WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Comerica Bank v. Ed Green
Case No. D2017-2021
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Comerica Bank of Dallas, Texas, United States of America ("United States") represented by Bodman PLC, United States.
The Respondent is Ed Green of Norton Shores, Michigan, United States.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <comericacreditunion.com> is registered with NameSilo, LLC (the "Registrar").
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the "Center") on October 17, 2017. On October 18, 2017, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On October 19, 2017, 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 October 26, 2017. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was November 15, 2017. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent's default on November 16, 2017.
The Center appointed Steven Auvil as the sole panelist in this matter on November 28, 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
The Complainant is a financial services company headquartered in Dallas, Texas, with bank locations in multiple states of the United States, as well as Canada and Mexico.
The Complainant is the owner of numerous marks that consist in-whole or in-part of the mark COMERICA, including United States Registration Nos. 1,251,846, registered on September 20, 1983 and 1,776,041, registered on June 8, 1993. The Complainant has been using the COMERICA mark in connection with banking services since 1982.
The Complainant owns multiple registrations for domain names that incorporate the COMERICA mark, including, but not limited to <comerica.com>, <comerica.net> and <comerica.org>.
The Respondent registered the disputed domain name <comericacreditunion.com> on May 11, 2017. The disputed domain name previously resolved to a website promoting an institution called "Comerica Credit Union", which the Complainant states was part of a fraudulent scheme to obtain financial information from consumers.
The Complainant sent the Respondent a cease and desist letter on May 16, 2017.
The Complainant submitted a takedown request to the web host provider on May 19, 2017.
The disputed domain name no longer resolves to an active website.
5. Parties' Contentions
The Complainant contends that: (i) the disputed domain name is identical or confusingly similar to the mark in which the Complainant has rights; (ii) the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name; and (iii) the disputed domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.
The Complainant alleges that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to its COMERICA mark because it incorporates the exact mark in its entirety. The Complainant further alleges that the addition of the words "credit" and "union" do not make the disputed domain name distinctive.
The Complainant then contends that there is no indication that the Respondent has any rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name.
Finally, the Complainant contends that the Respondent's actions, including using the disputed domain name in connection with a phishing scheme and failing to respond to a cease and desist letter, are evidence of registration and use in bad faith.
The Respondent did not respond to the Complainant's contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
According to paragraph 4(a) of the Policy, the Complaint must prove the following:
(i) The disputed domain name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which the Complainant has rights.
(ii) The Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name.
(iii) The disputed domain name was registered and is being used in bad faith.
Because the Respondent failed to respond to the Complaint, the Panel may accept all reasonable allegations set forth by the Complainant as true and accurate.
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
Based on its multiple trademark registrations and longstanding and widespread use, the Panel finds that the Complainant has provided sufficient evidence to demonstrate that it has rights in the COMERICA mark.
The Panel also finds that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to the Complainant's COMERICA mark. First, the disputed domain name contains the mark in its entirety. The addition of the term "credit union", which is commonly used in the financial services industry, is not sufficient to render the disputed domain name distinctive. It is well established that a domain name containing a complainant's mark along with an additional term that describes its services, sufficiently satisfies the requirement that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to the complainant's mark. M/s Daiwik Hotels Pvt. Ltd v. Senthil Kumaran S, Daiwik Resorts, WIPO Case No. D2015-1384.
Accordingly, the Complainant has satisfied paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Policy.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
The second proof requirement is that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. The Panel finds that this proof requirement is satisfied here.
A complainant is required to make a prima facie case that the respondent lacks rights or legitimate interests. WIPO Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions, Third Edition ("WIPO Overview 3.0"), section 2.1, and the Complainant has satisfied its burden here. Moreover, there is no evidence that the Respondent is commonly known by the disputed domain name, and the Complainant has alleged that the Respondent is not a licensee or otherwise affiliated with the Complainant. The Panel, likewise, finds no evidence that tends to show that the Respondent has used the disputed domain name in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services. Accordingly, the Panel finds the Complainant has fulfilled the second element under paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
Finally, the Panel finds that Complainant has established bad faith registration and use under paragraph 4(a)(iii) of the Policy.
The Panel finds that the Respondent likely chose the disputed domain name with full knowledge of the Complainant's rights in the COMERICA mark. The COMERICA mark is well known and has been widely used in connection with banking services since 1982. The Respondent's addition of the term "credit union" supports the Complainant's allegation that the Respondent was aware of the Complainant's rights in the COMERICA mark and registered and used the disputed domain name in bad faith. Comerica Bank v. Eli Tomlinson, Eli's Software Encyclopedia, WIPO Case No. D2016-0044 (where a disputed domain name includes a term referring to the Complainant's business, bad faith is found). Similarly, the Respondent's use of the disputed domain name in connection with what may have been an illegitimate scheme to obtain personal or financial information from consumers looking for the Complainant, as described by the Complainant, and the Respondent's failure to respond to the Complainant's cease and desist letter further support a finding of bad faith registration and use.
Accordingly, the Complainant has satisfied paragraph 4(a)(iii) of the Policy.
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 <comericacreditunion.com> be transferred to the Complainant.
Date: December 12, 2017