WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center

ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION

Confédération Nationale du Crédit Mutuel v. Mariano Jackline and Alex Leparox

Case No. D2013-2134

1. The Parties

The Complainant is Confédération Nationale du Crédit Mutuel from Paris, France, represented by Meyer & Partenaires, France.

The Respondents are Mariano Jackline of Boulogne-Billancourt, France and Alex Leparox of Paris, France.

2. The Domain Names and Registrar

The dispute concerns the domain names <creditmutuell.info> and <creditmutuell.org>, which are registered with Domain.com, LLC (the “Registrar”).

3. Procedural History

The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on December 10, 2013.

On December 10 and 13, 2013, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for Registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain names. On December 13, 2013, the Registrar transmitted by email to the Center its verification response confirming that the Respondents are listed as the registrants 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 the Respondents of the Complaint, and the proceedings commenced on December 17, 2013. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was January 6, 2014. The Respondents did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondents’ default on January 7, 2014.

The Center appointed Christian-André Le Stanc as the sole panelist in this matter on January 15, 2014. 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.

According to paragraphs 3(c) and 10(e) of the Rules, the Complainant requested to consider that the owners of the disputed domain names are the same person and to consolidate its request regarding the disputed domain names into a single administrative proceeding.

The Panel considers that many factors demonstrate that the disputed domain names are subject to common control, such as:

- The Registrar is the same;

- The disputed domain names were registered in a one-month span and resolve to similar parking pages;

- The disputed domain names are identical, save for the top-level domain;

- Both disputed domain name server and IP address are identical;

- The way the fictitious identities are built is the same for both disputed domain names: a French individual with a false address and a false phone number;

- Both addresses of the registrants are inaccurate.

Accordingly, it is appropriate to proceed to a decision on the merits regarding both disputed domain names.

As the language of the disputed domain names’ registration agreements is the English language and as the Complainant has filed its Complaint in English, the proceeding will be conducted in English, pursuant to paragraph 11(a) of the Rules.

4. Factual Background

The following facts have not been contested:

(a) The Complainant has rights in the following trademarks:

- CREDIT MUTUEL, French semi-figurative trademark no. 1475940 of July 8, 1988 in classes 35 and 36 of 1957 Nice Agreement, renewed on August 27, 2008.

-CREDIT MUTUEL, French semi-figurative trademark no. 1646012 of November 20, 1990 in classes 16, 35, 36, 38 (Internet services) and 41 of Nice Agreement, renewed on September 15, 2010.

-CREDIT MUTUEL, Community trademark no. 9943135 of May 5, 2011 in classes 9, 16, 35, 36, 38, 41, 42, 45 of Nice Agreement.

-CREDIT MUTUEL, semi-figurative International trademark no. 570182 of May 17, 1991 in classes 16, 35, 36, 38, 41 of Nice Agreement, designating Benelux, Italy and Portugal, renewed on February 28, 2011.

Moreover, the name “Credit Mutuel” is also subject of registration under generic and country code top-level domain names.

Furthermore, the Complainant and its computing subsidiary, “Euro Information”, respectively hold many domain names among which the following:

- <creditmutuel.info> registered on September 13, 2001 and duly renewed since then.

- <creditmutuel.org> registered on June 3, 2002 and duly renewed since then.

- <creditmutuel.fr> registered on August 10, 1995 and duly renewed since then.

- <creditmutuel.com> registered on 0ctober 28, 1995 and duly renewed since then.

- <creditmutuel.net> registered on October 3, 1996 and duly renewed since then.

(b) The Respondents registered on May 28, 2013 the disputed domain name <creditmutuell.info> and on April 30, 2013 the disputed domain name <creditmutuell.org>.

5. Parties’ Contentions

A. Complainant

The Complainant evidences its numerous previous trademarks which refer to banking and insurance services and also several domain names that it owns.

The Complainant points out that the trademark CREDIT MUTUEL is a well-known mark in the field of banking and services related to banking and financial affairs.

The Complainant claims that the disputed domain names <creditmutuell.info> and <creditmutuell.org> are confusingly similar to its trademark CREDIT MUTUEL because the generic top-level domains “.info” and “.org” are not of distinguishing effect and the inclusion of the top-level domain extension does not give any distinctive character to the disputed domain names.

