WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Allianz Sigorta A.S., Allianz Hayat ve Emeklilik A.S. v. Selcuk Yildiz
Case No. D2015-1762
1. The Parties
The Complainants are Allianz Sigorta A.S. and Allianz Hayat ve Emeklilik A.S. (collectively, the "Complainant") of Istanbul, Turkey, represented by Dericioglu & Yasar Law Office, Turkey.
The Respondent is Selcuk Yildiz of Istanbul, Turkey, self-represented.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <allianztower.com> is registered with GoDaddy.com, LLC (the "Registrar").
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the "Center") on October 5, 2015. On October 5, 2015, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On October 5, 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 and 4, the Center formally notified the Respondent of the Complaint, and the proceedings commenced on October 15, 2015. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was November 4, 2015. The Response was filed with the Center on November 3, 2015.
The Center appointed Dilek Ustun Ekdial as the sole panelist in this matter on November 16, 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 Turkish insurance company belonging to the well-known Allianz Group. The Allianz Group was first established in the year 1890 and belongs to the worldwide leading insurance companies, its headquarter is located in Munich, Germany.
The Complainant offers various kinds of insurance products and services in Turkey.
The parent company of the Complainant, Allianz SE, is the registered owner of a large number of national, Community and international trademarks. Since 1997, Allianz SE has also owned registered trademark rights in Turkey for various goods and services, in particular in respect to insurance services.
Further to the trademark rights of its parent company, the Complainant has registered and operates domain names ending with the Turkish country code TLD ".tr", including <allianz.com.tr>, <allianzsigorta.com.tr> and <allianzemeklilik.com.tr> since 2008.
According to the information provided in the Complaint, the disputed domain name <allianztower.com> was created on January 21, 2015 and registered in the name of the Respondent. The Respondent is an individual located in Istanbul, Turkey.
5. Parties' Contentions
The Complainant argues that it has been in business in Turkey since 1923, initially starting with the company name "Sark Sigorta". It is alleged that in 1998 the company's name changed into "Koc Allianz Sigorta" and "Koc Allianz Hayat Sigorta A.S.". The Complainant states that in 2008 the Allianz Group and the Koc Group separated their business and the Allianz Group has continued its work in the region as "Allianz Sigorta A.S." and "Allianz Hayat ve Emeklilik A.S.".
As a remedy in these administrative proceedings, the Complainant requests the transfer of the disputed domain name, based on the following reasons:
First, the Complainant argues that it is entitled to claim trademark rights in the mark ALLIANZ, which are registered in the name of its parent company Allianz SE.
Second, the Complainant believes that the disputed domain name is identical or at least confusingly similar to the ALLIANZ trademark as it fully incorporates the mark ALLIANZ.
Third, the Complainant argues that the Respondent has no right or legitimate interest in respect of the disputed domain name and has registered and used it in bad faith.
In this regard, the Complainant underlines that it has never granted a permission or license to the Respondent to use the trademark ALLIANZ. It is further alleged that the Respondent has never used and does not intend to use the mark ALLIANZ in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services or in any other legitimate commercial or noncommercial way.
Finally, the Complainant believes that the Respondent must have known the ALLIANZ trademark well before the registration of the disputed domain name. The disputed domain name was registered on January 21, 2015 by the Respondent. The announcement day of the moving of Alliance Turkey to the Ronesans Tower and that the tower will be called "Allianz Tower" was coincidently the same day as the registration of disputed domain name.
The Complainant adds that "allianztower" is not a generic term and/or the Respondent does not have any affiliation to or legal interest in it. Additionally, the disputed domain name has been passively held since its registration. By also taking into consideration that the disputed domain name was registered with the email address "tr.domainshop@[...]", it is obvious that the Respondent's main purpose is to sell the disputed domain name.
The Panel note that the Response has been submitted in Turkish. Briefly, the Respondent claims that:
- The disputed domain name has been inactive since when it was registered.
