WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
Credit Industriel et Commercial S.A. v. WhoisGuard Protected
Case No. D2006-1162
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Credit Industriel et Commercial S.A., Paris, France, represented by MEYER & Partenaires, France.
The Respondent is WhoisGuard Protected, Westchester, California, United States of America.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <filbanqe.com> is registered with eNom.
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on September 8, 2006. On September 12, 2006, the Center transmitted by email to eNom a request for registrar verification in connection with the domain name at issue. On September 12, 2006, eNom 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 September 18, 2006. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was October 8, 2006. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on October 11, 2006.
The Center appointed Alvaro Loureiro Oliveira as the sole panelist in this matter on November 1, 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
The complainant is Credit Industriel et Commercial S.A, a French banking group with more than 3,000.000 clients, in France and throughout the world.
Credit Industriel et Commercial S.A operates in Europe, Asia, Africa, far and middle East, South and North America, being present in 37 countries. Proofs of this extent were duly provided.
Credit Industriel et Commercial S.A offers Internet facilities, particularly an online banking service, which is identified as “filbanque”. This service enables clients to look up their bank accounts and to proceed to stock transactions online. The complainant renders these services under this name at least since 1998. The complainant owns the domain name <filbanque.tm.fr> since 1996 and the domain name <filbanque.com> since 1998. Evidence of these allegations were duly provided.
The respondent is WhoisGuard Protected, an entity based in the United States of America. The Registrar’s WhoisGuard services allows a registrant to keep its information private from third parties. The complainant found out that the Respondent is associated with several other infringing domain name registrations, and evidence of this fact were annexed to the Complaint.
The complainant addressed a formal notice to the Respondent on June 26, 2006, but no response was received from the other party.
5. Parties’ Contentions
The complainant contends that the domain name <filbanqe.com> is virtually identical to the name Complainant owns and legally uses to identify its banking services on the Internet. The sole difference between this domain name and the name of the banking services rendered by the Complainant is the suppression of the letter “u” at the last syllable, which is clearly an attempt to attract potential clients from the Complainant.
According to the Complainant, the proceeding adopted by the Respondent to select the domain name – an imitation of the registered mark and domain name owned by the Complainant – is an intentional misspelling of the word, with the intention of misleading the Internet users to its web site. The complainant lists a series of previous decisions rendered by WIPO, where a similar situation occurred and the cases were decided in favor of the Complainant.
The complainant shows evidence of substantial goodwill and name recognition in the expression “Filbanque”, which is also registered as a trademark since 1992, as states annexes H, I and J of the Complaint.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
The Policy, in its paragraph 4 (a), determines that three elements must be present and duly proven by a complainant to obtain relief. These elements are:
i. The subject domain name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which the complainant has rights; and
ii. Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect to the domain name; and
iii. Respondent’s domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
Regarding the first of the elements, the Panel is satisfied that the Complainant has presented adequate proof of having rights in the mark FILBANQUE which is registered in France in several classes. In addition, the Complainant has been doing business in more than 37 countries throughout the world, including in the United States of America, where the Respondent is seated.
The complainant has also presented evidence of the Internet banking services rendered under the mark FILBANQUE, services which can be accessed on line through the domain names <filbanque.tm.fr> and <filbanque.com>, owned by Complainant.
Further, the Panel finds that the subject domain name, <filbanqe.com> is indeed confusingly similar to the trademark belonging to the Complainant, since this mark is virtually reproduced in the domain name registered by the Respondent. Besides, the domain name consists of a mistyping of the mark owned by the Complainant, thus creating an imitation confusingly dangerous of that mark.
Hence, the Panel concludes that the first of the elements in the Policy has been satisfied by the Complainant in this dispute.
B. Rights or legitimate interests
The Panel understands that the expression “Filbanque” is a clear imitation of “Filbanque”, which is a distinctive term, associated with the Complainant, since it is not only registered as a mark in its name, but also is the main part of the Complainant’s existing domain names.
Further, the Complainant provided sufficient evidence of the fame of the mark FILBANQUE and the banking services rendered under this name to their clients all over the world. Hence, the Panel considers that the Respondent, in all likelihood, could not be unaware of the service “Filbanque” and the mark FILBANQUE, and their direct relation to the Complainant. The Panel is satisfied that the Complainant has made a prima facie showing of the Respondent’s lack of rights and legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. This has not been rebutted by the Respondent.
Thus, the Panel concludes that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. For this reason the Complainant has satisfied the second element of the Policy.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
It is clear to the Panel that the Respondent has in all probability registered the domain name <filbanqe.com> with the purpose of taking advantage of the Complainant’s marks and particularly of the Complainant’s financial and banking services.
Once summoned by the letter sent by the Complainant, the Respondent did not answer.
The Respondent did not answer to this proceeding, either.
Further, the Complainant is using the domain name to direct users to a series of services, among which are financial and banking services rendered by other parties, in a clear act of bad faith. It appears to be doing so far the purpose of commercial gain arising from the probable confusion of the disputed domain name with the Complainant and its marks.
The Panel finds that for the reasons above the Respondent registered and is using the domain name in question in bad faith.
The Panel, hence, finds present the third element.
Therefore, pursuant to paragraphs 4 (i) of the Policy and 15 of the Rules, the Panel orders that the domain name <filbanqe.com> be transferred to the Complainant.
Alvaro Loureiro Oliveira
Dated: November 15, 2006