WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Allianz SE v. Registration Private, Domains By Proxy, LLC / Syed Naqi
Case No. D2017-1714
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Allianz SE of Munich, Germany, internally represented.
The Respondent is Registration Private, Domains By Proxy, LLC of Scottsdale, Arizona, United States of America ("United States") / Syed Naqi, of Brooklyn, New York, United States.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <allianzstadium.com> is registered with GoDaddy.com, LLC (the "Registrar").
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the "Center") on September 6, 2017. On September 6, 2017, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On September 7, 2017, 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 September 13, 2017, 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 September 13, 2017. The Center received an informal third-party communication the same day.
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 September 20, 2017. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was October 10, 2017. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent's default on October 11, 2017. On October 11, 2017, the Center received a further email communication from a third party regarding the dispute. The third party did not identify itself or clarify its relationship with the Respondent, if any.
The Center appointed Marilena Comănescu as the sole panelist in this matter on October 19, 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.
The language of the proceeding is English.
4. Factual Background
The Complainant is the parent company of a leading international insurance and ﬁnancial services group. Allianz Versicherungs-AG was founded in 1890 in Berlin, its ﬁrst international branch being opened in London in 1893. Since its inception, Allianz Group has continuously operated under the Allianz name, and has used the ALLIANZ mark in connection with its insurance, healthcare and ﬁnancial services products. Currently, the Allianz Group has approximately 142,500 employees worldwide and serves approximately 85 million customers in more than 70 countries. The Complainant asserts that it is the market leader in the German market and has an important international presence. The Complainant is one of the world's largest asset managers. By the end of 2016, the Complainant managed over EUR 1.3 trillion in third-party assets. In 2016 the marketing agency Interbrand ranked the Complainant's mark ALLIANZ as No. 51 with a value of USD 9.5 billion.
The Complainant, by itself or through subsidiaries, holds trademark registrations in many jurisdictions around the world for ALLIANZ, such as the following:
- the International Trademark Registration No. 447004 registered on September 12, 1979, covering services in class 36; and
- the International Trademark Registration No. 714618 registered on May 4, 1999, covering goods and services in classes 16, 35, 36.
Also, the Complainant, itself or through subsidiaries, holds numerous domain names incorporating the mark ALLIANZ, such as <allianz.com>, <allianz.de>, <allianz.us> and <allianz-jobs.com>.
As provided in the Complaint, under Annexes I to M, previous UDRP panels have found that the Complainant's trademark ALLIANZ is distinctive and famous worldwide on the relevant market. See, for example, Allianz SE v. Deng Guo Sen, WIPO Case No. D2017-0859; Allianz Sigorta A.S., Allianz Hayat ve Emeklilik A.S. v. Selcuk Yildiz, WIPO Case No.D2015-1762;Allianz SE v. Privacy Gods, Privacy Gods Limited, WIPO Case No. D2016-0112.
The Complainant is also involved in sporting and cultural activities and holds a "family of stadiums" which are state-of-the-art sporting facilities located in six countries on three continents. First of such stadiums, the "Allianz Arena" in Munich was completed in 2005 and is currently among the most visited tourist destinations in Bavaria with 3.5 million visitors each year, being well known as the first stadium with a full color-changing exterior.
The disputed domain name was registered on July 18, 2008. At the time the Complaint was filed, its content read as follows: "Coming soon! Please check back soon to see if the site is available". No other activity seems to be performed on this website.
5. Parties' Contentions
The Complainant contends that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to its trademark ALLIANZ, the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name, and the Respondent registered and is using the disputed domain name in bad faith.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant's contentions.
On September 13 and October 11, 2017, the Center received email communications from a third party regarding the dispute. The third party did not identify itself, nor disclose its relationship with the Respondent, nor provide relevant information regarding the case. The Panel will therefore disregard these communications.
6. Discussion and Findings
In view of the Respondent's default, the discussion and findings will be based upon the contentions in the Complaint and any reasonable position that can be attributable to the Respondent. Under paragraph 4(a) of the Policy, a complainant can only succeed in an administrative proceeding under the Policy if the following circumstances are met:
(i) the disputed domain name is 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 the disputed domain name; and
(iii) the disputed domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.
The Panel will further analyze the potential concurrence of the above circumstances.
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The Complainant has rights in the ALLIANZ trademark.
The disputed domain name <allianzstadium.com> incorporates the Complainant's trademark ALLIANZ in its entirety. In addition to this, the disputed domain name contains the dictionary term "stadium".
Numerous UDRP panels have considered that the addition of other terms (whether descriptive, pejorative, meaningless or otherwise) to trademarks in a domain name is not sufficient to escape a finding of confusing similarity. See, section 1.8 of the WIPO Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions, Third Edition ("WIPO Overview 3.0").
Further, it is well established in decisions under the UDRP that the generic Top-Level Domain (e.g., ".com", ".info", ".net", ".org") may typically be disregarded for the purposes of consideration of confusing similarity between a trademark and a domain name.
Given the above, the Panel finds that the disputed domain name <allianzstadium.com> is confusingly similar to the Complainant's trademark ALLIANZ, pursuant to the Policy, paragraph 4(a)(i).
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
The Complainant asserts that it has given no license or other right to use or register its trademark to the Respondent, that the Respondent is not commonly known by the disputed domain name and that the Respondent has not used the disputed domain name in connection with a legitimate noncommercial or fair use or a bona fide offering of goods and services.
Under the Policy, "where 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". See section 2.1 of the WIPO Overview 3.0.
The Respondent has not replied to the Complainant's contentions and has not come forward with relevant evidence to rebut the Complainant's prima facie case.
There is nothing in record suggesting that the Respondent has ever been commonly known by the disputed domain name.
Consequently, the Panel finds that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name, pursuant to the Policy, paragraph 4(a)(ii).
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
The trademark ALLIANZ has been registered and used worldwide for more than a century and is well known in many jurisdictions in its relevant market. Furthermore, starting 2005 the Complainant promotes itself via six stadiums located on three continents, such "family of stadiums" being state-of-the-art sporting facilities with international renown.
The disputed domain name was registered in July 2008 and incorporates the ALLIANZ trademark and the dictionary term "stadium", which is related to the Complainant's activities and international recognition.
The Respondent did not respond to the Complaint and registered the disputed domain name under a privacy shield. Given the other circumstances of the case, such behavior may be considered as further evidence of bad faith in registering and using the disputed domain name.
Further, the disputed domain name resolves to an inactive website. The passive holding of the disputed domain name does not prevent a finding of bad faith. See section 3.3 of the WIPO Overview 3.0. In the absence of any supporting assertions or evidence from the Respondent, the Panel finds there to be no plausible bona fide use that the Respondent could make of the disputed domain name that would not interfere with the Complainant's trademark. As such, the Panel finds the Respondent's passive holding of the disputed domain name to amount to bad faith use within the meaning of the Policy.
For all the above reasons, the Panel finds that the Respondent registered and is using the disputed domain name <allianzstadium.com> in bad faith, pursuant to the Policy, paragraph 4(a)(iii).
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 <allianzstadium.com> be transferred to the Complainant.
Date: October 30, 2017