WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Crédit Industriel et Commercial, Confédération Nationale du Credit Mutuel v. Whoisguard Protected / Plaisant Patrice
Case No. D2012-2235
1. The Parties
The Complainants are Crédit Industriel et Commercial (known under the initials “CIC”), and Confédération Nationale du Credit Mutuel (known as “CREDIT MUTUEL”) of Paris, France, represented by MEYER & Partenaires, France.
The Respondent is Whoisguard Protected / Plaisant Patrice of Los Angeles, California, United States of America and Saint Leger des Bois, France, respectively.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <cic-creditmutuel.com> is registered with eNom (the “Registrar”).
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on November 13, 2012. On the same date, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On November 14, 2012, 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 November 19, 2012 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 amendment to the Complaint on November 20, 2012.
The Center verified that the Complaint together with the amendment to 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 November 22, 2012. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was December 12, 2012. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on December 13, 2012.
The Center appointed André R. Bertrand as the sole panelist in this matter on January 4, 2013. 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 first Complainant is Crédit Industriel et Commercial (known under the initials “CIC”).
CIC is a French banking group whose origin dates back to 1859, which has today 4,4 million clients with a network of 2,103 branches in France, regrouped in 5 regional branches. CIC has also offices and/or branches in Europe, Africa, Latin America, North America and Asia.
The second Complainant is the Confédération Nationale du Credit Mutuel of Paris, operating and known under the tradename “CREDIT MUTUEL”. CREDIT MUTUEL is the second French bank and insurance service group with 12 million clients, operating through a network of 3,178 offices and 18 regional bank federations.
CIC uses the Web portal “ www.cic.fr’’ since 2000 and owns several trademarks, such as the French nominative trademark No.1358524 C.I.C., applied for on June 10, 1986, which was renewed on June 10, 1996, and the Community trademark No.005891411 CIC applied for on May 10, 2007.
CREDIT MUTUEL uses the Web portal “www.creditmutuel.com’’ and owns several trademarks for CREDIT MUTUEL such as the French semi-figurative trademark No.1475940 CRÉDIT MUTUEL, applied for on July 8, 1988 and renewed on May 15, 1998 and the semi-figurative International trademark No. 570182 CRÉDIT MUTUEL, registered on of May 17, 1991 designating Benelux, Italy and Portugal.
It must be noted that CIC and CREDIT MUTUEL have merged in 1998 to become the CREDIT MUTUEL CIC Group. For this reason, the Panel finds that both Complainants are entitled to act as such in the present Complaint. “Therefore, both Complainants have a sufficient common interest in the disputed domain name to be joined in this litigation” (See Credit Industriel et Commercial S.A, Banque Fédérative du Credit Mutuel v. Headwaters MB, WIPO Case No. D2008-1892).
The disputed domain name resolves to a “pay-per-click” site, containing sponsored links to credit and financial services.
5. Parties’ Contentions
The Complainants claim that the disputed domain name <cic-creditmutuel.com> is confusingly similar to their trademarks CIC/C.I.C. and CREDIT MUTUEL.
Moreover, the Complainants state that the Respondent should be considered as having no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the domain name.
Finally, the Complainants claim that the Respondent has registered and is using the disputed domain name in bad faith.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainants’ contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
Paragraph 4(a) of the Policy requires Complainants to prove all of the following in order for its contentions to be supported in the proceeding:
(i) The disputed domain name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which the Complainants have rights; and
(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.
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The disputed domain name <cic-creditmutuel.com> comprises four elements, i.e. the Complainants’ trademarks CIC and CREDIT MUTUEL, a hyphen and the generic Top-Level Domain (gTLD) “.com”.
See Crédit Industriel et Commercial S.A. v. Yu Ming, WIPO Case No. D2005-0458; Credit Industriel et Commercial S.A., CM-CIC Securities v. Click Cons. Ltd., WIPO Case No. D2007-1323; Crédit Industriel et Commercial S.A, Banque Federative du Credit Mutuel v. Headwaters MB, Supra, where the rights of one of the Complainants, i.e. CIC, on the trademark CIC have been established.
In Confederation Nationale du Credit Mutuel v. Philippe Marie, WIPO Case No. D2010-1513, it was held that “It is clearly proven beyond doubt that Complainant has rights in the trademark CREDIT MUTUEL for purposes of paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Policy”.
As for the adjunction of the gTLD “.com”, it is now well established, according to previous UDRP decisions, that the generic gTLD “.com”, should be excluded from consideration when determining whether the domain name at issue is identical or confusingly similar to the trademark held by a complainant. It is indeed a functional or generic component of the domain name (see Gerling Beteiligungs-GmbH (GBG) v. World Space Corp, WIPO Case No. D2006-0223).
Thus, the Panel finds that the first element of paragraph 4(a) of the Policy has been satisfied.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
The Panel finds that the Complainants have made a prima facie case that the Respondent lacks rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainants contentions.
The Panel agrees with the principles set forth in Société Air France v. Veraxio Internet Design Qualite-Air-France.Com, WIPO Case No. D2006-0846, and in which the panel found “that the Complainant has established a prima facie case that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. The burden accordingly shifts to the Respondent to dispute the Complainant’s allegation. The Policy, paragraph 4(c), gives assistance to respondents as to how they may demonstrate their rights and legitimate interests in the domain name. The circumstances listed are non-exhaustive, and proof of any one of these would suffice for the purposes of the Respondent demonstrating its rights or legitimate interests”.
Thus, the Panel finds that the second element of paragraph 4(a) of the Policy has been satisfied.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
Several UDRP decisions have already noted that “the notoriety of Complainants marks is well documented as a result of the long-standing and continuous use internationally including a presence in six of the seven continents and acknowledged by multiple prior panels” (See Crédit Industriel et Commercial S.A. v. Yu Ming, WIPO Case No. D2005-0458, regarding <cicbank.com>; Crédit Industriel et Commercial S.A. CM-CIC Securities v. Click Cons. Ltd., WIPO Case No. D2007-1323 regarding <cicsecurities.net>).
In Crédit Industriel et Commercial S.A.,, Banque Federative du Credit Mutuel v. Headwaters MB, WIPO Case No. D2008-1892 <ciccms.com> it was stated that “given the evidence of Complainant’s marks are well known, the Panel finds that it is likely that Respondent was aware of Complainant’s trademark rights when it registered the Disputed Domain Name”.
It must also be pointed out that the registrant of the disputed domain name seems to be Patrice Plaisant, whose address is in Saint Leger des Bois, France, and thus cannot ignore the CIC and the CREDIT MUTUEL trademarks.
The Panel notes that the disputed domain name is being used to intentionally attempt to attract for commercial gain, Internet users to a parking page by creating a likelihood of confusion with the Complainants’ trademarks.
In light of the above, the Panel finds that the disputed domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.
Thus, the Panel finds that the third element of paragraph 4(a) of the Policy has been 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 <cic-creditmutuel.com> be transferred to the Complainants.
André R. Bertrand
Date: January 22, 2013