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WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center


Confederation Nationale du Credit Mutuel v. Balley Arthur, Touvet-Gestion

Case No. D2015-2221

1. The Parties

Complainant is Confederation Nationale du Credit Mutuel of Paris, France, represented by MEYER & Partenaires, France.

Respondent is Balley Arthur, Touvet-Gestion of Porto-Novo, Benin.

2. The Domain Name and Registrar

The disputed domain name <credit-mutuelonline.com> is registered with PDR Ltd. d/b/a PublicDomainRegistry.com (the “Registrar”).

3. Procedural History

The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on December 7, 2015. On December 8, 2015, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On December 10, 2015, the Registrar transmitted by email to the Center its verification response confirming that 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 Respondent of the Complaint, and the proceedings commenced on December 10, 2015. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was December 30, 2015. Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified Respondent’s default on January 4, 2016.

The Center appointed Martin Schwimmer as the sole panelist in this matter on January 12, 2016. 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

Complainant is a large French bank. It owns the CREDIT MUTUEL trademark. Its registrations for the CREDIT MUTUEL mark predate the registration of the disputed domain name.

The disputed domain name, <credit-mutuelonline.com>, does not resolve to an active website at this time.

5. Parties’ Contentions

A. Complainant

Complainant has proffered numerous trademark and domain name registrations incorporating CREDIT MUTUEL.

Previous UDRP panels have found that the CREDIT MUTUEL trademark is well known. Confederation Nationale du Credit Mutuel v. Phillippe Marie, WIPO Case No. D2010-1513.

Complainant contends that the disputed domain name is identical or confusingly similar to the CREDIT MUTUEL mark.

Complainant denies that Respondent has any license, permission, or authorization to use the CREDIT MUTUEL trademark, and, accordingly, that Respondent has any rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name.

Complainant alleges that Respondent is passively using the disputed domain name, and that passive use of a domain name containing a well-known trademark, such as that of Complainant, constitutes registration and use in bad faith.

B. Respondent

Respondent did not reply to Complainant’s contentions.

6. Discussion and Findings

A. Identical or Confusingly Similar

Complainant clearly has rights in the trademark CREDIT MUTUEL for purposes of paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Policy.

Complainant’s trademark is incorporated in the disputed domain name in its entirety with the addition of the descriptive expression “online”. The addition is likely to reinforce the association with Complainant to the extent that it provides online services.

It is well established that the generic Top-Level Domain (“gTLD”), in this case “.com”, would typically be excluded from consideration when determining whether a domain name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark held by a complainant.

Therefore, the Panel finds that Complainant has demonstrated that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to the trademark CREDIT MUTUEL and has satisfied the requirements of paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Policy.

B. Rights or Legitimate Interests

The second ground to be demonstrated by Complainant, according to the provisions of the Policy, is Respondent’s absence of any rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name, per paragraph 4(c) of the Policy.

Previous UDRP panels have consistently held that it is sufficient for a complainant to prove a prima facie case that the respondent does not hold rights or legitimate interests in the domain name (see Croatia Airlines d.d. v. Modern Empire Internet Ltd., WIPO Case No. D2003-0455 and Belupo d.d. v. WACHEM d.o.o., WIPO Case No. D2004-0110). Once a prima facie case is shown, the burden of production shifts to the respondent to come forward with appropriate allegations or evidence demonstrating its rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name.

The Panel is satisfied that Respondent has no connection or affiliation with Complainant, is not commonly known by the disputed domain name and has not received any license or consent to use the trademark in a domain name or in any other manner. Complainant has established a prima facie case.

In addition, Respondent has not submitted any reply to Complainant’s contentions.

Therefore, in light of Complainant’s prima facie case, the Panel finds that Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name.

C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith

The Panel concurs with prior UDRP panel decisions that the CREDIT MUTUEL trademark is well-known.

Respondent has registered the disputed domain name but has not put it to any use other than parking it. Respondent is passively holding the disputed domain name. Furthermore, it has not responded to the Complaint in order to offer any explanation for its selection of the disputed domain name.

It has long been generally held in UDRP decisions that the passive holding of a domain name that incorporates a well-known trademark, without obvious legitimate purpose, will be deemed to be bad faith use pursuant to paragraph 4(a)(iii) of the Policy (Telstra Corporation Limited v. Nuclear Marshmallows, WIPO Case No. D2000-0003).

The Panel finds that the disputed domain name was registered and is being used in bad faith.

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, <credit-mutuelonline.com>, be transferred to the Complainant.

Martin Schwimmer
Sole Panelist
Date: February 10, 2016