WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Credit Industriel et Commercial S.A. v. XUBO
Case No. D2006-1268
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Credit Industriel et Commercial S.A., of Paris, France, represented by MEYER & Partenaires, France.
The Respondent is XUBO, of Sichuan, People’s Republic of China.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <cicbanques.com> is registered with Xin Net Technology Corp.
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on September 29, 2006. On October 4, 2006, the Center transmitted by email to Xin Net Technology Corp. a request for registrar verification in connection with the domain name at issue. On October 21, 2006, Xin Net Technology Corp. 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. In response to a notification by the Center that the Complaint was administratively deficient, the Complainant filed an amendment to the Complaint on October 24, 2006. The Center verified that the Complaint together with the amendment to 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 October 25, 2006. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for the Response was November 14, 2006. Although no formal Response was submitted to the Center, an email communication from the Respondent was filed with the Center on October 29, 2006.
The Center appointed Linda Chang as the sole panelist in this matter on November 22, 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.
Language of Proceeding
According to paragraph 11 of the Rules, the language of the administrative proceeding shall be the language of the registration agreement unless the Panel decides otherwise, with regard to the circumstances of the case.
In the present case, the registration agreement for the disputed domain name was made in the Chinese language. It is obvious from the email communications between the parties the Respondent has sufficient ability communicating in the English language. On the other hand, the Complainant is not able to communicate in Chinese and therefore, if the Complainant were required to submit all documents in Chinese, the administrative proceeding will be unduly delayed and the Complainant would have to incur substantial expenses for translation. Therefore, the Panel decides that English shall be the language of the administrative proceeding.
The Respondent submitted a document to the Center on October 29, 2006, by email only. This document did not, as is required in a response by paragraph 5 of the Rules, provide the name, postal or email addresses, or the telephone or fax numbers of the Respondent, or the preferred method for communications directed to the Respondent in the administrative proceeding. More particularly, the document did not include the required certification and signature for a response.
The Rules do not deal expressly with the question of whether and under what conditions an administratively deficient response should be taken into consideration. Most Panelists determine at their discretion whether or not to consider an administratively deficient response, having regard to the particular circumstances.
In the present case, without deciding the issue, the Panel simply notes the Respondent has not submitted a certified response, or other information verifiable by the Panel in the circumstances as reliable, complete or accurate.
4. Factual Background
The Complainant, Credit Industriel et Commercial S.A., is a French banking group operating since 1954. It provided evidence to show its ownership to the trademark registration of CIC BANQUES in France under the number of 682713 since 1991 as well as to the international registration CIC BANQUES No. 585098 since 1992. The rights of the latter cover the territory of China.
The Respondent, XUBO, a Chinese individual, registered the domain name <cicbanques.com> in April 2006 and parked the same at “www.www.sedo.com”, a professional domain name buying and selling website.
5. Parties’ Contentions
Identical or confusingly similar
CIC is the trade name and the acronym of the Complainant, used in commerce since 1954. The Complainant is the registered owner of the following trademark registrations:
- CIC BANQUES French nominative trademark n°1682713 of July 24, 1991, last renewed on June 19, 2001, live;
- CIC BANQUES International nominative trademark n°585098 of April 10, 1992, notably in force in China, live;
- CIC BANQUES International semi figurative trademark n°585099 of April 10, 1992, notably in force in China, live.
The Complainant contends that due to extensive use, the trademark CIC BANQUES has acquired a great reputation and is widely known throughout the world. In support of this contention, the Complainant points to Crédit Industriel et Commercial (CIC) contre Pneuboat Sud, WIPO Case No. DFR2004-0005 and Crédit Industriel et Commercial S.A v. Yu Ming, WIPO Case No. D2005-0458, in which it states previous WIPO panels have recognized the well-known character of the Complainant’s trademarks.
The trademark CIC BANQUES is entirely reproduced in the disputed domain name.
Rights or legitimate interests
The Complainant states that the Respondent is not related in any way to the Complainant’s businesses: it is not one of its agents nor does it carry out any activities for, or has any business with the Complainant.
The Complainant further contends that the Respondent is not currently and has never been known under the name of CIC BANQUES, and that no licence or authorization has been granted to the Respondent by the Complainant to make any use of the name “CICBANQUES”.
