WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Crédit Mutuel Arkea v. Lawrence Thompson
Case No. D2015-1636
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Crédit Mutuel Arkea of Le Relecq-Kerhuon, France, represented by Nameshield, France.
The Respondent is Lawrence Thompson of Kamen, Germany.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <crédit-mutuel-bretagne.com> (<xn-crdit-mutuel-bretagne-c5b.com>) is registered with Cronon AG (the “Registrar”).
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on September 16, 2015. On September 16, 2015, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On September 17, 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 Complaint was submitted in English. On September 29, 2015, the Center sent an email communication to the Parties in both German and English regarding the language of the proceeding. On October 1, 2015, the Complainant submitted a request to proceed in English. No submission from the Respondent was received.
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 and 4, the Center formally notified the Respondent of the Complaint in both German and English, and the proceedings commenced on October 6, 2015. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was October 26, 2015. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on October 27, 2015.
The Center appointed Jonas Gulliksson as the sole panelist in this matter on November 5, 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 the owner of the French trademark registration for CREDIT MUTUEL DE BRETAGNE (figurative) for services in class 36, registered on March 27, 2015. The registration has application no. 4139037.
The disputed domain name was registered September 1, 2015 by the Respondent and resolves to an inactive website.
5. Parties’ Contentions
The Complainant mainly asserts the following:
The disputed domain name is confusingly similar to the Complainant’s trademark CREDIT MUTUEL DE BRETAGNE. The addition of two hyphens and the removal of “de” are not sufficient to distinguish the disputed domain name from the Complainant’s trademark.
The Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. The Respondent is not affiliated with nor associated with the Complainant in any way. Further, there is no activity on the Respondent’s website.
The domain name was registered and is being used in bad faith. The Respondent had full knowledge of the Complainant’s trademark and used it for the purpose of misleading and diverting Internet traffic. The website is inactive since the registration of the disputed domain name. The Respondent’s use of the disputed domain name can be considered as passive holding.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
Preliminary issue: Language of the proceeding
The Rules paragraph 11 provide that unless otherwise agreed by the parties, the language of the proceeding shall be the language of the registration agreement. According to the information received from the Registrar, the language of the registration agreement in this case is German.
The Complainant has requested that the proceedings be conducted in English. Despite having the opportunity to do so the Respondent has not replied to this request. The Panel notes also that the website is not in German and that the terms of the disputed domain name are in French. In the absence of a response either in relation to the question of the language of the proceedings or as a formal reply to the Complaint, no disadvantage accrues to the Respondent, since all correspondence from the Center with the Respondent was forwarded in both German and English. In the circumstances the Panel has decided to conduct the proceeding in English in accordance with paragraph 2(a) of the Rules.
Paragraph 4(a) of the Policy requires the Complainant to prove all three of the following elements:
(i) that the disputed domain name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which the Complainant has rights;
(ii) that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name; and
(iii) that the disputed domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The Panel notes that the disputed domain name contains the Complainant’s trademark in its entirety except “de”, and the Panel therefore finds the disputed domain name confusingly similar to the Complainant’s trademark CREDIT MUTUEL DE BRETAGNE. Accordingly, the Panel finds the requirements of the first paragraph of the Policy fulfilled.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
In cases when a respondent fails to present a response, the complainant is still required to make a prima facie case that the respondent lacks rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name.
The Panel finds that the Complainant has established a prima facie case that the Respondent lacks rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. The Respondent has not proven otherwise. The Panel therefore finds the requirements of the second paragraph of the Policy fulfilled.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
The disputed domain name was registered after registration of the Complainant’s trademark. The Complainant’s trademark CREDIT MUTUEL DE BRETAGNE serves to designate the Bretagne branch of the French bank Crédit Mutuel. The Panel finds that it is very unlikely that the Respondent registered the disputed domain name without knowledge of the Complainant’s trademark and that the lack of activity on the website further indicates use in bad faith. Passive holding of a domain name does not prevent a finding of bad faith registration and use. The Panel therefore finds that the third paragraph of the Policy is fulfilled.
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 <crédit-mutuel-bretagne.com> the IDN/ACE coding: (<xn-crdit-mutuel-bretagne-c5b.com>) be transferred to the Complainant.
Date: November 12, 2015