WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
UniCredit S.p.A. v. Privacydotlink Customer 2410311 / Zhenhua Bin
Case No. D2016-2308
1. The Parties
The Complainant is UniCredit S.p.A. of Rome, Italy, represented by Array, Italy.
The Respondent is Privacydotlink Customer 2410311 of Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands, Overseas Territory of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and the Northern Ireland / Zhenhua Bin of Guangzhou, China.
2. The Domain Names and Registrar
The disputed domain names <fiecobank.com>, <finecbank.com>, <finecobak.com>, <finecobamk.com>, <finecobanc.com>, <finecobanck.com>, <finecoban.com>, <finecobnk.com>, <fineobank.com>, <fnecobank.com> and <wwwfinecobank.com> (the “Domain Names”) are registered with Uniregistrar Corp (the “Registrar”).
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on November 11, 2016. On November 11, 2016, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain names. On November 15, the Registrar transmitted by email to the Center its verification response disclosing registrant and contact information for the Domain Names which differed from the named Respondent and contact information in the Complaint. The Center sent an email communication to the Complainant on November 22, 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 amendment to the Complaint on November 29, 2016.
The Center verified that the Complaint together with the amendment to 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 November 30, 2016. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was December 20, 2016. The Respondent did not submit any formal response. Accordingly, the Center informed that it would proceed to appoint the Administrative Panel on November 21, 2016.
The Center appointed Ian Lowe as the sole panelist in this matter on December 28, 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 third largest European bank group, offering banking and financial services through a number of corporations under different trademarks. Fineco is the UniCredit Group’s online-only Internet bank and financial broker. Both prior to its acquisition by the Complainant and subsequently, Fineco has invested heavily in advertising and, as a result, has acquired a widespread renown in Italy and elsewhere in Europe. For many years Fineco has won an award as “Best Financial Brand”.
The Complainant is the registered proprietor of International Trademark Number 760491 FINECO, registered on December 12, 2000 in respect of a range of services in Classes 35, 36 and 42 and designating some 33 territories across Europe.
The Domain Names were all registered on August 6, 2016 and have resolved to web pages comprising pay per click links to a range of third party websites.
5. Parties’ Contentions
The Complainant contends that the Domain Names are all confusingly similar to its FINECO trademarks, that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Domain Names and that the Respondent registered and is using the Domain Names in bad faith within the meaning of paragraph 4(b)(iv) of the Policy.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
6.1. Language of Proceedings
After service of the Complaint, the Respondent sent emails to the Center, in the Chinese language, requesting that the proceedings be conducted in the Chinese language. The Center responded pointing out that the Registrar had confirmed that the language of the Registration Agreement in respect of the Domain Names was English and referred to the Rules, paragraph 11 which provide that:
“(a) Unless otherwise agreed by the Parties, or specified otherwise in the Registration Agreement, the language of the administrative proceeding 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.”
The Complainant responded to the request by the Respondent that it objected to the language of the proceedings being Chinese, relying on the Rules, paragraph 11, and pointing out that the Respondent had communicated with the Complainant in English. The Registration Agreement does not make any other provision in respect of the language of the proceedings.
In the circumstances, in light of the nature of the Domain Names and the use made of them, and the fact of the communications in English between the Complainant and the Respondent, the Panel does not consider that there are any circumstances justifying a departure from the usual rule that the language of these administrative proceedings should be the language of the Registration Agreement, namely English.
6.2. Substantive Issues
According to paragraph 4(a) of the Policy, for this Complaint to succeed in relation to the Domain Names the Complainant must prove that:
(i) the Domain Names are identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which the Complainant has rights; and
(ii) the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Domain Names; and
(iii) the Domain Names have been registered and are being used in bad faith.
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The Complainant has uncontested rights in the trademark FINECO, both by virtue of its trademark registration and as a result of its goodwill and reputation acquired through use of the FINECO mark over many years. Ignoring the generic Top-Level Domain (“gTLD”) “.com”, the Domain Names comprise variously (a) the combination of the Complainant’s mark FINECO and the generic word “bank” with the addition of the prefix “www”; or (b) the combination of FINECO and “bank” but with a single letter misspelling of one of those words. In the Panel’s view, neither the additional word “bank” nor the addition of the suffix “www” (the ubiquitous abbreviation of “world wide web”) detract from the distinctiveness of the FINECO mark, but rather increase the confusing similarity because of the Complainant’s use of the mark for its Internet banking service. Furthermore, the minor misspellings, typically regarded as “typosquatting”, do not detract either from the confusing similarity with the Complainant’s FINECO mark. Accordingly, the Panel finds that the Domain Names are all confusingly similar to the trademark in which the Complainant has rights.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
The Complainant has made out a strong prima facie case that the Respondent could have no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Domain Names. The Panel cannot conceive of a legitimate use to which the Respondent could put any of the Domain Names that essentially comprise, with single letter variations, a made up word registered as a trademark by the Complainant and the word “bank” indicating the type of service provided by the Complainant. The use of the Domain Names in such circumstances to resolve to webpages comprising pay per click links to third party websites could not in the Panel’s view give rise to any rights or legitimate interests in respect of any of the Domain Names.
Furthermore, the Respondent has failed to counter the prima facie case established by the Complainant by responding to the Complaint. In the circumstances, the Panel finds that the Respondent does not have any rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Domain Names.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
Since the Domain Names essentially comprise the Complainant’s mark, FINECO, together with the word “bank”, the Panel considers that the Respondent must have had the Complainant and its rights in the FINECO mark in mind when it registered the Domain Names. In the Panel’s view, both the registration of variations of that combination comprising single letter misspellings of either word, and the addition of the prefix “www”, amount to classic typosquatting intended to redirect Internet users, who make minor errors in typing the Complainant’s website address, to pay per click pages with a view to commercial gain. The Panel is in no doubt that this amounts to bad faith registration and use for the purposes of paragraph 4(a) of the Policy. The Panel accordingly finds that the Domain Names were registered and are 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 Domain Names, <fiecobank.com>, <finecbank.com>, <finecobak.com>, <finecobamk.com>, <finecobanc.com>, <finecobanck.com>, <finecoban.com>, <finecobnk.com>, <fineobank.com>, <fnecobank.com> and <wwwfinecobank.com>, be transferred to the Complainant.
Date: January 10, 2017