World Intellectual Property Organization

WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center

ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION

Confédération Nationale du Crédit Mutuel v. Trevor Miller, INSURANCE

Case No. D2012-1811

1. The Parties

The Complainant is Confédération Nationale du Crédit Mutuel, Paris, France, represented by MEYER & Partenaires, France.

The Respondent is Trevor Miller, INSURANCE, Coral Springs, Florida, United States of America.

2. The Domain Names and Registrar

The disputed domain names <creditmutual.mobi> and <creditmutual.org> are registered with GoDaddy.com, LLC.

3. Procedural History

The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center ( the “Center”) on September 11, 2012. On September 11, 2012, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain names. On September 13, 2012 the Registrar 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 September 17, 2012. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was October 7, 2012. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on October 8, 2012.

The Center appointed Ladislav Jakl as the sole panelist in this matter on October 18, 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, paragraph7.

On the question of the language of the administrative proceedings, the concerned registrar confirmed that the language of registration agreement is English. The Respondent did not submit any comments regarding this question. The Panel, taking into account the circumstances of this case and a number of recent UDRP decisions and the reasons cited therein (BrandStrategy, Inc. v. BusinessService Ltd., WIPO Case No. D2007-0749; Laboratoire Biosthétique Kosmetik GmbH & Co. KG and MCE S.A.S. v. BusinessService Ltd., WIPO Case No. D2007-1836; Zappos.com, Inc. v Zufu aka Huahaotrade, WIPO Case No. D2008-1191; Pandora Jewelry, LLC v. Wang Feng, WIPO Case No. D2009-1533), decides that the language of the administrative proceedings will be English in accordance with paragraph 11(a) of the Rules.

4. Factual Background

The Complainant asserted, and provided evidence in support of the following facts which the Panel finds established:

The Complainant acts as a central and political body of the banking group CREDIT MUTUEL, which is the second largest French detail bank and ranks as the number two for online banking services. It owns 5875 points of sale worldwide, whose 5369 are located in France. More than 29 millions people are customers of the CREDIT MUTUEL’s group. The Complainant has also offices in countries in Europe and in the United States. It operates a web portal at ”www.creditmutuel.com” since 1997, dedicated to its products and services and providing a lot of information to the public about its services.

The Complainant is the registered owner of numerous trademark registrations CREDIT MUTUEL, for instance: French semi-figurative trademark No. 1475940 of July 8, 1988, in classes 35 and 36 of Nice Agreement; French semi-figurative trademark No. 1646012 of November 20, 1990, in classes 16, 35, 36, 38 and 41 of the Nice Agreement ; nominative Community trademark No. 9943135 of May 05, 2011, in classes 9, 16, 35, 36, 38, 41, 42 and 45 of the Nice Agreement; semi-figurative International trademark No. 570 182 of May 17, 1991 in classes 16, 35, 36, 38 and 41 of the Nice Agreement, designating Benelux, Italy and Portugal.

Moreover, the Complainant holds many domain names including: <creditmutuel.mobi>, registered on September 26, 2006; <creditmutuel.org>, registered on June 3, 2002; <creditmutuel.fr>, registered on August 10, 1995; <creditmutuel.com>, registered on October 28, 1995 and <creditmutuel.net>, registred on October 3, 1996.

The disputed domain names <creditmutual.mobi> and <creditmutual.org> were registered on June 1, 2012.

The Complainant requests that the disputed domain names be transferred to the Complainant.

5. Parties’ Contentions

A. Complainant

The Complainant contends that the disputed domain names are identical or confusingly similar to its trademark CREDIT MUTUEL, that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect to the disputed domain names and that the disputed domain names were registered and are being used in bad faith.

The Complainant introduces that the disputed domain names are confusingly similar to its CREDIT MUTUEL trademark and that the only difference between this trademark and the disputed domain names consists in the substitution of the letter “A” to the letter “E” at the end of the domain names. And that this sole difference does not avoid the likelihood of confusion, which could be generated in the public mind. The Complainant further contends that the mere addition of the generic top-level domain (“gTLD”) suffix “.mobi” or “.org” are irrelevant because the gTLD suffix is not a distinctive element when assessing whether the disputed domain names are identical or confusingly similar to the Complainant’s trademarks. As a consequence, the Complainant claims that the disputed domain names <creditmutual.mobi> and <creditmutual.org> are confusingly similar to its trademarks CREDIT MUTUEL.

