WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
KBC Group N.V. and KBC Bank N.V. v. Bank Dir, Bankgroup
Case No. D2008-0446
1. The Parties
The Complainant is KBC Group N.V. and KBC Bank N.V., Brussels, Belgium, represented by Altius CVBA, Belgium.
The Respondent is Bank Dir, Bankgroup, Jinhae, Kyungnam, Republic of Korea.
2. The Domain Names and Registrars
The disputed domain names <kbcbank.net> and <kbcbank.org> are both registered with OnlineNic, Inc. d/b/a China-Channel.com.
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on March 21, 2008. On March 25, 2008, the Center transmitted by email to OnlineNic, Inc. d/b/a China-Channel.com a request for registrar verification in connection with the domain names at issue. On March 31, 2008, OnlineNic, Inc. d/b/a China-Channel.com transmitted by email to the Center its verification responses confirming that Respondent is listed as the registrant of both disputed domain names, and providing the contact details. 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 April 2, 2008. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was April 22, 2008. Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified Respondent’s default on April 25, 2008.
The Center appointed Nicolas Ulmer as the sole panelist in this matter on April 30, 2008. 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.
On April 30, 2008, the Panel received unsolicited emails from both Parties. The Center notified the Parties of the prohibition of Article 6 of the Rules against direct communication with the Panel. On May 2, 2008, the Panel issued an Order admitting the foregoing emails and fixing the Parties a deadline of May 7, 2008, for any further final statements, limited to the contents of the emails. On May 2, 2008, Respondent forwarded the Panel an email substantially identical to its April 30, 2008 email and stating “[w]e would close this dispute with transferring the domain names to the Complainant…” No further communications were received from Complainant.
4. Factual Background
Complainants are financial institutions based in Belgium which provide various financial services, including online services. Complainant’s group is the owner of numerous trademarks incorporating iterations of the letters “KBC”. The disputed domain names appear to devolve or have devolved to sponsored link sites that also offer financial products.
5. Parties’ Contentions
Complainant submits a detailed Complaint to the effect that all elements of paragraph 4(a) of the Policy are met and that the disputed domain names should be transferred from Respondent to Complainant KBC Bank NV.
Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions, but in late March 2008 sent emails to Complainant first proposing to transfer the disputed domain names for $2,500, and then indicating that the disputed domain names would expire as Respondent had not paid renewal fees, with Respondent adding “[w]e would like to help you to secure these domains in safe and fast”. However, on April 30, 2008, and again on May 2, 2008, the Respondent sent emails to Complainant and the Panel stating the domain names had been renewed and that “[w]e would close this dispute with transferring the domains to the Complainant whether he would pay the $2,500 or not” and asking Complainant to “start the transfer procedure”.
6. Discussion and Findings
The Panel finds Respondent has here consented to the remedy sought by Complainant by expressly asking for the transfer of the domain names to Complainant, in its April 30 and May 2, 2008 emails, and this with or without payment1. Respondent has accordingly not submitted any arguments or evidence in defence. The Panel is therefore of the view that it is unnecessary in the circumstances of this case to detail whether the elements of paragraph 4(a) of the Policy are met. This Panel agrees with and adopts the reasoning of the decision in The Cartoon Network LP, LLP v. Mike Morgan, WIPO Case No. D2005-1132.
“This Panel considers that a genuine unilateral consent to transfer by the Respondent provides a basis for an immediate order for transfer without consideration of the paragraph 4(a) elements. Where the Complainant has sought transfer of a disputed domain name, and the Respondent consents to transfer, then pursuant to paragraph 10 of the Rules the Panel can proceed immediately to make an order for transfer. This is clearly the most expeditious course.”
See also Valero Energy Corporation, Valero Refining and Marketing Company v. RareNames, WebReg, WIPO Case No. D2006-1336; and Nutri/System, IPHC, Inc. v. Texas International Property Associates, WIPO Case No. D2007-0864.
For the foregoing reasons, the Panel orders that the domain names <kbcbank.net> and <kbcbank.org> be transferred, as requested, to the Complainant KBC Bank N.V.
Dated: May 9, 2008
1 The Panel further notes that had it been necessary to proceed to a decision on the merits, the prior offer to transfer the domain names to Complainant for a sum that appears significantly in excess of the costs of their registrations would not have redounded in Respondent’s favour.