Complainant is Credit Industriel et Commercial SA, Paris, France, represented by Meyer & Partenaires, France.
The Respondent is Kevin Brisson, Leuze, Belgium.
The disputed domain name <cic-paiement.com> is registered with CSL Computer Service Langenbach GmbH dba Joker.com.
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on November 27, 2009. On November 30, 2009, the Center transmitted by email to CSL Computer Service Langenbach GmbH dba Joker.com a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On December 3, 2009, CSL Computer Service Langenbach GmbH dba Joker.com transmitted by email to the Center its verification response confirming that the Respondent is listed as the registrant 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 December 14, 2009. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was January 3, 2010. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent's default on January 4, 2010.
The Center appointed Nicolas Ulmer as the sole panelist in this matter on January 14, 2010. 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.
Credit Industriel et Commercial (abbreviated “CIC”) is a French banking group. According to the Complainant, CIC's origins date back to 1859 and it currently has over 4.1 million clients, 2122 branches in France, as well as branches in Belgium, the country of residence of Respondent. Complainant first registered the French trademark CIC on June 26, 1976, No. 959 999, and its most recent renewal was on June 10, 1996 with the current renewal pending. Complainant has also trademarked PAIEMENT CIC, French nominative trademark No. 99808220, on August 17, 1999, which is still live. Complainant is also the registrant of domains names such as <paiement-cic.eu>, <paiement-cic.fr> and other similar domains. All trademarks were in place before the registration of the domain name <cic-paiement.com> on June 28, 2009. On September 3, 2009, Complainant's counsel sent Respondent a detailed cease and desist letter concerning CIC's rights and demanding, inter alia, the transfer of the disputed domain name (Annex G to Complainant's submission), but Respondent did not comply with the demand.
Complainant lists and provides copies of all trademarks associated with it containing a connection with the disputed domain name, <cic-paiement.com>. It also provides information as to its history as well as evidence of its reputation and its place in public knowledge, notably in Belgium. It has cited numerous substantively similar cases it has successfully brought with regard to the domain names incorporating the term CIC, and other cases with facts or issues analogous to those herein, such as, Crédit Industriel et Commercial S.A., CM-CIC Securities v. Homeshop, WIPO Case No. D2007-0530 and Credit Industriel et Commercial S.A., CM-CIC Securities v. Click Cons. Ltd., WIPO Case No. D2007-1323
Complainant assert that the three elements of paragraph 4(a) of the Policy are here obviously met; Complainant acknowledges that Respondent has not actively used the domain name but Complainant asserts that there is no possible use of the disputed domain name that is not in bad faith.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant's contentions.
Under paragraph 4(a) of the Policy, Complainant must prove the following:
(i) Respondent's domain name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which the Complainant has rights; and
(ii) Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the domain name; and
(iii) Respondent's domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.
The disputed domain name is objectively extremely similar to Complainant's marks, notably the mark PAIEMENT CIC, and includes CIC by which Complainant is known. It has been repeatedly determined that the gTLD “.com” is of no consequence to the analysis regarding identity or confusing similarity and Complainant cites a number of these cases (see e.g., Crédit Industriel et Commercial SA v. XUBO, WIPO Case No. D2006-1268). Furthermore, Complainant has registered <paiement-cic.eu>, <paiement-cic.fr> and other similar domain names. Complainant notes that the word “paiement” “describes one of the main activities of the Complainant” and therefore its addition to the trademarked CIC does not eliminate the association of the domain name with the identity of Complainant but rather increases that association. Complainant has cited multiple cases to this effect (CAC Decision No. 100084, Crédit Industriel et Commercial S.A. v. Osed Wireless, Crédit Industriel et Commercial S.A. v. Yu Ming, WIPO Case No. D2005-0458, Shaw Industries Group Inc. and Columbia Insurance Company v. Maison Tropicale S.A., WIPO Case No. D2007-0548). Complainant also cites, Confédération Nationale du Crédit Mutuel v. Mervyn Mould, WIPO Case No. D2007-0207in order to establish the ineffectiveness of the addition of a dash in order to disassociate the domain name from the registered trademark of Complainant. It is evident that the disputed domain name is, at a minimum, confusingly similar to Complainant's marks, and Complainant has met the first element of the Policy's tests.
There is no evidence or inference that Respondent, Kevin Brisson, has any association to Complainant, and Complainant asserts “he is not one of its agents and does not carry out any activity for, or has any business with it.” There is also no evidence or reason to believe that Respondent is known in association with either “CIC” or “CIC paiement” nor has it been licensed to use these names. Complainant cites cases CAC Decision No. 100084, Crédit Industriel et Commercial S.A. v. Osed Wireless; Crédit Industriel et Commercial S.A. v. Yu Ming, WIPO Case No. D2005-0458; and Crédit Industriel et Commercial S.A. v. XUBO, WIPO Case No. D2006-1268, in this regard. Based on the record, the Panel finds that the second element is also met.
Taking into account the reputation of Complainant, its association with the terms CIC and CIC paiement, its trademarks and websites and that it carries out business in the country of Respondent, Belgium, it is obvious that Respondent had knowledge of CIC and its activities, and that the registration of the disputed domain name was not serendipitous. While Respondent does not appear to have made active use of the disputed domain name, it is well established that, in circumstances such as these, the passive holding of a domain name can be considered as bad faith use (see e.g. Société pour l'Oeuvre et la mémoire d'Anthoine de Saint-Exupéry-Succession Saint Exupéry-D'Agay v. Peregos Properties WIPO Case No. D2005-1085). Thus the elements of bad faith registration and use are also established.
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, <cic-paiement.com>, be transferred to the Complainant.
Dated: January 20, 2010