WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Confédération Nationale du Crédit Mutuel v. Malo Corentine
Case No. D2018-1844
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Confédération Nationale du Crédit Mutuel of Paris, France, represented by MEYER & Partenaires, France.
The Respondent is Malo Corentine of Toulouse, France.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <credit-mutuel.tech> is registered with Hostinger, UAB (the “Registrar”).
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on August 13, 2018. On August 13, 2018, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On August 15, 2018, the Registrar transmitted by email to the Center its verification response disclosing the registrant and contact information for the disputed domain name. The Center sent an email communication to the Complainant on August 20, 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 amended Complaint on August 23, 2018.
The Center verified that the Complaint together with the amended 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 August 24, 2018. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was September 13, 2018. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on September 17, 2018.
The Center appointed Isabelle Leroux as the sole panelist in this matter on September 28, 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 publicly traded company headquartered in France and is active in the banking and insurance industries. The Complainant is among the largest French banking and insurance services groups with a network of 3,178 offices in France.
The Complainant owns a portfolio of registered trademarks consisting of or including the sign “CREDIT MUTUEL”:
- French trademark CRÉDIT MUTUEL, No. 1475940, registered on July 8, 1988 in classes 35 and 36 and duly renewed;
- French trademark CRÉDIT MUTUEL, No. 1646012, registered on November 20, 1990 in classes 16, 35, 36, 38 and 41 and duly renewed;
- European Union Trade Mark CRÉDIT MUTUEL, No. 9943135, registered on May 5, 2011 in classes 9, 16, 35, 36, 38, 41, 42 and 45;
- International trademark CRÉDIT MUTUEL, No. 570182, registered on May 17, 1991 in classes 16, 35, 36, 38 and 41 and duly renewed (together, “the Trademarks”).
The Complainant also registered the following domain names:
- <creditmutuel.info> registered on September 13, 2001;
- <creditmutuel.org> registered on June 3, 2002;
- <creditmutuel.fr> registered on August 10, 1995;
- <creditmutuel.com> registered on October 28, 1995;
- <creditmutuel.net> registered on October 3, 1996.
The disputed domain name <credit-mutuel.tech> was registered on July 17, 2018. At the time of the filing of the Complaint, the disputed domain name redirected to a standard Wordpress parked webpage. It no longer resolves to an active webpage.
5. Parties’ Contentions
(i) The Complainant essentially contends that the disputed domain name is identical, or at least highly confusingly similar, to the Trademarks. It argues that its trademark CREDIT MUTUEL is integrally reproduced in the disputed domain name and the mere addition of an hyphen and of the Top-Level Domain name “.tech” is not enough to avoid confusing similarity.
(ii) The Complainant contends that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name. According to the Complainant, the Respondent does not hold any CRÉDIT MUTUEL trademark and is not related in any way to the Complainant’s business.
(iii) The Complainant submits that the Respondent has registered and is using the disputed domain name in bad faith. The Complainant submits that the Trademarks are well known and the Respondent knew or should have known the existence of the Complainant’s rights at the time of the registration of the disputed domain name.
Moreover, the Complainant contends that the non-use of the disputed domain names is “passive holding”, which constitutes bad faith use.
Finally, the Complainant states that email servers are activated on this domain name and could be used to send potentially fraudulent emails.
(iv) The Complainant requests that the disputed domain name be transferred to the Complainant.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
The Panel notes that the Respondent is formally in default pursuant to paragraphs 5(f) and 14(a) of the Rules because no response was received from the Respondent within the time limit set by the Policy and the Rules.
However, the Panel finds that this does not mean that the remedies requested should automatically be awarded. The Panel will have to establish whether the Complainant’s case meets the requirements of paragraph 4(a) of the Policy. See LEGO Juris A/S v. NyunHwa Jung, WIPO Case No. D2012‑1233; Charabot SA v. Name Redacted, WIPO Case No. D2018-0339.
Paragraph 4(a) of the Policy requires the Complainant to prove each of the following elements in order to obtain relief:
(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.
These elements will be examined in turn below.
