WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Confédération Nationale du Crédit Mutuel v. Nicola Bazar
Case No. D2013-1572
1. The Parties
Complainant is Confédération Nationale du Crédit Mutuel of Paris, France, represented by MEYER & Partenaires, France.
Respondent is Nicola Bazar of Paris, France.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <creditmutuel-fr.com> (the “Domain Name”) is registered with Tucows Inc. (the “Registrar”).
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on September 9, 2013. On September 9, 2013, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the Domain Name. On September 9, 2013, the Registrar transmitted by email to the Center its verification response confirming that 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 September 11, 2013. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was October 1, 2013. Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified Respondent’s default on October 3, 2013.
The Center appointed Dinant T. L. Oosterbaan as the sole panelist in this matter on November 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
According to the evidence submitted by Complainant, Complainant has a large number of French and international trademark registrations for CREDIT MUTUEL. Complainant is the second largest French banking and insurances services group. In addition Complainant has several domain names and websites containing the CREDIT MUTUEL name and mark, in particular websites under “www.creditmutuel.com” and “www.creditmutuel.fr”. The trademark registrations of Complainant have been issued prior to the registration of the Domain Name.
The Domain Name <creditmutuel-fr.com> was registered on May 15, 2013.
5. Parties’ Contentions
Complainant submits that the Domain Name is confusingly similar to its CREDIT MUTUEL trademark as it contains the CREDIT MUTUEL trademark in its entirety. The addition of the generic and descriptive geographic abbreviation “fr” to the CREDIT MUTUEL trademark, linked with a hyphen, is not sufficient to distinguish the Domain Name from the CREDIT MUTUEL trademark.
According to Complainant, Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Domain Name as Respondent is not affiliated or related to CREDIT MUTUEL in any way, nor is Respondent licensed or authorized to use the CREDIT MUTUEL trademark. Respondent is also not commonly known by the Domain Name and has not acquired any trademark or service mark rights in the name or trademark. Internet users are directed to a page “under maintenance”. Respondent did not demonstrate use of the Domain Name in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services. Respondent has registered the Domain Name to create the misleading impression of being associated with Complainant.
Complainant submits that Respondent has registered and is using the Domain Name in bad faith as Respondent no doubt had knowledge of the well-known trademark of Complainant. In addition, Respondent provided fictitious contact details. Complainant submits that the passive holding of the Domain Name by Respondent is an evidence of bad faith.
Respondent did not reply to Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
Paragraph 15(a) of the Rules instructs this Panel to “decide a complaint 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”.
Paragraph 4(a) of the Policy requires that Complainant proves each of the following three elements to obtain an order that the Domain Name should be transferred or cancelled:
(i) the Domain Name registered by Respondent is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which Complainant has rights; and
(ii) 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 Panel is satisfied that the registrant of record for the Domain Name is Respondent and will therefore proceed to analyze whether the three elements of paragraph 4(a) of the Policy are satisfied by Complainant in this proceeding.
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
Pursuant to paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Policy, Complainant must first of all establish rights in a trademark or service mark and secondly that the Domain Name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which Complainant has rights.
Complainant has established that it is the owner of numerous trademark registrations for CREDIT MUTUEL. The Panel notes that Complainant’s registrations predate the creation date of the Domain Name.
The Domain Name <creditmutuel-fr.com> incorporates the entirety of the CREDIT MUTUEL trademark as its distinctive element. Many UDRP decisions have found that a disputed domain name is confusingly similar to a complainant’s trademark where the disputed domain name incorporates the complainant’s trademark in its entirety. The addition of the common, descriptive and non-distinctive element and geographic abbreviation “fr”, linked with a hyphen to the trademark, is insufficient to avoid a finding of confusing similarity.
The Panel finds that Complainant has proven that the Domain Name is confusingly similar to Complainant’s trademark.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
In the opinion of the Panel, Complainant has made a prima facie case that Respondent lacks rights or legitimate interests in the Domain Name. Complainant has not licensed or otherwise permitted Respondent to use any of its trademarks or to register the Domain Name incorporating its marks. Respondent is not making a legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the Domain Name without intent for commercial gain to misleadingly divert consumers or to tarnish the trademark of Complainant. Based on the evidence provided by Complainant, Respondent only uses the Domain Name in order to direct Internet users to a website under maintenance which cannot be considered a bona fide offering of goods or services nor a legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the Domain Name in this case. In addition, Respondent provided a fictitious and non-existing address. Respondent is not commonly known by the Domain Name nor has it acquired trademark rights.
Respondent did not submit any response.
Under these circumstances, the Panel finds that Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the Domain Name.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
The Panel finds that the Domain Name has been registered and is being used in bad faith. The trademarks of Complainant have been existing for a long time. Respondent knew or should have known that the Domain Name included Complainant’s CREDIT MUTUEL well-known trademark.
The Panel notes that the website at the Domain Name is currently a page under maintenance (“Sito web in manutenzione”). However, passive holding of the website does not prevent the Panel from finding registration and use in bad faith. The Panel further notes that Respondent undeveloped use of the website at the Domain Name which incorporates Complainant’s trademark in its entirety indicates that Respondent possibly registered the Domain Name with the intention to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to its website by creating a likelihood of confusion with the trademark of Complainant as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation, or endorsement of its website or location or of a service on its website or location, as per paragraph 4(b)(iv) of the Policy. Furthermore, the Panel accepts Complainant’s submission that bad faith registration and use of the Domain Name is further indicated by the fact that Respondent at the time of registration provided a completely fictitious address; both the street (“rue antounio badi”) and the arrondissement (“75033”) provided by Respondent do not exist in Paris, France.
The Panel finds that Complainant has proven that the Domain Name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.
For the foregoing reasons, in accordance with paragraphs 4(i) of the Policy and 15 of the Rules, the Panel orders that the Domain Name <creditmutuel-fr.com> be transferred to Complainant.
Dinant T. L. Oosterbaan
Date: November 15, 2013