WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Allianz SE v. Paulo c/o Paulo Kann
Case No. D2010-2199
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Allianz SE of Munich, Germany represented by Allianz SE Group Legal Services, Germany.
The Respondent is Paulo c/o Paulo Kann of Central Dijon, France.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <www-allianz.com> is registered with Dynadot, LLC.
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on December 15, 2010. On December 16, 2010, the Center transmitted by email to Dynadot, LLC a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On December 17, 2010, Dynadot, LLC. 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 29, 2010. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was January 18, 2011. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on January 19, 2011.
The Center appointed Dr. Christos A. Theodoulou as the sole panelist in this matter on January 27, 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
The Complainant in these proceedings is Allianz SE (formerly known as Allianz AG), a company organized under the laws of Germany.
Allianz SE is a well-known large corporation dealing, inter alia, with international insurance and financial services.
According to the non-contested allegations provided by the Complainant, the latter is the owner of the trademark ALLIANZ and all other trademarks in the ALLIANZ family of marks. The ALLIANZ trademark was registered in Germany on July 11, 1979 and then followed International Registrations and EU Community Trademarks.
Further, according to the Complainant, the domain names <allianz.de>, <allianz.com>, <allianzgroup.com> are registered in the name of Allianz Shared Infrastructure Services GmbH, the German IT - affiliate company of Allianz SE. The Complainant has used the Allianz mark in connection with its insurance, underwriting, reassurance, health care and financial services products. According to the non-contested allegations provided by the Complainant, the total revenue of the Allianz Group worldwide in 2009 amounted to EUR 97.4 billion. The Panel is unaware of any further information relative to this case with regard to the Respondent, except that given by the Complainant and mentioned above and that the Respondent appears to be an individual with an address in France.
The disputed domain name was registered on December 20, 2009. According to the non–contested allegations of the Complainant, the Respondent’s website offers Internet users various hyperlinks relating to insurance, (e.g., “Allianz Versicherungen”), finance, (e.g., “Kredit-auch ohne Schufa”) and asset management topics, which are in the Complainant’s line of business.
5. Parties’ Contentions
The Complainant contends that the disputed domain name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which the Complainant has rights, that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name, and that the Respondent registered and is using the disputed domain name in bad faith.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
Before engaging in the threefold discussion of paragraph 4(a) of the Policy, the Panel will briefly address the procedural issue related to the default of the Respondent. The implications of a default in this case are telling: since the Complainant has the burden of proof, according to paragraph 4(a) of the Policy (“In the administrative proceeding, the Complainant must prove that each of these three elements are present”), the Panel may not just grant the Complainant’s request automatically, but it has to examine instead the evidence presented to determine whether or not the Complainant has proved its case, as required by the Policy. See FNAC v. Gauthier Raymond, WIPO Case No. D2004-0881; Sonofon A/S v. Vladimir Aleksic, WIPO Case No. D2007-0668; Gaudi Trade SpA v. Transure Enterprise Ltd, WIPO Case No. D2009-1028.
The Panel shall now proceed to the analysis of the evidence in this case, based on the three elements of paragraph 4(a) of the Policy.
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The Complainant has presented sufficient evidence that it owns the rights to the trademark ALLIANZ and domain names which contain the word “allianz”. The Complainant’s registrations for the mark in jurisdictions all over the world including the International registrations and the Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market (OHIM) registrations have proven this. The worldwide use of the mark reinforces this ownership. It is to be noted that several of the above marks were registered prior to the registration of the disputed domain name.
The mere fact that the Respondent has added to the Allianz mark the prefix “’www-” and the suffix “.com” does not effect the essence of the matter: the disputed domain name wholly incorporates the trademark ALLIANZ, registered and owned by the Complainant, and in the circumstances of this case is by itself sufficient to establish the criterion of similarity for purposes of the Policy, as many panels have found in the past. See e.g., Oki Data Americas, Inc. v. ASD, Inc., WIPO Case No. D2001-0903; DFDS A/S v. NOLDC INC, WIPO Case No. D2006-1070; American Automobile Association, Inc. v. Bladimir, Boyiko and Andrew Michailov, WIPO Case No. D2006-0252.
In view of the above, the Panel finds that the Complainant has discharged its burden of proof on this point and holds that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to the Complainant’s trademark.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
Paragraph 4(c) of the Policy provides a non-exhaustive list of three circumstances which, if found by a panel to be proved based on its evaluation of the evidence presented, shall demonstrate a registrant’s right to and the legitimate interest in a domain name. These examples are discussed in turn below, with regard to the specific facts of this case.
(i) Demonstrable preparations to use the disputed domain name in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services prior to the dispute: in this case, the Respondent is not using the disputed domain name to make any bona fide offering of goods or services, but instead “to further his own business activities…[t]he Respondent offers…hyperlinks under the topics insurance, finance and asset management…thus attracting users trying to access Complainant’s website to its website by trading on the fame of the Complainant’s mark, which is connected in public perception with insurance finance and asset management” according to the non-contested allegations of the Complainant. The Complainant contends that this is exploitation of its good name.
(ii) An indication that the registrant has been commonly known by the disputed domain name, even if it has acquired no trademark rights: there is no such indication from the present record.
(iii) Legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the disputed domain name without intent for commercial gain to misleadingly divert consumers or to tarnish the trademark at issue: again, there is no such indication from the record.
Furthermore, it is to be noted that the Respondent does not appear to have any trademark rights over the textual string which comprises the disputed domain name, nor has it presented evidence of any license by the Complainant, with whom there seems to exist no relationship whatsoever.
As a conclusion on this point, the Panel holds that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
The Complainant’s argumentation aims to establish any of the four circumstances mentioned in paragraph 4(b) of the Policy, in order to demonstrate the Respondent’s bad faith registration and use of the disputed domain name.
In reviewing the present case, the Panel has noted that the Respondent is using the disputed domain name to intentionally attempt to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to its website, by creating a likelihood of confusion with the Complainant’s mark as to the source, affiliation, etc., of the website. This clearly shows to the Panel that the Respondent knew, when registering the disputed domain name, of the existence of the trademark ALLIANZ, which is also very well known, and its affiliation to the Complainant’s products, and that the Respondent has used the domain name in bad faith under paragraph 4(b)(iv) of the Policy.
The Panel also notes the default of the Respondent to the Center, which “reinforces the inference of bad faith registration and bad faith use”. The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited v. Bill Lynn, WIPO Case No. D2001-0915.
The bad faith of the Respondent may also be inferred through a simple, logical process, as well, in the sense that it would, indeed, be highly unlikely that the Respondent could come up randomly and unintentionally with a well-known word, such as “allianz”, and register it as his own domain name, in combination with the prefix “www-“ and the suffix “.com”.
As a consequence to the above, the Panel holds that the Respondent registered and used the disputed domain name in bad faith.
The Complainant has successfully proven that the disputed domain name is identical or confusingly similar to trademarks in which he has rights, that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name, and that the Respondent registered and used the disputed domain name in bad faith.
For all the foregoing reasons, in accordance with paragraphs 4(i) of the Policy and 15 of the Rules, the Panel orders that the disputed domain name <www-allianz.com> be transferred to the Complainant.
Christos A. Theodoulou
Dated: January 31, 2011