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The Complainant has provided evidence that it has rights in the Trademarks well before the Respondent registered the disputed domain name.
In comparing the disputed domain name <credit-mutuel.tech> with the Trademarks, the Panel finds that the Trademarks are replicated in their entirety in the disputed domain name, the latter simply differing by the addition of an hyphen.
The Panel does not consider that the mere addition of an hyphen serves to avoid identity with the Complainant’s Trademarks. See Prada S.A. v. Chen Mingjie, WIPO Case No. D2015-1466; Carrefour v. Milen Radumilo / United Privacy Corp, WIPO Case No. D2015-1851.
Further, the use of the gTLD “.tech” does not affect the identity between the disputed domain name and the Trademarks. Previous UDRP panels have regularly ruled that the addition of a gTLD such as “.tech” is not to be taken into consideration when examining the identity or similarity between a complainant’s trademarks and the disputed domain name. See Esselunga S.P.A.. v. Wang Lian Feng, WIPO Case No. D2018-0967; Volkswagen AG v. Wang Lian Feng, WIPO Case No. D2018-0881.
Therefore the Panel finds that the disputed domain name is identical to the Trademarks and thus, the Complainant has satisfied the requirement of paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Policy.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
Numerous UDRP panels have found that, even though the Complainant bears the general burden of proof under paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the UDRP, the burden of production shifts to the Respondent once the Complainant makes a prima facie showing that the Respondent lacks rights or legitimate interests (Croatia Airlines d.d. v. Modern Empire Internet Ltd., WIPO Case No. D2003-0455).
Hence after the Complainant has made a prima facie showing that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the mark, it will be deemed to have satisfied paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the UDRP when the Respondent fails to submit a response.
In this case, the Complainant brings forward the following elements:
- It has no relationship whatsoever with the Respondent;
- There is no indication that the Respondent is known under the disputed domain name;
- No license or authorization has been granted by the Complainant to the Respondent;
- No apparent use is being made of the disputed domain name.
In the light of this, the Panel finds that the Complainant has made a prima facie showing that the Respondent does not have rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name, which was not challenged by the Respondent who did not respond to the Complainants’ arguments.
Given these circumstances the Panel finds that the second element of paragraph 4(ii) of the Policy has been satisfied.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
The Trademarks have been recognized as well known by previous UDPR panels. Accordingly, the Panel considers that the Respondent could not plausibly ignore the existence of the Complainant’s Trademarks at the time the disputed domain name was registered and finds that the registration was made in bad faith. See Confederation Nationale du Crédit Mutuel v. DomainsByProxy/Gomes Paulo, WIPO Case No. DWS2008-0001, Confederation Nationale du Credit Mutuel v. Philippe Marie, WIPO Case No. D2010-1513; Confédération Nationale du Crédit Mutuel v. Whoisguard Protected, Whoisguard, Inc. / Isabelle Garcia, Credit Mutuel Fiable, WIPO Case No. D2017-0214.
As to the use of the disputed domain name in bad faith, the disputed domain name <credit-mutuel.tech> used to resolve to a standard Wordpress webpage. It has been recognized that inaction (i.e., passive holding) in relation to a domain name registration can, in certain circumstances, constitute use of a domain name being used in bad faith. See Telstra Corporation Limited v. Nuclear Marshmallows, WIPO Case No. D2000-0003.
In the present case, the Panel finds that the Respondent may have provided, or failed to correct, false contact details, and refused the delivery of the Center’s mail. The Panel further finds that the Respondent has provided no evidence whatsoever of any actual or contemplated good faith use of the disputed domain name.
Taking into account all of the above, it is not possible to conceive of any plausible actual or contemplated active use of the domain name by the Respondent that would not be illegitimate. The disputed domain name being identical to the Complainant’s Trademarks will only contribute to confusion amongst Internet users.
Consequently, the Panel finds that the disputed domain name <credit-mutuel.tech> has been registered and is being used in bad faith, so that the third requirement under paragraph 4(a)(iii) of the Policy is met.
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-mutuel.tech> be transferred to the Complainant.
Date: October 12, 2018