Brink’s Network, Incorporated v. Otto Akama / Makonjo Media
Claim Number: FA1902001830105
Complainant is Brink’s Network, Incorporated (“Complainant”), represented by Lyndsey Waddington of Cowan, Liebowitz & Latman, P.C., New York, USA. Respondent is Otto Akama / Makonjo Media (“Respondent”), Cameroon.
REGISTRAR AND DISPUTED DOMAIN NAME
The domain name at issue is <brinks-global.com>, registered with NameCheap, Inc..
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.
Paul M. DeCicco, as Panelist.
Complainant submitted a Complaint to the Forum electronically on February 15, 2019; the Forum received payment on February 15, 2019.
On February 16, 2019, NameCheap, Inc. confirmed by e-mail to the Forum that the <brinks-global.com> domain name is registered with NameCheap, Inc. and that Respondent is the current registrant of the name. NameCheap, Inc. has verified that Respondent is bound by the NameCheap, Inc. 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 February 21, 2019, the Forum served the Complaint and all Annexes, including a Written Notice of the Complaint, setting a deadline of March 13, 2019 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Also on February 21, 2019, 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 March 14, 2019, pursuant to Complainant's request to have the dispute decided by a single-member Panel, the Forum appointed Paul M. DeCicco 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 contends as follows:
Complainant is one of the world’s foremost providers of secure transportation and security services, including cash logistics, coin and cash handling services, ATM services, check imaging services, check encoding, etc.
Complainant has rights in the BRINK’S mark through its trademark registrations with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”).
Respondent’s <brinks-global.com> domain name is confusingly similar to Complainant’s BRINK’S mark as it incorporates the mark in its entirety, absent the apostrophe, and adds a hyphen, the descriptive term “global,” and a “.com” generic top-level domain (“gTLD”).
Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the <brinks-global.com> domain name. Respondent is not authorized or licensed to use Complainant’s BRINK’S mark and is not commonly known by the disputed domain name. Additionally, Respondent fails to use the disputed domain name in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services or a legitimate noncommercial or fair use. Rather, Respondent uses the disputed domain name to impersonate Complainant through the website and through an email address.
Respondent registered and uses the <brinks-global.com> domain name in bad faith. Respondent attempts to attract, for commercial gain, users to the disputed domain name where Respondent is passing off as Complainant. Respondent also uses the website and an email address which is given false credibility by Respondent’s fake BRINK’S website in furtherance of a phishing scheme. Finally, Respondent had actual and constructive notice of Complainant’s rights in the BRINK’S mark prior to registering the disputed domain name.
Respondent failed to submit a Response in this proceeding.
Complainant has rights in the BRINK’S mark through its registration of such mark with the USPTO.
Complainant’s rights in the BRINK’S mark existed prior to Respondent’s registration of the at-issue domain name.
Respondent uses the at-issue domain name in an attempt to pass itself off as Complainant in furtherance of a phishing scheme designed to improperly capture the personal private data of third parties.
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 at-issue domain name is confusingly similar to a trademark in which Complainant has rights.
Complainant’s ownership of a USPTO registration for BRINK’S is sufficient to demonstrate its rights in a mark for the purposes of Policy ¶ 4(a)(i). See Humor Rainbow, Inc. v. James Lee, FA 1626154 (Forum Aug. 11, 2015) (stating, “There exists an overwhelming consensus amongst UDRP panels that USPTO registrations are sufficient in demonstrating a complainant’s rights under Policy ¶ 4(a)(i) and its vested interests in a mark. . . . Due to Complainant’s attached USPTO registration on the principal register …, the Panel agrees that it has sufficiently demonstrated its rights per Policy ¶ 4(a)(i).”).
Respondent’s <brinks-global.com> domain name contains Complainant’s BRINK’S trademark less its apostrophe, followed by a hyphen and the generic term “global” all followed by the top level domain names “.com.” Notably, the domain name differs only by a hyphen from Complainant’s own <brinksglobal.com> website. The differences between the at-issue domain name and Complainant’s trademark are insufficient to distinguish one from the other for the purposes of Policy ¶ 4(a)(i). Therefore, the Panel concludes that Respondent’s <brinks-global.com> domain name is confusingly similar to Complainant’s BRINK’S trademark. See Bloomberg Finance L.P. v. Sunny Bhadauria, FA 1786429 (Forum June 7, 2018) (finding the <bloombergquint.org> domain name to be confusingly similar to the complainant’s BLOOMBERG mark, as the name consists of the mark, the added term “quint” (which refers to the complainant’s Indian business partner “Quintillian Media”) and the gTLD “.org”); see also Daniel Handler v. Masanori Toriimoto / PLAN-B Co.,Ltd, FA 1778986 (Forum May 7, 2018) (finding that hyphens and top-level domains are irrelevant for purposes of the Policy); SPTC, Inc. and Sotheby’s v. Kathleen Kim, FA 1734152 (Forum July 14, 2017) (“Respondent’s <sotheebys.com> domain name is identical or confusingly similar to Complainant’s mark because it merely appends the gTLD “.com” to a misspelled version of Complainant’s SOTHEBY’S mark, less the apostrophe.”).
