WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center



Bank of New Zealand v. Xuhui, Dai

Case No. D2000-0988


1. The Parties

The Complainant is Bank of New Zealand, a New Zealand company having its principal place of business in New Zealand but with an address also at 500 Bourke Street, Melbourne, Victoria 3000, Australia (being the address of its parent company, National Australia Bank Ltd). It is represented by Kerryn Underwood of Mallesons Stephen Jacques, Solicitors, Melbourne, Australia.

The Respondent is Xuhui, Dai, for whom the address appearing on the WHOIS database is RM.1602, 300 Shi Ji Nan Road, Guangzhou, Guangzhou, Guangdong, 510140, China.


2. The Domain Name and Registrar

The domain name at issue is "bankofnewzealand.com". The domain name is registered with Network Solutions Inc., 505 Huntmar Park Drive, Herndon, Virginia 20170, United States of America ("NSI"). The domain name was registered on January 30, 1999.


3. Procedural History

The Complaint submitted by Bank of New Zealand was received on August 10, 2000, (electronic version) and August 9, 2000, (hard copy) by the World Intellectual Property Organization Arbitration and Mediation Center ("WIPO Center").

On August 17, 2000, a request for Registrar verification was transmitted by the WIPO Center to NSI, requesting it to:

Confirm that a copy of the Complaint had been sent to it by the Complainant as required by the WIPO Supplemental Rules for Uniform Dispute Resolution Policy ("Supplemental Rules"), paragraph 4(b).

Confirm that the domain name at issue is registered with NSI.

Confirm that the person identified as the Respondent is the current registrant of the domain name.

Provide full contact details, i.e., postal address(es), telephone number(s), facsimile number(s), email address(es), available in the Registrarís WHOIS database for the registrant of the disputed domain name, the technical contact, the administrative contact and the billing contact for the domain name.

Confirm that the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy was in effect.

Indicate the current status of the domain name.

By email dated August 21, 2000, the Registrar advised WIPO Center as follows:

NSI had received the Complaint sent by the Complainant.

NSI is the Registrar of the domain name registration "bankofnewzealand.com".

The Respondent is shown as the "current registrant" of the domain name bankofnewzealand.com. The Registrantís contact details are as above.

The administrative and billing contact is: XUHUI, DAI-WN-BGAG (DX 72) gzbusins@PUBLIC.GUANGZHOU.GD.CN, XUHUI, DAI, RM.402, NO.49, LIUYUN ST.3, TIANHENAN RD.1, GUANGZHOU, CN,
86 20 87509656 (FAX) 86 20 85517705.

The technical and zone contact is: WorldNIC Name Host (HOST-ORG) namehost@WORLDNIC.COM, Network Solutions, Inc., 505 Huntmar Park Drive, Herndon, VA 20170

NSIís 5.0 Service Agreement is in effect.

The domain name registration "bankofnewzealand.com" is in "Active" status.

NSI has currently incorporated in its agreements the policy for Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution adopted by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers ("ICANN").

The advice from NSI that the domain name in question is still "active", indicates the Respondent has not requested that the domain name at issue be deleted from the domain name database. The Respondent has not sought to terminate the agreement with NSI. Accordingly, the Respondent is bound by the provisions of NSIís Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy, i.e., the ICANN policy. The Respondent has not challenged the jurisdiction of the Panel.

Having verified that the Complaint satisfied the formal requirements of the Uniform Policy and the Uniform Rules, the WIPO Center on August 22, 2000, transmitted by post/courier and by email a notification of Complaint and Commencement of Administrative Proceedings to the Respondent. A copy of the Complaint was also emailed to NSI and ICANN.

The Complainant elected to have its Complaint resolved by a single panel member: it has duly paid the amount required of it to the WIPO Center.

The Respondent was advised that a Response to the Complaint was required within 20 calendar days (i.e., by September 10, 2000). The Respondent was also advised that any Response should be communicated, in accordance with the Rules, by four sets of hard copy and by email.

On September 15, 2000 the Center transmitted a Notification of Respondent Default.

On October 3, 2000, the WIPO Center invited Andrew Brown, Barrister, of Auckland, New Zealand, to serve as Sole Panelist in the case, transmitting to him a statement of acceptance and declaration of impartiality and independence.

On October 3, 2000, Andrew Brown advised his acceptance and forwarded to the WIPO Center his statement of impartiality and independence. The Panelist finds that the Administrative Panel was properly constituted in accordance with the Rules and the Supplemental Rules.

On October 4, 2000, WIPO Center forwarded to Andrew Brown by courier the relevant submissions and the record. These were received by him on or about October 9, 2000. In terms of Rule 5(b), in the absence of exceptional circumstances, the Panel was required to forward its decision by October 17, 2000.

The Panel has independently determined and agrees with the assessment of WIPO Center that the Complaint meets the formal requirements of the Rules for Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy as approved by ICANN on October 24, 1999, ("the Rules") and the Supplemental Rules.

The language of the administrative proceeding is English, being the language of the registration agreement.


4. Factual Background

The Complainant was established in 1861 and has been trading under the name and trade mark Bank of New Zealand ever since. It provides financial services to almost 1 in 5 New Zealand residents and, as at September 1999, had a 23% share of the personal customer market in New Zealand. The Complainant estimates that it has an association with almost one-third of New Zealand businesses.