Bad faith registration and use
Bad faith registration
First, the Complainant re-iterates its contention that it has previously demonstrated the strong reputation and the well-known character of its mark CICBANQUES for banking and financial services since 1991.
Secondly, the Complainant states that it is doing business in China where it has a local office.
Thirdly, the Complainant points to the registration of a domain name that reproduces entirely and identically the Complainant’s trademark which the Complainant contends reflects the Respondent’s bad faith.
Fourthly, the trademark CIC BANQUES notably covers China, where the Respondent is and has been located, since November 11, 1993, through an international registration.
Lastly the Complainant states that it is already the registrant of the domain name <cic-banques.com>, which points to “www.cic.fr”.
The Complainant further contends that the Respondent has undoubtedly registered the domain name <cicbanques.com> precisely because he knew about the trademark CIC BANQUES and registered it in order to prevent the Complainant from reflecting its trademark in an identical domain name, in its most popular top level domain “.com”.
The Complainant submits in conclusion that the circumstances indicate the Respondent registered the domain name at issue in order to sell it to the Complainant or its competitors for valuable consideration in excess of its out-pocket costs directly related to the domain name.
Bad faith use
The Complainant contends that subsequent to registration the Respondent used the domain name <cicbanques.com> for the purpose of pointing it to a parking webpage with several hyperlinks exclusively in French related to the field of banking and financial services, and notably with links to French competitors’ websites (including “www.ingdirect.fr”, “www.gemoneybank.fr”, “www.Barclays.fr” and “www.axabanque.fr”). On this parking webpage, the Respondent offered the disputed domain for sale for an amount of $US500negotiable.
The Respondent also disrupts the business of the Complainant and causes harm to the Complainant’s brand image.
The Respondent has submitted no evidence whatsoever of any good faith use of the domain name <cicbanques.com>.
The domain name <cicbanques.com> reproduces entirely and identically the Complainant’s trademark. Therefore, it appears that the Respondent has registered and used this domain name in order to create an association with the Complainant’s trademark CIC BANQUES.
The Respondent is also not making any legitimate non-commercial or fair use of the disputed domain name. Such use is likely to be deceptive as Internet users may believe that the domain name <cicbanques.com> points to the Complainant’s website.
A number of email communications between the Complainant and the Respondent are also referred to by the Complainant in support of its contentions on this element which are referred to further in the Panel’s discussion below.
For all these reasons, the Complainant submits that the Respondent has engaged in bad faith registration and use of the domain name <cicbanques.com>.
Subject to what the Panel has noted above, the Respondent submitted to the Center by email on October 28, 2006 a number of statements. These include a statement to the effect that the Respondent registered <Cicbanques.com> for the purpose of using it as an abbreviation for an up-coming website to be titled “Commander in chief, best and neatest, quality unification estimate system”. The Respondent also states in the email that the disputed domain name was parked on “www.sedo.com” to assess its attractiveness prior to the setting up of an ebusiness, and that this is not illegal. The Respondent further states that he does not want to sell the disputed domain name, and that it was posted for sale “at the price of 500Euro on sedo.com as I have to list a price because I need to park the domain and test the domain”.
The Respondent further contends that he had no knowledge that the Complainant was a bank, and that he “will use the domain name within 1 year to set up a website which won’t have bad affect on the Bank”.
6. Discussion and Findings
The Complaint must satisfy each of the following three requirements as provided under paragraph 4a of the Policy in order for the order sought by the Complainant to be granted by the Panel in this administrative proceeding:
(i) the disputed domain name is identical or confusingly similar to the trademark in which the Complainant has rights; and
(ii) the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the domain name; and
(iii) the domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The disputed domain name wholly incorporates the Complainant’s trademark CICBANQUES which is registered in France under number n°1682713, which is extended to the territory of China under the international registration n°585098. ‘.com’ is the generic TLD indicator . The mere addition of this generic indicator to the name ‘cicbanques’ does not affect the domain name being recognized as identical with the trademark CICBANQUES.
The Panel therefore finds that the disputed domain name <cicbanques.com> is identical with the trademark CICBANQUES in which the Complainant has exclusive rights, and that the Complaint satisfies paragraph 4a(i).
