WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center


CIT Group Inc. v. CIT Finance Limited

Case No. D2009-0602

1. The Parties

The Complainant is CIT Group Inc. of New Jersey, United States of America, represented by Day Pitney LLP, United States of America.

The Respondent is CIT Finance Limited of New York, United States of America.

2. The Domain Name and Registrar

The disputed domain name <citfinancialservice.com> is registered with Directi Internet Solutions Pvt. Ltd. d/b/a PublicDomainRegistry.com.

3. Procedural History

The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) by email on May 6, 2009, and in hard copy on May 8, 2009. On May 7, 2009, the Center transmitted by email to Directi Internet Solutions Pvt. Ltd. d/b/a PublicDomainRegistry.com a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On May 8, 2009, Directi Internet Solutions Pvt. Ltd. d/b/a PublicDomainRegistry.com 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 May 11, 2009. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was May 31, 2009. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent's default on June 2, 2009.

The Center appointed Professor Ilhyung Lee as the sole panelist in this matter on June 16, 2009. 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, CIT Group Inc., is a bank holding company that provides various financial products and services to businesses. Its current operations are seen in five continents and many countries worldwide. The Complainant's predecessor, Commercial Investment Trust, began using the CIT mark decades ago. In 1986, the company changed its name to “The CIT Group Holdings, Inc.,” and obtained registration of the marks THE CIT GROUP and CIT GROUP plus design on July 21, 1987, and August 11, 1987, respectively. Both marks were registered “for financial services, namely equipment financing, factoring, business credit, sales financing and capital financing.” After the company changed its name to the current CIT Group Inc. in 1997, it registered the mark (among others) CIT.COM on October 15, 2002.

The Complainant has also registered domain names <citgroup.com> and <cit.com>. Since 2000, Internet users who resort to the <citgroup.com> domain name have been automatically directed to the Complainant's website under its <cit.com> domain name.

The Respondent registered the disputed domain name <citfinancialservice.com> on October 29, 2008.

5. Parties' Contentions

A. Complainant

The Complainant contends that: (i) the disputed domain name is identical or confusingly similar to the marks in which the Complainant has rights; (ii) the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the domain name; and (iii) the domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.

The Complainant alleges that the Respondent registered the disputed domain name shortly after a decision issued in the Complainant's favor in a matter involving the domain name <citfinanceservice.co.uk>, which the Respondent here had also registered.

The Complainant also notes that it has received inquiries from prospective customers regarding any connection between the Respondent and the Complainant.

B. Respondent

The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant's contentions. Consequently, the Panel may decide the dispute based on the Complaint, under paragraphs 5(e) and 14(a) of the Rules. Paragraph 14(b) permits the Panel to draw appropriate inferences from such default.

6. Discussion and Findings

A. Identical or Confusingly Similar

The Complainant's marks, which include the CIT designation, are widely-known in the financial service industry. The Complainant's rights in the marks have been established. The disputed domain name incorporates the mark, followed by the generic phrase “financialservice” plus the top level domain “.com”. The addition of the generic phrase does not defeat the confusingly nature of the domain name to mark. The “financial service” phrase identifies the very service that the Complainant provides, and further emphasizes the significance of the CIT mark.

The first element is established.

B. Rights or Legitimate Interests

The Complainant contends that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name, and further emphasizes that it has no relation to the Respondent that would give rise to the Complainant giving the Respondent authorization to use the domain name. The Respondent has defaulted. The Panel is unable to ascertain any evidence from the present record that would demonstrate the Respondent's rights or legitimate interests in the domain name, as described paragraph 4(c) of the Policy, or otherwise.

The second element is established.

C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith

The Complainant must also show that the disputed domain name “has been registered and is being used in bad faith,” under paragraph 4(a)(iii) of the Policy. Paragraph 4(b) of the Policy provides a non-exhaustive list of ways in which bad faith can be shown, for purposes of paragraph 4(a)(iii).

The Panel determines that bad faith is demonstrated here, under paragraph 4(b)(iv). That is, the Respondent, “by using the domain name intentionally attempted to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to [the Respondent's] web site, by creating a likelihood of confusion with the complainant's mark as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation, or endorsement of [the Respondent's] web site.” Before the filing of the Complaint, Internet users who typed in the disputed domain name were taken to a website that contained references to “CIT Bank,” the very name of one of a number of products and services that the Complainant provides, as described on its own website.

The third element is established.

7. Decision

For all the foregoing reasons, in accordance with paragraphs 4(i) of the Policy and 15 of the Rules, the Panel orders that the domain name <citfinancialservice.com> be transferred to the Complainant.

Ilhyung Lee
Sole Panelist

Dated: June 30, 2009