WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center

ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION

Allianz SE v. Deng Guo Sen

Case No. D2017-0859

1. The Parties

Complainant is Allianz SE of Munich, Germany, internally represented.

Respondent is Deng Guo Sen of Hang Zhou, Zhejiang, China.

2. The Domain Names and Registrar

The disputed domain names <allianztravelinsurnce.com> and <alliianz.com> are registered with PDR Ltd. d/b/a PublicDomainRegistry.com (the “Registrar”).

3. Procedural History

The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on April 28, 2017. On April 28, 2017, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain names. On April 29, 2017, the Registrar transmitted by email to the Center its verification response confirming that 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 Respondent of the Complaint, and the proceedings commenced on May 16, 2017. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was June 5, 2017. Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified Respondent’s default on June 6, 2017.

The Center appointed Roberto Bianchi as the sole panelist in this matter on June 16, 2017. 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

Complainant is the parent company of a leading international insurance and financial services group. Allianz Versicherungs-AG was founded in 1890 in Berlin. In 1893, the first international branch was opened in London. Since its inception, Allianz has continuously operated under the ALLIANZ name, and has used the ALLIANZ mark in connection with its insurance, healthcare and financial services products. The Allianz Group has approximately 142,500 employees worldwide, and serves approximately 85 million customers in more than 70 countries. Allianz is the market leader in the German market and has an important international presence. Allianz is one of the world’s largest asset managers. By the end of 2015, Allianz managed over EUR 1,276 billion in third-party assets.

By itself or through its subsidiaries, Complainant owns, inter alia, the following marks, all of which cover insurance and financial services of class 36:

Trademark

Jurisdiction

Reg. No.

Reg. Date

International. Classes

ALLIANZ

International Trademark

447004

September 12, 1979

36

ALLIANZ

International Trademark

714618

May 4, 1999

16, 35 and 36

ALLIANZ (and design)

International Trademark

713841

May 3, 1999

16, 35 and 36

ALLIANZ

Germany

987481

July 11, 1979

36

ALLIANZ

Germany

39927827

July 16, 1999

1 through 32, and 35 through 45

ALLIANZ

European Union Trademark

000013656

July 22, 2002

16, 35 and 36

ALLIANZ (and design)

European Union Trademark

002981298

April 5, 2004

16, 35 and 36

The Allianz Group has registered a number of domain names containing its ALLIANZ mark: <allianz.de>, <allianz.com>, <allianz.fr>, <allianzgi.com> and <allianz-jobs.com>. A subsidiary of Complainant, Allianz Global Assistance, offers its products and services in the field of travel insurance primarily under the domain name <allianztravelinsurance.com>.

The disputed domain name <alliianz.com> was registered on March 18, 2014. The disputed domain name <allianztravelinsurnce.com> was registered on April 6, 2015.

The websites at the disputed domain names contain a list of sponsored or related links mostly referring to insurance services, apparently unrelated to Complainant or its insurance products and services.

5. Parties’ Contentions

A. Complainant

Complainant contends as follows:

The disputed domain names are confusingly similar to the trademarks in which Complainant has rights. The term “travel insurance” specifies an important product line of Complainant or Allianz Global Assistance respectively. Through the disputed domain names, customers expect to reach Allianz main website at “www.allianz.com” or the travel insurance service provided by Allianz Group at “www.allianztravelinsurance.corn”. However, the typos in the disputed domain names lead customers to the wrong domain names and increase the danger of confusion and exploitation. Besides, the disputed domain names likely cause confusions and mistakes because of the similar pronunciation. Therefore, the disputed domain names are confusingly similar to a trademark and service mark in which Complainant has rights.

Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain names. Following the registration of the disputed domain names in March 2014 and April 2015, Respondent has used them to offer sponsored links, inter alia, of providers of products and services in the field of travel insurance, car insurance, health insurance, et cetera. Such use does not show any indication of a legitimate interest in the disputed domain names, but provides evidence of the bad faith of Respondent.

Respondent holds no trademark registrations for any “Allianz” mark. Respondent has never received a license or any authorization or consent from Complainant to use the ALLIANZ mark.

Before having been notified of this dispute, Respondent did not use the disputed domain names in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services. Furthermore, Respondent is not commonly known by the disputed domain names. There is no information connecting Respondent to the disputed domain names. Complainant’s prior rights bar Respondent from being known by the disputed domain names. Respondent is not making a legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the disputed domain names. Respondent is using the disputed domain names solely for commercial purposes.

The disputed domain names were registered and are being used in bad faith. Respondent has registered typos of the domain name actively used by a subsidiary of Complainant and of the domain name used by Complainant itself. Respondent offers sponsored links to providers of services identical or similar to the services provided by Complainant. The disputed domain names lead to nearly identical webpages. By offering those hyperlinks on the websites, Respondent is attracting Internet users trying to access Complainant’s websites to its websites, by trading on the fame of Complainant’s mark, which in the public perception is associated to insurance and assistance services. Moreover, Respondent on its websites is exploiting the good name of Complainant. It is apparent that Respondent is a free rider trying to take unfair advantage of the well-known trademark of Complainant. It is obvious that Respondent is exploiting the typos made by Internet users trying to access Complainant’s websites, e.g., “www.allianztravelinsurance.com” and “www.allianz.com”. Thus, Respondent intends to make illegitimate profits by creating a likelihood of confusion with Complainant’s mark. Policy, paragraph 4(b)(iv).

B. Respondent

Respondent did not reply to Complainant’s contentions.

6. Discussion and Findings

A. Identical or Confusingly Similar

By submitting printouts of databases of the corresponding trademark offices, Complainant has shown to the satisfaction of the Panel that it has trademark rights in the ALLIANZ mark. See section 4 above.

