WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Bank for International Settlements v. BIS
Case No. D2003-0986
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Bank for International Settlements, Basel, Switzerland, represented by Lenz Caemmerer Bender, Switzerland.
The Respondent is BIS, c/o Samson Davids, New Orleans, Louisiana, United States of America.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <bankforinternationalsettlement.com> is registered with Register.com.
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the "Center") on December 11, 2003. On December 12, 2003, the Center transmitted by email to Register.com a request for registrar verification in connection with the domain name at issue. That day, Register.com transmitted by email to the Center its verification response confirming that the Respondent is listed as the registrant and providing the contact details for the administrative, billing, and technical contacts. The Center verified that the Complaint satisfied the formal requirements of the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (the "Policy"), 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(a) and 4(a), the Center employed reasonably available means calculated to achieve actual notice to Respondent of the Complaint, and the proceedings commenced on January 9, 2004. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was January 29, 2004. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on February 3, 2004.
The Center appointed Alan L. Limbury as the Sole Panelist in this matter on February 24, 2004. 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 language of the proceeding was English.
4. Factual Background
Complainant was established by international treaty as an intergovernmental organization in 1930.
Under Article 6ter of the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property of 1883, the name Bank for International Settlements and the initials BIS have been protected since 1965 as the English name and initials of Complainant. They have also been protected as marks under Swiss law since 1965.
Both ‘Bank for International Settlements’ and ‘BIS’ are designations or marks by which Complainant is known globally in the context of international financial and monetary co-operation among central banks and other agencies, and which Complainant uses in its trading activities in the financial markets.
Complainant is a party to an agreement in connection with the settlement of litigation arising out of the terrorist bombing of Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland on December 21, 1988, the terms of which are confidential.
The disputed domain name was registered on August 1, 2003. It resolves to a website that substantially copies the name and logo of Complainant and states that "the BIS has been approved to disburse payments to Families of the victims of the LOCKERBIE bombing in Scotland as directed by the Int’l Court of Justice" and "the sum of two Billion seven hundred thousand U.S. dollars will be disbursed to the 270 Families affected."
5. Parties’ Contentions
But for the omission of the last letter ‘s’, the disputed domain name is identical to Complainant’s name and mark ‘Bank for International Settlements’. Respondent has no rights to or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name, which was registered and is being used in bad faith, in a fraudulent attempt to trick Internauts into sending money or giving personal information to the sender of scam emails emanating from the disputed domain name.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
Under paragraph 4(a) of the Policy, a Complainant bears the burden of showing:
- that the domain name registered by Respondent is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which Complainant has rights; and
- that Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the domain name; and
- that the domain name has been registered and is being used by Respondent in bad faith.
Not all of the Center’s communications to Respondent were successful and there is no evidence that Respondent received actual notice of the Complaint. Nevertheless, the Panel is satisfied that the Center discharged its responsibility under the Rules, paragraphs 2(a) and 4(a) to employ reasonably available means calculated to achieve actual notice to Respondent of the Complaint. It appears actual notice was given to the technical contact.
Paragraph 15(a) of the Rules requires the 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.
If a Respondent fails to participate in a proceeding under the Policy, asserted facts may be taken as true and reasonable inferences may be drawn from the information provided by the Complainant: Reuters Limited v. Global Net 2000, Inc., WIPO Case No. D2000-0441. See also Microsoft Corporation v. Freak Films Oy, WIPO Case No. D2003-0109; SSL International plc v. Mark Freeman, WIPO Case No. D2000-1080 and Alta Vista Company v. Grandtotal Finances Limited et al., WIPO Case No. D2000-0848. This course may be followed even where, as here, there are grounds for the conclusion that a Respondent may not have received actual notice of the Complaint.
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
Many cases have established that "essential" or "virtual" identity is sufficient for the purposes of the Policy: see, for example The Stanley Works and Stanley Logistics, Inc. v. Camp Creek Co., Inc., WIPO Case No. D2000-0113.
Here, but for the omission of the last ‘s’, the disputed domain name is identical to Complainant’s internationally protected name and mark ‘Bank for International Settlements’. The gTLD ".com" is, of course, inconsequential.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
Complainant has shown that the name of Respondent, BIS, is Complainant’s own internationally protected initials and that the disputed domain name is being used by the person responsible for the registration to masquerade as Complainant by substantially copying Complainant’s name and logo on that person’s website and by the content thereof. It is appropriate to draw the inference that this is an attempt to perpetrate a scam on Internauts.
The Panel finds that Respondent has no rights or legitimate interest in the disputed domain name.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
The circumstances set out in paragraph 4(b) of the Policy are not exhaustive.
The use on Respondent’s website of Complainant’s logo and the references on the website to BIS and Lockerbie indicate that Respondent was fully aware of Complainant and its name and mark when registering the disputed domain name. Accordingly the Panel finds the disputed domain name to have been registered in bad faith. See SportSoft Golf, Inc. v. Hale Irwin’s Golfers’ Passport, NAF Case No. FA94956.
The Panel finds that the conduct of Respondent in using the disputed domain name to mislead Internauts into believing that Respondent is Complainant, for the likely purpose of attempting to perpetrate a scam, is use in bad faith.
For all the foregoing reasons, in accordance with paragraphs 4(i) of the Policy and 15 of the Rules, the Panel orders that the domain name <bankofinternationalsettlement.com> be transferred to Complainant.
Alan L. Limbury
Dated: March 2, 2004