WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Credit Agricole S.A. v. Yang Xiao Yuan
Case No. D2018-1476
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Credit Agricole S.A. of Montrouge, France, represented by Nameshield, France.
The Respondent is Yang Xiao Yuan of Shaoyang, Hunan, China.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <creditagricole.online> is registered with West263 International Limited (the "Registrar").
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed in English with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the "Center") on July 3, 2018. On July 3, 2018, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On July 4, 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.
On July 9, 2018, the Center sent a communication to the Parties, in English and Chinese, regarding the language of the proceeding. On July 10, 2018, the Complainant confirmed its request that English be the language of the proceeding. The Respondent did not comment on the language of the proceeding.
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 proceeding commenced on July 16, 2018. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was August 5, 2018. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent's default on August 6, 2018.
The Center appointed Deanna Wong Wai Man as the sole panelist in this matter on August 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 leading bank and insurance company, headquartered in France. The Complainant mainly provides the following services: retail banking, insurance management, asset leasing and factoring, consumer credit, corporate and investment banking. The Complainant provides these services in France as well as internationally.
The Complainant owns a number of trademark registrations (word and device marks) for CREDIT AGRICOLE in several jurisdictions, including International Registration number 441714 for the device mark CREDIT AGRICOLE (registered on October 25, 1978), and International Registration number 1064647 for the word mark CREDIT AGRICOLE (registered on January 4, 2011). The Complainant has moreover provided evidence of longstanding use of such trademarks, and has submitted a number of prior domain name decisions that have recognised the fame of the Complainant's trademarks. The Complainant also owns an official domain name, <creditagricole.com>, registered on June 11, 2001. Incidentally, all registered trademarks adduced by the Complainant were successfully registered prior to the registration date of the disputed domain name, which was registered on July 19, 2017.
The disputed domain name does not resolve to an active website, however, the Complainant also submits evidence that the Respondent offers the disputed domain name for sale on sedo's platform for the online sales of domain names at the price of EUR 3,300.
5. Parties' Contentions
The Complainant essentially contends that the disputed domain name is identical or confusingly similar to its prior trademarks for CREDIT AGRICOLE, that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name, and that the disputed domain name was registered and is being used in bad faith.
The Complainant claims that its trademarks are famous and well-regarded in the banking industry. The Complainant provides evidence to show that its CREDIT AGRICOLE trademarks have developed a substantial reputation and recognition internationally, and provides marketing materials showing its use of the trademark CREDIT AGRICOLE.
The Complainant also provides evidence that the disputed domain name is linked to an inactive website, and essentially claims that this constitutes passive holding of the disputed domain name by the Respondent. The Complainant also contends that the Respondent's offer for sale of the disputed domain name for EUR 3,300 indicates its bad faith.
The Complainant requests the transfer of the disputed domain name.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant's contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
6.1. Preliminary Issue: Language of proceeding
Pursuant to paragraph 11(a) of the Rules, the language of the administrative proceedings shall be the language of the Registration Agreement, subject to the authority of the Panel to determine otherwise, having regard to the circumstances of the administrative proceeding.
The Complainant states that the Registration Agreement is written in Chinese, but requests that the language of proceeding be English. The Complainant argues that English is the language most widely used in international relations and that translation of the Complaint would substantially increase its costs associated with bringing this proceeding.
The Panel has carefully considered all elements of this case, in particular, the Complainant's request; the lack of response of the Respondent (the Panel notes that the Respondent had the opportunity to request Chinese as the language of the proceeding, and was also given time to put forward arguments in either English or Chinese); the fact that the Respondent has registered the disputed domain name with what appears to be false or incorrect contact information; and the fact that the adoption of Chinese as the language of proceeding could lead to unwarranted delays and costs for the Complainant. In view of all these elements, the Panel rules that the language of proceedings shall be English.
6.2. Substantive Matters
Paragraph 4(a) of the Policy requires the Complainant to prove three elements:
(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 respect of the disputed domain name; and
(iii) the disputed domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.
Based on the arguments and evidence submitted, the Panel's findings are as follows:
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The Panel finds that the Complainant has shown that it has valid rights in the sign CREDIT AGRICOLE, based on its use and registration of the same as trademarks in a number of jurisdictions, commencing decades prior to the registration of the disputed domain name.
The disputed domain name is identical to the Complainant's trademarks for CREDIT AGRICOLE. The addition of the Top Level Domain ".online" is irrelevant. In this regard, the WIPO Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions, Third Edition ("WIPO Overview 3.0") states: "The applicable Top Level Domain ("TLD") in a domain name (e.g.,'.com', '.club', '.nyc') is viewed as a standard registration requirement and as such is disregarded under the first element confusing similarity test." Accordingly, the Panel finds that the disputed domain name is identical to the Complainant's trademark and rules that the first element required by the Policy has been fulfilled.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
The Complainant has demonstrated that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. The Complainant has not granted any license, distribution agreement or other permission for the Respondent to register the disputed domain name fully incorporating the Complainant's trademark. The Panel notes that no active use is being made of the disputed domain name, and the disputed domain name is simply listed for sale for EUR 3,300 via Sedo.com. In the circumstances, such conduct clearly does not give rise to rights or legitimate interests on the part of the Respondent. The Panel notes that none of the circumstances of rights or legitimate interests envisaged by paragraph 4(c) of the Policy apply. Moreover, mere registration does not create any rights or legitimate interests, as stated before in Pharmacia & Upjohn Company v. Moreonline, WIPO Case No. D2000-0134, "mere registration does not establish rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name". The Panel notes that no evidence or arguments have been submitted by the Respondent in reply. The Panel therefore rules that the Complainant has satisfied the second requirement under the Policy.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
Given the reputation and fame of the Complainant's trademarks, the registration of the disputed domain name, which is identical to the Complainant's famous trademarks, is clearly intended to make unjustified profits from the registration of the disputed domain name. The fact that the Respondent is currently offering the disputed domain name for sale at the price of EUR 3,300 – which is a price far in excess of the out-of-pocket expenses directly related to the registration or transfer of the domain name – demonstrates and reinforces this finding. These elements clearly indicate the bad faith of the Respondent, and the Panel therefore rules that it has been demonstrated that the Respondent registered the disputed domain name in bad faith.
As to use of the disputed domain name in bad faith, the WIPO Overview 3.0 states: "From the inception of the UDRP, panelists have found that the non-use of a domain name (including a blank or "coming soon" page) would not prevent a finding of bad faith under the doctrine of passive holding". Having regard to all elements of the case at hand, and in particular to the high degree of similarity between the Complainant's trademarks and the disputed domain name, the distinctiveness and reputation of the Complainant's trademarks and the Respondent's use of incomplete or false contact details in the WhoIs records for the disputed domain name, the Panel rules that it has been demonstrated that the Respondent has used, and is using the disputed domain name in bad faith.
Moreover, the Respondent has failed to provide any response or evidence to establish its good faith or absence of bad faith. The Panel therefore rules that the Complainant has satisfied the third requirement under 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 <creditagricole.online> be transferred to the Complainant.
Deanna Wong Wai Man
Date: August 28, 2018