The Panel notes that the disputed domain name <alliianz.com> contains the ALLIANZ mark within which an additional letter “í” was inserted. In the Panel’s opinion, from the visual point of view this difference is almost imperceptible because the letters “l” and “i” both consist of vertical strokes. In addition, the pronunciation of “lli” is nearly undistinguishable from the sound of “llii”. As a consequence, the disputed domain name <alliianz.com> is confusingly similar to Complainant’s ALLIANZ mark. See WIPO Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions, Third Edition (“WIPO Overview 3.0”), paragraph 1.9 (“Is a domain name consisting of a misspelling of the complainant’s trademark (i.e., typosquatting) confusingly similar to the complainant’s mark? A domain name which consists of a common, obvious, or intentional misspelling of a trademark is considered by panels to be confusingly similar to the relevant mark for purposes of the first element.”).

As to the disputed domain name <allianztravelinsurnce.com>, the Panel notes that it also incorporates Complainant’s mark ALLIANZ with the addition of the term “travelinsurnce”, an obvious typo of the generic term “travel insurance”, where the letter “a” is missing.

For the above reasons, the Panel finds that the disputed domain names are confusingly similar to Complainant’s mark ALLIANZ. The first requirement of the Policy is met.

B. Rights or Legitimate Interests

Complainant contends that following the registration of the disputed domain names in March 2014 and April 2015, Respondent has used them in a website offering sponsored links of providers of products and services in the field of travel insurance, car insurance, health insurance, et cetera, a use which that does not show any legitimate interest, but instead is evidence of bad faith. Complainant adds that Respondent does not hold any registrations for any “Allianz” mark, and that it has never received any license, authorization or consent from Complainant to make use of the ALLIANZ mark.

Complainant further contends that before receiving notice of this dispute, Respondent did not use the disputed domain names in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services. In addition, Respondent is not commonly known by the disputed domain names. On the websites at the disputed domain names there is no information connecting Respondent to the disputed domain names. Complainant’s prior rights bar Respondent from being known by the disputed domain names. Respondent is not making a legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the disputed domain names. Respondent is using the disputed domain names solely for commercial purposes.

In the Panel’s opinion, Complainant’s contentions together with the available evidence, are apt to constitute a prima facie case that Respondent lacks rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain names. The Panel notes that the only use of the websites at the disputed domain names consists in displaying links to third-party websites of providers of insurance and/or other services or products, mostly unrelated to Complainant or its subsidiary companies. Thus, it is reasonable to infer that the main purpose of posting such links is generating income for Respondent via click-through links. This use is neither a bona fide use under Policy, paragraph 4(c)(i), nor a legitimate noncommercial or fair use, without intent for commercial gain to misleadingly divert consumers or to tarnish the trademark or service mark at issue, pursuant to Policy, paragraph 4(c)(iii). The Panel also notes that according to the corresponding WhoIs data, Respondent is Deng Guo Sen. There is no evidence allowing to infer that Respondent is known by any of the disputed domain names, commonly or otherwise. Lastly, Respondent failed to provide any indication for its reasons to register and use the disputed domain names.

For these reasons, the Panel concludes that Respondent lacks any rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain names. See WIPO Overview 3.0, paragraph 2.1 (“How do panels assess whether a respondent lacks rights or legitimate interests in a domain name? … [W]here a complainant makes out a prima facie case that the respondent lacks rights or legitimate interests, the burden of production on this element shifts to the respondent to come forward with relevant evidence demonstrating rights or legitimate interests in the domain name. If the respondent fails to come forward with such relevant evidence, the complainant is deemed to have satisfied the second element.”)

The second requirement of the Policy is also met.

C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith

The Panel notes that the registrations of the ALLIANZ trademark by Complainant and/or its subsidiary companies predate the registration of the disputed domain names by many years. See section 4 above. In addition, the Panel recognizes that the ALLIANZ mark is well known in the field of insurance services worldwide. Further, the websites at the disputed domain names mainly display sponsored links to websites offering insurance services in competition with Complainant. Finally, the disputed domain names consist of typos of the ALLIANZ mark and of terms describing the services provided by Complainant under the ALLIANZ mark. These facts lead the Panel to conclude that at the time of registering the disputed domain names Respondent was fully aware of, and had Complainant, its ALLIANZ mark and insurance services in mind. In the circumstances of this case, this means that the registration of the disputed domain names was in bad faith.

Complainant has shown that the websites at the disputed domain names have similar contents, consisting in providing a list of sponsored links to websites offering insurance services in general, and travel insurance in particular, in competition with Complainant and its subsidiary companies. It is evident that Respondent has created and is using the disputed domain names to profit from the typos made by Internet users presumably looking for Complainant and its insurance services.

In the Panel’s opinion, whether Respondent itself is marketing such services, or instead it is just attempting to generate click-through income, is unessential. In any case, Respondent, by using the disputed domain names as described above, has intentionally attempted to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to its websites at the disputed domain names or other on-line locations, by creating a likelihood of confusion with Complainant’s ALLIANZ mark as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation, or endorsement of its websites or location or of a product or service on its websites or locations. This is a circumstance of registration and use of the disputed domain names in bad faith, according to Policy, paragraph 4(b)(iv).

In addition, Respondent failed to submit any explanation for its registration and use of the disputed domain names. Lastly, at the time of the registration of the disputed domain names Respondent appears to have furnished incorrect and /or incomplete address details, a fact that prevented the courier entrusted to deliver to Respondent the Written Notice sent by the Center. These circumstances also support this Panel’s finding that Respondent is acting in bad faith.

The third requirement of the Policy is thus 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 names, <allianztravelinsurnce.com> and <alliianz.com>, be transferred to Complainant.

Roberto Bianchi
Sole Panelist
Date: June 28, 2017