WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Württembergische Versicherung AG v. Emir Ulu
Case No. D2006-0278
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Württembergische Versicherung AG, Stuttgart, Germany, represented by Maiwald Patentanwalts GmbH, Germany.
The Respondent is Emir Ulu, Kayseri, Turkey.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <württembergische-versicherung.com> (<xn--wrttembergische-versicherung-16c.com>) is registered with PSI-USA, Inc.
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on March 6, 2006. On March 7, 2006, the Center transmitted by email to PSI-USA, Inc. a request for registrar verification in connection with the domain name at issue. On March 8, 2006, PSI-USA, Inc. 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 contact.
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 formally notified the Respondent of the Complaint, and the proceedings commenced on March 22, 2006. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was April 11, 2006. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on April 19, 2006.
The Center appointed Dr. Massimo Introvigne as the sole panelist in this matter on May 2, 2006. 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.
4. Factual Background
Complainant Württembergische Versicherung AG is one of the largest and best known insurance companies in Germany. The word “Versicherung” means “insurance” in German, while “Versicherungen” means “insurances” (plural). Complainant is owner inter alia of the following trademark and service mark registrations for either printed matters or insurance services:
- German registration no. 1004760 of April 2, 1979 “Württembergische Versicherungen” (logo);
- German registration no. 2037700 of January 21, 1993 “Württembergische Versicherungen – Der Fels in der Brandung” (logo);
- German registration no. 30112631 of February 23, 2001, “Württembergische Classic” (words);
- German registration no. 30112632 of February 23, 2001, “Württembergische Classic” (logo);
- European Union registration no. 000030644 of April 1, 1996, “Württembergische Versicherungen – Der Fels in der Brandung” (logo);
- European Union registration no. 000671826 of July 17, 1996, “Württembergische Versicherungen” (logo).
Respondent has registered the domain name <xn--wrttembergische-versicherung-16c.com> well after Complainant’s first applications for its trademarks. <xn--wrttembergische-versicherung-16c.com> is translated by common browsers, including Internet Explorer, into <württembergische-versicherung.com> by using the software I-nav. <xn--wrttembergische-versicherung-16c.com>, in turn, resolves into <domain-welt.com>, a domain name also owned by Respondent, and Internet users are thus redirected to a Web site used for offering domain names for sale.
5. Parties’ Contentions
Complainant argues that:
a) Since through the I-nav software <xn--wrttembergische-versicherung-16c.com> is automatically translated into <württembergische-versicherung.com>, Respondent’s domain name is virtually identical to Complainant’s trade name, trademarks and service marks.
b) Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the domain name; he has never used a name corresponding to the domain name in connection with a bona fide offering of goods and services, nor is he making a legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the domain name.
c) The domain name is used in bad faith in order to redirect Internet users to a Web site offering for sale thousand of domain names (in fact, some 4,300), many of them suspiciously similar to well-known trademarks.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
Panels have already recognized the relevance of the I-nav software for translating German letters such as “ä” or “ü” into codes such as <xn--[name]-16c> and similar: see Must-Jägermeister AG v GlazedDonuts, WIPO Case No. D2005-0034. Accordingly, <xn--wrttembergische-versicherung-16c.com> should be considered as equivalent to <württembergische-versicherung.com>. The business of insurance companies is indicated as either “insurance” (Versicherung, as in the domain name) or “insurances” (Versicherungen, as in Complainant’s trade name, trademarks and service marks).
The Panel concludes that the domain name is confusingly similar (in fact, almost identical) to Complainant’s trade name, trademarks and service marks.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
Respondent, by deciding not to reply to the Complainant, has failed to indicate any possible right or legitimate interest in the domain name. A noncommercial use is excluded by the fact that Respondent uses the domain name in order to redirect Internet users to a commercial Web site used for selling domain names.
Such use cannot be considered bona fide in accordance with Paragraph 4(c)(i) of the Policy, as Respondent is baiting Internet users to its own website by using a domain name confusingly similar to the Complainant’s trademark.
The second element of the Policy is met.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
Complainant’s argument about passive holding is irrelevant, nor is the Panel convinced that Respondent acted in bad faith simply by not answering a request to sell the domain names emanating from Complainant’s consultants. But a further discussion of these issues is not necessary. In fact, the holding of the domain name is active, and Respondent is using the domain name in order to attract Internet users to his Web site <www.domain-welt.com>. This use should be considered as made in bad faith, since it falls outside the control of Complainant, and attracts users looking for Complainant’s insurance services to a Web site wherefrom a business unrelated to the Complainant’s business is conducted. The fact that the latter Web site offers for sale more than 4,000 domain names, and that many of them are allegedly similar to third parties’ trademarks (most of them belonging the German companies: Respondent is a resident of Turkey, and there is a large Turkish minority in Germany), also indicates that Respondent is in the business of registering domain names infringing the trademark rights of large German companies, which further suggests that Respondent registered the domain name 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 <xn--wrttembergische-versicherung-16c.com> be transferred to the Complainant.
Dr. Massimo Introvigne
Dated: May 4, 2006