WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Confederation Nationale du Credit Mutuel v. Epsilon production worldwilde LLC
Case No. DME2008-0001
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Confederation Nationale du Credit Mutuel of France (“Credit Mutuel”), represented by Meyer & Partenaires, France.
The Respondent is Epsilon production worldwilde LLC of United States of America.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name, <creditmutuel.me> (the “Domain Name”), is registered with GoDaddy.com, Inc. (the “Registrar”).
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on July 31, 2008. On August 1, 2008, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the Domain Name. On August 1, 2008, the Registrar transmitted by email to the Center its verification response disclosing registrant and contact information for the Domain Name, which differed from the named Respondent and contact information in the Complaint. The Center sent an email communication to the Complainant on August 5, 2008 providing the registrant and contact information disclosed by the Registrar and inviting the Complainant to submit an amendment to the Complaint.
The Complainant filed an amendment to the Complaint on August 8, 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 as approved by the doMEn d.o.o (“doMEn”) (the “Policy”), the Rules for Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy as approved by the doMEn (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 August 15, 2008. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was September 4, 2008. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent's default on September 5, 2008.
The Center appointed Tony Willoughby as the sole panelist in this matter on September 17, 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 one of France's leading banking institutions. It is the proprietor of a number of registrations of trade marks incorporating as a prominent feature the name Credit Mutuel, one of these being French Registration No. 1475940 dated July 8, 1988 in classes 35 and 36 for a wide variety of services mainly related to banking. The Complainant's main website is connected to its domain name, <creditmutuel.com>, a website which it claims to have operated since 1997.
The Domain Name was registered on July 18, 2008, in the name of Domains By Proxy, Inc. The identity of the Respondent was not disclosed until after the Complaint had been filed and the Center had sought from the Registrar registrar verification in respect of the Domain Name.
The Domain Name came to the attention of the Complainant on July 24, 2008 when it was found to be connected to a French language adult website offering for sale/download full-length movies. The Complainant sought from the Registrar the identity of the registrant hiding behind the proxy service, but received no reply. However, the site was suspended.
5. Parties' Contentions
The Complainant contends that the Domain Name is identical or confusingly similar to a trade mark or service mark in which it has rights.
The Complainant contends that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Domain Name. It observes that its name is a household name in France, that the name has no obvious association with the Respondent and contends that the Domain Name was simply being used to attract traffic to its adult content site through which it generated revenue.
The Complainant contends that the facts support a finding of bad faith registration and use within the meaning of paragraph 4(b)(iv) of the Policy.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant's contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
According to paragraph 4(a) of the Policy, for this Complaint to succeed in relation to the Domain Name, the Complainant must prove that:
(i) The Domain Name is identical or confusingly similar to a trade mark or service mark 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 in bad faith and is being used in bad faith.
B. Identical or Confusingly Similar
Credit Mutuel is a household name in France. The Complainant is the proprietor of several trade mark and service mark registrations of marks featuring as their most prominent element the name “Credit Mutuel”.
The Domain Name comprises the Complainant's mark and the generic domain suffix.
The Panel finds that the Domain Name is identical or confusingly similar to a trade mark or service mark in which the Complainant has rights.
C. Rights or Legitimate Interests
The Complainant points to the fame of its name and mark, CREDIT MUTUEL, to the absence of any obvious connection between the mark CREDIT MUTUEL and the Respondent and the fact that the content of the Respondent's site to which the Domain Name was originally connected (prior to its suspension) was a commercially motivated adult site.
The Complainant's contention is that the Respondent selected the Domain Name, not because it was a name to which the Respondent could justifiably claim any rights or legitimate interests, but because the fame of the Complainant's name is such that it will attract Internet users. The more users the Respondent is able to attract to its site the greater the scope for sales of its adult movies.
The Panel finds the Complainant's case to be a convincing one and sufficient to call for an answer from the Respondent. As indicated above, the Respondent has not responded to the Complaint.
The Panel finds that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Domain Name.
D. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
The unchallenged contention of the Complainant is that the Respondent selected the Domain Name precisely because it is the famous name of the Complainant and with a view to attracting Internet users to its site for commercial gain (i.e. revenue generated through sales of adult movies). The evidence put in by the Complainant overwhelmingly supports that contention.
Visitors to the Respondent's website will be doing so in the hope and expectation that they are visiting a site of or associated with the Complainant. On arriving at the site, they will appreciate the mistake, but the hope and expectation of the Respondent will have been that a proportion of those visitors will have been encouraged to purchase a film.
The Panel concludes that the Domain Name was registered and is being used in bad faith within the meaning of paragraph 4(b)(iv) 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, <creditmutuel.me>, be transferred to the Complainant.
Date: October 1, 2008