WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center


Imprebanca S.p.A. v. Ars Media Group S.r.l.

Case No. D2010-0823

1. The Parties

Complainant is Imprebanca S.p.A. of Rome, Italy, represented by Barzanò & Zanardo Roma S.p.A, Italy.

Respondent is Ars Media Group S.r.l. of Rome, Italy.

2. The Domain Names and Registrar

The disputed domain names <imprebanca.com>, <imprebanca.info>, <imprebanca.net>, <imprebanca.org> are registered with eNom.

3. Procedural History

The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on May 21, 2010. On May 21, 2010, the Center transmitted by email to eNom a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain names. On the same day, eNom 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 Respondent of the Complaint, and the proceedings commenced on June 2, 2010. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was June 22, 2010. Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent's default on June 23, 2010.

The Center appointed Dr. Massimo Introvigne as the sole panelist in this matter on July 2, 2010. 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

Imprebanca S.p.A. is a leading credit institution in Italy, born from the co-operation between the Confederation of Italian Commercial Enterprises (“Confcommercio”) and a number of financial partners. Complainant is the owner of Italian trademark registration No. 1.097.064 IMPREBANCA and device, applied for on October 4, 2004 and registered on March 3, 2008. After a long preparation, the new credit institution was launched at a press conference attended inter alia by the Mayor of Rome on May 8, 2008, which generated considerable media interest in Italy. The disputed domain names were registered at the same date, i.e. May 8, 2008, and later transferred to Complainant. The four domain names (and a parallel Italian domain name <imprebanca.it>, which is not part of this proceeding) resolve to a “courtesy page” of an Italian domain name management company, “Trovanome.it”. Negotiations between the parties for an amicable settlement were not successful.

5. Parties' Contentions

A. Complainant

Complainant claims that it is the owner of the trademark and trade name IMPREBANCA with rights dating back to the year 2004, and with a national recognition in Italy in the field of financial services. It claims that Respondent's four domain names are identical to its trademark. It states that Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the name “Imprebanca” nor in the disputed domain names. Complainant notes also that Respondent, which is a communication agency located in Rome, where Complainant operates, could not have ignored the publicity and the media interest generated first by the project and then by the launching of the new credit institution “Imprebanca”, and that the fact that the domain names were registered at the very date of Complainant's well attended press conference, informing the media that Complainant was starting its operations in Rome, is particularly suspicious and is a further suggestion of bad faith. Negotiations between the parties, according to Complainant, also confirm Respondent's bad faith.

B. Respondent

Respondent did not reply to Complainant's contentions.

6. Discussion and Findings

A. Identical or Confusingly Similar

The Panel is satisfied that Complainant is the owner of the trademark IMPREBANCA; that IMPREBANCA is also part of its trade name; that Complainant's rights pre-date Respondent's registration of the domain names; and that the latter are identical to Complainant's trademark and trade name.

Accordingly, the Panel finds that the first element under paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Policy is satisfied.

B. Rights or Legitimate Interests

There is no evidence that Respondent has any right or legitimate interest in or to the name “Imprebanca” and its related domain names. Nothing in the web sites into which the four domain names resolve supports a different conclusion. Additionally, Respondent has elected not to reply to Complainant's contentions, thus leaving the Panel deprived of any counter-argument.

Accordingly, the Panel finds that the second element under paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy is satisfied.

C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith

Respondent is an Italian professional enterprise organized as a limited liability company in the sector of publicity and communication. It is located in Rome. It is unclear whether the different companies which originally registered the domain names where in fact connected to Respondent, as Complainant argues, but a final determination about this point is not strictly necessary. In fact, the Imprebanca project had a special political significance and was widely discussed in the Italian media. The domain names were registered the very day when a press conference announced that Imprebanca was finally starting its operations in Rome. It is difficult to believe that those who registered the domain names ignored the Imprebanca project, and the Panel concludes that registration occurred in bad faith.

The Panel, on the other hand, is not persuaded that Respondent showed bad faith during the negotiations for a settlement. These also involved the Italian domain name <imprebanca.it>, and occurred after the parties had presumably incurred significant legal and other expenses in connection with this domain name. In the light of these events, the request of € 5,000 by Respondent does not appear per se as evidence of bad faith.

Each of the four domain names resolves in a “courtesy page”. This is more than the “passive holding” mentioned in several decisions (where the domain names did not resolve in any active page) and, according to the prevailing UDRP decisions' orientation, is more than enough to justify a finding of use in bad faith, irrespective of any evaluation of the Respondent's attitudes and behavior during the negotiations in Italy.

Accordingly, the Panel finds that the third element under paragraph 4(a)(iii) of the Policy is satisfied.

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 names <imprebanca.com>, <imprebanca.info>, <imprebanca.net> and <imprebanca.org> be transferred to the Complainant.

Massimo Introvigne
Sole Panelist

Dated: July 7, 2010