WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Allianz SE v. Well Domains are either owned by us or Client Managed
Case No. D2008-0535
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Allianz SE, Munich, Germany, represented by Steffen Drogsler, Germany.
The Respondent is “Well Domains are either owned by us or Client Managed”, of Yesilkent, Sariz, Turkey.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <allianzfinance.com> is registered with GoDaddy.com, Inc.
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on April 8, 2008. On April 9, 2008, the Center transmitted by email to GoDaddy.com, Inc. a request for registrar verification in connection with the domain name at issue. On April 9, 2008, GoDaddy.com, Inc. transmitted by email to the Center its verification response confirming that the Respondent is listed as the registrant and providing the contact details. In response to a notification by the Center that the Complaint was administratively deficient, the Complainant filed an amendment to the Complaint on April 16, 2008. 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 April 24, 2008. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was May 14, 2008. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on May 15, 2008.
The Center appointed Adam Taylor as the sole panelist in this matter on May 27, 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.
4. Factual Background
The Complainant is part of one of the oldest and largest international insurance and financial services groups in the world. The first company in the Allianz Group, Allianz Versicherungs-AG, was founded in 1890 in Berlin, Germany. Since its inception, the Allianz Group has continuously operated under the Allianz name, and has used the ALLIANZ mark in connection with its insurance, healthcare and financial services products.
The total revenues of Allianz Group worldwide were 101.1 billion euros in 2006 and 102.6 billion euros in 2007.
The Complainant owns number of registered trademarks including the following, all of which are registered for insurance and financial services:
ALLIANZ and Design
EU Community Trademark
ALLIANZ and Design
EU Community Trademark
399 27 827
The Complainant’s group owns <allianz.de> , <allianz.com> and various other “allianz” domain names.
The Respondent registered the disputed domain name on April 25, 2007. As of April 8, 2008, the disputed domain name resolved to a website with a list of affiliate links to finance-related websites.
As of April 8, 2008, the disputed domain name was listed for sale on “www.sedo.de” with a “price expectation” of $US 9,500.
5. Parties’ Contentions
Identical or Confusingly Similar
Over the years, Allianz has devoted substantial resources and efforts building goodwill in the ALLIANZ family of marks, which is used to distinguish Allianz’s products from all other products in the same class.
ALLIANZ is a distinctive and well-known marked used by Allianz in connection with its several businesses for well over 100 years.
The disputed domain name is confusingly similar to the trade mark in which the Complainant has rights. The domain name adds the word “finance”. As the Complainant is known worldwide as leading financial services provider, Respondent’s use of the mark ALLIANZ in combination with the word “finance” creates confusion among Internet users.
In addition, the Respondent’s website allows Internet users to carry out searches as to finance and asset management topics. This similarity additionally increases the risk of confusion.
Rights or Legitimate Interests
The Respondent has no rights or legitimate interest with respect to the ALLIANZ mark, or the goodwill Allianz has developed in its mark. The Respondent holds no such trade mark registrations and has never received a license or any other form of authorization or consent from the Complainant to make use of the ALLIANZ mark.
The Respondent’s activities do not correspond to any of the circumstances set forth in the Policy, paragraph 4(c).
The Respondent did not use the domain name in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services. The website at the disputed domain name shows that the Respondent specifically chose the disputed domain name in order to further its own business activities by exploiting errors made by Internet users who are hoping to access the Complainant’s website. The Respondent is thus attracting these users to its website by trading on the fame of the Complainant’s mark.
Use which intentionally trades on the fame of another cannot constitute a bona fide offering of goods or services. To conclude otherwise would mean that a Respondent could rely on intentional infringement to demonstrate a legitimate interest, an interpretation that is obviously contrary to the intent of the Policy.
The Respondent is not commonly known by the domain name. Indeed, there is no information connecting the Respondent with the disputed domain name to be found on the website itself. The Complainant’s prior rights would themselves bar the Respondent from being known by the domain name.
The Respondent is also not making legitimate non-commercial or fair use of the domain name. The Respondent is using the disputed domain solely for commercial purposes. On the one hand, the Respondent seeks to sell the domain to the Complainant. On the other hand, all links displayed after a search are so called “sponsored results”, clearly indicating that they are paid for by third parties.
Registered and Used in Bad Faith
The Respondent intentionally registered the domain name primarily for the purpose of selling the domain name to the Complainant.
The Respondent intentionally attempted, by using the disputed domain name, to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to his website by creating a likelihood of confusion with the Complainant’s mark as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation or endorsement of the disputed domain name.
The ALLIANZ mark is very well-known, especially with regards to insurance and financial affairs. It cannot be reasonably argued that the Respondent was unaware of the trademark when registering the disputed domain name.
Also, an Internet user who enters the website at the disputed domain name is likely to expect a website belonging to the Complainant.
On the website, links are offered that inter alia invite users to access financial services related sites via “sponsored” links. This indicates that they are paid for by third parties.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The Complainant undoubtedly has rights in the mark ALLIANZ by virtue of its many registered trademarks as well as its extensive trading activities under that name.
Disregarding the domain suffix, the disputed domain name differs from the Complainant’s trademark only by the addition of the generic term “finance”. This is insufficient to differentiate the domain name and trademark; rather, it enhances the connection as it is indicative of the services offered by the Complainant.
The Panel concludes that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to a trademark in which the Complainant has rights. The Panel therefore finds that the Complainant has established the first element of the Policy.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
The Complainant must establish at least a prima facie case under this heading and, if that is made out, the evidential onus shifts to the Respondent to rebut the presumption of absence of rights or legitimate interests thereby created. See, e.g., Atlas Copco Aktiebolag v. Accurate Air Engineering, Inc., WIPO Case No. D2003-0070.
The Complainant has not licensed or otherwise authorized the Respondent to use its trademark.
As to paragraph 4(c)(i) of the Policy, the Panel has concluded below that the Respondent has used the disputed domain name to intentionally attempt to attract, confuse and profit from Internet users seeking the Complainant. Such use of the disputed domain name could not be said to be bona fide.
There is no evidence that paragraphs 4(c)(ii) or (iii) of the Policy apply.
The Panel finds that the Complainant has established a prima facie case of lack of rights and legitimate interests and there is no rebuttal by the Respondent.
The Panel concludes that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name and that the Complainant has therefore established the second element of the Policy.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
The Panel is satisfied that the Respondent registered the disputed domain name with the Complainant in mind. The disputed domain name includes the Complainant’s mark ALLIANZ as well as the generic term “finance” which obviously denotes the services for which the Complainant is well-known. Furthermore the Respondent has used the disputed domain name for a website with affiliate links to finance-related websites.
The Respondent has not come forward to deny that the Complainant’s assertions of bad faith. It is difficult to conceive of any genuine reason why the Respondent would wish to register the disputed domain name and the Respondent has offered no explanation.
The Panel concludes from the foregoing that the Respondent has registered and used the disputed domain name in bad faith in accordance with paragraph 4(b)(iv) of the Policy. The Respondent has intentionally attempted to attract Internet users to its website for commercial gain by creating a likelihood of confusion with the Complainant’s trademark. The Panel therefore finds that the Complainant has established the third element of the Policy.
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, <allianzfinance.com> be transferred to the Complainant.
Dated: June 11, 2008