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
The Complainant has established a prima facie case that the Respondent does not have rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. It is the consensus view of WIPO Panelists that once the Complainant has established a prima facie case, it is the Respondent’s responsibility to prove otherwise.
The Respondent has not been able to prove any of the circumstances provided in paragraph 4c of the Policy, and the record does not contain any other plausible indication that the Respondent has rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. In particular, the Respondent has not been able to prove either (i) before notice of the dispute, that it has used or has prepared to use the domain name or a name corresponding to the domain name in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services, nor (ii) that it has been commonly known by the domain name, nor (iii) that it is making a legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the domain name without intent for commercial gain to misleadingly divert consumers or to tarnish the trademark at issue.
In the circumstances, the Panel finds that the Respondent does not have rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. The Complaint therefore satisfies the requirement of paragraph 4a(ii) of the Policy.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
Paragraph 4b(i) provides the following situation, amongst others, as evidence of the Respondent’s registration and use of the domain name in bad faith:
circumstances indicating that the Respondent has registered or has acquired the domain name primarily for the purpose of selling, renting, or otherwise transferring the domain name registration to the Complainant who is the owner of the trademark or to a competitor of the Complainant, for valuable consideration in excess of its documented out-of-pocket costs directly related to the domain name
The Panel has taken account of the following factors in making its decision in this regard:
- According to the information on record, the Complainant is a Paris based banking group operating in banking industry since 1954, and nowadays it has had about 3,265,000 customers with a network of 1,844 branches in France. The Complainant is also operating internationally in 37 countries – it has 15 branches in Europe, 5 in Africa, 5 in Latin America, 1 in North America and 10 in Asia including the one operating from Beijing, China, which is the home country of the Respondent.
- The Panel did a Google search in reviewing this case on the date of December 1, 2006, by typing in the browser the word “cicbanques”. The search located 1,130,000 items in 0.04 seconds. Amongst the items found, where the word “cicbanques” is mentioned, it appears overwhelmingly to be associated with the Complainant.
- According to the email communication in the Complaint between the Complainant and the Respondent dated June 21, 2006 in which the Respondent states that it does not “know any French…”, the Respondent also states that it did not know CIC was a bank but only knew that CIC.com was the name of a leading supplier of electronic signature solutions. In terms of the name “cicbanques” , it is explained by the Respondent that this actually means “commander in chief, best and nicest quality establishing system”.
- The Respondent holds over 100 domain names offered for sale at “www.sedo.com”, a professional domain name buying and selling website. The disputed domain is parked at the same site with an asking price of €500;
- In its email to the Complainant dated June 30, 2006, the Respondent stated, “I am making an adult web. I will link “www.cicbanques.com” with my adult web as I can not give my domain to a cheat”. In the same email, it stated, “…to punish your cheat behaviors, now I am selling to you €25,000”
Given the worldwide presence of the Complainant, including in China, the Panel is not convinced that it is a coincidence that a Chinese individual who has no knowledge of the French language may come up with a name such as “cicbanques”. It is perhaps more credible that CIC could have been a coincidence, but highly unlikely in the case of “CIC” plus “banques”, being a French word for banks. . The explanation offered by the Respondent that “CICBANQUES” actually means or stands for “commander in chief, best and nicest quality establishing system” makes no sense to the Panel, nor is it plausible in the circumstances. The Panel further considers that the Respondent has not demonstrated any signs of preparation to use the domain name in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services. The Panel further considers it more likely than not that the Respondent was well aware of the Complainant and the CICBANQUE mark at the time of registering the disputed domain name. What the Panel has seen from the information on record is that the Respondent has been offering for sale the disputed domain name for valuable consideration in excess of its out-of-pocket costs directly related to the domain name, and threatening to link the disputed domain name with an adult website.
All the above signs indicate to the Panel that the primary purpose of the Respondent registering the domain name at issue is selling the domain name to the Complainant for valuable consideration in excess of the direct costs in relation to the domain name, and therefore the Panel finds that the Complaint satisfies paragraph 4a(iii).
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 <cicbanques.com> be transferred to the Complainant.
Dated: December 6, 2006