Emerson Electric Co. v. golden humble / golden globals
Claim Number: FA1805001787128
Complainant is Emerson Electric Co. (“Complainant”), Missouri, USA. Respondent is golden humble / golden globals (“Respondent”), Nigeria.
REGISTRAR AND DISPUTED DOMAIN NAME
The domain name at issue is <ernersson.com>, registered with PDR Ltd. d/b/a PublicDomainRegistry.com.
The undersigned certifies that he has acted independently and impartially and to the best of his knowledge has no known conflict in serving as Panelist in this proceeding.
Richard Hill as Panelist.
Complainant submitted a Complaint to the Forum electronically on May 17, 2018; the Forum received payment on May 17, 2018.
On May 18, 2018, PDR Ltd. d/b/a PublicDomainRegistry.com confirmed by e-mail to the Forum that the <ernersson.com> domain name is registered with PDR Ltd. d/b/a PublicDomainRegistry.com and that Respondent is the current registrant of the name. PDR Ltd. d/b/a PublicDomainRegistry.com has verified that Respondent is bound by the PDR Ltd. d/b/a PublicDomainRegistry.com registration agreement and has thereby agreed to resolve domain disputes brought by third parties in accordance with ICANN’s Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (the “Policy”).
On May 18, 2018, the Forum served the Complaint and all Annexes, including a Written Notice of the Complaint, setting a deadline of June 7, 2018 by which Respondent could file a Response to the Complaint, via e-mail to all entities and persons listed on Respondent’s registration as technical, administrative, and billing contacts, and to email@example.com. Also on May 18, 2018, the Written Notice of the Complaint, notifying Respondent of the e-mail addresses served and the deadline for a Response, was transmitted to Respondent via post and fax, to all entities and persons listed on Respondent’s registration as technical, administrative and billing contacts.
Having received no response from Respondent, the Forum transmitted to the parties a Notification of Respondent Default.
On June 11, 2018, pursuant to Complainant's request to have the dispute decided by a single-member Panel, the Forum appointed Richard Hill as Panelist.
Having reviewed the communications records, the Administrative Panel (the "Panel") finds that the Forum has discharged its responsibility under Paragraph 2(a) of the Rules for Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (the "Rules") "to employ reasonably available means calculated to achieve actual notice to Respondent" through submission of Electronic and Written Notices, as defined in Rule 1 and Rule 2. Therefore, the Panel may issue its decision based on the documents submitted and in accordance with the ICANN Policy, ICANN Rules, the Forum's Supplemental Rules and any rules and principles of law that the Panel deems applicable, without the benefit of any response from Respondent.
Complainant requests that the domain name be transferred from Respondent to Complainant.
Complainant states that it was established in 1890 in St. Louis, Missouri (USA) as Emerson Electric Manufacturing Co. by Civil War Union veteran John Wesley Emerson to manufacture electric motors using a patent owned by the Scottish-born brothers Charles and Alexander Meston. In 1892 it became the first to sell electric fans in the United States. It quickly expanded its product line to include electric sewing machines, electric dental drills, and power tools. At present, it is a diversified, global technology and engineering leader that offers a wide range of products and services in the industrial, commercial, and consumer markets. Complainant has approximately 135,000 employees and 235 manufacturing locations worldwide. Complainant holds multiple registrations of its EMERSON mark in the United States and elsewhere, with rights dating back to 1916. The mark is registered in Nigeria.
According to Complainant, the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to its mark as Respondent merely replaces the letter “m” for the letters “rn”, and adds the letter “s” and the “.com” generic top-level domain (“gTLD”) to Complainant’s mark. Complainant cites UDRP precedents to support its position.
According to Complainant, Respondent does not have rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. Respondent is not commonly known by the disputed domain name and Complainant has not granted Respondent permission or license to use the EMERSON mark for any purpose. Respondent is not using the disputed domain name to make a bona fide offering of goods or services or for a legitimate non-commercial or fair use. Rather, Respondent is using the disputed domain to send e-mails impersonating an employee of Complainant in order to attempt to obtain fraudulent bank transfers. Complainant cites UDRP precedents to support its position.
