WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Allianz SE v. Whois Privacy Protection Service, Inc. / Allianz Survey
Case No. D2016-1658
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Allianz SE of Munich, Germany, internally represented.
The Respondent is Whois Privacy Protection Service, Inc. of Kirkland, Washington, United States of America (“United States”) / Allianz Survey of Vancouver, Canada.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <allianzsurvey.net> is registered with eNom, Inc. (the “Registrar”).
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on August 16, 2016. On August 16, 2016, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On August 16, 2016, the Registrar transmitted by email to the Center its verification response disclosing registrant and contact information for the disputed domain name which differed from the named Respondent and contact information in the Complaint. The Center sent an email communication to the Complainant on August 17, 2016 providing the registrant and contact information disclosed by the Registrar, and inviting the Complainant to submit an amendment to the Complaint. The Complainant filed an amended Complaint on August 17, 2016.
The Center verified that the Complaint together with the amended 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 August 26, 2016. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was September 15, 2016. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on September 16, 2016.
The Center appointed Pablo A. Palazzi as the sole panelist in this matter on September 21, 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 an established international insurance and financial services company. The Complainant has approximately 142,000 employees worldwide, 85 million customers, and operations in more than 70 countries. The Complainant’s mark ALLIANZ (the “trademark”) was first registered on July 11, 1979 in Germany, registration no. 987481, followed by numerous national and community registrations. Additionally, the Complainant and its subsidiaries own numerous domain names that incorporate the trademark including, but not limited to, <allianz.de>, <allianz.com>, <allianz.us>, and <allianzlife.com>. These domain names resolve to commercial websites operated by the Complainant.
The disputed domain name was registered on July 8, 2016 and does not resolve to an active website.
According to the evidence submitted in the Complaint, the disputed domain name was used to perpetrate a scam targeting several Internet users.
5. Parties’ Contentions
The Complainant has registered the ALLIANZ trademark in several jurisdictions including Germany, the European Union and internationally, covering several jurisdictions.
The disputed domain name is confusingly similar to the Complainant’s trademark.
The Complainant states that several persons contacted the Complainant after having received phone calls, emails or letters from the Respondent or people acting under the disputed domain name and asked whether the disputed domain name belonged to the Allianz Group. According to the evidence submitted in the Complaint, the disputed domain name was used to perpetrate a scam to Internet users. After contacting individuals on the phone, the Respondent requested those individuals to send personal details to the email address “email@example.com” and after providing a postal address the contacted persons would receive a check with instructions to put the cheque into the person’s bank account and to remit money via “MoneyGram” or “Western Union to test their services. After the money was remitted and gone, the deposited cheque bounced.
The Complainant asserts that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the trademark or the disputed domain name as the Complainant has never licensed the trademark to the Respondent and the Respondent does not appear to conduct any bona fide business under the trademark.
The Complainant further asserts that the disputed domain name was registered and is being used in bad faith to attract and defraud unsuspecting Internet users.
The Complainant requests the transfer of the disputed domain name.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
Pursuant to paragraph 4(a) of the Policy, the Complainant must prove each of the following elements with respect to the disputed domain name in order to succeed in this proceeding:
(I) That the disputed domain name is identical or confusingly similar to a trade 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 Complainant has rights in the mark ALLIANZ. The only difference between the ALLIANZ trademark and the disputed domain name <allianzsurvey.net> is the technical requirement of the generic Top-Level Domain (“gTLD”) “.net” and the addition of the generic term “survey”, which does not help to distinguish the disputed domain name from the Complainant’s trademark. See Facebook Inc. v. Sleek Names, SL Names, VSAUDHA, WIPO Case No. D2015-0547 (“the addition of various terms, namely […] “survey” does not distinguish the disputed domain names from the Complainant’s trademark”).
The Panel finds that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to a trademark in which the Complainant has rights and that the first element of paragraph 4(a) of the Policy has been met.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
The Complainant contends that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name.
The Complainant has met its initial burden of making a prima facie showing.
The Respondent then has the burden to demonstrate the existence of such rights or legitimate interests. The Respondent has declined to take part in this proceeding. The Panel is unable to ascertain any evidence that would demonstrate the Respondent’s rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name, as described in paragraph 4(c) of the Policy, or otherwise.
In fact, the Panel concludes that the Respondent has intentionally and fraudulently attempted to pass itself off as the Complainant and / or an affiliate of the Complainant by using an email address associated to the disputed domain name in an effort to obtain significant amounts of money from Internet users.
The Panel finds that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name and that the Complainant has met the second element of paragraph 4(a) of the Policy.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
Under paragraph 4(a)(iii) of the Policy, the Complainant must show that the disputed domain name “has been registered and is being used in bad faith”. Paragraph 4(b) provides a non-exhaustive list of circumstances that are “evidence of the registration and use of a domain name in bad faith”.
It is difficult for the Panel to entertain the possibility that the Respondent selected the disputed domain name without knowledge of the Complainant or its rights.
In light of the evidence presented by the Complainant, the Panel concludes that the Respondent registered the disputed domain name in order to exploit the fact that Internet users are hoping to access a website or to communicate with the Complainant via an email address that belongs to the Complainant’s group of companies. Therefore the Panel finds that the Respondent was aware of the Complainant at the time of registration of the disputed domain name.
The disputed domain name is currently inactive. Nevertheless, the Panel notes the Complainant’s documented allegations of the Respondent’s fraud scheme by using an email address associated with the disputed domain name. The Respondent has not rebutted such allegations. In light of this situation and on the balance of probabilities, it is the Panel’s view that the behavior of the Respondent evidences use of the disputed domain name in bad faith.
The Panel finds that the disputed domain name was registered and is being used 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 <allianzsurvey.net> be transferred to the Complainant.
Pablo A. Palazzi
Date: October 11, 2016