WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center

ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION

Aviva Brands Limited v. Alexandre Roger Gilbert Deremetz

Case No. D2018-0516

1. The Parties

The Complainant is Aviva Brands Limited of London, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (“United Kingdom”), represented by CSC Digital Brand Services AB, Sweden.

The Respondent is Alexandre Roger Gilbert Deremetz of Cotonou, Benin.

2. The Domain Name and Registrar

The disputed domain name <credit-aviva.com> is registered with Hostinger, UAB (the “Registrar”).

3. Procedural History

The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on March 7, 2018. On March 7, 2018, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On March 8, 2018, 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 March 20, 2018. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was April 9, 2018. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent of its default on April 16, 2018.

The Center appointed Dennis A. Foster as the sole panelist in this matter on April 20, 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

With an origination that goes back for centuries, the Complainant is an internationally well-known insurance company founded in the United Kingdom. The Complainant conducts its insurance-related operations under the AVIVA trademark, which has been registered with such authorities as the United Kingdom Intellectual Property Office (“UKIPO”) (e.g., Registration No. 2278305B; registered on May 10, 2002), United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) (e.g., Registration No. 2773101; registered on October 14, 2003) and European Union Intellectual Property Office (“EUIPO”) (e.g., Registration No. 002358133; registered on January 3, 2005).

The disputed domain name <credit-aviva.com> is owned by the Respondent, who registered the domain name on November 5, 2017. The disputed domain name resolves to a website that offers products and services that compete directly with those offered by the Complainant.

5. Parties’ Contentions

A. Complainant

- The Complainant is an insurance company based in the United Kingdom that has a history going back to 1696. Today, it provides a wide range of insurance products and services, having generated GBP 2.7 billion in operating profit in 2015. With thousands of employees and millions of customers, the Complainant operates under its AVIVA trademark and maintains a strong Internet presence with domain names such as <aviva.com>, <aviva.co.uk> and <aviva.fr>.

- The disputed domain name <credit-aviva.com> is confusingly simlar to the Complainant’s AVIVA mark. The addition of the term “credit”, which is closely linked to and associated with the Complainant’s business and trademark, only underscores that confusing similarity.

- The Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. The Respondent is not sponsored by or affiliated with the Complainant in any way. The Respondent is not using the disputed domain name in a bona fide offering of goods or services or in a noncommercial or fair use manner, since the name resolves to a website that prominently displays the Complainant’s mark and logo and offers products and services that compete directily with those offered by the Complaianant under its AVIVA mark. Moreover, the Respondent is not commonly known as the disputed domain name.

- The disputed domain name was registered and is being used in bad faith. The Complainant’s mark is world famous, and therefore known by the Respondent, so he could not have registered or used the disputed domain name in good faith. Given the Respondent’s use of the disputed domain name for a website that misappropriates the Complainant’s mark and logo and sells competing products and services, his bad faith intention is to gain commercially through the likely confusion between that name and the AVIVA mark. Moreover, the Respondent’s failure to respond to the Complainant’s attempt to resolve their dispute, in ignoring the Complainant’s cease-and-desist letter, is additional evidence of the Respondent’s bad faith registration and use of the disputed domain name.

B. Respondent

The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.

6. Discussion and Findings

Pursuant to Policy paragraph 4(a)(i) - (iii), the Panel may find for the Complainant and order a transfer of the disputed domain name <credit-aviva.com> provided the Complainant demonstrates that:

- The disputed domain name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which the Complainant has rights; and

- The Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name; and

- The disputed domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.

A. Identical or Confusingly Similar

The Complainant’s ownership of the AVIVA trademark is confirmed by submission to the Panel of ample evidence that the Complainant has registered the mark with the UKIPO, USPTO and EUIPO. See, Pet Plan Ltd v. Esteban Rodriguez, WIPO Case No. D2016-2142 (“Complainant has provided evidence of ownership of rights in the trademark PETPLAN [...] through registration at the UKIPO, EUIPO, USPTO and CIPO...”); and Horten Advokatpartnerselskab v. Domain ID Shield Service CO., Limited / Krutikov Valeriy Nikolaevich, WIPO Case No. D2016-0205 (“[...] if the complainant owns a registered trademark, then it generally satisfies the threshold requirement of having trademark rights”).

The disputed domain name differs from the AVIVA mark by the addition of the descriptive term “credit”, a hyphen, and the generic Top-Level Domain (“gTLD”) “.com”. In the estimation of the Panel, those modest alterations do little to ameliorate the confusing similarity between the disputed domain name and the mark. Accordingly, the Panel determines that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to the Complainant’s trademark. See, Inter IKEA Systems B.V. v. Above.com Domain Privacy / Transure Enterprise Ltd, WIPO Case No. D2013-0314 (finding <ikeacredit.com> to be confusingly similar to the IKEA mark); Mastercard International Incorporated v. Arena Offices, WIPO Case No. D2012-2540 (ruling that <paypass-credit.com> is confusingly similar to the PAYPASS mark); and Schering Corporation v. Oleg Sokolov, WIPO Case No. D2012-0026 (“[...] the mere addition of the descriptive word “medd” preceded by a dash or hyphen, and the gTLD “.com” does absolutely nothing to preclude a finding of confusing similarity.”).

