World Intellectual Property Organization

WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center

ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION

Confederation Nationale du Credit Mutuel v. “Olivier Prot”

Case No. D2010-2078

1. The Parties

The Complainant is Confederation Nationale du Credit Mutuel of Paris, France represented by Meyer & Partenaires, France.

The Respondent is “Olivier Prot” of Orleans, France.

2. The Domain Names and Registrar

The disputed domain names <creditmutuel-3dsecure.com> and <3d-creditmutuel.com> are registered with GoDaddy.com, Inc.

3. Procedural History

The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on December 2, 2010. On December 3, 2010, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain names. On December 3, 2010, 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.

The Center verified that the Complaint satisfied the formal requirements of the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (the “Policy” or “UDRP”), 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 9, 2010. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was December 29, 2010. On December 21, 2010 the proceeding was suspended. On January 6, 2011 the Center received and acknowledged receipt of a letter from an individual named Olivier Prot in which he claimed to be victim of impersonation. On January 20, 2011, the proceeding was reinstituted and the new due date for Response was set to January 29, 2011. The Respondent did not submit a response. Accordingly, on January 31, 2011 the Center informed the parties that no further communication had been received from the Respondent. Accordingly, the Center proceeded to appoint the Administrative Panel in accordance with paragraph 6 of the Rules for Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy.

The Center appointed André R. Bertrand as the sole panelist in this matter on February 14, 2011. 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

Confederation Nationale du Credit Mutuel is the political and central body for the Credit Mutuel Banking Group.

Credit Mutuel is a French banking and insurance service group, which provides services to approximately 12 (twelve) millions of clients for more than a century.

Credit Mutuel is a network of 3178 offices in France through 18 regional bank federations.

Present in every field of finance, the group is a major player on the market of personal banking and in the corporate area. Its main priority is to provide high-quality relationships and services to its members and customers.

Credit Mutuel operates a web portal under the uniform resource locator ”www.creditmutuel.com”, dedicated to its products and services and providing a lot of information to the public about financial.

Credit Mutuel has acquired a great renown in the field of banking and insurance services in France and Europe. According to a survey, Credit Mutuel ranks number 1 in France and number 4 in Europe.

The disputed domain names <creditmutuel-3dsecure.com> and <3d-creditmutuel.com> were registered on September 13, 2010. According to the Complainant, the disputed domain names are to date inactive.

The Complainant is specialized in bank and finance services.

The Complainant is the holder of the following trademark registrations:

- CREDIT MUTUEL No. 1475940, French trademark filed on July 8, 1988 in classes 35, 36;

- CREDIT MUTUEL No. 1646012, French trademark filed on November 20, 1990 in classes 16, 35, 36, 38 and 41;

- CREDIT MUTUEL No. 570182, International trademark registered on May 17, 1991 in classes 16, 35, 36, 38 and 41.

According to the publicly available WhoIs information and the information provided by the concerned registrar GoDaddy.com, Inc., the registrant of the disputed domain names is “Olivier Prot”, located in Orleans, France.

5. Parties’ Contentions

A. Complainant

The Complainant, the Confederation Nationale du Credit Mutuel of Paris, France is the central body of the Credit Mutuel a French banking and insurance company which provides services to 12 million clients through a network of 3178 offices through 18 regional bank federations.

The Complainant is the legitimate owner of several trademarks such as:

the French semi-figurative trademark CREDIT MUTUEL n°1475940, registered on July 8, 1988 in classes 35 and 36;

the French semi-figurative trademark CREDIT MUTUEL n°1646012, registered on November 20, 1990 in classes 16, 35, 36; 38 and 41;

the International semi-figurative trademark CREDIT MUTUEL, n°570182, designating Benelux, Italy and Portugal, registered on May 17, 1991 in classes 35 and 36.

The Complainant is also the owner of several CREDIT MUTUEL domain names, such as the domain names <creditmutuel.eu> and <creditmutuel.mobi>.

B. Respondent

The Respondent did not submit a response in this case.

In a letter to the Center received on January 6 2011, an individual name Olivier Prot claimed that he never registered the disputed domain names, that he has never used or owned the email address confirmed by the concerned registrar GoDaddy.com, Inc. and that he has been the victim of an identity theft for which he has filed a complaint at the police station of Orleans.

6. Discussion and Findings

The Complainant contents that: (i) the disputed domain names are if not identical at least confusingly similar to the trademarks and domain names in which the Complainant has rights; (ii) the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the domain names; and (iii) the domain names have been registered and are being used in bad faith.