Under Policy ¶ 4(a)(ii), Complainant must first make out a prima facie case showing that Respondent lacks rights and legitimate interests in respect of an at-issue domain name and then the burden, in effect, shifts to Respondent to come forward with evidence of its rights or legitimate interests. See Hanna-Barbera Prods., Inc. v. Entm’t Commentaries, FA 741828 (Forum Aug. 18, 2006). Since Respondent is not authorized to use Complainant’s trademark in any capacity and as discussed below there is no evidence supporting a finding pursuant to Policy 4(c) that Respondent has rights or interests in the at-issue domain name, Complainant’s prima facie showing acts conclusively.
WHOIS information for the at-issue domain name identifies the domain name’s registrant as “Otto Akama / Makonjo Media.” Notably, the record before the Panel contains no evidence that might otherwise tend to prove that Respondent is commonly known by the <brinks-global.com> domain name. The Panel therefore concludes that for the purposes of Policy ¶ 4(c)(ii) Respondent is not commonly known by the at-issue domain name. 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); see also, Coppertown Drive-Thru Sys., LLC v. Snowden, FA 715089 (Forum July 17, 2006) (concluding that the respondent was not commonly known by the <coppertown.com> domain name where there was no evidence in the record, including the WHOIS information, suggesting that the respondent was commonly known by the disputed domain name).
Additionally, Respondent uses the <brinks-global.com> domain name to mimic Complainant’s website and pass off as Complainant through emails in furtherance of a phishing scheme. Using the at-issue domain name in this manner is neither a bona fide offering of goods or services, nor a legitimate noncommercial or fair use. See DaVita Inc. v. Cynthia Rochelo, FA 1738034 (Forum July 20, 2017) (”Passing off in furtherance of a phishing scheme is not considered a bona fide offering of goods or services or legitimate noncommercial or fair use.”); see also Emerson Electric Co. v. golden humble / golden globals, FA 1787128 (Forum June 11, 2018) (“Passing off as a complainant through e-mails is evidence that a respondent lacks rights and legitimate interests under Policy ¶¶ 4(c)(i) & (iii).”).
Given the forgoing, Complainant satisfies its initial burden and conclusively demonstrates Respondent’s lack of rights and lack of interests in respect of the at-issue domain name pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(a)(ii).
Respondent’s <brinks-global.com> domain name was registered and used in bad faith. As discussed below, bad faith circumstances are present which compel the Panel to conclude that Respondent acted in bad faith pursuant to paragraph 4(a)(iii) of the Policy.
First, Respondent’s confusingly similar domain name addresses a website that is designed in the image of Complainant’s official website so that Respondent may pass itself off as Complainant. Use of the at-issue domain name in this manner is in itself indicative of Respondent’s bad faith registration and use of the <brinks-global.com> domain name pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(b)(iv). See Bittrex, Inc. v. Wuxi Yilian LLC, FA 1760517 (Forum Dec. 27, 2017) (finding bad faith per Policy ¶ 4(b)(iv) where “Respondent registered and uses the <lbittrex.com> domain name in bad faith by directing Internet users to a website that mimics Complainant’s own website in order to confuse users into believing that Respondent is Complainant, or is otherwise affiliated or associated with Complainant.”).
Further, Respondent uses the <brinks-global.com> domain name to host a return email address on email it sends to third party recipients. Respondent intends the confusingly similar email address will trick recipients into believing they are dealing with Complainant, when they are not. Respondent’s bogus email attaches a phony invoice that pretends to be from Complainant and asks that the recipient pay the invoiced amount due. Email recipients attempting to authenticate email received from <brinks-global.com> by browsing to its host address are presented with what looks like Complainant’s official website. Respondent’s <brinks-global.com> website thereby adds credibility to Respondent’s scam email. Respondent’s use of the confusingly similar <brinks-global.com> domain name to pass itself off as Complainant in furtherance of a phishing scheme shows additional evidence of Respondent’s bad faith under Policy ¶ 4(b)(iv). See Qatalyst Partners LP v. Devimore, FA 1393436 (Forum July 13, 2011) (finding that using the disputed domain name as an e-mail address to pass itself off as the complainant in a phishing scheme is evidence of bad faith registration and use).
Finally, Respondent registered <brinks-global.com> knowing that Complainant has trademark rights in the BRINK’S mark. Respondent’s prior knowledge is evident from the notoriety of Complainant’s trademark and from Respondent’s use of the domain name to impersonate Complainant as discussed above. It is thus clear that Respondent intentionally registered the at-issue domain name to improperly exploit its trademark value, rather than for some benign reason. Respondent’s prior knowledge of Complainant's trademark further indicates that Respondent registered and used the <brinks-global.com> domain name in bad faith pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(a)(iii). See Minicards Vennootschap Onder FIrma Amsterdam v. Moscow Studios, FA 1031703 (Forum Sept. 5, 2007) (holding that respondent registered a domain name in bad faith under Policy ¶ 4(a)(iii) after concluding that respondent had "actual knowledge of Complainant's mark when registering the disputed domain name").
Having established all three elements required under the ICANN Policy, the Panel concludes that relief shall be GRANTED.
Accordingly, it is Ordered that the <brinks-global.com> domain name be TRANSFERRED from Respondent to Complainant.
Paul M. DeCicco, Panelist
Dated: March 17, 2019
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