WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Limited v. Seacom Vietnam
Case No. D2012-1389
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Limited, Victoria, Australia (“Complainant”).
The Respondent is Seacom Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh City, Viet Nam (“Respondent”).
2. The Domain Names and Registrar
The domain names at issue are <anzbankvietnam.com> and <anzbankleasing.com> (“the Disputed Domain Names”). The Disputed Domain Names are registered with GoDaddy.com, LLC.
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “WIPO Center”) on July 9, 2012. On that date, the Center transmitted by email a Request for Registrar Verification in connection with the Disputed Domain Names. On July 10, 2012, GoDaddy.com, LLC transmitted its verification response by email to the WIPO Center. That response confirmed that the Respondent is listed as the registrant and provided the Registrant’s contact details. According to the Terms of Service Agreement between GoDaddy.com and Respondent, the ICANN Uniform Dispute Resolution Policy (“the Policy”) is applicable to the Disputed Domain Names. The Panel thus finds that the Policy applies to this dispute.
The WIPO Center verified that the Complaint satisfied the formal requirements of 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”). The Panel has independently determined and agrees with the assessment of the WIPO Center that the Complaint is in formal compliance with the requirements of the Policy, the Rules, and the Supplemental Rules.
In accordance with paragraphs 2(a) and 4(a) of the Rules, the WIPO Center formally notified the Respondent of the Complaint, and the proceedings commenced on July 11, 2012. In accordance with paragraph 5(a) of the Rules, the due date for Response was July 31, 2012. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the WIPO Center transmitted to the parties a Notification of Respondent Default on August 1, 2012.
On August 9, 2012, the Center appointed Andrew Bridges as the sole panelist in this matter. The Panel has submitted the Statement of Acceptance and Declaration of Impartiality and Independence, as required by the Center to ensure compliance with paragraph 7 of the Rules.
4. Factual Background
Given the Respondent’s failure to submit a response, the Panel finds the following facts based on the Complaint and its supporting exhibits:
- The Complainant owns rights in Australia Trademark Registration Number 327615 for ANZ BANK. The Complainant’s registration covers goods and services in Class 36, specifically “banking, broking, capital and other investments, credit services including credit cards depositing securities, stocks and share, money exchange, financing and financial transactions, guarantees, insurance, loans monetary transactions, provision of lease finance, financial nominee services, safe deposits, savings banks and societies, travelers cheques, and all other banking and financial services in this class.”
- The Complainant currently owns registrations for the ANZ mark in countries around the world, including Cambodia, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Laos, New Zealand, Thailand, and the United States of America.
- The Complainant filed an application for the ANZ mark in Viet Nam that is currently pending.
- The Complainant’s registrations and applications for the ANZ trademark cover a range of goods and services including banking and lending.
- The Complainant provides global banking and lending services to approximately 8 million customers, and has been in the business of financial services since it began operating in 1835 as the Bank of Australasia, continuing through its 1977 incorporation in Australia to the present day.
- The Complainant offers banking and lending services in Viet Nam and has done so since 1993. It also operates Automatic Teller Machine (ATM) and Point of Sale (POS) payment networks in Viet Nam using the ANZ trade mark. Complainant plans to expand its business in Viet Nam was granted a local incorporation banking license in 2008.
- The Respondent registered <anzbankvietnam.com> on February 13, 2012, and <anzbankleasing.com> on February 22, 2012. It appears that both Disputed Domain Names at one point directed users to websites that contained advertisements for products and services including banking and financial services. The Disputed Domain Names have also directed users to the Respondent’s website, which displayed a listing of domain names for sale that included the Disputed Domain Names.
- The Complainant did not authorize the Respondent to use the ANZ mark at any point. It does not appear that the Respondent has used the ANZ trade mark in connection with any services or products aside from the Disputed Domain Names.
5. Parties’ Contentions
The Complainant contends that the Disputed Domain Names are deceptively similar to the ANZ trademark, that the addition of the word “bank” aggravates the likelihood of confusion, and that the similarity between the Disputed Domain Names and the Complainant’s registered trademarks and the nature of its business means that the Respondent’s uses exploit the name and reputation of the Complainant’s trademarks.
According to the Complainant, the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the Disputed Domain Names. The Complainant states there is no evidence that the Respondent: (1) is commonly known by the Disputed Domain Names, (2) has any registered trademarks or trade names corresponding to the Disputed Domain Names in Viet Nam, (3) has acquired a reputation associated with the Disputed Domain Names, or (4) has used or intends to use the Disputed Domain Names in connection with bona fide goods or services.
