WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Intesa Sanpaolo S.p.A. v. Domain Administrator, See PrivacyGuardian.org / Vildan Erdogan
Case No. D2018-0284
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Intesa Sanpaolo S.p.A. of Turin, Italy, represented by Perani Pozzi Associati - Studio Legale, Italy.
The Respondent is Domain Administrator, See PrivacyGuardian.org of Phoenix, Arizona, United States of America (“United States”) / Vildan Erdogan of Ankara, Turkey.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <sireffiduciaria.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 February 8, 2018. On February 8, 2018, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On the same day, 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 February 15, 2018 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 February 16, 2018.
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 February 20, 2018. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was March 12, 2018. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on March 14, 2018.
The Center appointed Torsten Bettinger as the sole panelist in this matter on April 5, 2018. 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 describes itself as the leading Italian banking group and one of the top banking groups in the Eurozone, with a market capitalization exceeding EUR 46,4 billion. It has a network of approximately 4,800 branches and a strong presence in Central-Eastern Europe with a network of approximately 1,100 branches and over 7,6 million customers. The Complainant is present in 26 countries, including the United States, Russian Federation, China and India.
The Complainant contends that Complainant’s subsidiary “SIREFID S.p.A., founded in 1973 by Banca Commerciale Italiana and subsequently merged with Italfid (Intesa Group), I.A.F. (Credit Agricole Indosuez Group) and Sanpaolo Fiduciaria, is also known as “Siref Fiduciaria”.
The Complainant has submitted evidence that it is the owner of the following registrations and applications for the trademarks SIREFID and SIREF FIDUCIARIA:
- European Union (“EU”) trademark registration No. 2615292 for SIREFID, filed on March 15, 2002, registered on June 4, 2003 and duly renewed, in classes 36 and 38;
- EU trademark registration No. 7229131 SIREFID (design), filed on September 12, 2008 and registered on April 9, 2009, in classes 9, 16, 35, 36, 38, 41 and 42;
- EU trademark registration No. 14405039 SIREFID, filed on July 24, 2015 and registered on December 9, 2015, in classes 9, 16, 35, 41 and 42;
- EU trademark application No. 17543182 SIREF FIDUCIARIA, filed on November 29, 2017, in classes 9, 16, 35, 36, 41 and 42;
- EU trademark application No. 17543042 SIREF FIDUCIARIA (logo), filed on November 29, 2017, in classes 9, 16, 35, 36, 41 and 42.
In addition, the Complainant is the owner, of the following domain names: <sirefid.com>, <sirefid.net>, <sirefid.org>, <sirefid.biz>, <sirefid.eu>, <sirefid.it>, <sirefid.info>, <siref.it>, <sirefiduciaria.com>, <sirefiduciaria.it>, <sireffiduciaria.eu> and <sireffiduciaria.it>.
The Respondent registered the disputed domain name on November 29, 2017. The Complainant provided evidence that the Respondent has used for a website which offered the disputed domain name for sale for USD 950.
On December 21, 2017, the Complainant’s lawyers sent a cease-and-desist letter to the Respondent asserting its trademark rights and requesting the transfer of the disputed domain name to the Complainant.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s cease-and-desist letter.
5. Parties’ Contentions
The Complainant asserts that disputed domain name is identical with the Complainant’s SIREF FIDUCIARIA trademark application and confusingly similar to the Complainant’s SIREFID trademark as the SIREFID is an abbreviation of the words SIREF FIDUCIARIA.
With regard to the Respondent having no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name, the Complainant submits that:
- it has never licensed nor otherwise permitted the Respondent to use the SIREFID mark or to use a domain name that incorporates or is similar to the SIREFID mark;
- to the best of the Complainant’s knowledge, the Respondent is not commonly known as SIREF FIDUCIARIA;
- the Respondent is not making a legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the disputed domain name.
Finally, with regard to the disputed domain name having been registered and being used in bad faith, the Complainant argues that the Respondent was aware of the Complainant’s trademarks and trademark applications at the time of registration of the disputed domain name as the trademark SIREFID is distinctive and well-known all around the world.
