World Intellectual Property Organization

WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center

ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION

Crédit Agricole S.A. v. ICS INC. / Whois Privacy Protection Service, Inc.

Case No. D2012-1755

1. The Parties

The Complainant is Crédit Agricole S.A. of Montrouge Cédex, France, represented by Sodema Conseils S.A., France.

The Respondent is ICS INC. / Whois Privacy Protection Service, Inc., of Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands, oversea territory of United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland; Bellevue, Washington, United States of America, respectively.

2. The Domain Name and Registrar

The disputed domain name <creditagricoleilleetvilaine.com> is registered with eNom (the “Registrar”).

3. Procedural History

The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on August 30, 2012. On August 30, 2012, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On August 30, 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 the Complainant on August 31, 2012 providing the registrant and contact information disclosed by the Registrar, and inviting the Complainant to submit an amendment to the Complaint. The Complainant filed an amended Complaint on August 31, 2012.

The Center verified that the Complaint together with 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 the Respondent of the Complaint, and the proceedings commenced on September 4, 2012. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for the Response was September 24, 2012. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on September 25, 2012.

The Center appointed Tobias Zuberbühler as the sole panelist in this matter on October 4, 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 a well-known French banking and insurance service group. It is the holder of a number of trademarks consisting of or including the words "Crédit Agricole" in various countries throughout the world. The Complainant also markets its services through numerous domain names containing the mark CREDIT AGRICOLE.

Ille-et-Vilaine is one of the 101 French territorial Départements, located in the region of Bretagne. The Complainant has local subsidiaries in ille-et-Vilaine, information on which is provided through the website <ca-illeetvilaine.fr>.

The disputed domain name was registered on July 8, 2012. The respective website offers links to websites of competitors of the Complainant.

5. Parties’ Contentions

A. Complainant

The Complainant asserts the following:

The disputed domain name is confusingly similar to the trademark CREDIT AGRICOLE, since the suffix "illeetvilaine" is a geographical reference to the territory of Ille-et-Vilaine and does not distinguish the disputed domain name from the Complainant's marks.

The Respondent has not been licensed or otherwise permitted in any way by the Complainant to use the CREDIT AGRICOLE trademarks. In addition, the Respondent's website is offering links to websites of competitors of the Complainant. Accordingly, the Respondent cannot claim any rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name.

The disputed domain name is offered for sale for the amount of USD 800. This means that the Respondent has registered the disputed domain name in bad faith, to realize a profit by offering it for sale immediately after its registration on July 8, 2012. The related website also indicates that the Respondent has intentionally attempted to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to the website by creating a likelihood of confusion with the Complainant’s trademarks.

B. Respondent

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

6. Discussion and Findings

A. Identical or Confusingly Similar

The Panel finds that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to the Complainant’s CREDIT AGRICOLE trademarks. The disputed domain name reproduces the Complainant’s mark in its entirety, and it is recognized that the incorporation of a trademark in its entirety is generally sufficient to establish that the disputed domain name is identical or confusingly similar for the purposes of the Policy. See, Kabushiki Kaisha Hitachi Seisakusho (d/b/a Hitachi Ltd) v. Arthur Wrangle, WIPO Case No. D2005-1105.

Also, according to the consensus view of WIPO panelists, the addition of geographical terms such as “Ille-de-Vilaine” to a trademark in a domain name is normally insufficient in itself to avoid a finding of confusing similarity (WIPO Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions, Second Edition ("WIPO Overview 2.0"), paragraph 1.9).

The Complainant has thus fulfilled paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Policy.

B. Rights or Legitimate Interests

There are no indications before the Panel of any rights or legitimate interests of the Respondent in respect of the disputed domain name.

Based on the Complainant’s contentions, the Panel finds that the Complainant, having made a prima facie case which remains unrebutted, has fulfilled the requirements of paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy.

C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith

It may be concluded under the circumstances of this case that the Respondent must have known of the existence of the Complainant’s trademarks and their reputation when the disputed domain name was registered.

The disputed domain name is being used to redirect Internet traffic intended for the Complainant to competing products and services, with the intention to generate income for the Respondent. Such conduct falls under paragraph 4(b)(iv) of the Policy.

The Panel finds that the Respondent’s conduct constitutes evidence of bad faith registration and use and the Complainant has thus fulfilled the requirements of paragraph 4(a)(iii) of the Policy.

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 <creditagricoleilleetvilaine.com> be transferred to the Complainant.

Tobias Zuberbühler
Sole Panelist
Dated: October 18, 2012

 

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