Further, says Complainant, Respondent registered and is using the disputed domain name in bad faith. Respondent engages in a pattern of bad faith registration by registering domain names that incorporate well-known, third party marks. Respondent also attempts to mimic Complainant’s mark in order to commercially gain from users’ confusion. Additionally, Respondent is conducting a fraudulent e-mail impersonation scheme. Further, Respondent is engaging in typosquatting. Finally, Respondent had actual knowledge of Complainant’s EMERSON mark and business prior to registration and during subsequent use.
Respondent failed to submit a Response in this proceeding.
Complainant owns the mark EMERSON and uses it to market a wide range of products and services in the industrial, commercial, and consumer markets.
Complainant’s rights in its mark date back to 1916.
The disputed domain name was registered in 2018.
Complainant has not licensed or otherwise authorized Respondent to use its marks.
The disputed domain is used to send e-mails impersonating an employee of Complainant in order to attempt to obtain fraudulent bank transfers.
Paragraph 15(a) of the Rules instructs this Panel to "decide a complaint on the basis of the statements and documents submitted 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 that Complainant must prove each of the following three elements to obtain an order that a domain name should be cancelled or transferred:
(1) the domain name registered by Respondent is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which Complainant has rights; and
(2) Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the domain name; and
(3) the domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.
In view of Respondent's failure to submit a response, the Panel shall decide this administrative proceeding on the basis of Complainant's undisputed representations pursuant to paragraphs 5(f), 14(a) and 15(a) of the Rules and draw such inferences it considers appropriate pursuant to paragraph 14(b) of the Rules. The Panel is entitled to accept all reasonable allegations and inferences set forth in the Complaint as true unless the evidence is clearly contradictory. See Vertical Solutions Mgmt., Inc. v. webnet-marketing, inc., FA 95095 (Forum July 31, 2000) (holding that the respondent’s failure to respond allows all reasonable inferences of fact in the allegations of the complaint to be deemed true); see also Talk City, Inc. v. Robertson, D2000-0009 (WIPO Feb. 29, 2000) (“In the absence of a response, it is appropriate to accept as true all allegations of the Complaint.”).
The disputed domain name is confusingly similar to the EMERSON mark as it contains the mark in its entirety, merely replaces the letter “m” for the letters “rn”, adds the letter “s” along with the “.com” gTLD. Misspelling of a complainant’s mark or adding a gTLD to the mark does not negate any confusing similarity between a disputed domain name and mark under Policy ¶ 4(a)(i). See Am. Online, Inc. v. David, FA 104980 (Forum Apr. 10, 2002) (“The misspelling of a famous mark does not diminish the confusingly similar nature between the marks and the disputed domain names.”); see also PathAdvantage Associated v. VistaPrint Technologies Ltd, FA 1625731 (Forum July 23, 2015) (holding that the <pathadvantages.com> domain name was confusingly similar to the PATHADVANTAGE trademark because the domain name “merely adds the letter ‘s’ to Complainant’s mark”); see also Trip Network Inc. v. Alviera, FA 914943 (Forum Mar. 27, 2007) (concluding that the affixation of a gTLD to a domain name is irrelevant to a Policy ¶ 4(a)(i) analysis). Accordingly, the Panel finds that the <ernersson.com> domain name is confusingly similar to the EMERSON mark per Policy ¶ 4(a)(i).
Complainant has not authorized Respondent to use the EMERSON mark in any way. Respondent is not commonly known by the disputed domain name: where a response is lacking, WHOIS information can support a finding that a respondent is not commonly known by the disputed domain name under Policy ¶ 4(c)(ii). See Alaska Air Group, Inc. and its subsidiary, Alaska Airlines v. Song Bin, FA1408001574905 (Forum Sept. 17, 2014) (holding that the respondent was not commonly known by the disputed domain name as demonstrated by the WHOIS information and based on the fact that the complainant had not licensed or authorized the respondent to use its ALASKA AIRLINES mark.). Additionally, lack of evidence in the record to indicate a respondent is authorized to use complainant’s mark may support a finding that the respondent does not have rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name per Policy ¶ 4(c)(ii). See Navistar International Corporation v. N Rahmany, FA1505001620789 (Forum June 8, 2015) (finding that the respondent was not commonly known by the disputed domain name where the complainant had never authorized the respondent to incorporate its NAVISTAR mark in any domain name registration). The WHOIS information of record identifies Respondent as “golden humble / golden globals.” The Panel therefore finds under Policy ¶ 4(c)(ii) that Respondent has not been commonly known by the disputed domain name.
