WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Allianz SE v. Stephen Baptiste/ Domains by Proxy, LLC
Case No. D2012-1368
1. The Parties
Complainant is Allianz SE of Munich, Germany, internally represented.
Respondent is Stephen Baptiste, Brooklyn, New York, United States of America and Domains by Proxy, LLC Scottsdale, Arizona, United States of America.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The Disputed Domain Name <allianzsecuritypro.com> is registered with GoDaddy.com, LLC (the “Registrar”).
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on July 5, 2012. On July 5, 2012, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the Disputed Domain Name. On July 9, 2012, the Registrar transmitted by email to the Center its verification response disclosing registrant and contact information for the Disputed Domain Name which differed from the named Respondent and contact information in the Complaint. The Center sent an email communication to Complainant on July 17, 2012 providing the registrant and contact information disclosed by the Registrar, and inviting Complainant to submit an amendment to the Complaint. Complainant filed an amended Complaint on July 18, 2012.
The Center verified that the amended 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 Respondent of the Complaint, and the proceedings commenced on July 24, 2012. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was August 13, 2012. On July 30, 2012 and on August 2, 2012, two emails were received by the Center from a third party email: ASP NYC [email@example.com]. On August 2, 2012, the Center acknowledged receipt of the two emails and requested the third party to identify itself/explain its relationship (if any) to Respondent. No further communication was received from the third party. Respondent did not submit any formal response. Accordingly, the Center notified Respondent’s default on August 14, 2012.
The Center appointed Eduardo Machado as the sole panelist in this matter on September 12, 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.
On September 20, 2012 the Center notified the Panel that Complainant requested the amendment of the Complaint, with the addition of another domain name. On September 24, 2012, the Panel decided not to accept the request to amend the Complaint, to include another domain name, considering that procedures had already commenced, the deadline for defense had already expired and a panel had already been appointed.
On September 26, 2012, a further email request was received from Complainant reiterating its request to the Panel for the inclusion of an additional domain name with its justifications.
The Panel decides not to accept Complainant’s request to amend the Complaint to include an additional domain name and will proceed in this case only with respect to the Disputed Domain Name. See Société Air France v. Kristin Hirsch, Hirsch Company, WIPO Case No. D2008-1213. As in the Société Air France case, Complainant’s request to add an additional domain name was not made soon after the Complaint was filed, but eight days after the Panel had been appointed. Therefore, and for similar reasons as the ones stated in the cited decision, the Panel denies Complainant’s request to add an additional domain name.
4. Factual Background
Complainant is the ultimate parent company of one of the oldest and largest international insurance and financial services group in the world. The first company of today’s Allianz Group, Allianz Versicherungs-AG, was founded in 1890 in Berlin and, since then, Complainant has continuously operated under the Allianz name, and has used the ALLIANZ mark in connection with its insurance, healthcare and financial services and products.
The total revenues of Allianz Group worldwide in the year 2011 added up to EUR 103.6 billion.
In the United States several companies with specialized expertise operate under the roof of the Allianz Group and under the Allianz name. For example, Life Insurance and Healthcare Risk Management is provided by Allianz Life, and Asset Management by Allianz Global Investors’ network of companies.
Founded in 1896, Allianz Life today is one of the most successful life insurance companies in North America, achieving 400 percent growth in total premium production since 2000. Allianz Life was first among Allianz Group companies in new life insurance sales in 2004. Allianz Global Investors access to the specialized equity and fixed-income expertise of its affiliated institutional investment firms. Together, these firms manage for years more than half of the 100 largest corporations in the United States.
Complainant is the owner of several trademarks registrations for the term ALLIANZ which is used to distinguish Allianz’s products and services for over 100 years.
Complainant has the ALLIANZ mark registered and protected worldwide.
5. Parties’ Contentions
Complainant argues that the Disputed Domain Name <allianzsecuritypro.com> is confusingly similar to the trademark ALLIANZ, in which Complainant has rights.
Complainant asserts that the Internet user will recognize the famous corporate name and trademark of Complainant since the descriptor “security” is consistent with the expectations of potential clients interested in products and services of Complainant and the expectations of the Internet users. Complainant also asserts that Respondent’s use of the mark ALLIANZ in combination with “securitypro” creates confusion among Internet users.
Complainant states that the highly distinctive character of Complainant’s mark has already been ascertained by different authorities, e.g. the Oberlandesgericht Munchen (Higher Regional Court of Munich) in a decision of November 25, 1999 and The Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market in another case.
Complainant also cites various UDRP decisions of cases such as,Allianz SE v Avto VAZ, NAF Claim No. FA 1275992 <allianz-realestate.com>; Allianz SE v. Well Domains are either owned by us or Client Managed, WIPO Case No. D2008-0535 <allianzfinance.com> as well as the decision Allianz SE v. RAKSHITA MERCANTILE PRIVATE LIMITED, NAF Claim No. FA 1277743 for <allianzcarinsurance.com> and Allianz SE v. Todd Hylton, NAF Claim No. FA 1277634 <allianzinsurance.com>, all of which were successful for Complainant.
Complainant states that following the registration of the disputed domain name on February 15, 2012, Respondent started using it as a site for offering - pro forma - services of a security company in New York, United States. However, Complainant argues that “the structure and the content of the homepage show that the main purpose of the site is to attract people seeking for work and for a job. In bold letters Respondent congratulates the Internet users as follows: “Congratulations on your decision to embrace a career as a security guard - a field where there is high demand and plenty of opportunities for employment”.” Complainant alleges that “according to the numerous rip off-reports in the Internet (please refer to www.ripoffreport.com), all people trusting in this promise will be badly disappointed. Moreover, they might even get cheated. […] The latest complaint of June 27, 2012 has been posted under the headline “Allianz security thieves, robbers, liars, inconsistent, illegitimate”. In the complaint of March 17, 2012 it is warned that “They are the original B&B security group and going by different names to lure u into their office”.”