Paragraph 4(a) of the Policy requires the Complainant to prove all of the following in order for its contentions to be supported in the proceeding:

(i) The disputed domain names are identical or confusingly similar to a trade mark or service mark in which the Complainant has rights; and

(ii) Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain names; and

(iii) The disputed domain names have been registered and are being used in bad faith.

Although the concerned registrar GoDaddy.com, Inc. has confirmed that “Olivier Prot” is the registrant of the disputed domain names, this appears to be a case of identity theft. The Panel, consistent with previous case law under the UDRP and for implementation purposes, will therefore proceed to decide the merits of this case and render a decision against the registrar-confirmed registrant of the disputed domain names, i.e. “Olivier Prot”. The Panel notes however that this decision should not be interpreted as being directed to the individual named Olivier Prot whose letter to the Center was received on January 6, 2011.

A. Identical or Confusingly Similar

In Confederation Nationale du Credit Mutuel v. Philippe Marie, WIPO Case No. D2010-1513 (<credit-mutuel-3dsecure.com >) it was held that:

“It is clearly proven beyond doubt that Complainant has rights in the trademark CREDIT MUTUEL for purposes of paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Policy.

Complainant’s trademark is incorporated in the disputed domain name in its entirety with the adjunction of the expression “3dsecure”, which is a reference to a service offered by Complainant to increase security for credit card payments.

The adjunction of this expression is likely to reinforce the association with Complainant to the extent that it provides the 3D SECURE service.

The two “-” (hyphens) present in the domain name do not change this analysis.

As for the adjunction of the gTLD “.com”, it is now well established that the generic top-level domain, in this case “.com”, would typically be excluded from consideration when determining whether the domain name at issue is identical or confusingly similar to the trademark held by Complainant. It is indeed a functional or generic component of the domain name (Gerling Beteiligungs-GmbH (GBG) v. World Space Corp, WIPO Case No. D.2006-0223)

Therefore, the Panel finds that Complainant has succeeded in demonstrating managed to demonstrate that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to the trademark CREDIT MUTUEL and therefore, it has satisfied the requirements of paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Policy”.

The same reasoning can be applied to the domain names <creditmutuel-3dsecure.com> and <3d-creditmutuel.com> which are very similar to the domain name <credit-mutuel-3dsecure.com>.

Thus, the Panel finds that the Complainant has demonstrated that the disputed domain names are confusingly similar to the trademarks CREDIT MUTUEL and therefore, has satisfied the requirements of paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Policy.

B. Rights or Legitimate Interests

In a letter to the Center received on January 6, 2011, an individual name Olivier Prot claimed that he never registered the disputed domain names, that he has never used or owned the email address confirmed by the concerned registrar GoDaddy.com, Inc. and that he has been the victim of an identity theft for which he has filed a complaint at the police station of Orleans.

The Complainant claims that the Respondent has not been authorized or licensed to use the Complainant’s trademark CREDIT MUTUEL or to register the disputed domain names and that none of the circumstances listed in paragraph 4(c) of the Policy are present in this case. The Panel is satisfied that the Complainant has made a prima facie case that the Respondent lacks rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain names. By not submitting a response, the Respondent has not rebutted the Complainant’s prima facie case in this regard.

The Panel therefore finds that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain names, thus the requirements of paragraph 4(a)(ii) are also satisfied.

C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith

It should be noted that the circumstances of bad faith are not limited to the facts listed at paragraph 4(b) of the Policy.

In the Panel’s view, the fact that the an individual named Olivier Prot has claimed that the disputed domain names have been registered through an “identity theft”, and that he has never registered these domain names is a strong indication that the disputed domain names have actually been “registered and used in bad faith”.

Indeed, the Panel is of the opinion that by registering the disputed domain names under the name of ”Olivier Prot” through an “identity theft”, the true registrant of the disputed domain names is trying “disrupt the business” of the Complainant, and acting in bad faith.

Moreover, given that the Complainant and its trademark CREDIT MUTUEL are well-known in France and elsewhere, the Respondent must have known the Complainant when it registered the disputed domain names. The Panel also notes that the inactive status of the websites associated with the disputed domain names can be detrimental to the Complainant.

In light of the above, the Panel finds that the disputed domain names have been registered and used in bad faith.

7. Decision

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 names <creditmutuel-3dsecure.com> and <3d-creditmutuel.com> be transferred to the Complainant.

André R. Bertrand
Sole Panelist
Dated: February 25, 2011

 

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