WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Crédit Industriel et Commercial v. Domain Drop S.A.
Case No. D2007-0666
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Crédit Industriel et Commercial, Paris, France, represented by Meyer & Partenaires, France.
The Respondent is Domain Drop S.A., Charlestown, West Indies, Saint Kitts and Nevis.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <wwwcic.com> (the “Domain Name”) is registered with DomainDoorman, LLC.
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on May 3, 2007. On May 7, 2007, the Center transmitted by email to DomainDoorman, LLC a request for registrar verification in connection with the domain name at issue. On May 7 and 8, 2007, DomainDoorman, LLC 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 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 May 10, 2007. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was May 30, 2007. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on May 31, 2007.
The Center appointed Alfred Meijboom as the sole panelist in this matter on June 11, 2007. 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 asserted and provided evidence in support of the following facts.
The Complainant, Crédit Industriel et Commercial, also abbreviated to CIC, is a French bank. It has 1940 branches in France and it also has an international presence with branches in 37 countries.
The Complainant holds the following trademarks registered for banking related goods and services:
- French word mark C.I.C. (1358524) of 1986;
- International device mark CIC Union Européene de CIC (582446) of 1992;
- French word mark CIC BANQUES (1682713) of 1991;
- French device mark CIC BANQUES (1684098) of 1991;
- International word mark CIC BANQUES (585098) of 1992;
- International device mark CIC BANQUES (585099) of 1992.
The Complainant holds and uses various domain names, amongst which <cic.fr>, <cic.eu>, <cic-banques.fr>, <cic-cm.com>, <cic-i.com>, <cic-am.com> and <cic-banques.com>.
The Domain Name was registered on April 11, 2006.
The website behind the Domain Name contains all sorts of sponsored links both in English and French, including links to (competitive) financial and banking facilities.
5. Parties’ Contentions
The Complainant states that the Domain Name is confusingly similar to Complainant’s CIC trademarks, as the prefix “www” is wholly non-distinctive and the suffix “.com” does not prevent confusion.
The Complainant claims that the Respondent has no right or legitimate interests in respect of the Domain Name. The Complainant has not authorized or licensed the Respondent in any way to use or exploit its CIC trademark. According to the Complainant the Respondent is using the Domain Name to mislead and divert legitimate CIC customers.
It is a common error to forget the dot after the acronym “www”. Since most internet browsers enable users to access a website without a prefix such as “www”, the address <wwwcic.com> without prefix can lead to the website held by the Respondent. Therefore, the Complainant believes that the Respondent when registering the Domain Name sought to take advantage of internet users trying to access the Complainant’s website but typing an incorrect address. Consequently, the Respondent should be considered to have registered the Domain Name in bad faith.
Furthermore, the Complainant contends that the Domain Name is being used in bad faith. The Domain Name leads to a portal site offering sponsored links. In this way the Respondent attracts internet users for commercial gain or simply disrupts the Complainant’s relationship with its customers or potential customers. According to the Complainant both of these motives constitute evidence of registration and use in bad faith.
The Complainant requests the Panel to issue a decision that the Domain Name be transferred to the Complainant.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
According to paragraph 4(a) of the Policy, the requested remedy can be granted if the Complainant asserts and proves each of the following:
A. that the Domain Name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or a service mark in which the Complainant has rights; and
B. the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Domain Name; and
C. the Domain Name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
For the purpose of assessing whether the Domain Name is identical or confusingly similar to the trademarks in which the Complainant has rights, the gTLD “.com” is disregarded, being a necessary element of domain names. Furthermore, the Panel is of the opinion that the well known acronym for “world wide web” “www” at the beginning of a domain name is not distinctive in this context and should be disregarded as well (Unilever Supply Chain, Inc v. Kal Kuchora, WIPO Case No. D2005-1347).
Consequently, comparing the Domain Name <wwwcic.com> with the Complainant’s CIC trademarks, the Panel finds them to be confusingly similar.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
According to paragraph 4(c) of the Policy the Complainant should prove that the Respondent has no right or legitimate interest in the Domain Name. According to the consensus view among panels, this condition is met if the Complainant makes a prima facie case that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests, and the Respondent fails to show one of the three circumstances mentioned in paragraph 4(c) of the Policy.
Given the worldwide presence of the Complainant, a French bank trading under the name CIC, and the fact that the Domain Name is used for a website with sponsored links including links in French for financial and banking services, the Panel is of the opinion that the Respondent must have been aware of the Complainant’s CIC trademarks. Consequently, the Respondent is not using the Domain Name for bona fide offering of goods or services, or for non-commercial or fair use.
The Panel is further satisfied that the Respondent was not previously known under the Domain Name and that the Complainant did not authorize the Respondent to register the Domain Name, as the Respondent did not dispute the Complainant’s claim to that effect.
For these reasons, the Panel finds that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interest in the Domain Name.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
The Domain Name is composed of the well known acronym “www” and the Complainant’s trademark CIC. As said the Complainant is a French bank. The website behind the Domain Name contains sponsored links, including French links to financial and banking services while. As substantiated under Section B, the Panel has concluded that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the Domain Name. Considering all this, the Panel finds, in accordance with ACCOR v. Tigertail Partners, WIPO Case No. D2002-0625, that it is reasonable to conclude that only someone who was familiar with the CIC trademarks of the Complainant could have registered the Domain Name. Consequently, the Panel concludes that the Domain Name was registered in bad faith.
The Complainant must also prove that the Domain Name was or is being used in bad faith. In this respect the Complainant asserted that the Domain Name was redirected to a website owned by the Complainant.
According to paragraph 4(b) of the Policy an indication for use in bad faith is if the Respondent is intentionally attempting to attract, for commercial gain, internet users to his website by creating a likelihood of confusion with the Complainant’s trademark as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation, or endorsement of his website or of a product or service on his website.
With its use of the Domain Name the Respondent appears to try and take advantage of a typographical error, forgetting the dot after “www”, which can be made when typing website addresses. The Respondent creates a likelihood of confusion between the Domain Name and the CIC trademark and generates traffic to the website linked to the Domain Name. The Respondent’s use of the Domain Name, a website with sponsored links, should be considered to be commercial. Therefore, in light of paragraph 4(b) of the Policy, the Panel finds that the Domain Name is also being used 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 <wwwcic.com> be transferred to the Complainant.
Dated: June 22, 2007