Moreover, the adjunction of the letter “L” at the end of the mark in the disputed domain names (the minor sole difference between the above-mentioned disputed domain names and the Complainant’s trademark) does not prevent the disputed domain names from being confusingly similar to the CREDIT MUTUEL mark.

The Complainant adds that the Respondents have no rights nor legitimate interests to the disputed domain names as they do not correspond to their names.

The Respondents are not related in any way to the Complainant’s business: they are not one of its agents and do not carry out any activity for, or have any business with it.

No license or authorization has been granted to the Respondents to make any use, or apply for registration of the disputed domain names.

The Complainant also claims that the disputed domain names have been registered by the Respondents to take advantage of the Complainant’s reputation and to divert Internet users to their websites.

At last, the Complainant is required to prove that the Respondents have registered and are using the disputed domain names in bad faith.

First of all, the Complainant puts forward that the disputed domain names were registered in bad faith.

Noting the well-known character and the reputation of the trademark CREDIT MUTUEL in the field of banking and financial affairs, the Complainant states that the Respondents could not have ignored the trademark CREDIT MUTUEL or the Complainant at the time they applied for the registration of the confusingly similar disputed domain names <creditmutuell.info> and <creditmutuell.org>.

The Complainant points out the fact that the Respondents have registered the disputed domain names in order to redirect Internet users who would mistype the Complainant’s trademark in their browser.

Moreover, the Respondents have made large efforts to hide their identity and to create two fictitious identities to prevent the possibility of a connection between the two disputed domain names.

Then, the Complainant shows that there is also bad faith use of the disputed domain names.

The disputed domain names are currently pointing to a parking webpage with hyperlinks in French and English, which redirect Internet users to some of the Complainant’s competitors’ websites (e.g. “www.hsbc.fr”; “www.adac.de”; “www.cimbanque.com”, etc.).

This reinforces the fact that the Respondents had knowledge of the Complainant’s trademark and activities when they registered the disputed domain names. The purpose is to attract Internet users to the Respondents’ sites using the confusion with the Complainant’s trademark and to redirect them to the Complainant’s competitors’ websites by means of advertisers links. The Respondents take presumably advantage from the situation by getting a commercial benefit from the Complainant’s competitors each time a user clicks on their links.

Moreover, the Respondents have actively provided false contact details, in breach of the registration agreement with the Registrar and the Complainant already faced phishing attempts. The Complainant consequently has to prevent this to protect its clients.

For all these reasons, the Complainant considers that the Respondents have engaged in bad faith registration and use of the disputed domain names <creditmutuell.info> and <creditmutuell.org>.

B. Respondent

The Respondents did not file any Response to the Complaint and were notified of their default on January 7, 2014.

6. Discussion and Findings

Paragraph 15(a) of the Rules instructs the Panel as to the principles the Panel is to use in determining the dispute: “A Panel shall decide a complaint on the basis of the statement 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 states that, for a complaint to be granted, the complainant must prove each of the following:

(i) That the domain name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which the complainant has rights; and

(ii) That the respondent has no rights or no legitimate interests in respect of the domain name; and

(iii) That the domain name has been registered and used in bad faith.

A. Identical or Confusingly Similar

The Complainant has been using the CREDIT MUTUEL trademark for decades in the area of banking and financial services. The Panel finds this mark, owned by the Complainant, is a well-known one and the Complainant has rights in several trademarks comprised of “Credit Mutuel”.

Previous UDRP panels have recognized the trademark CREDIT MUTUEL as well-known, notably in Confederation Nationale du Credit Mutuel v. Philippe Marie, WIPO Case No. D2010-1513.

The disputed domain names <creditmutuell.info> and <creditmutuell.org> are confusingly similar to the prior trademarks of the Complainant in their distinctive part - CREDIT MUTUEL -, as the addition of letter “L” at the end of the Complainant’s mark in the disputed domain names is a typical case of typosquatting act (see previous UDRP decisions: Canadian Tire Corporation Limited v. Swallowlane Holdings Ltd., WIPO Case No. D2009-0828; Kijiji International Ltd. v. Fookin Ventures, WIPO Case No. D2006-0840; VeriSign, Inc. v. Onlinemalls, WIPO Case No. D2000-1446; Yahoo! Inc. and GeoCities v. Data Art Corp., DataArt Enterprises, Inc., Stonybrook Investments, Global Net 2000, Inc., Powerclick, Inc., and Yahoo Search, Inc., WIPO Case No. D2000-0587; Expedia, Inc. v. Alvaro Collazo, WIPO Case No. D2003-0716).

