WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Confédération Nationale Du Crédit Mutuel v. Pavol Icik/CREDITMUTUEL-INFOS.COM
Case No. D2013-1864
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Confédération Nationale Du Crédit Mutuel of Paris, France, represented by MEYER & Partenaires, France.
The Respondent is Pavol Icik of Bratislava, Slovakia; CREDITMUTUEL-INFOS.COM of Shanghai, China.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <creditmutuel-infos.com> (the “Domain Name”) is registered with Hebei Guoji Maoyi (Shanghai) LTD aka HEBEI INTERNATIONAL TRADING (SHANGHAI) CO., LTD dba HebeiDomains.com (the “Registrar”).
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on October 31, 2013. On November 1, 2013, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the Domain Name. On November 5, 2013, the Registrar transmitted by email to the Center its verification response disclosing registrant and contact information for the 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 5, 2013 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 November 7, 2013. On November 5, 2013, the Center transmitted an email communication to the parties in both English and Slovak regarding the language of the proceeding. On November 7, 2013, the Complainant requested that English be the language of the proceeding. The Respondent did not comment on the language of the proceeding by the specified due date.
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(a) and 4(a), the Center formally notified the Respondent of the Complaint, and the proceedings commenced on November 11, 2013. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was December 1, 2013. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on December 2, 2013.
The Center appointed Karen Fong as the sole panelist in this matter on December 9, 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 Complainant is the political and central body for the Crédit Mutuel Banking Group. The Complainant is a French banking and insurance services group which was started more than 100 years ago. It services its 12 million clients through a network of 3,178 offices in France through 18 regional back federations providing both personal and corporate financial services.
The Complainant provides its services under the name Credit Mutuel. It has a large number of trade marks including the following stylized trade marks for CREDIT MUTUEL:
- French Trade Mark Registration No. 1475940 dated July 8, 1988 in classes 35 and 36;
- French Trade Mark Registration No. 1646012 dated November 20, 1990 in classes 16, 35, 36, 38 and 41;
- International Trade Mark Registration No. 570182 dated May 17, 1991 in classes 16, 35, 36, 38 and 41 designating Benelux, Italy and Portugal.
The Complainant and its subsidiaries own and operate a number of domain names including <creditmutuel.com>, <creditmutuel.net>, <creditmutuel.info>, <creditmutuel.fr>, <creditmutuel.eu> and <creditmutuel.mobi>. All these domain names point to the official website of the Complainant at “www.creditmutuel.com”.
The Domain Name was registered on July 27, 2013. The Domain Name is connected to a parking page which has pay per click links to websites providing identical or similar services to the Complainant.
5. Parties’ Contentions
The Complainant contends that the Domain Name is identical or confusingly similar to the CREDIT MUTUEL trade mark, the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests with respect to the Domain Name and that the Domain Name was registered and is being used in bad faith. The Complainant requests transfer of the Domain Name.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
According to paragraph 4(a) of the Policy, for this Complaint to succeed in relation to the Domain Name, the Complainant must prove each of the following, namely that:
(i) The Domain Name is identical or confusingly similar to a trade mark or service mark in which the Complainant has rights; and
(ii) The Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Domain Name; and
(iii) The Domain Name was registered and is being used in bad faith.
B. Preliminary Procedural Issue – Language of the Proceeding
The Rules, paragraph 11, provide that unless otherwise agreed by the parties or specified otherwise in the registration agreement between the respondent and the registrar in relation to the domain name, the language of the proceeding shall be the language of the registration agreement, subject to the authority of the panel to determine otherwise, having regard to the circumstances of the administrative proceedings. According to the information received from the Registrar, the language of the registration agreement is Slovak. The Complainant has requested that English be the language of the proceeding.
In deciding whether to allow the proceeding to be conducted in a language other than the language of the registration agreement, and to require the complainant in an appropriate case to translate the complaint into the language of that registration agreement, the panel must consider all “the relevant circumstances”. The panel should take into consideration include whether the respondent is able to understand and effectively communicate in the language in which the Complaint has been made and would suffer no real prejudice, and whether the expenses of requiring translation and the delay in the proceeding can be avoided without at the same time causing injustice to the parties.
In its submissions the Complainant has requested that English should be the language of the proceeding. The Respondent has been involved in at least two other UDRP proceedings (La Fee v. Pavol Icik / Privacy Protect, WIPO Case No. D2013-0526 and ICICI Prudential Life Insurance Corporation Limited v. Privacy Protect / Pavol Icik, WIPO Case No. D2012-2521) where the language of the proceeding was English.
