WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Crédit Industriel et Commercial S.A. v. LaPorte Holdings
Case No. D2005-0473
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Crédit Industriel et Commercial S.A, of Paris, France, represented by MEYER & Partenaires, France.
The Respondent is LaPorte Holdings, of Los Angeles, California, United States of America.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <experiancic.com> is registered with NameKing.com.
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on April 29, 2005. On May 2, 2005, the Center transmitted by email to NameKing.com a request for registrar verification in connection with the Domain Name at issue. On June 4, 2005, NameKing.com transmitted by email to the Center its verification response confirming that the Respondent is listed as the registrant and providing the contact details for the administrative, billing, and technical contact. The Center verified that the Complaint satisfied the formal requirements of the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (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”).
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 June 7, 2005. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was June 27, 2005. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on July 1, 2005.
The Center appointed Eva Fiammenghi as the sole panelist in this matter on July 19, 2005. 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, Crédit Industriel et Commercial S.A. (CIC) is one of the most popular French banking groups with origins that can be traced back to the year 1954, and it is part of the Group Credit Mutuel-CIC which is known as the second French banking and insurance service group.
CIC has an international presence world wide in 39 countries.
The Complainant has been well-known in the US market, especially in the New York area, for several years.
The trade name CIC has been used and registered as a trademark by Crédit Industriel et Commercial S.A. since the beginning of its activity.
The Complainant is the owner of the following trademarks:
France : TM “C.I.C.” Reg. No. 959.999 Filing Date 26/06/76;
France : TM “CIC BANQUES” Reg. No. 1.682.713 Filing Date 24/07/91;
IR : TM “CIC BANQUES” Reg. No. 585.098 Filing Date 10/04/92;
France : TM “CM-CIC” Reg. No. 3.267.901 Filing Date 15/01/04;
France : TM “CIC LEASE” Reg. No. 99.809.813 Filing Date 30/08/99;
France : TM “PAIEMENT CIC” Reg. No. 99.808.220 Filing Date 17/08/99;
France : TM “CIC CASH” Reg. No. 1.739.440 Filing Date 26/06/00.
Experian Ltd. (Experian) is one of the major credit-reporting agencies in France and Europe. Until the year 2002, CIC and Experian have been in a business relationship regarding the Complainant’s client reporting.
The Complainant has been operating with Experian for several years and it is normal that both trademarks and business names have been associated by consumers.
The Companies Experian and CIC were leaders in France for many years in the banking field.
The Respondent, LaPorte Holdings, Inc. is an entity based in Los Angeles, California, United States of America.
The Respondent appears to be the owner of several domain names and it is involved in the field of domain name registrations and related services.
5. Parties’ Contentions
The Complainant contends that the Respondent has no right or legitimate interests in respect of the Domain Name. The Complainant declares that the Respondent knew and was unquestionably aware of the importance of the well known trademarks, business name and identity in the field of banking insurance and services of the Complainant as the Complainant has already filed a complaint at the Center against LaPorte Holdings. See Crédit Industriel et Commercial S.A., Banque Scalbert Dupont S.A. v. LaPorte Holdings, Inc., WIPO Case No. D2004-1110.
The Complainant asserts to have never granted licenses to the Respondent as agent or partner of the Complainant for the use of its trademark.
The Complainant asserts that the Domain Name <experiancic.com> has been registered in bad faith and has been used in bad faith.
The Complainant submits that the Respondent’s bad faith appears to be evident because he pointed the Domain Name to a web page on which several hyperlinks were displayed offering identical services of credit banking and financial products of the Complainant.
The business of the Respondent takes advantage of the “pay per click” activity where Internet users searching for banking, insurance and related services are diverted to other competing websites.
The Respondent failed to respond.
6. Discussion and Findings
According to paragraph 4(a) of the Policy, the Complainant must prove that:
(i) the Domain Name 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 interest in respect of the Domain Name, and
(iii) the Domain Name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.
Paragraph 4(a) of the Policy states, “[…] In the administrative proceeding, the complainant must prove that each of these three elements are present.” Accordingly, the Respondent’s failure to submit a response does not result in the granting of the Complainant’s request automatically. The Panel is obliged to examine the evidence filed to determine whether or not the Complainant has proven its obligations as required by the Policy.
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
Crédit Industriel et Commercial S.A. is the owner of “C.I.C.” trademark Reg. No. 1.358.524 filed on June 26, 1976, and many other trademarks above quoted, in which the term “CIC” appears in association with other words.
Given that the Complainant has traded in association with Experian, the trademarks CIC and EXPERIAN would be associated in the minds of consumers.
The Panel is of the opinion that the incorporation in its entirety of the Complainant’s trademark in the disputed Domain Name suffices to create a likelihood of confusion among consumers.
In view of the above, the Panel finds that the disputed domain name <experiancic.com> is confusingly similar with the Complainant’s trademark “CIC” and trademarks “CIC plus other words”.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
The Complainant submits that the Respondent is not related in any way to the Complainant’s business (nor apparently to Experian’s), and that no license or authorization has been granted to the Respondent to make any use of the Complainant’s mark.
The Respondent has not provided evidence of circumstances listed in Paragraph 4(c) of the Policy, or of any other circumstances, that may give rise to a right to or legitimate interest in the Domain Name.
The Panel finds that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the Domain Name.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
The Respondent has registered a domain name that incorporates the Complainant’s mark in its entirety together with the name of Experian, a company with which the Complainant has operated for several years. The Respondent has also been involved in a number of UDRP cases, where transfer decisions were rendered. See, inter alia, Société Française du Radiotéléphone - SFR v. LaPorte Holdings, WIPO Case No. D2004-0926; PepsiCo, Inc. v. LaPorte Holdings, Inc. and Pepsiemployment.com a/k/a Henry Chan, WIPO Case No. D2005-0087; DaimlerChrysler Corporation, DaimlerChrysler Services North America LLC v. LaPorte Holdings, Inc., WIPO Case No. D2005-0143.
The Domain Name at issue was further being used to divert Internet users to sites offering products that compete with those of the Complainant.
On the basis of the above, the Panel finds it established that the Respondent registered the Domain Name to attract Internet users, for commercial gain, by creating a likelihood of confusion with the Complainant’s mark (Policy, Paragraph 4(b)(iv)). Accordingly, pursuant to Paragraph 4(b) of the Policy, this Panel finds that the Domain Name was registered and is being used in bad faith by the Respondent.
For all the foregoing reasons, in accordance with Paragraphs 4(a) of the Policy and 15 of the Rules, the Panel decides that the Domain Name <experiancic.com> be transferred to the Complainant.
Date: August 2, 2005