- The word "Allianz" is a unique word which means "togetherness" in the German language.
- The registration has been made under the "first come, first serve" rule.
- The Respondent has no bad faith intention.
6. Discussion and Findings
Paragraph 15(a) of the Rules requires the Panel to decide the Complaint on the basis of the statements and documents submitted and in accordance with the Policy, the Rules and any rules and principles of law that it deems applicable.
Under paragraph 4(a) of the Policy, the Complainant bears the burden of showing:
(i) that the disputed 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 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 finds that the disputed domain name <allianztower.com> is confusingly similar to the ALLIANZ trademark, to which the Complainant has rights via its relationship to its parent company. See, paragraph 1.8, WIPO Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions, Second Edition ("WIPO Overview 2.0"").
The disputed domain name <allianztower.com> fully incorporates the trademark ALLIANZ. The only difference is the addition of generic term "tower".
In the Panel's view, the addition of generic terms like "tower" does not negate the confusing similarity between the Complainant's trademark and the disputed domain name. Bearing in mind the notoriety of the mark ALLIANZ, the Panel concludes that the disputed domain name is likely to confuse Internet users into believing that the disputed domain name is endorsed by the Complainant.
It is well-established that in making an enquiry as to whether a trademark is identical or confusingly similar to a domain name, the generic Top-Level Domain ("gTLD") extension, in this case ".com", may be disregarded (See Rohde & Schwarz GmbH & Co. KG v. Pertshire Marketing, Ltd., WIPO Case No. D2006-0762).
Additionally, the Respondent has brought no argument to support the contention that the disputed domain name is not identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which the Complainant has rights.
Hence, the Panel is of the opinion that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to the trademark ALLIANZ and therefore concludes that the first requirement under paragraph 4(a) of the Policy is fulfilled.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
The Panel finds that the Complainant has made a prima facie case that the Respondent lacks rights or legitimate interests. The Complainant showed, inter alia, that the Respondent has neither a license nor any other permission to use the disputed domain name. The Respondent has failed to demonstrate such rights or legitimate interests. The Respondent has not provided any evidence of the type specified in paragraph 4(c) of the Policy, or of any other circumstances giving rise to a right or legitimate interest in the disputed domain name. As the disputed domain name is passively held, it is clear that the Respondent has not demonstrated any bona fide offering of goods or services by use of the disputed domain name and has not rebutted the Complainant's prima facie case. Nor has the Respondent shown that it has been commonly known by the disputed domain name.
As to the contentions in the Response, the mere fact that an element of the disputed domain name may have a descriptive meaning is of no assistance in establishing a right thereto when nothing in the record indicates it has been used in relation to this descriptive meaning. Additionally, "First Come First Served" does not establish any rights or legitimate interests within the meaning of the Policy. See, s. Oliver Bernd Freier GmbH & Co. KG v. Su Chin Tsai, WIPO Case No. D2009-1202.
The Panel finds that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name, and that the requirement of paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy is met.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
The Panel is well aware of the notoriety and reputation of the trademark ALLIANZ. The Panel believes that the Respondent must have known of this trademark when registering the disputed domain name. This is in particular likely as the disputed domain name has been registered well after the Complainant's trademark ALLIANZ has become recognized worldwide, including in Turkey.
As in Telstra Corporation Limited v. Nuclear Marshmallows, WIPO Case No. D2000-0003 and Ladbroke Group Plc v. Sonnoma International LDC, WIPO Case No. D2002-0131, two cases analyzing how passively held domain names should be treated under the third element of the Policy, after examining all circumstances surrounding the registration and use of the disputed domain name (including that it was registered the day of the announcement of "Allianz Tower" as the name of the Complainant's new business location in the Respondent's country), the Panel finds that the Respondent registered and is using the disputed domain name in bad faith. Accordingly the Panel finds in favor of the Complainant on the third element of the Policy.
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 <allianztower.com> be transferred to the Complainant.
Dilek Ustun Ekdial
Date: December 1, 2015