WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Comerica Bank v. Jeffrey Williamson
Case No. D2017-2049
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 Jeffrey Williamson of Pueblo, Colorado, United States.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <comericacredits.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 21, 2017. On October 23, 2017, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On October 23, 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.
In accordance with the Rules, paragraphs 2 and 4, the Center formally notified the Respondent of the Complaint, and the proceedings commenced on October 31, 2017. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was November 20, 2017. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on November 21, 2017.
The Center appointed Martin Schwimmer as the sole panelist in this matter on December 4, 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 operates in the field of banking services with branches throughout the United States and North America.
The Complainant owns numerous registrations for the trademark COMERICA covering financial services, including United States Registration No. 1251846, registered on September 20, 1983.
The disputed domain name was registered on August 2, 2017.
As of October 17, 2017, the disputed domain name resolved to a website promoting financial services provided by a company called “Comerica Credits, LLC”. On October 17, 2017 the Complainant sent a DMCA takedown request to the Internet service provider. The disputed domain name does not currently resolve to an active website.
5. Parties’ Contentions
The Complainant, a U.S. financial services company, owns numerous registrations for the trademark COMERICA covering financial services. It has used the mark since 1982 in connection with a full range of such services, including the provision of lines of credit and the issuing of credit cards. Panels have found that the COMERICIA mark is well-known.
The disputed domain name is identical or confusingly similar to the COMERICA trademark because it is nearly identical but for the addition of the word “credits”, which is a generic term in the financial industry.
The Respondent is not authorized to use the Trademark in any manner.
The Respondent has used the name in bad faith, as it used its website to promote financial services under the name “Comerica Credits LLC” of Arlington, Texas. The Respondent has also used the name as part of a “phishing scheme” to obtain personal information from prospective customers.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The Complainant has established ownership of the trademark COMERICA. The disputed domain name is identical or confusingly similar to the trademark because it is nearly identical but for the addition of the word "credits", which is a generic term in the financial industry. See BARCLAYS BANK PLC v. PrivacyProtect.org, Sanjay Jha, WIPO Case No. D2011-1014 (“The Panel finds that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to the Complainant’s trademarks since it fully incorporates Complainant’s trademarks adding only ... the generic terms “credit” and. “cards”, which do not add the required level of distinctiveness in regards to this element”).
Therefore, the Panel finds that the disputed domain name is identical or confusingly similar, as outlined in paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Policy.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
The second ground to be demonstrated by the Complainant, according to the provisions of the Policy, is the Respondent’s absence of any rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name, per paragraph 4(c) of the Policy.
Previous UDRP panels have consistently held that it is sufficient for a complainant to prove a prima facie case that the respondent does not hold rights or legitimate interests in the domain name (see Croatia Airlines d.d. v. Modern Empire Internet Ltd., WIPO Case No. D2003-0455 and Belupo d.d. v. WACHEM d.o.o., WIPO Case No. D2004-0110). Once a prima facie case is shown, the burden of production shifts to the respondent to come forward with appropriate allegations or evidence demonstrating its rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name.
The Panel is satisfied that the Respondent has no connection or affiliation with the Complainant and has not received any license or consent to use the COMERICA trademark in a domain name or in any other manner. The Complainant alleges that there is no such connection here. The Panel finds there is no evidence of legitimate noncommercial or fair use, as the Complainant has presented evidence of infringing use of the COMERICA trademark.
In addition, the Respondent has not submitted any reply to the Complainant’s contentions.
Therefore, in light of the Complainant’s prima facie case, the Panel finds that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
The Complainant has submitted evidence that its COMERICA trademark is sufficiently established such that, coupled with the absence of any other evidence in the record to the contrary, it is fair to presume that the Respondent registered the disputed domain name with prior knowledge of the Complainant’s rights. This presumption is also supported by the fact that the Respondent has registered the domain name incorporating the term “credits,” which term describes Complainant’s services.
The Respondent has promoted on its website financial services purportedly provided by “Comerica Credits, LLC,” of Texas, the state in which the Complainant is headquartered. There is no doubt that the Respondent has targeted the Complainant.
Furthermore, the Panel may make negative inferences arising from the Respondent’s failure to respond. See, e.g., Sony Kabushiki Kaisha (also trading as Sony Corporation) v. Inja, Kil, WIPO Case No. D2000‑1409.
The Panel finds that the Complainant has established that the disputed domain name was registered and is being used in bad faith, as outlined in 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 <comericacredits.com> be transferred to the Complainant.
Date: January 9, 2018