The Complainant further contends that the Respondent has registered the disputed domain name primarily for the purpose of selling, renting or otherwise transferring the domain name to the Complainant for a valuable consideration in excess of the Respondent’s out-of-pocket costs directly related to the domain name pursuant to paragraph 4(b)(i) of the Policy as the disputed domain name has been used to resolve to a website which offers the disputed domain name for sale for USD 950.
The Complainant argues that the fact that there has been no affirmative or direct offer to the Complainant or one of its competitors, does not prevent a finding of bad faith. Furthermore, the Complainant asserts that the paragraph 4(c) of the Policy does provide a nonexhaustive list of circumstances that constitute bad faith and that it is consensus view of UDRP panels that bad faith can been found where the disputed domain corresponds to a well-known trademark and that there is no conceivable use that could be made of the domain name.
The Complainant also points to the fact that the disputed domain name has been registered exactly on the same date on which the Complainant filed the applications for the EU trademarks No. 17543042 forSIREF FIDUCIARIA and No. 17543042 for SIREF FIDUCIARIA (logo).
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
It is well established that the test of identical or confusing similarity under the Policy is confined to a comparison of the disputed domain name and the trademark alone, independent of the products for which the disputed domain name is used or other marketing and use factors usually considered in trademark infringement cases. (See Arthur Guinness Son & Co. (Dublin) Limited v. Dejan Macesic, WIPO Case No. D2000-1698; Ansell Healthcare Products Inc. v. Australian Therapeutics Supplies Pty, Ltd., WIPO Case No. D2001-0110; Dixons Group Plc v. Mr. Abu Abdullaah, WIPO Case No. D2001-0843; AT&T Corp. v. Amjad Kausar, WIPO Case No. D2003-0327; BWT Brands, Inc and British American Tobacco (Brands), Inc. v. NABR, WIPO Case No. D2001-1480; see also section 1.2 of the WIPO Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions, Third Edition (“WIPO Overview 3.0”)).
In this case, the disputed domain name only differs from the Complainant’s trademark SIREFID by the addition of the letters “uciaria”.
The Panel notes that the Complainant’s trademark SIREFID is an abbreviation of the terms “siref fiducciaria”. The term “fiduccairia” is the Italian word for “trust” and descriptive of Complainant’s trustee services.
The Panel therefore concludes that the disputed domain name <sireffiduciaria.com> is confusing similar to Complainant’s SIREF trademark under the first element of the UDRP.
Finally, it has been long established under the UDRP decisions that the specific generic Top-Level Domain (“gTLD”) designation such as “.com”, “.net” and “.org” is typically not to be taken into account when assessing the issue of identical and confusing similarity, except in certain cases where the applicable gTLD suffix may itself form part of the relevant trademark (see section 1.11 of WIPO Overview 3.0).
For the foregoing reasons the Panel concludes that the disputed domain name <sireffiduciaria.com> is confusingly similar to the Complainant’s trademark SIREFID in which the Complainant has exclusive rights.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
The Respondent may establish its rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name, among other circumstances, by showing any of the following elements:
“(i) before any notice to you [the Respondent] of the dispute, your use of, or demonstrable preparations to use, the domain name or a name corresponding to the domain name in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services; or
(ii) you [the Respondent] (as an individual, business, or other organization) have been commonly known by the domain name, even if you have acquired no trademark or service mark rights; or
(iii) you [the Respondent] are making a legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the domain name, without intent for commercial gain to misleadingly divert consumers or to tarnish the trademark or service mark at issue.”
The Complainant has asserted that it never licensed or permitted the Respondent to use its SIREFID trademark, the Respondent has no trademark rights that correspond to the disputed domain name and the Respondent has not been commonly known by the disputed domain name.
Furthermore, the Complainant has provided evidence that the disputed domain name <sireffiduciaria.com> was being used for a website which contained no content but merely offered the domain name for sale to the general public for USD 950.
These assertions are sufficient to establish a prima facie case that the Respondent lacks rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name.
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 disputed domain name. If the respondent fails to come forward with such relevant evidence, the complainant is deemed to have satisfied the second element. WIPO Overview 3.0, section 2.1.
