WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center

ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION

Crédit Industriel et Commercial S.A. v. Joaquim Veiga

Case No. D2016-0833

1. The Parties

The Complainant is Crédit Industriel et Commercial S.A. of Paris, France, represented by Meyer & Partenaires, France.

The Respondent is Joaquim Veiga of "Paris", United States of America.

2. The Domain Name and Registrar

The disputed domain name <cic-conseiller.com> is registered with Melbourne IT Ltd (the "Registrar").

3. Procedural History

The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the "Center") on April 27, 2016. On April 27, 2016, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On April 28, 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").

In accordance with the Rules, paragraphs 2 and 4, the Center formally notified the Respondent of the Complaint, and the proceedings commenced on May 2, 2016. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was May 22, 2016. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent's default on May 26, 2016.

The Center appointed Charles Gielen as the sole panelist in this matter on June 6, 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 a France-based deposit bank.

The Complainant is the owner of a number of trademarks consisting in or including the sign "C.I.C" or "CIC", which trademarks are registered in several countries in the world. Among others, the Complainant owns a French registration for the trademark C.I.C., No. 1358524, registered on June 10, 1968, for services in classes 35 and 36 as well as a European Union registration for CIC, No. 005891411, registered on May 10, 2007, for goods and services in classes 9, 16, 35 and 36.

The disputed domain name <cic-conseiller.com> was registered on October 25, 2015. The disputed domain name resolves to a website stating that the website is "currently unavailable".

5. Parties' Contentions

A. Complainant

The Complainant is the French oldest deposit bank; it was set up in 1859 by an imperial decree signed by Napoleon III. The Complainant was nationalized in 1982 and re-privatized 1997. The Complainant has more than 4,7 million clients, among them almost 770,000 professionals and businesses. More than 2,000 agencies are distributed in France and 38 abroad. The Complainant operates a website accessible through the domain name <cic.fr>, through which clients of the Complainant can be informed about the services offered by the group and also have online access to their bank accounts for managing them thanks to a specific secured interface. The Complainant argues that its marks are well-known and have a strong reputation which has been recognised in a number of earlier UDRP decisions. The Complainant refers in particular to Credit Industriel et Commercial S.A., Banque Fédérative du Credit Mutuel v. Headwaters MB, WIPO Case No. D2008-1892 and Credit Industriel et Commercial v. Mao Adnri,WIPO Case No. D2013-2143.

According to the Complainant, the disputed domain name gives access to a holding page saying that the disputed domain name is unavailable. The WhoIs database mentions the name of the Respondent, an address, city, telephone number and country. According to the Complainant these data are fictitious and false. The street in Paris that is specified does not exist, the mentioned country is "US" for the United States instead of "FR" for France and the telephone number seems to correspond to someone else.

The Complainant contends that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to the Complainant's trademark. It contains the trademark CIC of the Complainant followed by the descriptive word "conseiller" that in particular for French customers clearly means "advisor". The use of this word adds to the possibility of confusion because it is commonly used in the banking business field and on the Internet in connection with banking services provided offline or online and also because it is used regularly by the Complainant on its website.

Furthermore, the Complainant states that the Respondent does not have any rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. The Complainant has never licensed or authorized the Respondent to use the trademark CIC which was used and registered long before the Respondent registered the disputed domain name. In particular, the Respondent cannot possibly show that before any notice of this dispute, the Respondent engaged in the use of the disputed domain name in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services within the meaning of paragraph 4(c)(i) of the Policy nor a legitimate noncommercial or fair use pursuant to paragraph 4(c)(iii) of the Policy. Finally the Complainant argues that using a false identity at the time of registering the disputed domain name is evidence of lack of rights or legitimate interests in the domain name.