As a result, the Panel finds that the Complainant has sustained its burden of proof with respect to the first element necessary under the Policy.

B. Rights or Legitimate Interests

In order to shift the burden of establishing his rights and legitimate interests in the disputed domain name to the Respondent, the Complainant must present a prima facie case that the Respondent has no such rights or legitimate interests. See, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. WalMart Careers, Inc., WIPO Case No. D2012-0285, and Accor v. Eren Atesmen, WIPO Case No. D2009-0701. In this regard, the Complainant has shown that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to the Complainant’s AVIVA trademark. The Complainant also contends that the Respondent is not sponsored by or affiliated with the Respondent. Furthermore, as the Complainant suggests, there is no evidence that the Respondent, Alexandre Roger Gilbert Deremetz, has ever been commonly known as the disputed domain name <credit-aviva.com> (paragraph 4(c)(ii) of the Policy). Given this record, the Panel concludes that the Complainant has made a prima facie case that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name.

The Complainant contends that the disputed domain name resolves to a website that contains the Complainant’s mark and logo, while offering products and services that compete directly with those offered by the Complainant. The Complainant has presented compelling evidence to Panel, in the form of a webpage screenshot, to support this contention, so the Panel accepts it as true in the absence of any contrary evidence submitted by the Respondent. As the term “aviva” has no descriptive or generic meaning, and its only connection to insurance is by way of the Complainant’s business, the Panel finds that the term’s inclusion by the Respondent in the disputed domain name to sell insurance-related products and services is neither a “bona fide offering of goods and services” per Policy paragraph 4(c)(i) nor “a legitimate noncommercial or fair use” of the name per Policy paragraph 4(c)(iii). Thus, the Panel concludes that the prima facie case put forward by the Complainant stands. See, OVH SAS v. Mahmudul Hasan, WIPO Case No. D2014-0055 (“The website, to which the disputed domain names resolve, offers services that compete directly with the Complainant’s services. Thus, the evidence in the case indicates that the Respondent is neither making a bona fide offering of goods or services, nor a legitimate, noncommercial or fair use of the disputed domain names...”); and BGC Partners, Inc., BGC Partners, L.P. v. BGC CHINA, BGC partners/Domains By Proxy, LLC, WIPO Case No. D2013-1685 (finding that the respondent had not engaged in a bona fide offering of goods or services because the disputed domain name was used to display the complainant’s logos and offer the same services offered by the complainant under its mark).

As a result, the Panel finds that the Complainant has sustained its burden of proof with respect to the second element necessary under the Policy.

C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith

It is the opinion of the Panel that the Complainant’s AVIVA trademark is widely known and that the Respondent certainly knew of it before registration of the disputed domain name. It is well-settled by prior Policy decisions that registration and use of a disputed domain name that is confusingly similar to such marks by an unaffiliated party gives rise to a finding of bad faith registration and use of that disputed domain name. The Panel determines that such reasoning applies to the present case. See, Aviva Brands Limited v. Deng Guo Sen / Nexperian Holding Limited, WIPO Case No. D2017-0730 (“A presumption of bad faith registration and use can be drawn where the domain name in dispute is identical or confusingly similar to a well-known trademark and the respondent is an unaffiliated entity.”); and Parfums Christian Dior v. Javier Garcia Quintas and Christiandior.net, WIPO Case No. D2000-0226.

The Panel also accepts the Complainant’s contention that the disputed domain name is used to host a website that offers insurance goods and services that compete directly with those of the Complainant. As it is clear that the Respondent intends to gain monetarily from that use and that such gain depends upon likely confusion between the disputed domain name and the Complainant’s mark with respect to the source, sponsorship, affiliation and/or endorsement of said website, the Panel concludes that the Respondent’s actions fall within the bad faith proscriptions of the Policy paragraph 4(b)(iv). See, Werock B.V. v. Super Privacy Service c/o Dynadot, WIPO Case No. D2017-1657 (“The Respondent is using the Complainant’s Trademark in the Disputed Domain Name to redirect Internet users to WeTransferit’s Website which provides competing services to the Complainant [...] This is evidence of bad faith registration and use (see paragraph 4(b)(iv) of the Policy).”); and Rosemount, Inc. and Emerson Electric Co. v. Beijing ZhongYiHuaShi technology Co., Ltd., WIPO Case No. DSO2013-0003 (finding bad faith registration and use of a disputed domain name under Policy paragraph 4(b)(iv) where the respondent’s connected website offered the same sensor products as offered by the complainant under its mark).

As a result, the Panel finds that the Complainant has sustained its burden of proof with respect to the third element necessary under the Policy.

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 name <credit-aviva.com>, be transferred to the Complainant.

Dennis A. Foster
Sole Panelist
Date: May 4, 2018