Given that the Respondent has failed to come forward with any evidence to refute the Complainant’s prima facie showing that the Respondent lacks rights or legitimate interests, the Panel concludes that the Complainant has also satisfied the second element of the Policy set forth by paragraph 4(a)(ii).
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
Paragraph 4(b) of the Policy provides four, non-exclusive, circumstances that, if found by the Panel to be present, shall be evidence of the registration and use of the disputed domain name in bad faith pursuant to Paragraph 4 (a) (iii) of the Policy:
(i) circumstances indicating that the Respondent has registered or has acquired the disputed domain name primarily for the purpose of selling, renting or otherwise transferring the disputed domain name registration to the Complainant who is the owner of the trademark or service mark or to a competitor of the Complainant, for valuable consideration in excess of documented out-of-pocket costs directly related to the disputed domain name; or
(ii) the Respondent has registered the disputed domain name in order to prevent the owner of the trademark or service mark from reflecting the mark in a corresponding domain name, provided that the Respondent has engaged in a pattern of such conduct; or
(iii) the Respondent has registered the disputed domain name primarily for the purpose of disrupting the business of a competitor; or
(iv) by using the disputed domain name, the Respondent has intentionally attempted to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to its website or other online location, by creating a likelihood of confusion with the Complainant’s mark as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation, or endorsement of the Respondent’s website or location or of a product or service on the Respondent’s website or location.
The Panel notes that the Respondent’s public offer of the disputed domain name for sale does not fall within the example of evidence of bad faith in paragraph 4(b)(i) of the Policy which in this Panel’s view requires a direct offer to the complainant or one of its competitors. An offer to the general public therefore falls short of the specific requirements of paragraph 4(b)(i) of the Policy.
However, whether or not paragraph 4(b)(i) applies, in circumstances such as the present case, the passive holding and general offer for sale of the disputed domain name is sufficient evidence of bad faith registration and use pursuant to 4(a)(iii) of the Policy.
Although the circumstances listed in paragraph 4(b) are all phrased in terms of affirmative actions by the Respondent, it is by now well accepted that the passive holding of a website, in certain circumstances, can constitute bad faith use under the Policy. See, e.g., Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association of America v. Wreaks Communications Group, WIPO Case No. D2006-0483; Telstra Corporation Limited. v. Nuclear Marshmallows, WIPO Case No. D2000-0003; and WIPO Overview 3.0, section 3.3.
While UDRP panels will look at the totality of the circumstances in each case, factors that have been considered relevant in applying the passive holding doctrine include:
(i) the degree of distinctiveness or reputation of the complainant’s mark,
(ii) the failure of the respondent to submit a response or to provide any evidence of actual or contemplated good-faith use,
(iii) the respondent’s concealing its identity or use of false contact details (noted to be in breach of its registration agreement), and
The circumstances of the present case are sufficiently similar to those present in Telstra to establish bad faith passive holding of the disputed domain name.
The Complainant’s highly distinctive trademark SIREFID is long established and widely known. The trademark SIREFID is distinctive and has no generic or descriptive meaning.
The fact that SIREFID is an abbreviation of the words SIREF FIDUCIARIA which are clearly associated with the Complainant makes it inconceivable that the Respondent coincidentally selected the disputed domain name without any knowledge of the Complainant and its trademarks SIREFID. This assumption is also supported by the fact that the Respondent registered the disputed domain name exactly on the same date the Complainant filed an application for two European Union trademarks for the words “siref fiduciaria”.
Given that the Complainant’s SIREFID mark is solely connected with the Complainant and does not have any generic or descriptive meaning, the disputed domain name is also not susceptible to be used in a good faith generic or descriptive sense.
Therefore, though not precisely within the example of evidence in bad faith set out in paragraph 4(b) of the Policy, the Panel concludes that the registration and offering for sale to the general public for USD 950 of the disputed domain name constitutes bad faith registration and use of the domain name and that therefore the Complainant has satisfied its burden under 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 <sireffiduciaria.com> be transferred to the Complainant.
Date: May 15, 2018