WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Confédération Nationale du Crédit Mutuel v. Carole Real
Case No. 16-0857
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Confédération Nationale du Crédit Mutuel of Paris, France, represented by MEYER & Partenaires, France.
The Respondent is Carole Real of Floirac, Nabraska, United States of America.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <ccreditmutuel.net> 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 28, 2016. On April 29, 2016, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On May 2, 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 3, 2016. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was May 23, 2016. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent's default on May 27, 2016.
The Center appointed Gunnar Karnell as the sole panelist in this matter on June 3, 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 disputed domain name was registered on December 27, 2015.
The Complainant owns a number of trademark rights and rights to domain names on the wording CREDIT MUTUEL established prior to the registration of the disputed domain name, e. g. the Community Trademark CREDIT MUTUEL, Registration No. 9943135 of May 5, 2011 and <creditmutuel.com>, registered on October 28, 1995. All the Complainant's domain names redirect to the Complainant's official web portal.
On February 2, 2016, the Complainant was informed about the registration of the disputed domain name and consequently sent a cease and desist letter to the registrant in order to obtain transfer of ownership of this disputed domain name to the Complainant. There was no answer received.
The Complainant has requested that the disputed domain name be transferred to the Complainant. The website at the disputed domain name has been blocked by the Registrar and is inactive.
5. Parties' Contentions
The disputed domain name is highly confusingly similar to trademarks CREDIT MUTUEL in which the Complainant owns rights by registration and by its trademark being well known in the sense of article 6 bis of the Paris Union Convention.
The trademark CREDIT MUTUEL is entirely reproduced in the disputed domain name, the sole difference, apart from the generic Top-Level Domain ("gTLD") indicator ".net", here of no legal significance, being the added first letter "c". It constitutes typosquatting as an obvious misspelling of the Complainant's trademark with the sole intent to attract Internet users making mistakes believing the Complainant to be the owner of the disputed domain name or at least that it has been registered with the Complainant's consent.
The Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name, not being related in any way to the Complainant's business. The Respondent is not presently known and it has never been known under the wording "Ccredit Mutuel". It has never been granted any license or authorization to make any use or application for registration of the disputed domain name or to register any domain name incorporating the Complainant's trademark. The Respondent has not shown any legitimate interest in using the disputed domain name or in a bona fide offering of goods or services. Also, the disputed domain name has been registered by the Respondent to probably lead a phishing attempt against the Complainant, since the related website has been blocked for suspicion of such an activity.
The disputed domain name was registered and it is being used in bad faith. The Respondent will have known the Complainant's, in banking and financial services well and widely known, trademark CREDIT MUTUEL when registering the disputed domain name, conscious about infringing the Complainant's rights reflected in its trademark and without the intention to make a fair or legitimate active use of the disputed domain name. Still, the Respondent has not attempted even to offer the disputed domain name for sale to the Complainant or to reach out for another kind of contact with the Complainant about the disputed domain name.
The disputed domain name is inactive, having become "blocked by the Netcraft Toolbar believed to be part of a fraudulent phishing attack". Currently, it directs to a sole webpage provided by a hosting company. Such "passive holding", appearing intended to create an association with the Complainant's trademarks without any obvious legitimate noncommercial or fair use purpose, constitutes opportunistic bad faith use, as has been made clear in a number of WIPO UDRP decisions, such as Confédération Nationale du Crédit Mutuel v. Balley Arthur, Touvet-Gestion, WIPO Case No. 15-2221. Bad faith use is also made evident by the fact that the Respondent never mentions in its website that there is no link between the website of the French bank and the Respondent's website and activity. The Respondent, undoubtedly not making any good faith use of the disputed domain name, has infringed also paragraph 4(b)(iv) of the Policy. The Complainant emphasizes that as a banking group that continually faces counterfeiting/phishing attempts it must prevent any new fake of its website, protecting its clients from counterfeiting and fraud.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant's contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
The factual foundations of the Complainant's contentions as presented in great detail by the Complainant, support its uncontradicted claims by submitted evidence and ample reference to earlier UDRP decisions. In accordance with paragraph 15(a) of the Rules, the Panel, giving attention to all circumstances on record of the Respondent's behavior, proceeds to a decision dealing summarily with the case.
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The Panel finds that notwithstanding differences, indicated as irrelevant by the Complainant, between the Complainant's multi-registered and widely known trademark CREDIT MUTUEL, in which the Complainant has rights, and the disputed domain name, this latter is confusingly similar to the Complainant's trademark.
Accordingly, the first element of the Policy is satisfied.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
The Complainant has, based on its contentions as summarized at Section 5. A above, established a prima facie case that the Respondent lacks rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name and there has been no rebuttal by the Respondent. Nothing in the record gives reason to believe that the Respondent has or has had any rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name during the time when it has stood registered.
The Panel finds that the Complainant has made out the second limb of the Policy in that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
Based on the record provided by the Complainant the website at the disputed domain name was blocked by the Registrar "because it is believed to be part of a fraudulent phishing attack", and is currently unavailable, does not present a finding of bad faith.
The Panel finds no indication on the record that might impair the Complainant's assertions as summarized at Section 5.A above regarding the facts leading up to its conclusions that the disputed domain name <ccreditmutuel.net> has been registered and used in bad faith.
However, the Panel therefore finds that the Complainant has made out the third limb of the Policy in that the Respondent has registered and is using the disputed domain name in bad faith.
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 <ccreditmutuel.net> be transferred to the Complainant.
Date: June 12, 2016