Complainant asserts that “the Special Investigation Unit (SID) of our US subsidiary Allianz Life has also been informed by a person who has rightly assumed that people will associate Allianz Security with our Allianz Group”.
Complainant states that Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests with respect to the ALLIANZ mark or the goodwill that Complainant has developed in its mark. According to Complainant, Respondent holds no trademark registrations for any ALLIANZ mark and has never received a license or any other form of authorization or consent from Complainant to make use of the ALLIANZ mark. Therefore, Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the Disputed Domain Name. Respondent’s activities do not correspond to any other circumstances set forth in the Policy, paragraph 4(c), that would evidence any rights or legitimate interests with respect to the Disputed Domain Name. Also, Complainant asserts that before any notice to him of this dispute, Respondent did not use the Disputed Domain Name in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services, Policy, paragraph 4(c)(i). Furthermore, Respondent is not commonly known by the Disputed Domain Name, Policy, paragraph 4(c)(ii). Complainant states that there is no information connecting Respondent with the Disputed Domain Name to be found on the website itself. Complainant also asserts that its prior rights would bar Respondent from being known by the Disputed Domain Name. Respondent is also not making legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the Disputed Domain Name, Policy, paragraph 4(c)(iii). Respondent is using the Disputed Domain Name solely for commercial purposes. Thus, any possibility of a noncommercial fair use is excluded.
For all the above reasons, Complainant contends that Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the Disputed Domain Name.
Regarding bad faith registration and use of the Disputed Domain Name, Complainant argues that Respondent intentionally attempted, by using the Disputed Domain Name, to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to his website by creating a likelihood of confusion with Complainant’s mark as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation or endorsement of the Disputed Domain Name, Policy, paragraph 4(b)(iv). Complainant contends that the ALLIANZ trademark is very well-known, especially with regard to insurance and financial affairs. Complainant states in particular that “In this field of business “security” is one of the core elements in the relationship between the company and the client.” Moreover, it cannot be reasonably argued that Respondent could have been unaware of the trademark when registering the Disputed Domain Name. This conclusion is supported by the fact that Respondent’s name refers to the German term “Allianz” without any other reference to Germany or the German language at all. Furthermore, due to the numerous rip-off reports and the information to the Special Investigation Unit it seems apparent to Complainant that Respondent intentionally tries to exploit the good name of Complainant.
Respondent did not reply to Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
In accordance with paragraph 4(a) of the Policy, Complainant must prove that the following three criteria are met:
(i) the Disputed Domain Name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which Complainant has rights (paragraph 4(a)(i)); and
(ii) Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Disputed Domain Name (paragraph 4(a)(ii)); and
(iii) the Disputed Domain Name has been registered and is being used in bad faith (paragraph 4(a)(iii)).
Each of these elements will be reviewed separately in the following developments:
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The Panel finds that the Disputed Domain Name is confusingly to Complainant’s ALLIANZ trademark. The Panel finds that the addition of generic words, such as “security” and “pro”, are not enough to escape a finding of confusing similarity. In fact, adding a word that is related to Complainant’s services i.e. security is likely to increase the risks of confusion amongst the Internet consumers.
The Panel, therefore, finds that Complainant has established the first element of paragraph 4(a) of the Policy.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
Complainant has alleged that Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests with respect to the ALLIANZ mark or the goodwill Allianz has developed in its mark.
Complainant has made a prima facie case in support of its allegations and, therefore, the burden of production shifts to Respondent to show that it does have rights or legitimates interests in the Disputed Domain Name, according to paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy. Respondent did not reply to Complainant’s contentions and, therefore, did not submit any evidence of rights or legitimate interests over the Disputed Domain Name.
With respect to paragraph 4(c)(i) of the Policy, and based on the submitted and un-rebutted evidence in the Complaint, there is no evidence that Respondent, before any notice of the dispute, used the Disputed Domain Name or a name corresponding to Complainant’s mark in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services.
With respect to paragraph 4(c)(ii) of the Policy, there is no evidence that indicates that Respondent has ever been commonly known by the Disputed Domain Name.
With respect to paragraph 4(c)(iii) of the Policy, Respondent has not made and is not making a legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the Disputed Domain Name and has not used the Disputed Domain Name, or a name corresponding to it, in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services.
So, in view of the above, the Panel finds that Complainant has established the second element of paragraph 4(a) of the Policy.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
The Panel finds that Respondent has intentionally registered the Disputed Domain Name which totally reproduces Complainant’s famous trademark ALLIANZ. By the time the Disputed Domain Name was registered, it is unlikely that Respondent did not have knowledge of the Complainant’s rights on the trademark ALLIANZ.
Complainant’s allegations of bad faith are not contested. The evidence provided by Complainant confirms that it had long been using its ALLIANZ registered trademark when the Disputed Domain Name was registered. The Panel finds that Respondent must have been aware of Complainant’s rights in the mark and, further, that Respondent registered the Disputed Domain Name with Complainant’s trademark in mind.
Also, under the Policy, it is evidence of bad faith that, “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.”, Policy paragraph 4(b)(iv).
In light of the above, based on the available record and Complainant’s uncontested allegations, the Panel finds Respondent registered and used the Disputed Domain Name in bad faith. Complainant has established the third element of paragraph 4(a) of the Policy.
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 <allianzsecuritypro.com> be transferred to Complainant.
Dated: September 25, 2012