World Intellectual Property Organization

WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center

ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION

Allianz SE v. apb, Kopano Akira

Case No. D2012-1886

1. The Parties

The Complainant is Allianz SE, Munich, Germany, represented internally represented.

The Respondent is apb, Kopano Akira, Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa.

2. The Domain Name(s) and Registrar

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

3. Procedural History

The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on September 20, 2012. On September 21, 2012, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On September 24, 2012, the Registrar transmitted by email to the Center its verification response. In response to a notification by the Center that the Complaint was administratively deficient, the Complainant filed an amendment to the Complaint on September 26, 2012.

The Center verified that the Complaint together with the amendment to 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 27, 2012. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was October 17, 2012. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on October 23, 2012.

The Center appointed Johan Sjöbeck as the sole panelist in this matter on November 8, 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 has submitted evidence that it is the owner of numerous trademark registrations for ALLIANZ, including the following:

ALLIANZ, international trademark registration No. 447004 and registration date September 12, 1979.

ALLIANZ, international trademark registration No. 714618 and registration date May 4, 1999.

ALLIANZ (design), international trademark registration No. 713841 and registration date May 3, 1999.

ALLIANZ, German trademark registration No. 987481 and registration date July 11, 1979.

ALLIANZ, German trademark registration No. 39927827 and registration date July 16, 1999.

ALLIANZ, CTM trademark registration No. 000013656 and registration date July 22, 2002.

ALLIANZ (design), CTM trademark registration No. 02981298 and registration date April 5, 2004.

The disputed domain name <allianzprivate.com> was registered on November 29, 2011.

5. Parties’ Contentions

A. Complainant

The Complainant is one of the oldest and largest international insurance and financial services groups in the world. The first company in time of today’s Allianz Group, Allianz Versicherungs-AG, was founded in 1890 in Berlin, Germany. The Complainant has continuously operated under the name ALLIANZ and has used the mark ALLIANZ in connection with its insurance, healthcare and financial services. The Complainant has approximately 142,000 employees worldwide and serves over 78 million customers in more than 70 countries. Total revenues of the Complainant in 2011 added up to EUR 103,6 billion.

The disputed domain name <allianzprivate.com> is confusingly similar to the trademarks in which the Complainant has rights. The disputed domain name contains the trademark ALLIANZ in its entirety. Internet users will recognize the famous ALLIANZ trademark at the beginning of the disputed domain name. Further, the addition of the term “private” confirms such recognition of the Internet user since the term will be understood as an indicator for a special product and service line dedicated to private customers.

A private individual in the United States of America (“U.S”) noticed that the disputed domain name was used for an “Allianz Bank South Africa”. The individual was contacted by a Mr. Wilson via email from an account at the disputed domain name. Mr. Wilson requested a payment of $ 2,100 for a certified check. The Complainant became aware of the disputed domain name when contacted by the US individual who requested confirmation that the “Allianz Bank South Africa” was affiliated with Allianz Group. Thus, the Respondent is not making a legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the disputed domain name.

The Respondent has intentionally and fraudulently attempted to pass itself off as the Complainant and/or an affiliate of the Complainant in an effort to obtain significant amounts of money from unknown individuals and, to the best of the Complainant’s knowledge, continues to do so. Specifically, the Respondent has put himself forth as a responsible employee at Allianz Bank in South Africa. Thus, the Respondent intends to make illegitimate profits by creating a likelihood of confusion with the Complainant’s trademark.

The Respondent has no right or legitimate interest with respect of the ALLIANZ trademark or the goodwill that the Complainant has developed in its mark. To the contrary, the Respondent holds no trademark registrations for any ALLIANZ trademark and has never received a license or any other form of authorization or consent from the Complainant to make use of the trademark. Furthermore, the Respondent is not commonly known by the disputed domain name.

B. Respondent

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

6. Discussion and Findings

According to paragraph 4(a) of the Policy, the Complainant must prove each of the following:

(i) that the disputed domain name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which the Complainant has rights; and

(ii) that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name; and

(iii) that the disputed domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.

A. Identical or Confusingly Similar

The Complainant is, according to the submitted evidence, the owner of the registered trademark ALLIANZ. The disputed domain name <allianzprivate.com> contains the ALLIANZ trademark in its entirety with the addition of the generic word “private”.

