first element under paragraph 4(a) of the Policy.

B. Rights or Legitimate Interests

Based on the submissions and materials filed in this case, the Panel finds that the Respondent does not have rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name.


The Respondent has not provided any evidence of circumstances specified in paragraph 4(c) of the Policy or of any other circumstances giving rise to a right to or legitimate interest in the disputed domain name. Specifically, the Panel finds no evidence that the Respondent has been or is commonly known by the disputed domain name. The Respondent is neither affiliated with the Complainant nor has a license to use its trademark.
The Respondent has not rebutted the Complainant’s allegations and has not provided the Panel with any explanations as to the Respondent’s rights or legitimate interests. On the contrary, it appears to the Panel that the Respondent is unfairly capitalizing on the reputation and goodwill established by the Complainant (see, e.g., Edmunds.com, Inc. v. Digi Real Estate Foundation, WIPO Case No. D2006 1043; Microsoft Corporation v. Global Net 2000, Inc., WIPO Case No. D2000-0554). The Respondent has directed the disputed domain name to a website where sponsored links are displayed.
Therefore, the Panel believes that the disputed domain name has been registered by the Respondent only in order to capitalize on the Complainant’s reputation and goodwill by redirecting Internet traffic intended for the Complainant away from it to the Respondent’s website to generate income. Such behaviour cannot constitute a bona fide or legitimate use of the disputed domain name.
Furthermore, the Respondent continued this behaviour even after the Complainant had sent a cease and desist letter to it.

The Panel finds for these reasons that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name, and therefore, the requirement of paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy is met.



C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith

The Complainant contends that the Respondent registered and is using the disputed domain name in bad faith. The Policy, paragraph 4(b) sets forth four non exclusive circumstances, which evidence bad faith registration and use of domain names:


(i) circumstances indicating that the Respondent has registered or has acquired the disputed domain name primarily for the purpose of selling, renting, or otherwise transferring the disputed domain name registration to the Complainant who is owner of the trademark or service mark or to a competitor of that complainant, for valuable consideration in excess of the Respondent’s documented out of pocket costs directly related to the domain name; or
(ii) the Respondent has registered the disputed 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 the Respondent has engaged in a pattern of such conduct; or
(iii) the Respondent has registered the disputed domain name primarily for the purpose of disrupting the business of a competitor; or
(iv) by using the disputed domain name, the Respondent has intentionally attempted to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to its website or other online location, by creating a likelihood of confusion with the Complainant’s mark as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation, or endorsement of its website or location of a product.
According to the materials brought before the Panel, the Panel finds that the disputed domain name has been registered and is being used by the Respondent in bad faith in accordance with paragraphs 4(b)(i) and 4(b)(iv) of the Policy.
It is a well-established principle under prior UDRP decisions (see, for instance, Carolina Herrera, Ltd. v. Alberto Rincon Garcia, WIPO Case No. D2002 0806; Six Continents Hotels, Inc. v. Seweryn Nowak, WIPO Case No. D2003 0022) and under the Policy (see paragraph 2), that a domain name registrant represents and warrants to the concerned registrar that to its knowledge, “the registration of the domain name will not infringe upon or otherwise violated the rights of any third party.”
The Complainant belongs to a very well-known consultancy company and is active in many countries of the world. The Complainant, like other consultancy firms receives frequent attention in the press when it is involved in mergers, acquisitons, or other business related activities, or after it has published studies and/or reports on a variety of subjects of public and/or social life. Therefore, the Panel finds that the Respondent must have been well aware of the Complainant’s trademark and its services when it registered the disputed domain name in 2015 (see, Liseberg AB v. Administration Local Manage Technical, WIPO Case No. D2003 0864). For all this, the Panel is convinced that the Respondent registered the disputed domain name in bad faith.
The Panel finds further, that the Respondent is also using the disputed domain name in bad faith.

The Respondent has directed the disputed domain name to a website which features sponsored links. The Panel believes that the only reason for this would be to profit from the Complainant’s trademark and to use the disputed domain name to direct Internet traffic away from the Complainant to the Respondent (see also Villeroy & Boch AG v. Mario Pingerna, WIPO Case No. D2007 1912). Therefore, the Panel is convinced that the Respondent’s main purpose was to attract for commercial gain Internet users to the Respondent’s website by creating a likelihood of confusion with the Complainant’s trademark as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation, or endorsement of the Respondent’s website.


Another indication of bad faith use of the disputed domain name is that the Respondent, as a reaction to the Complainant’s cease-and-desist letter, asked the Complainant for USD 800 as a compensation for transferring the disputed domain name to the Complainant. This amount is quite in excess of the cost one usually has to pay to register a domain name. Therefore, the Panel is convinced that the Respondent has registered the disputed domain name also for the purpose of selling, renting, or otherwise transferring the disputed domain name to the Complainant who is owner of the trademark or to a competitor of that complainant, for valuable consideration in excess of the Respondent’s out of pocket costs directly related to the disputed domain name as per paragraph 4(b)(i) of the Policy.
Furthermore, the Respondent continued its bad faith use of the disputed domain name even after receipt of the Complainant’s cease-and-desist letter. Such behavior is considered by the Panel as further evidence of bad faith (see in this context also News Group Newspapers Limited and News Network Limited v. Momm Amed Ia, WIPO Case No. D2000-1623; see also Aktiebolaget Electrolux AB v. Domains by Proxy, Inc. / HSD LLC, Thomas Keith, WIPO Case No. D2010 0561).
The Respondent has apparently also provided inaccurate contact details when it registered the disputed domain name or failed at least to correct such false contact details. The Center has used the contact details given in the WhoIs record for the disputed domain name and those provided by the Registrar when it tried to contact the Respondent. However, the courier service provider could not reach the Respondent in order to deliver the Written Notice of the Complaint. Therefore, the Panel notes that the Respondent may have given incorrect contact details to frustrate or at least to delay these proceedings (see Telstra Corporation Limited v. Nuclear Marshmallows, WIPO Case No. D2000 0003).
Given all the facts and circumstances of this case, the Panel finds therefore, that the disputed domain name was registered and is being used in bad faith.

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 be transferred to the Complainant.

Christian Schalk

Sole Panelist



Date: October 30, 2015



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