As to rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain names, the Complainant essentially contends that the Respondent is not related in any way to the Complainant’s business. The Respondent is not one of its agents and does not carry out any activity for, or has any business with it. The Respondent is not currently and has never been known under the wordings CREDIT MUTUEL or CREDIT MUTUAL. No licence or authorization has been granted to the Respondent to make any use, nor apply for registration of the domain names at stake. Moreover the Complainant also claims that the disputed domain names have been registered by the Respondent to take advantage of its renown and to divert Internet users to its websites. It results therefore that the Respondent should not be considered as having rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain names <creditmutual.mobi> and <creditmutual.org>.

Furthermore, the Complainant essentially asserts that the disputed domain names were registered and are being used in bad faith. The Complainant introduces that it is difficult to imagine that the Respondent could have ignored the trademarks CREDIT MUTUAL of the Complainant at the time the Respondent applied for the registration of the confusingly similar domain names <creditmutual.mobi> and <creditmutual.org> and that it is highly likely that the Respondent has registered the disputed domain names with the Complainant’s well-known trademarks in mind. Moreover, the Complainant contends that the disputed domain name <creditmutual.org> is currently pointing to a parking webpage with hyperlinks in French, which redirects the Internet users to some of the Complainant´s competitors and that the nature of hyperlinks in this webpage reinforces the fact that the Respondent should have knowledge of the Complainant’s rights in the mark at the time the Respondent registered the domain name. By creating a parking page that featured links to the Complainant’s competitors, the Respondent is using clearly the domain name in bad faith. The second domain name <creditmutual.mobi> is currently pointing to a sole webpage in which is mentioned that this domain name is parked free, courtesy of GoDaddy and that use could be considered as passive holding of this domain name, which is also an evidence of bad faith use. The Complainant concludes, that for all these reasons, the Respondent has engaged in bad faith registration and use of the disputed domain names <creditmutual.mobi> and <creditmutual.org>.

B. Respondent

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

6. Discussion and Findings

In accordance with paragraph 4(a) of the Policy, the Complainant must prove that each of the three following elements is satisfied:

(i) the disputed domain names are 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 disputed domain names; and

(iii) the disputed domain names have been registered and are being used in bad faith.

Paragraph 4(a) of the Policy states that the burden of proving that all three elements are present lies with the Complainant.

A. Identical or Confusingly Similar

The disputed domain names <creditmutual.mobi> and <creditmutual.org> include in their entirety the Complainant’s trademark CREDIT MUTUEL. The Panel accepts the statement of the Complainant that the disputed domain names are confusingly similar to its CREDIT MUTUEL trademark and that the only difference between this trademark and the disputed domain names consists in the substitution of the letter “A” to the letter “E” at the end of the domain names. And that this sole difference does not avoid the likelihood of confusion, which could be generated in the public mind (Confédération Nationale du Crédit Mutuel v. Simo Madridoxi, WIPO Case No.D2012-0813; Xerox Corp. v. Stonybrook Investments, Ltd, WIPO Case No. 2001-0380). The mere addition of the gTLD suffix “.mobi” or “org” is irrelevant, because the gTLD suffix is not a distinctive element when assessing whether the disputed domain names are identical or confusingly similar to the Complainant’s trademarks (Accor v. Noldc Inc, WIPO Case No. D2005-0016; and Alstom v. Itete Peru S.A., WIPO Case No. D2009-0877).

For all the above cited reasons, the Panel concludes that the disputed domain names are confusingly similar to the Complainant’s trademark, in which the Complainant has rights, and therefore the condition of paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Policy is fulfilled.

B. Rights or Legitimate Interests

As to rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain names, the Complainant has not licensed or otherwise authorized the Respondent to seek registration of any domain name incorporating said Complainant’s trademark. No license or authorization has been granted to the Respondent to make any use, nor apply for registration of the domain names at stake ( Confédération Nationale du Crédit Mutuel v. Simo Madridoxi, WIPO Case No. D2012-0813). The Respondent is not related in any way to the Complainant´s business. He is not one of its agents and does not carry out any activity for, or has any business with it and that the Respondent is not currently and has never been known under the wordings “credit mutuel” or “credit mutual”. The registration of the CREDIT MUTUEL trademark preceded the registration of the disputed domain names <creditmutual.mobi> and <creditmutual.org> for years and the disputed domain names have been registered by the Respondent to take advantage of its renown and to divert Internet users to its websites. The unauthorized appropriation of another’s trademark in the disputed domain names and the commercial use of the website at the disputed domain name <creditmutual.org> cannot, in this Panel’s view, confer rights or legitimate interests upon the Respondent. Moreover, the Panel finds that the disputed domain names are not used for a bona fide offering of goods or services and the Respondent is not making a legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the disputed domain names. There is a consensus view that such behaviour cannot be considered a bona fide offering of goods or services, or a noncommercial or fair use (The Gap, Inc. v. Deng Youqian, WIPO Case No. D2009-0113; Bridgestone Corporation v. Horoshiy, Inc., WIPO Case No. D2004-0795; Deutsche Telekom AG v. Dong Wang, WIPO Case No. D2005-0819; PRL USA Holdings, Inc. v. LucasCobb, WIPO Case No. D2006-0162; Croatia Airlines d.d. v. Modern Empire Internet Ltd., WIPO Case No. D2003-0455; Belupo d.d. v. WACHEM d.o.o., WIPO Case No. D2004-0110; Hoffmann-La Roche Inc. v. Samuel Teodorek, WIPO Case No. D2007-1814).