The Complainant has five registered trade marks in New Zealand in class 36 comprising or containing the words "Bank of New Zealand". The products and services which it offers under or by reference to the trade mark Bank of New Zealand include financial services, personal banking, wholesale financial services, business banking including e-Commerce, rural banking, internet banking and international transactions.

The Complainant has a brand awareness for its trade mark Bank of New Zealand of 90% amongst the public in New Zealand. The Complainant utilizes the trade mark Bank of New Zealand on its website "bnz.co.nz".

The Respondent has no licence to use the mark and no legitimate interest in it. A visitor to the website "bankofnewzealand.com" is currently informed that the page cannot be displayed Ė although the Complainant has provided evidence that the website was previously in active use.


5. Partiesí Contentions

The Complainant submits that the only possible conclusion must be that the Respondent registered and is using its well known trade mark, "Bank of New Zealand", in bad faith. The Complainant contends that it is the only entity (other than its parent company, the National Australia Bank Ltd) legitimately using Bank of New Zealand as a trade mark or service mark in New Zealand or overseas. The Respondent has no legitimate rights to the mark. The domain name is identical to the Complainantís mark.

The Respondent has made no submissions.


6. Discussion and Findings

Paragraph 15(a) of the Rules instructs the Panel to:

"decide a complaint on the basis of the statements and documents submitted in accordance with the policy, these rules and any rules and principles of law that it deems applicable".

The burden for the Complainant, under paragraph 4(a) of the ICANN Policy, is to show:

That the domain name registered by the Respondent is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which the Complainant has rights; and

That the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the domain name; and

That the domain name has been registered and is being used by the Respondent in bad faith.

The domain name "bankofnewzealand.com" is obviously identical to the Complainantís mark. The Panel so decides.

Likewise, the Panel decides that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the domain name at issue. The Respondent has never suggested to the contrary.

Paragraph 4(b) of the ICANN Policy states:

"For the purposes of Paragraph 4(a)(iii), the following circumstances, in particular but without limitation, if found by the Panel to be present, shall be evidence of the registration and use of a domain name in bad faith:

(i) circumstances indicating that you have registered or you have acquired the domain name primarily for the purpose of selling, renting, or otherwise transferring the domain name registration to the complainant who is the owner of the trademark or service mark or to a competitor of that complainant, for valuable consideration in excess of your documented out-of-pocket costs directly related to the domain name; or

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

(iii) you have registered the domain name primarily for the purpose of disrupting the business of a competitor; or

(iv) 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 complainantís 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."

It should be noted that the circumstances of bad faith are not limited to the above.

The Panel considers that the Respondent has registered and used the domain name "bankofnewzealand.com" in "bad faith" for the following reasons:

(a) "bankofnewzealand.com" is so obviously connected with a well-known trade mark that its very use by someone with no connection with the Bank of New Zealand suggests opportunistic bad faith.

(b) The words "Bank of New Zealand" connote a connection with a bank from New Zealand. The Respondent is not a bank, nor does it have any connection with New Zealand. The domain name, while it was operating, defaulted to a site at www.chinapt.com. The "About Us" page on this site refers to the activities of www.chinapt.com (China Product Trade) and another company Pearl High-Tech Products Development Co Ltd ("Pearl"). Neither entity or company is a bank. Both operate as an e-commerce importer/exporter in China. There is nothing on the site www.bankofnewzealand.com which refers to any activities of a bank. The address and contact details given for China Products Trade and Pearl are in China. It appears that the Respondent has registered the domain name "bankofnewzealand.com" in order to attract for commercial gain internet users to the website www.chinapt.com. Visitors to the website are likely to be confused as to the possible application of China Products Trade and/or Pearl with the Bank of New Zealand.

(c) Evidence presented by the Complainant shows that the Respondent has registered a number of domain names comprising the names of well-known businesses Ė including "nationalaustraliabank.com", "ansettaustralia.com" and "berliner_bank.com". National Australia Bank Ltd is the parent company of the Bank of New Zealand. The activities of the Respondent in registering these other well-known trade marks as domain names without any apparent authority or trade mark rights is strong evidence of bad faith.

For all the various reasons discussed above, the Panel finds that the domain name "bankofnewzealand.com" has been registered and has been used by the Respondent in bad faith.


7. Legal Considerations

Although entitled to consider principles of law deemed applicable, the Panel finds it unnecessary to do so in any depth. The jurisprudence which is being rapidly developed by a wide variety of Panelists world-wide under the ICANN Policy provides a fruitful source of precedent. Blatant cybersquatters who register well known marks for speculative purposes received scant acceptance.


8. Decision

For the foregoing reasons, the Panel decides:

(a) that the domain name registered by the Respondent is identical or confusingly similar to the trademark to which the Complainant has rights;

(b) that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the domain name; and

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

Accordingly, pursuant to paragraph 4(i) of the Policy, the Panel requires that the registration of the domain name "bankofnewzealand.com" be transferred to the Complainant.


Andrew Brown
Presiding Panelist

Dated: October 16, 2000