The Complainant alleges that the Respondent is using the Disputed Domain Names illegitimately, to mislead and divert consumers for the purpose of earning profit from advertisements, including those for the Complainant’s competitors, and/or the sale of the Disputed Domain Names at prices exceeding Respondent’s out-of-pocket costs. The Complainant requests that the Disputed Domain Names be transferred to the Complainant.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
Under paragraph 4(a) of the Policy, the Complainant must prove the following:
(i) the Disputed Domain is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which the complainant has rights; and
(ii) the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the domain name; and
(iii) the Disputed Domain has been registered and is being used in bad faith.
The discussion below will analyze the sufficiency of the Complainant’s allegations and evidence with respect to each requirement.
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The Complainant has provided sufficient evidence that the Disputed Domain Names are confusingly similar to its ANZ BANK mark. Both Disputed Domain Names wholly incorporate the Complainant’s ANZ BANK mark in full. One adds a geographic term as a suffix while the other adds a generic term; neither addition deviates sufficiently to make the Disputed Domain Names distinct.
Adding a geographic term as a suffix to a registered trademark may yield a domain name that is confusingly similar to the registered trademark. See e.g., Playboy Enterprises Int’l, Inc. v. Zeynel Demirtas, WIPO Case No. D2007-0768 (“playboyturkey.com” is confusingly similar to the PLAYBOY trademark in Turkey); America Online, Inc. v. Dolphin@Heart, WIPO Case No. D2000-0173 (“aolfrance.com”, "aolgermany.com", "aolireland.com", and "aolspain.com" are confusingly similar to AOL.COM). Given the extent of the Complainant’s business activities in Viet Nam, the addition of that “Vietnam” as a suffix does not sufficiently distinguish the domain name to avoid confusion.
Using a generic term, relevant to the goods or services of the senior mark holder, as a suffix in a domain name that fully incorporates the senior user’s trademark, without more, may not deviate sufficiently either. See, e.g., eBay Inc. v. ebayMoving/Izik Apo, WIPO Case No. D2006-1307 (“ebayMoving.com” confusingly similar to EBAY). The close relation between the specific generic term used, “leasing,” and the context of Complainant’s registered mark and nature of its business reinforces the finding that the Respondent intends to cause and is likely to cause confusion.
Accordingly, the Disputed Domain Names are confusingly similar to the Complainant’s ANZ BANK mark.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
The Respondent has failed to respond to the Center’s notification of the Complaint and has not provided any evidence of rights or legitimate interests in the Disputed Domain Names. The Respondent’s existing uses of the Disputed Domain Names do not indicate (1) a bona fide offering of goods or services, (2) that Respondent is commonly known by the Disputed Domain Names, or (3) a fair use of the Disputed Domain Names without the intent to exploit the name and reputation of the Complainant’s ANZ BANK mark.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
The following uncontroverted facts in the Complaint provide a sufficient basis to conclude that the Respondent registered and used the Disputed Domain Names in bad faith:
- Through its use of the Disputed Domain Names, the Respondent has intentionally attracted attention to its websites for purposes of commercial gain by creating a likelihood of confusion with the Complainant’s trademark. Users arriving at Respondent’s websites associated with the Disputed Domain Names have seen (1) advertisements for products and services not offered by the Complainant, including advertisements for the Complainant’s competitors and (2) listings offering to sell the Disputed Domain Names for over $50,000.
- Following the Complainant’s request that the Disputed Domain Names be transferred, the Respondent replied, “We have owned many international domains. We are ready to transfer that domain name after receiving reasonable offer” and provided links to purchase the Disputed Domain Names from GoDaddy for over $50,000.
- The Respondent registered both Disputed Domain Names in 2012, long after Complainant registered its trademark and began doing business both globally and in the country in which the Respondent is located. There is no evidence that, after the registration, the Respondent used the Disputed Domain Names except to divert attention from the Complainant’s own web sites and earn income from advertisements and the sale of the Disputed Domain Names.
For the foregoing reasons, the Panel finds that the Disputed Domain Names are confusingly similar to the Complainant’s registered trademarks, that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the Disputes Domain Names, and that the Respondent has registered and used the Disputed Domain Names in bad faith. Pursuant to the Policy, the Panel therefore orders that the Disputed Domain Names <anzbankvietnam.com> and <anzbankleasing.com> be transferred to the Complainant in accordance with paragraph 4(i) of the Policy and paragraph 15 of the Rules.
Dated: September 1, 2012