WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Association Robert Mazars v. Jean Znathan, Mazars et Co.
Case No. D2014-1200
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Association Robert Mazars of La Défense, France, represented by Carakters, France.
The Respondent is Jean Znathan, Mazars et Co. of Paris, France.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <consulting-mazars.com> is registered with 1&1 Internet AG (the "Registrar").
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the "Center") on July 10, 2014. On July 10, 2014, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On July 11, 2014, the Registrar transmitted by email to the Center its verification response confirming that the 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 the Respondent of the Complaint, and the proceedings commenced on July 22, 2014. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was August 11, 2014. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent's default on August 12, 2014.
The Center appointed Michel Vivant as the sole panelist in this matter on August 18, 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.
4. Factual Background
The Complainant is an association, registered under the laws of France on December 14, 1992, offering, notably, auditing and financing services. The Complainant owns various trademark registrations for MAZARS, including: French trademark registrations from 1993 and a Community trademark registration from 2004.
The Respondent registered the disputed domain name <consulting-mazars.com> on June 10, 2014.
5. Parties' Contentions
The Complainant asserts that the disputed domain name is identical or confusingly similar to its trademark. It observes that the disputed domain name incorporates the Complainant's trademark MAZARS in its entirety. It adds that the inclusion of an additional term such as "consulting" does not dispel the disputed domain name from being identical or confusingly similar and is not sufficient to render the disputed domain name distinctive from the Complainant's mark.
The Complainant considers that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name, mainly because the Complainant has neither licensed nor otherwise authorized the Respondent to use its marks or to apply for or use any domain name incorporating the trademark MAZARS.
Finally, in addressing the question of registration and use of the disputed domain name in bad faith, the Complainant observes that the Respondent could not ignore the Complainant's trademarks, chose to introduce himself with a fake identity and finally did not use the disputed domain name.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant's contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The disputed domain name <consulting-mazars.com> incorporates the Complainant's trademark MAZARS and in this Panel's view the inclusion of the additional term "consulting" does not dispel the disputed domain name from being identical or confusingly similar and is not sufficient to render the disputed domain name distinctive from the Complainant's mark. Furthermore, the added term describes one of the Complainant's activities, which creates an additional link with the Complainant.
The Panel finds that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to the Complainant's trademark, according to the Policy, paragraph 4(a)(i).
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
This Panel notes that the Respondent did not receive any kind of authorization in order to use the disputed domain name.
Noting the absence of any reply by the Respondent, and any active use of the disputed domain name, the Panel finds that the Complainant has established a prima facie case that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name.
Further, in the present case it must be underlined that the Respondent introduced himself under the "fancy name" "Jean Znathan, mazars et co", as if he had a link with the Complainant. That is an obvious sign of bad faith (see below) and this clumsy attempt to create an appearance of a legitimate interest in the disputed domain name actually demonstrates that this legitimacy does not exist.
The Panel concludes that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name, according to the Policy, paragraph 4(a)(ii).
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
The Respondent does not appear to have had any good faith reason for registering the disputed domain name, which can be understood as a variation of the Complainant's trademark. The Panel finds that it would not have been possible, at the time of registration, to be ignorant of the existence of the concerned trademark, at least if one had undertaken a rudimentary on-line search. But, more, the Panel agrees with the idea that "it is unlikely that registration of the domain name would be coincidental since the Complainant's trademarks and activities in the field of audit, accounting and consulting are well-known by professional throughout the world".
The choice of a "fancy identification" with a name and an address "inaccurate and incoherent" (as the Complainant says) is also further evidence of bad faith to this Panel.
Finally, considering the non-use of the disputed domain name, it is established UDRP precedent that passive holding can be viewed as bad faith use, considering the overall circumstances of the case (see the WIPO Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions, Second Edition ("WIPO Overview 2.0"), paragraph 3.2). No response to the complaint having been filed, and the registrant's concealment of its identity are two circumstances explicitly identified in paragraph 3.2 as indicia of bad faith passive holding.
In the light of a similar case concerning the passive holding of domain names confusingly similar to the Complainant's MAZARS mark, the Panel considers that "the bad faith behavior of the Respondent results clearly of [his] lack of response to the complaint, and to the inaccuracy and incoherence of [his] addresses". Association Robert Mazars v. François Varin, Jerome Adrien, Laurent Bernard, Nicolas Mazars, WIPO Case No. D2014-0498.
Therefore, the Panel finds that the requirement of registration and use in bad faith is satisfied, according to the Policy, paragraph 4(a)(iii).
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 <consulting-mazars.com> be transferred to the Complainant.
Date: August 22, 2014