WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Chimera Investment Corporation v. Samuele Liverani
Case No. D2018-0745
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Chimera Investment Corporation of New York, New York, United States of America ("United States"), represented by Mayer Brown LLP, United States of America.
The Respondent is Samuele Liverani of Bologna, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (United Kingdom").
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <chimerainvcorp.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 April 3, 2018. On April 5, 2018, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On April 5, 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 April 9, 2018. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was April 29, 2018. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent's default on May 1, 2018.
The Center appointed Theda König Horowicz as the sole panelist in this matter on May 14, 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 is a United States Real Estate Investment Trust Company established in New York, United States. It provides risk-adjusted returns to its shareholders. It manages its business through investments in mortgage loans and mortgage related securities.
In connection with the promotion of its services, the Complainant uses the trademark CHIMERA which is registered as a Service Mark in the United States as follows:
- CHIMERA, United States Registration No. 3561879, in international class 36, of January 13, 2009;
- CHIMERA INVESTMENT CORPORATION, United States Registration No. 4912157, in international class 36, of March 8, 2016
The Complainant also uses in the United States the logo of a stylized crouching lion with a serpent tail and the head of a goat rising from the lions back:
This logo has also been registered as a Service Mark, United States Registration No. 4917082, in international class 36, of March 15, 2016.
The said logo is notably used by the Complainant on its official website which is operated under the domain name <chimerareit.com>. The said domain name was first registered on July 26, 2007.
The Respondent whose listed address is Castel San Pietro Terme, Bologna, United Kingdom, registered the disputed domain name on October 23, 2017. The disputed domain name was linked to a homepage reproducing the CHIMERA INVESTMENT CORPORATION trademark and logo. The website was also proposing global investment opportunities, market analysis and Internet platforms for trading purposes.
5. Parties' Contentions
The Complainant alleges to have trademark rights over the name Chimera which has been continuously used since 2007 in connection with its business. The Complainant also addresses that it is the owner of the domain name <chimerareit.com> which has been registered the same year. The disputed domain name fully incorporates the mark CHIMERA and is the functional equivalent of CHIMERA INVESTMENT CORPORATION. The shortening of "Investment Corporation" to the common abbreviations of "invcorp" in the disputed domain name does not negate the highly similar, if not identical, nature of the disputed domain name.
The Complainant states that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in or to the disputed domain name. The Respondent was never authorized by the Complainant to use the CHIMERA marks in any manner, much less as part of the disputed domain name. In addition, the Complainant raises that the Respondent's website is used for financial fraud which is not a bona fide offering of goods and services. Moreover, the similarity in alleged services has only created confusion for investors in the Complainant's company. The disputed domain name harms the general public, the Complainant's clients and the goodwill that the Complainant's marks have been associated with.
The Complainant further indicates that the disputed domain name has been registered and used in bad faith since it was used to defraud the public under the Complainant's name. In particular, the disputed domain name states that it operates according to the regulations of and under the supervision of the Financial Conduct Authority of the United Kingdom (the "FCA"). In fact, the FCA regulatory reference number provided by the Respondent under the disputed domain name provides a warning that describes the disputed domain name as fraudulent. In addition, the Respondent provided false WhoIs registration indications since its address does not exist.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant's contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
Under the Policy, in order to prevail, a complainant must prove the following three elements for obtaining the transfer of a domain name:
(i) that the domain name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which the complainant has rights;
(ii) that the respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the domain name; and
(iii) that the domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The Complainant has rights over its corporate name Chimera Investment Corporation and over the United States trademark registrations CHIMERA and CHIMERA INVESTMENT CORPORATION.
The trademark CHIMERA is reproduced in its entirety in the disputed domain name. Furthermore the disputed domain name contains the abbreviation "invcorp" which refers to "Investment Corporation", like in the trademark CHIMERA INVESTMENT CORPORATION.
The Panel therefore concludes that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to the Complainant's marks.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
Paragraph 4(c) of the Policy contains a non-exhaustive list of circumstances that may demonstrate when a respondent has rights or legitimate interests in the use of a domain name. The list includes:
(1) the use of the domain name in connection with a bona fide offering of goods and services;
(2) being commonly known by the domain name; or
(3) the making of a legitimate non-commercial or fair use of the domain name, without intent for commercial gain to misleadingly divert consumers.
Once the Complainant establishes a prima facie case against the Respondent under this ground, the burden of proof shifts to the Respondent to rebut it.
The Respondent linked the disputed domain name to a website reproducing not only the CHIMERA word marks of the Complainant but also its very distinctive "lion logo". Furthermore, the disputed domain name and the CHIMERA marks were used by the Respondent investment respectively trading services similar to these of the Complainant.
The Complainant indicates that it has not authorized the Respondent to use the said marks in any manner.
Under the circumstances, the Panel finds that the Complainant made a prima facie case out against the Respondent.
The Respondent submitted no reply to the case against it. There is otherwise no evidence in the case file to suggest that the Respondent might have some rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name.
The Panel in particular considers that the trademark CHIMERA and the associated "lion logo" are very distinctive and constitute a clear reference to the Complainant's business.
The use of these distinctive marks on the Respondent's website which was linked to the disputed domain name therefore falsely suggests an affiliation with the trademark owner and business. Furthermore, it is used in relation with similar investment services and might thus give the false impression to the public that it is operated or sponsored by the Complainant.
All these elements tend to indicate that the Respondent has indeed no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name.
For these reasons, the Panels finds that the Complainant has established its case under paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
The third condition which the Complainant must comply with is to evidence that the disputed domain name was registered and subsequently used in bad faith.
As already states above, the trademark CHIMERA and the associated "lion logo" owned and used by the Complainant, notably on its official website, are very distinctive.
The disputed domain name contains the word "Chimera" in its entirety, along with the abbreviation "invcorp" - an obvious reference to "Investment Corporation" - like in "Chimera Investment Corporation", which corresponds to the Complainant's trade name and trademark. Furthermore, the disputed domain name was linked to a website reproducing the exact same "lion logo" of the Complainant.
Under the circumstances, it seems obvious that the Respondent knew about the Complainant's trademark and web presence. The disputed domain name could thus not have been registered in good faith by the Respondent.
In terms of bad faith use, it has to be noted that the Respondent pretends to provide services under the said disputed domain name (commercial use) which are similar to the services of the Complainant. By operating this way, he does give the wrong impression to be affiliated or sponsored by the Complainant, most likely for commercial gain. The Respondent does therefore obviously seek to cause confusion in the public's mind.
Furthermore, the fact that the Respondent's WhoIs information is obviously wrong tends to indicate that he had indeed fraudulent intentions when using the disputed domain name in connection with services approaching those of the Complainant and that the information contained in the website was put up in order to mislead the public.
The Panel notes that the Respondent has decided not to intervene in these proceedings and chose to remain silent within these proceedings.
For these reasons, the Panel finds that the Complainant has established its case 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 names <chimerainvcorp.com> be transferred to the Complainant.
Theda König Horowicz
Date: May 31, 2018