Finally the Complainant states that the Respondent registered and uses the disputed domain name in bad faith. The Complainant refers to the fact that the trademarks are well-known. According to the Complainant that fact creates a prima facie presumption that the Respondent registered the disputed domain name for the purpose of selling it to the Complainant or one of its competitors, or that it was indented to be used in some way to attract for commercial gain users to the website by creating a likelihood of confusion with the Complainant's trademark. The Complainant argues that the Respondent has registered the disputed domain name precisely because he knew the well-known character of the trademark CIC in France. The word "conseiller" (in English, "advisor") added to this trademark in the disputed domain name is a word that would strengthen French and other Internet users to believe that they are dealing with the Complainant's website. Furthermore, the Respondent has made large efforts to hide his identity and to create a fictitious identity, certainly in order to prevent any action from the Complainant against his person. According to the Complainant, the chosen name is very common and the address mentioned in the disputed domain name registration does not exist, since that street does not exist in Paris. Furthermore, the telephone number does not correspond to the syntax of French phone numbers (10 numbers beginning with a 0). Finally, the Complainant argues that the disputed domain name is being used in bad faith. What the Respondent does amounts to a so-called passive holding. The visible use of the disputed domain name is a holding page from the hosting company InMotion Hosting that delivers a message to the owner of the disputed domain name about its domain name being "unavailable." The Complainant argues that the Respondent cannot escape a finding of use in bad faith by holding a disputed domain name in a state of non-use, if the surrounding circumstances indicate that the domain name comprises another's famous trademark without plausible excuse. Since the trademark CIC is well known and the Respondent used fictitious and false data, the disputed domain name is used in bad faith.

B. Respondent

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

6. Discussion and Findings

The Panel is of the opinion that the Complainant's contentions are reasoned and that the disputed domain name should be transferred to the Complainant pursuant to the Policy. The Panel gives the following reasons for its decision:

A. Identical or Confusingly Similar

The Complainant proves that it has rights in the trademark CIC (and also the trademark C.I.C. which is not further discussed here) which is used extensively for, among other, banking services in particular in France. The trademark CIC, an abbreviation of the Complainant's company name, certainly is not a fantasy term. The disputed domain name contains this trademark as the most dominant part followed by the descriptive word "conseiller" that in French means "advisor" and which likely will be understood by the relevant French public as such, in particular since this word if regularly used in combination with banking services. The Panel is of the opinion that for these reasons the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to the trademark of the Complainant. The added generic Top-Level Domain ("gTLD") ".com" does not change the finding that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar, since the ".com" is generally understood to be the most popular gTLD. In making the comparison between the trademark and the disputed domain name the gTLD is usually disregarded. The Panel is of the opinion that applying these principles to this case, the disputed domain name should be considered confusingly similar to the trademark.

Therefore, the requirement under paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Policy is met.

B. Rights or Legitimate Interests

The Panel is of the opinion that the Complainant made out a prima facie case that the Respondent lacks rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. The first reason is that the distinctive abbreviation "cic" is not a word one would choose as a domain name without having specific reasons to choose such a word. This word certainly is not a descriptive term serving to indicate specific characteristics of any goods or services. Furthermore, the disputed domain name was registered long after the Complainant started to use the trademark CIC. The Respondent did not contest the Complainant's argument that it had never granted any authorization or license to the Respondent to use this trademark. The Panel notes that the mere fact that the Respondent used fictitious and false data when registering the disputed domain name is a clear presumption of lack of rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name.

In view of the aforementioned, the Panel is of the opinion that the requirement of paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy is met.

C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith

The Panel is of the opinion that the disputed domain name was registered and is being used in bad faith. The Panel finds that a clear presumption of the registration of the disputed domain name being in bad faith lies in the fact that the Respondent used fictitious and false data when registering the disputed domain name. The Panel is also of the opinion that the use made of the disputed domain name amounts to bad faith use. First of all, the disputed domain name consists of the well-known mark CIC of the Complainant followed by the term "conseiller" that the Complainant often uses in connection with the offering of its services. This shows a clear attempt to ride on the coattails of the owner of the well-known trademark and as such is an act of bad faith. Furthermore the disputed domain name results in a holding page showing that the disputed domain name is unavailable. As other UDRP panels have held, a respondent cannot escape a finding of use in bad faith by holding a disputed domain name in a state of non-use, if the surrounding circumstances indicate that the domain name comprises another's famous trademark without plausible excuse. The Panel finds that this reasoning applies here, where it is clear that the trademark of the Complainant is well-known and the Respondent used fictitious and false data when registering the disputed domain name.

The Panel therefore considers the requirement of paragraph 4(a)(iii) to be met.

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 <cic-conseiller.com> be transferred to the Complainant.

Charles Gielen
Sole Panelist
Date: June 13, 2006