The Complainant may be unduly disadvantaged by having to conduct the proceedings in Slovak. Further, the Respondent did not respond to the Complaint or the language of the proceeding by the specified due dates. Having considered all the circumstances of this case, the Panel determines that English is the language of the proceeding.
C. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The Panel accepts that the Complainant has rights to the mark CREDIT MUTUEL through use and registration that predates the Domain Name.
The consensus view under paragraph 2.3 of the WIPO Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions, Second Edition (“WIPO Overview 2.0”) says this:
“The threshold test for confusing similarity under the UDRP involves a comparison between the trademark and the domain name itself to determine likelihood of Internet user confusion. In order to satisfy this test, the relevant trademark would generally need to be recognizable as such within the domain name, with the addition of common, dictionary, descriptive, or negative terms typically being regarded as insufficient to prevent threshold Internet user confusion. Application of the confusing similarity test under the UDRP would typically involve a straightforward visual or aural comparison of the trademark with the alphanumeric string in the domain name.”
The fact that the trade mark registrations relied on by the Complainant consists of a stylized version of the words CREDIT MUTUEL is not an impediment to the Complainant’s claim to a trade mark in which the Complainant has rights. In this case the dominant portion of the Complainant’s registered trade marks are the words CREDIT MUTUEL and that is the name in which members of the public would refer to the Complainant and its services. (See Park Place Entertainment Corporation v. Mike Gorman, WIPO Case No. D2000-0699).
The Domain Name integrates the Complainant’s trade mark CREDIT MUTUEL with the word “-infos” and the gTLD “.com”. For the purposes of assessing identity or confusing similarity under paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Policy, it is permissible for the Panel to ignore the generic domain suffix. The mark CREDIT MUTUEL is clearly recognizable within the Domain Name. The addition of the generic word “-infos” as a suffix to the mark CREDIT MUTUEL does not negate the confusing similarity encouraged by the Respondent’s complete integration of the CREDIT MUTUEL trade mark in the Domain Name.
The Panel finds that the Domain Name is confusingly similar to the CREDIT MUTUEL trade mark of the Complainant, and that the requirements of paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Policy are therefore fulfilled.
D. Rights or Legitimate Interests
The Complainant contends that the Respondent has not been licensed or authorized by the Complainant to use the CREDIT MUTUEL mark. There is no commercial relationship between them. The Respondent does not appear to own any trade mark rights or any other rights to the name Credit Mutuel. There is no evidence that the Respondent is making a legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the Domain Name, without intent for commercial gain to misleadingly divert consumers or to tarnish the marks at issue.
The Panel finds that the Complainant has made out a prima facie case, a case calling for an answer from the Respondent. The Respondent has not responded and the Panel is unable to conceive of any basis upon which the Respondent could sensibly be said to have any rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Domain Name. Further, paragraph 14 of the Rules provides that the Panel may draw such inferences from such a default as it considers appropriate.
Accordingly, the Panel infers from the Respondent’s silence that the Complainant’s allegations are, in fact, correct. And the Panel finds that paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy has been satisfied.
E. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
To succeed under the Policy, a complainant must show that the domain name has been both registered and used in bad faith. It is a double requirement.
The Panel is satisfied that the Respondent was aware of the Complainant’s famous trade mark when it registered the Domain Name. The Complainant has provided sufficient evidence that the Domain Name registration post dates the CREDIT MUTUEL trade mark registrations and use.
The very incorporation of the Complainant’s trade mark in the Domain Name which resolves to a parking page with pay per click links in the financial field confirms the Respondent’s awareness of the trade marks. Thus, the Panel concludes that the Respondent deliberately registered the Domain Name in bad faith.
The Respondent is using the Domain Name to direct Internet users to a parking page which has links to pay per click websites offering a variety of services in the financial industry. Such use employs the Complainant's well-known trade mark in the Domain Name for commercial gain by creating Internet user confusion through suggesting source, sponsorship, affiliation or endorsement by the Complainant of the Respondent’s website. This constitutes bad faith use of the Domain Name.
The Panel therefore concludes that the Domain Name was registered and is being used in bad faith under paragraph 4(b)(iv) of the Policy. The requirements of paragraph 4(a)(iii) of the Policy are therefore fulfilled.
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-infos.com> be transferred to the Complainant.
Date: December 20, 2013