World Intellectual Property Organization

WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center

ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION

Credit Agricole S.A. v. Xiaole Zhang

Case No. D2012-0265

1.The Parties

The Complainant is Credit Agricole S.A. of Montrouge Cedex, France represented by Nameshield, France.

The Respondent is Xiaole Zhang of Inner Mongolia, China.

2. The Domain Name and Registrar

The disputed domain name <credit-agricole.mobi> is registered with HiChina Zhicheng Technology Ltd..

3. Procedural History

The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on February 10, 2012. On February 13, 2012, the Center transmitted by email to HiChina Zhicheng Technology Ltd. a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On February 14, 2012, HiChina Zhicheng Technology Ltd. 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 February 28, 2012. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was March 19, 2012. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on March 21, 2012.

The Center appointed Douglas Clark as the sole panelist in this matter on April 19, 2012. 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 the registered proprietor of the trademark CREDIT AGRICOLE, registered and used for different kinds of services in different classes, including banking services. The Complainant has trademark registrations globally, including international registrations and registrations in China. The international registrations were first registered in 1978 and 1988; the registrations in China were obtained in 1989 and 2008. The Complainant is also the registrant of many domain names made up of “creditagricole” or “credit-agricole”, including <creditagricole.com> and <credit-agricole.com>.

The disputed domain name <credit-agricole.mobi> was registered on 26 December, 2006. It resolves to a parking page where items such as credit reports are advertised.

5. Parties’ Contentions

A. Complainant

Identical or confusingly similar

The Complainant argues that the disputed domain name <credit-agricole.mobi> is identical to the Complainant’s registered trademarks and domain names save of the addition of a hyphen and the generic top-level domain (gTLD) “.mobi”.

Rights or legitimate interests

The Complainant submits that the Respondent has not been known by the name “Credit Agricole” and the Respondent has no connection with the Complainant or any of its affiliates and that the use of the disputed domain name as a parking page cannot be considered a bona fide offering of services.

Registered and being used in bad faith

The Complainant submits that there is no doubt that before registration of the disputed domain name, the Respondent knew of the Complainant’s rights in the trademark CREDIT AGRICOLE and that the words “credit” and “agricole” have no meaning in English or Chinese.

B. Respondent

The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.

6. Discussion and Findings

A. Language of Proceedings

The language of the Registration Agreement is in Chinese. Paragraph 11(a) of the Rules provides that:

“Unless otherwise agreed by the Parties, or specified otherwise in the Registration Agreement, the language of the administrative proceeding shall be the language of the Registration Agreement, subject to the authority of the Panel to determine otherwise, having regard to the circumstances of the administrative proceeding.”

The Complainant requested the language of the proceedings to be English on the grounds that the Respondent is familiar with English. The Complainant contends that the disputed domain name <credit-agricole.mobi> is registered in Latin characters and the website displays information in English.

The website in question is a parking page. In this Panel’s view, this is not sufficient evidence that the Respondent is familiar with English. The Panel notes that the Respondent was given the opportunity to file its Response in either English or Chinese, but decided not to do so. In case such as this where the Respondent has neither responded to the proceedings nor to the request that the language of the proceedings to be English (and especially in cases where the merits are strongly in favour of the Complainant), the Panel does not consider it appropriate to order the Complainant to go to the expense of translating the Complaint. As there is only a pleading before the Panel in English, the Panel will issue its decision in English.

In this Panel’s view, this is a very simple case of clear domain name hijacking for the purposes of commercial gain, of which the UDRP was designed to stop.

B. Identical or Confusingly Similar:

The disputed domain name <credit-agricole.mobi> is made up of the registered trademark CREDIT AGRICOLE with the addition of hyphen and the gTLD. For the purposes of determining identity in domain name proceedings, the gTLD does not need to be considered. The Panel therefore finds the disputed domain name <credit-agricole.mobi> as being clearly identical to the registered trademark CREDIT AGRICOLE.

The Panel finds the first part of the paragraph 4(a) of the Policy is therefore satisfied.

C. Rights or Legitimate Interests:

The Respondent has not responded to the Complaint to assert any rights or legitimate interests.

In the circumstance of this case, the use made by the Respondent of the website under the disputed domain name <credit-agricole.mobi> as a parking page makes it hard to imagine that the Respondent could establish any rights or legitimate interests.

None of the circumstances in paragraph 4(c) of the Policy, which sets out how a respondent can demonstrate its rights or legitimate interests, are present in this case. The Panel finds the second part of the paragraph 4(a) of the Policy is therefore satisfied.

D. Registered and Used in Bad Faith:

For the same reasons as those above, the Panel has no hesitation in finding that the disputed domain name <credit-agricole.mobi> was registered in bad faith and is being used in bad faith.

This case clearly falls within paragraph 4(b)(iv) of the Policy, which provides that a registrant has registered and is using a domain name in bad faith where:

“by using the domain name, you have intentionally attempted to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to your web site or other on-line location, by creating a likelihood of confusion with the complainant's mark as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation, or endorsement of your web site or location or of a product or service on your web site or location.”

The Panel finds that the third part of paragraph 4(a) of the Policy is satisfied.

7. Decision

For 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 <credit-agricole.mobi> be transferred to the Complainant.

Douglas Clark
Sole Panelist
Dated: April 27, 2012

 

Explore WIPO