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WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center


Sydbank A/S v. Syd Bank

Case No. D2015-0324

1. The Parties

The Complainant is Sydbank A/S of Aabenraa, Denmark, represented by Bech-Bruun Law Firm, Denmark.

The Respondent is Syd Bank of Clapton, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

2. The Domain Name and Registrar

The disputed domain name <dk-sydbank.com> is registered with EPAG Domainservices GmbH (the “Registrar”).

3. Procedural History

The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on February 26, 2015. On February 26, 2015, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On February 27, 2015, 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 March 3, 2015. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was March 23, 2015. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on March 24, 2015.

The Center appointed Nicolas Ulmer as the sole panelist in this matter on March 27, 2015. 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 a Danish bank and holds Danish and European trademarks for the word “sydbank”, registered in 2005 and 2007, respectively. The Complainant also maintains a website in connection with its business under the domain names <sydbank.dk>, <sydbank.com> and <sydbank.de>. The word Sydbank means “south bank” in the Danish language, and the Complainant reports that it began its operations in the southern part of Denmark. According to the Complaint, the Complainant is now present throughout Denmark with 80 branches and has branches in Germany as well.

The disputed domain name was registered in February 2015.

5. Parties’ Contentions

A. Complainant

The Complainant asserts that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to its trademark and name as it incorporates the entirety of the trademark. The fact that the disputed domain name contains the prefix “dk-” does not, the Complainant asserts, impart any significant difference to distinguish the disputed domain name from the Complainant’s trademark. The Complainant further asserts that it has never licensed or given any permission to the Respondent to use its trademarks or name, in the disputed domain name or otherwise, and that to the best of its knowledge the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name.

Further, the Complainant alleges that the disputed domain name was registered and used in bad faith. This is because the disputed domain name was registered long after the Complainant became a well-known bank and had registered its name as a trademark and in several domain names. The Complainant furthermore alleges that the disputed domain name is not used as an entry point for any webpage, but rather either redirects the user to the Complainant’s website or to a landing page where the users are informed that: “Your account has been created! The website dk-sydbank.com has been installed on the server! You must delete the file default.php from the public html folder and subsequently upload your website by means of FTP or File Manager.” The annexes to the Complaint show screen shots supporting these assertions.

The foregoing, the Complainant contends, demonstrates that the Respondent is “phishing” and using the disputed domain name wrongfully to acquire personal and/or banking information from Internet users by masquerading as a trustworthy bank with need for that information. In addition, the Respondent’s name and the contact email address of the disputed domain name mimic the Complainant’s name and email address, in order to imply that the disputed domain name is to be identified with the Complainant. For this and other reasons the Complainant asserts that “the Respondent’s intentions are not legit.”

The Complainant accordingly requests that the disputed domain name be transferred to it.

B. Respondent

The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.

6. Discussion and Findings

A. Identical or Confusingly Similar

The disputed domain name contains the entirety of the Complainant’s trademark, first registered some ten years prior to the disputed domain name. The use of the prefix “dk-” in the disputed domain name does little to diminish this obvious and confusing similarity, all the more so as “DK” is the common abbreviation for Denmark, which is the Complainant’s base and principal place of business. The requirement of paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Policy is proven.

B. Rights or Legitimate Interests

The Complainant needs to establish at least a prima facie case showing that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name. See Croatia Airlines d.d. v. Modern Empire Internet Ltd., WIPO Case No. D2003-0455. Once such a prima facie case is made, the burden shifts to the Respondent to demonstrate that it has rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. See also, Meizu Technology Co., Ltd v. “osama bin laden”, WIPO Case No. DCO2014-0002; H & M Hennes & Mauritz v. Simon Maufe, Akinsaya Odunayo Emmanuel and Nelson Rivaldo, WIPO Case No. D2014-0225.

In the present case the Complainant has clearly asserted that it has never given permission to the Respondent to use its trademarks in the disputed domain name or otherwise, that it has no business relationship or affiliation with the Respondent, and that it has no knowledge or belief of any right or legitimate interest of the Respondent in the disputed domain name.

The WhoIs database for the Respondent lists the registrant of the disputed domain name as “Syd Bank”, and that is therefore the name of the Respondent in this matter. The mere use of a variation of a trademarked name to register the disputed domain name does not establish rights or legitimate interests in the same. There is here no evidence or indicia that the name “Syd Bank”, much less “dk-Sydbank”, is the Respondent’s true or commonly-known name, or any evidence suggesting that the Respondent has any rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name.

The Respondent having failed to answer the Complaint, the Complainant has accordingly met its burden under paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy.

C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith

The disputed domain name contains an established trademark of a banking business well-known to consumers and Internet users. It is not plausible that such a domain name was chosen serendipitously, and there is no evidence that this registration was done in good faith; all indicia including, notably, the timing of the registration and the subsequent use of the disputed domain name leads the Panel to find a bad faith registration.

The Complainant accuses the Respondent of “phishing” and produces evidence in the form of screen shots which would be consistent with that accusation. In particular, there is evidence that the Respondent was willingly suggesting to Internet users that it was affiliated or identical with the Complainant, a bank which handles personal and sensitive financial information. A screen shot submitted by the Complainant and dated of February 24, 2015 communicates: “Your account has been created”, followed by instructions to delete and then upload material; the Complainant submits that this can only be evidence of “phishing”. When the Panel logged on to the disputed domain name in late March it resolved to a notice in capitals of “DOMAIN PARKED” at “Easyname”. This, apparently subsequent, “parking” of the disputed domain name does not here defeat a claim of bad faith use, all the more as it is well established that even a passive holding of a disputed domain name may be in bad faith. It is also not essential here affirmatively to determine that the Respondent was engaged in “phishing”. The evidence of the Respondent’s behaviour with respect to the disputed domain name is inconsistent with any good faith explanation, and clearly shows an attempted exploitation of the Complainant’s name and mark for some genre of improper gain within the meaning of the Policy.

The Panel accordingly determines that the disputed domain name has been registered and used in bad faith under paragraph 4(a)(iii) of the Policy.

7. Decision

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 <dk-sydbank.com> be transferred to the Complainant.

Nicolas Ulmer
Sole Panelist
Date: April 2, 2015