The Panel agrees with the Complainant’s contention that the ability for such a generic word to distinguish the disputed domain name from the trademark of the Complainant is very limited. In fact, the addition of the word “private” may add to the confusion between the disputed domain name and the Complainant’s trademark as internet users may falsely believe that the Complainant uses the disputed domain name for a specific customized service aimed at private individuals.

Having the above in mind, it is the opinion of this Panel that the disputed domain name <allianzprivate.com> is confusingly similar to the Complainant’s trademark ALLIANZ and that the Complainant has proved the requirements under paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Policy.

B. Rights or Legitimate Interests

The Complainant must show that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests with respect to the disputed domain name. The Respondent may establish a right or legitimate interest in the disputed domain name by demonstrating in accordance with paragraph 4(c) of the Policy any of the following:

(i) that it has made preparations to use the domain name or a name corresponding to the domain name in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services prior to the dispute; or

(ii) that it is commonly known by the domain name, even if it has not acquired any trademark rights; or

(iii) that it intends to make a legitimate, noncommercial or fair use of the domain name without intent for commercial gain to misleadingly divert consumers or to tarnish the trademark.

The Complainant’s trademark registration for ALLIANZ predates the Respondent’s registration of the disputed domain name <allianzprivate.com>. The Complainant has not licensed, approved or in any way consented to the Respondent’s use of the trademark in the disputed domain name.

In addition to the above, it has been argued by the Complainant that the Respondent is not making a legitimate use of the disputed domain name in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services.

Furthermore, the Complainant contends that the Respondent is not commonly known by the disputed domain name.

The Panel finds the Respondent has used the disputed domain name in an attempt to pass itself of as the Complainant in an effort to obtain money from unknowing individuals. Such use does not constitute a legitimate, noncommercial or fair use without intent for commercial gain to misleadingly divert consumers.

Although given the opportunity, the Respondent has not submitted any evidence in this case indicating that the Respondent is the owner of any trademark rights similar to any of the disputed domain name or that the Respondent is or has been commonly known by the disputed domain name <allianzprivate.com>.

By not submitting a Response, the Respondent has failed to invoke any circumstances which could demonstrate, pursuant to paragraph 4(c) of the Policy, any rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name. Thus, there is no evidence in the record that refutes the Complainant’s submissions, and the Panel concludes that the Complainant has also proved the requirement under paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy.

C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith

Under paragraph 4(b) of the Policy, evidence of bad faith registration and use include without limitation:

(i) circumstances indicating the domain name was registered or acquired primarily for the purpose of selling, renting, or otherwise transferring the domain name registration to the owner of a trademark or to a competitor of the trademark owner, for valuable consideration in excess of the documented out-of-pocket costs directly related to the domain name; or

(ii) circumstances indicating that the domain name was registered in order to prevent the owner of a trademark from reflecting the mark in a corresponding domain name, provided it is a pattern of such conduct; or

(iii) circumstances indicating that the domain name was registered primarily for the purpose of disrupting the business of a competitor; or

(iv) circumstances indicating that the domain name has intentionally been used in an attempt to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to a website or other on-line location, by creating a likelihood of confusion with a trademark as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation, or endorsement of the website or location or of a product or service on a website or location.

As previously mentioned, the Complainant’s registered trademark ALLIANZ predates the registration of the disputed domain name <allianzprivate.com>. The Complainant has not licensed or in any way consented to the Respondent’s use of the trademark in the disputed domain name. The evidence indicates that the Respondent was aware of the Complainant’s trademark when registering the disputed domain name.

Furthermore, the Complainant has submitted evidence demonstrating that the disputed domain name has been used by the Respondent in an attempt to pass itself off as the Complainant, or an affiliate of the Complainant, in an effort to obtain money from a third party. Thus, the evidence in the case before the Panel indicates that the disputed domain name has intentionally been used in an attempt to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to the Respondent’s website or by creating a likelihood of confusion with the Complainant’s trademarks as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation, or endorsement of the website or location or of a product or service on the website online location.

There is no evidence in the case that refutes the Complainant’s submissions.

The Panel concludes that the Complainant has proved the requirements under paragraph 4(a)(iii) of the Policy and that the disputed domain name <allianzprivate.com> has been registered and used in bad faith.

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 <allianzprivate.com> be transferred to the Complainant.

Johan Sjöbeck
Sole Panelist
Dated: November 21, 2012

 

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