For the above-cited reasons, the Panel finds that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain names, and that the requirements of paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy are therefore fulfilled.

C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith

Under paragraph 4(a)(iii) of the Policy, the Complainant must prove that the disputed domain names were registered and are being used in bad faith. Paragraph 4(b) sets out certain circumstances which, in particular but without limitation, are to be construed as evidence of both bad faith registration and use. These include, inter alia, paragraphs 4(b)(ii), (iii) and (iv):

(ii) the Respondent has registered the disputed domain names in order to prevent the owner of the trademark or service mark from reflecting the mark in a corresponding domain name, provided that the Respondent has engaged in a pattern of such conduct; or

(iii) the Respondent has registered the disputed domain names primarily for the purpose of disrupting the business of a competitor; or

(iv) by using the disputed domain names, the Respondent has intentionally attempted to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to its website or other online location, by creating a likelihood of confusion with the Complainant’s mark as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation, or endorsement of its website or location or of a product or service on that website or location.

The Respondent registered the disputed domain names <creditmutual.mobi> and <creditmutual.org> on June 1, 2012. The Complainant is the owner of numerous trademark registrations CREDIT MUTUEL, for instance French semi-figurative trademark No. 1475940 of July 8, 1988, in classes 35 and 36 of the Nice Agreement and many domain names among which the <creditmutuel.mobi>, registered on September 26, 2006 and <creditmutuel.org>, registered on June 3, 2002. It is implausible that the Respondent was unaware of the Complainant’s trademarks when the Respondent registered the disputed domain names. Bad faith has already been established where a domain name is so obviously connected with a well-known trademark that its very use by someone with no connection to the trademark, suggests opportunistic bad faith (LEGO Juris A/S v. Reiner Stotte, WIPO Case No. D2010-0494; Sanofi-aventis v. Nevis Domains LLC, WIPO Case No. D2006-0303). There is no doubt to this Panel that the Respondent registered the disputed domain names to prevent the Complainant from reflecting its trademark in the disputed domain names and that this type of conduct constitutes evidence of the Respondent’s bad faith (L’oreal v. Chenxiansheng, WIPO Case No. D2009-0242).

With respect to the disputed domain name <creditmutual.org>, the Panel further finds that by using the Complainant’s trademark CREDIT MUTUEL to divert Internet users to an unrelated site the Respondent is attempting, for commercial gain, to attract Internet users and thus to disrupt the Complainant’s business. The Respondent’s registration and use of the disputed domain name <creditmutual.org> in bad faith because the Respondent intentionally attempts to attract Internet users who have an interest in purchasing or obtaining additional information about the Complainant’s business, and then forwards them to another website, which may result in financial benefit to the Respondent. Such conduct has been found to be indicative of bad faith in previous UDRP decisions such as Six Continents Hotels, Inc. v. Ramada Inn, WIPO Case No. D2003-0658. The Panel determines that the Respondent has intentionally attempted to attract for commercial gain Internet users to its website by creating a likelihood of confusion with Complainant´s marks as to source, sponsorship, affiliation, or endorsement of the Respondent’s website. The Respondent registered and has used the disputed domain name <creditmutual.org> in bad faith (Get Away Today.Com Inc. v. Warren Gilbert, WIPO Case No. DCO2010-0021). With respect to the disputed domain name <creditmutual.mobi>, the Panel finds that by using the Complainant’s trademark to divert Internet to a parked free website courtesy of GoDaddy, the Respondent is disrupting the Complainant’s business. Accordingly, the Respondent registered and has used the disputed domain name <creditmutual.mobi> in bad faith.

For the above cited reasons the Panel finds that the disputed domain names were registered and used in bad faith and therefore the requirements of paragraph 4(a)(iii) of the Policy are also fulfilled in this case.

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 names <creditmutual.mobi> and <creditmutual.org> be transferred to the Complainant.

Ladislav Jakl
Sole Panelist
Dated: October 30, 2012

 

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