The Complainant is ICADE, France, represented by De Gaulle Fleurance & Associés, France.
The Respondent is Diouck Adius, United Kingdom.
The disputed domain name <icade-groupe.com> is registered with PDR Ltd. d/b/a PublicDomainRegistry.com (the “Registrar”).
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on February 7, 2020. On February 7, 2020, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On February 8, 2020, the Registrar transmitted by email to the Center its verification response disclosing registrant and contact information for the disputed domain name which differed from the named Respondent and contact information in the Complaint. The Center sent an email communication to the Complainant on February 10, 2020 providing the registrant and contact information disclosed by the Registrar, and inviting the Complainant to submit an amendment to the Complaint. The Complainant filed an amended Complaint on February 13, 2020.
The Center verified that the Complaint together with the amended 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 and 4, the Center formally notified the Respondent of the Complaint, and the proceedings commenced on February 19, 2020. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was March 10, 2020. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on March 11, 2020.
The Center appointed Zoltán Takács as the sole panelist in this matter on March 16, 2020. 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.
The language of this administrative proceeding is English that being the language of the registration agreement.
The Complainant is a leading real-estate investment company in office space and business parks in the greater Paris region, a leading real-estate investment company in healthcare in France and a key partner of major French cities.
Among others, the Complainant owns the French Trademark Registration No. 3185579 for the word mark ICADE registered on February 28, 2003 for services of classes 35, 36, 37, and 42 of the Nice Agreement Concerning the International Classification of Good and Services for the Purpose of the Registration of Marks.
Since September 16, 2004 the Complainant owns the French domain registration <icade.fr> which gives access to its official website.
The disputed domain name <icade-groupe.com> was registered on December 10, 2019 and has been used for sending deceptive emails to solicit payment of fraudulent invoices.
The Complainant contends that the disputed domain name <icade-groupe.com> is confusingly similar to its ICADE trademark.
The Complainant further alleges that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name and is unable to rely on any of the circumstances set out in paragraphs 4(c)(i), (ii) or (iii) of the Policy.
The Complainant claims that the disputed domain name has been used for a fraudulent email scam, and has therefore been registered and used in bad faith.
The Complainant requests that the disputed domain name <icade-groupe.com> be transferred from the Respondent to the Complainant.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.
Paragraph 15(a) of the Rules requires that the Panel’s decision be made “on the basis of the statements and documents submitted and in accordance with the Policy, these Rules and any rules and principles of law that it deems applicable”.
It has been a consensus view in UDRP decisions that a respondent’s default (i.e., failure to submit a response) would not by itself mean that the complainant is deemed to have prevailed; a respondent’s default is not necessarily an admission that the complainant’s claims are true. See section 4.3 of the WIPO Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions, Third Edition (“WIPO Overview 3.0”).
A complainant must evidence each of the three elements required by paragraph 4(a) of the Policy in order to succeed on the complaint, namely that;
(i) the disputed domain name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which the complainant has rights;
(ii) the respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name; and
(iii) the disputed domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.
Under paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Policy, there are two requirements which the Complainant must establish, first that it has rights in a trademark or service mark, and second that the disputed domain name is identical or confusingly similar to the trademark or service mark.
It has been a consensus view among UDRP panels that if the complainant owns a trademark, then it generally satisfies the threshold requirement of having trademark rights.
The Complainant produced proper evidence of having registered rights in the ICADE trademark.
For the purpose of this proceeding, the Panel establishes that the French Trademark Registration No. 3185579 for the word mark ICADE satisfies the requirement of having trademark rights for the purpose of the Policy.
Having determined the presence of the Complainant’s trademark rights, the Panel next assesses whether the disputed domain name <icade-groupe.com> is identical or confusingly similar to the Complainant’s ICADE trademark.
According to section 1.7 of the WIPO Overview 3.0, the standing (or threshold) test for confusing similarity involves a reasoned but relatively straightforward comparison between the complainant’s trademark and the disputed domain name. This test typically involves a side-by-side comparison of the disputed domain name and the textual components of the relevant trademark to assess whether the mark is recognizable within the disputed domain name.