Further, Respondent fails to use the disputed domain name in connection to a bona fide offering of goods or services or a legitimate noncommercial or fair use. Instead, Respondent uses the disputed domain name to pass off as Complainant in attempt to obtain fraudulent bank transfers. Passing off as a complainant through e-mails is evidence that a respondent lacks rights and legitimate interests under Policy ¶¶ 4(c)(i) & (iii). See Emerson Electric Co. v. Adilcon Rocha, FA 1735949 (Forum July 11, 2017) (finding that respondent’s attempt to pass off as complainant through emails does not constitute a bona fide offering of goods or services and, as such, respondent lacked rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name); see also Microsoft Corporation v. Terrence Green, FA 1661030 (Forum, Apr. 4, 2016) (finding Respondent’s use of <microsoftcorps.com> to impersonate an executive of Complainant was not within the uses allowable under Policy ¶ 4(c)(i) and 4(c)(iii)). Therefore, the Panel finds that Respondent failed to use the disputed domain name in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services or for a legitimate noncommercial or fair use per Policy ¶¶ 4(c)(i) & (iii). And the Panel finds that Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name.
Respondent (who did not reply to Complainant’s contentions) has not presented any plausible explanation for its use of Complainant’s mark. In accordance with paragraph 14(b) of the Rules, the Panel shall draw such inferences from Respondent’s failure to reply as it considers appropriate. Accordingly, the Panel finds that Respondent did not have a legitimate use in mind when registering the disputed domain name.
Indeed, as already noted, Respondent used the disputed domain name to impersonate Complainant and to send fraudulent e-mails; this is evidence of bad faith registration and use. See Microsoft Corporation v. Terrence Green, FA 1661030 (Forum, Apr. 4, 2016) (finding the respondent’s use of the disputed domain names to send fraudulent emails supported a finding of bad faith registration and use under Policy ¶ 4(b)(iii)); see also Chevron Intellectual Property, LLC v. Jack Brooks, FA 1635967 (Forum Oct. 6, 2015) (finding that the respondent’s use of <chevron-corps.com> to impersonate an executive of the complainant in emails is in opposition to the complainant and is therefore in bad faith under Policy ¶ 4(b)(iii)); Brownell Travel, Inc. v. Troy Haas, FA 1589137 (Forum, Dec. 20, 2014) (finding the use of the domain name to send emails impersonating the CEO to the complainant’s Account Manager to attempt to commit fraud on the complainant constituted bad faith registration and use under Policy ¶ 4(b)(iii)); The Hackett Group, Inc. v. Brian Herns/The Hackett Group, FA 1597465 (Forum, Feb. 6, 2015) (finding that the use of emails associated with the domain name to send fraudulent emails contains the requisite competitive nature under Policy ¶ 4(b)(iii) and this is evidence of bad faith disruption). Therefore, the Panel finds that Respondent registered and uses the disputed domain name in bad faith pursuant Policy ¶ 4(a)(iii).
Further Respondent registered the disputed domain name with actual knowledge of Complainant’s mark: Respondent used Complainant’s mark in its fraudulent e-mails, thus it knew of the mark. While constructive notice is insufficient to demonstrate bad faith, actual knowledge of a complainant’s rights in a mark prior to registration may be evidence of bad faith per Policy ¶ 4(a)(iii). See Custom Modular Direct LLC v. Custom Modular Homes Inc., FA 1140580 (Forum Apr. 8, 2008) (“There is no place for constructive notice under the Policy.”); see also Am. Online, Inc. v. Miles, FA 105890 (Forum May 31, 2002) (“Respondent is using the domain name at issue to resolve to a website at which Complainant’s trademarks and logos are prominently displayed. Respondent has done this with full knowledge of Complainant’s business and trademarks. The Panel finds that this conduct is that which is prohibited by Paragraph 4(b)(iv) of the Policy.”). The Panel finds that Respondent had actual knowledge of Complainant’s rights in the mark prior to Respondent’s registration of the disputed domain name and that this constitutes bad faith under Policy ¶ 4(a)(iii).
Having established all three elements required under the ICANN Policy, the Panel concludes that relief shall be GRANTED.
Accordingly, it is Ordered that the <ernersson.com> domain name be TRANSFERRED from Respondent to Complainant.
Richard Hill, Panelist
Dated: June 11, 2018
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