WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Confédération nationale du Crédit Mutuel v. Antony Tep
Case No. D2016-0651
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Confédération nationale du Crédit Mutuel of Paris, France, represented by MEYER & Partenaires, France.
The Respondent is Antony Tep of Manchester, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland ("United Kingdom").
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <groupe-creditmutuel.com> is registered with Cronon AG Berlin, Niederlassung Regensburg (the "Registrar").
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the "Center") on April 4, 2016. On April 4, 2016, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On April 11, 2016, 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").
The Complaint was submitted in English. The language of the registration agreement is German. On April 14, 2016, the Complainant requested that English be the language of the proceeding. No submission was received from the Respondent. The Center continued the administrative proceeding in both English and German.
In accordance with the Rules, paragraphs 2 and 4, the Center formally notified the Respondent of the Complaint, and the proceedings commenced on April 20, 2016. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was May 10, 2016. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent's default on May 11, 2016.
The Center appointed Tobias Zuberbühler as the sole panelist in this matter on May 19, 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
The Complainant is the political and central body for the banking group Crédit Mutuel. Crédit Mutuel is the second largest French banking and insurance group which has existed for more than a century.
The Complainant is the owner of a large number of CREDIT MUTUEL trademarks dating back to 1988.
The disputed domain name was registered on February 8, 2016, and is currently linked to the official website of the Crédit Mutuel Group at "www.creditmutuel.com".
5. Parties' Contentions
In summary, the Complainant contends the following:
The Complainant's trademark CREDIT MUTUEL is entirely reproduced in the disputed domain name. The sole difference between the disputed domain name and the Complainant's trademark consists in the addition of the generic French word "groupe" and a hyphen. This does not alter the risk of confusion with the Complainant's trademark, since the French word "groupe" is commonly used by consumers for designating the Complainant.
The Respondent is not related in any way to the Complainant's business: he is not one of its agents and does not carry out any activity for, or has any business with, the Complainant. The Respondent is not currently and never has been known under the name "Groupe Crédit Mutuel". No license or authorization has been granted to the Respondent to make any use or apply for registration of the disputed domain name.
Furthermore, it seems impossible that the Respondent was not aware of the Complainant's banking group and its CREDIT MUTUEL trademark when he registered the disputed domain name. The redirection of the disputed domain name to the Complainant's main website at "www.creditmutuel.com" shows that the Respondent knew the Complainant and its trademark. Since the Complainant has no control over this redirection, it could be changed in the Respondent's sole discretion at any time, which could harm the Complainant's rights and interests. The Respondent would also be able to send and receive emails through any address with the suffix "@groupe-creditmutuel.com". Such emails could easily be used for spamming or phishing purposes to the detriment of the Complainant.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant's contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
6.1. Preliminary Issues
According to information provided by the Registrar, the language of the registration agreement is German. The Complainant has filed its Complaint in English and submitted a request for English to be the language of the proceeding, considering that the Respondent is domiciled in the United Kingdom and the translation of the Complaint from English into German would result in additional significant costs and cause unnecessary delay in the proceedings. No submission on the language of the proceeding was received from the Respondent.
Paragraph 11(a) of the Rules provides that the language of the administrative proceedings shall be the language of the Registration Agreement, subject to the authority of the Panel to determine otherwise, having regard to the circumstances of the administrative proceeding. Considering that both parties evidently understand English, the Panel will issue the decision in English.
6.2. Substantial Issues
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The disputed domain name consists of the Complainant's trademark CREDIT MUTUEL and the suffix "groupe-", followed by the generic Top-Level Domain ("gTLD") ".com". According to the consensus view of UDRP panels, the addition of generic terms such as "groupe" (the French term for "group" [of companies]) to a trademark in a domain name is normally insufficient in itself to avoid a finding of confusing similarity (see WIPO Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions, Second Edition ("WIPO Overview 2.0"), paragraph 1.9). This all the more true here since the French word "groupe" is used to designate the Crédit Mutuel group of companies.
The gTLD ".com" may further be disregarded when assessing identity or confusing similarity.
The Complainant has thus fulfilled paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Policy.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
There are no indications before the Panel of any rights or legitimate interests of the Respondent in respect of the disputed domain name.
Based on the Complainant's credible contentions, the Panel finds that the Complainant, having made out a prima facie case which remains unrebutted by the Respondent, has fulfilled the requirements of paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
The disputed domain name redirects Internet users to the Complainant's main website "www.creditmutuel.com". This indicates that the Respondent was aware of the Complainant and its rights when the Respondent registered the disputed domain name. While such use of the disputed domain name may not fit perfectly within any of the circumstances listed in paragraph 4(b) of the Policy, this paragraph is expressly "without limitation". The unauthorized registration of a domain name, containing a clearly identifiable mark – by a party with no connection to the mark – is, in the circumstances of this case (including the Respondent's default), sufficiently redolent of bad faith. In addition, it must be taken into consideration that the Respondent could in its sole discretion change the redirection at any time and use the disputed domain name in a manner which could violate the Complainant's rights and interests more seriously.
Accordingly, the Complainant has also satisfied paragraph 4(a)(iii) 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 <groupe-creditmutuel.com> be transferred to the Complainant.
Date: June 2, 2016