According to section 1.8 of the WIPO Overview 3.0, where the relevant trademark is recognizable within the disputed domain name, the addition of other terms (whether descriptive, geographical, pejorative, meaningless, or otherwise) would not prevent a finding of confusing similarity under the first element.
According to section 1.11.1 of the WIPO Overview 3.0, the applicable Top-Level Domain (“TLD”) in a domain name (e.g., “.com”, “.club”, “.nyc”) is viewed as a standard registration requirement and as such is generally disregarded under the first element confusingly similar test.
Although the Respondent has added (following hyphen) a descriptive term “groupe” (meaning “group” in French) into the disputed domain name, the Complainant’s ICADE trademark is clearly recognizable within the disputed domain name.
The Panel finds that the disputed domain name <icade-groupe.com> is confusingly similar to the Complainant’s ICADE trademark and that requirement of paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Policy is satisfied.
Under paragraph 4(c) of the Policy, a respondent may demonstrate its rights or legitimate interests in a domain name by showing any of the following circumstances, in particular but without limitation:
(i) its use of, or demonstrable preparation to use the domain name or a name corresponding to the domain name in connection with a bona fide offering of goods and services;
(ii) it has been commonly known by the domain name;
(iii) it is making a legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the domain name, without intent for commercial gain to misleadingly divert customers or to tarnish the trademark or service mark at issue.
In the present case, the Complainant has submitted sufficient and uncontested evidence that it holds
well-established rights in the ICADE trademark.
The Complainant has never authorized the Respondent to use its ICADE trademark in any way, and its prior rights in the ICADE trademark long precede the date of registration of the disputed domain name.
According to section 2.1 of the WIPO Overview 3.0, while the overall burden of proof in UDRP proceedings is on the complainant, panels have recognized that proving a respondent lacks rights or legitimate interests in a domain name may result in the often impossible task of “proving a negative”, requiring information that is often primarily within the knowledge or control of the respondent.
As such, where a complainant makes out a prima facie case that the respondent lacks rights or legitimate interests, the burden of production on this element shifts to the respondent to come forward with the relevant evidence demonstrating rights or legitimate interests in the domain name. If the respondent fails to come forward with such relevant evidence, the complainant is deemed to have satisfied the second element.
The Respondent defaulted and failed to respond, and by doing so failed to offer the Panel any type of evidence set forth in paragraph 4(c) of the Policy, or otherwise counter the Complainant’s prima facie case.
The Panel finds that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name in accordance with paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy.
Paragraph 4(b) of the Policy lists a number of factors which, if found by the panel to be present, shall be evidence of registration and use of a domain name in bad faith. This non-exclusive list includes:
“(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 website or other online location, by creating a likelihood of confusion with the complainant’s mark as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation, or endorsement of your website or location or of a product or service on your website or location.”
The evidence presented by the Complainant convinces the Panel that the Respondent has registered and is using the disputed domain name in bad faith.
In December of 2019 and January of 2020, a German company received a fake email order from an email address including the disputed domain name and the name of one of the Complainant’s business unit’s executives. The German company delivered the goods valued more than EUR 400,000 but never received the payment. The German company’s and the Complainant’s representatives then arranged for a meeting at which they realized that they had been victims of a completed sizable financial scam.
Use of the Complainant’s trademark and the name of one of its executives for a fraudulent email scam evidences that the Respondent was obviously aware of the Complainant and has deliberately targeted its business.
The Respondent’s use of the disputed domain name as part of a financial scam evidences bad faith registration and use per Policy paragraphs 4(a)(iii)-(iv). See Valero Energy Corporation and Valero Marketing and Supply Company v. Registration Private, Domains By Proxy LLC / Valero Energy Corporation, WIPO Case No. D2017-0087; Minerva S.A. v. El Yanko, WIPO Case No. D2018-0767.
Accordingly, the Panel finds that paragraph 4(a)(iii) of the Policy is satisfied.
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 <icade-groupe.com> be transferred to the Complainant.
Date: March 30, 2020