Furthermore, the generic top level domains “.info” and “.org” are not of distinguishing effect and may be ignored here.

Consequently, the disputed domain names <creditmutuell.info> and <creditmutuell.org> are confusingly similar to the Complainant’s trademark CREDIT MUTUEL.

B. Rights or Legitimate Interests

The Respondents have not filed any Response to the Complaint and therefore have not alleged any facts or elements to justify rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain names.

Moreover, the Complainant maintains that the Respondents are not related in any way to its business and that no license or authorization has been granted to them to make any use, nor apply for registration of the disputed domain names. The Complainant has therefore established a prima facie case that the Respondents lack rights or legitimate interests.

In similar circumstances, UDRP panels decided that the respondent had neither rights nor legitimate interests in the domain name (see Confédération Nationale du Crédit Mutuel v. Simo Madridoxi, WIPO Case No. D2012-0813).

Moreover, the disputed domain names are currently pointing to parking webpages with hyperlinks which redirect to some of the Complainant’s competitors’ websites. This shows that the Respondents were aware of the fame of the CREDIT MUTUEL trademark in the banking and financial sector.

Thus the Panel concludes that the Respondents have no rights or legitimate interests - within the meaning of paragraph 4(a)(ii) and (c)(i-iii) of the Policy – in the disputed domain names.

C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith

Paragraph 4(b) of the Policy indicates that certain circumstances may, “in particular but without limitation”, be evidence of bad faith. Among these circumstances are:

(i) that the domain has been registered or acquired by a respondent “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 […] for valuable consideration in excess of [respondent’s] documented out-of-pocket costs directly related to the domain name”;

(ii) that a respondent has 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 [the respondent has] engaged in a pattern of such conduct”.

In view of the well-known character and the reputation of the trademark CREDIT MUTUEL in the field of banking and financial services, the Panel considers that the Respondents could not have ignored this trademark at the time they applied for the registration of the confusingly similar disputed domain names <creditmutuell.info> and <creditmutuell.org>.

It is highly likely that the Respondents have registered the disputed domain names with the Complainant’s trademark in mind and furthermore in order to redirect Internet users who would mistype the domain names <creditmutuel.info> and <creditmutuel.org> in their browser (see Xerox Corp. v. Stonybrook Investments, Ltd, WIPO Case No. D2001-0380).

Moreover, the Respondents have made large efforts to hide their identity and to create two fictitious identities in order to prevent possibility of a connection between the two disputed domain names.

These elements clearly show bad faith at the time of registration of the disputed domain names.

Furthermore, the Panel notes that the disputed domain names point to parking webpages with hyperlinks, which redirect Internet users to some of the Complainant’s competitors’ websites (e.g. “www.hsbc.fr”; “www.adac.de”; “www.cimbanque.com” etc.).

This shows that the Respondents were perfectly aware of the existence of the Complainant’s trademark CREDIT MUTUEL and activities.

In addition, the Respondents take presumably pecuniary advantages by obtaining a commercial benefit for each user who is redirected to the Complainant’s competitors’ websites through the disputed domain names <creditmutuell.info> and <creditmutuell.org> (see Dr. Martens International Trading GmbH, Dr. Maertens Marketing GmbH v. Private Whols Service, WIPO Case No. D2011-1753and Get Away Today.Com Inc. v. Warren Gilbert, WIPO Case No. DCO2010-0021).

Finally, the Respondents have actively provided false contact details, in breach of their registration agreement with the Registrar.

For all these reasons, the Respondents have engaged in bad faith registration and use of the disputed domain names <creditmutuell.info> and <creditmutuell.org>.

7. Decision

For the foregoing reasons, in accordance with paragraphs 4(a) of the Policy and 15 of the Rules, the Panel orders that the disputed domain names <creditmutuell.info> and <creditmutuell.org> be transferred to the Complainant, Confédération Nationale du Crédit Mutuel.

Christian-André Le Stanc
Sole Panelist
Date: January 30, 2014