WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center

ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION

Confédération Nationale du Crédit Mutuel, Caisse Fédérale de Crédit Mutuel Centre Est Europe v. Cherel Fichant

Case No. D2018-1855

1. The Parties

Complainants are Confédération Nationale du Crédit Mutuel of Paris, France and Caisse Fédérale de Crédit Mutuel Centre Est Europe of Strasbourg, France, represented by MEYER & Partenaires, France.

Respondent is Cherel Fichant of Zapopan, Mexico.

2. The Domain Name and Registrar

The disputed domain name <credit-mutuel-confirmation-mobile.com> (the “Domain Name”) is registered with PDR Ltd. d/b/a PublicDomainRegistry.com (the “Registrar”).

3. Procedural History

The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on August 14, 2018. On August 14, 2018, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the Domain Name. On August 15, 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 Respondent of the Complaint, and the proceedings commenced on August 20, 2018. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was September 9, 2018. Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on September 11, 2018.

The Center appointed Ingrīda Kariņa-Bērziņa as the sole panelist in this matter on September 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

There are two Complainants in this matter. Complainant Confédération Nationale du Crédit Mutuel of Paris, France is the political and central body for the banking group Crédit Mutuel, which was established in 1901 and provides banking and insurance services to 12 million clients through a network of 3178 offices in France. This Complainant operates a web site under the domain names <creditmutuel.com> and <creditmutuel.fr>, through which it offers online banking services to clients.

Complainant Caisse Fédérale du Crédit Mutuel Centre Est Europe, based in Strasbourg, France, is one of the regional federations of Confédération Nationale du Crédit Mutuel and is in charge of the local branches of the Crédit Mutuel group located at the East of France, and offers services in the field of banking, insurance, real estate, mobile phone or car loan and insurance. Where the Complainants’ rights differ, they shall be identified accordingly.

Complainant Confédération Nationale du Crédit Mutuel is the proprietor of a number of collective trademark registrations, including:

- French Trademark Registration No. 1475940 for CREÉDIT MUTUEL (word mark) in classes 35 and 36, registered July 8, 1988;

- French Trademark Registration No. 1646012 for CRÉDIT MUTUEL (figurative mark) in classes 16, 35, 36, 38 and 41, registered on November 20, 1990;

- French Trademark Registration No. 3428510 for EUROCOMPTE MOBILE CREDIT MUTUEL (figurative mark) in classes 9, 16, 28, 35, 36, 38, 41, registered on May 12, 2006;

- European Union Trademark (“EUTM”) No. 009943135 for CRÉDIT MUTUEL (word mark) in classes 9, 16, 35, 36, 38, 41, 42, 45, registered on October 20, 2018;

- International Trademark No. 570182 for CRÉDIT MUTUEL (figurative mark) in classes 16, 35, 36, 38, 41 designating Cambodia, Benelux, Switzerland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Portugal, and San Marino, registered on May 17, 1991.

Complainant Caisse Fédérale du Crédit Mutuel Centre Est Europe is the proprietor of the following trademark registration:

- French Trademark Registration No. 3615498 for CREDIT MUTUEL MOBILE (word mark) in classes 9, 16, 35, 36, 38, 41, 42, filed December 3, 2008.

(together, “Credit Mutuel marks”).

Complainant Confédération Nationale du Crédit Mutuel is the holder of numerous domains containing the Credit Mutuel marks that redirect to Complainant’s official web site, including:

<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;
<creditmutuelmobile.fr>, registered on October 8, 2007;
<creditmutuelmobile.com>, registered on October 2, 2007.

The Domain Name was registered on May 11, 2018 by Respondent Cherel Fichant of Zapopan, Mexico.

Respondent did not respond to Complaint.

5. Parties’ Contentions

A. Complainant

Complainants contend that the trademark CREDIT MUTUEL is well-known, and that Complainant was one of the first French banking groups to offer online banking services to clients. Complainants’ trademark registrations predate the registration of the Domain Name.

Complainants state that the Domain Name is confusingly similar to Complainants’ trademarks, since the verbal element CREDIT MUTUEL is identically reproduced within the Domain Name. Further, the additional words “confirmation” and “mobile”, rather than dispel the confusing similarity, instead creates a specific link with the trademark and Complainant’s offered services, particularly its “Credit Mutual Mobile” offering through which customers have the possibility to subscribe to a contract for their mobile phones. Complainant is long known for offering services other than financial services.

Complainant Caisse Fédérale du Crédit Mutuel Centre Est Europe owns the trademark CREDIT MUTUEL MOBILE and regularly provides communication about its mobile phone services, in fact, this Complainant acts as a telephone operator.

Complainants reference a previous case, Confédération Nationale du Crédit Mutuel v. Philippe Marie, WIPO Case No. D2010-1513 (<credit-mutuel-3dsecure.com>) in which the Center had ordered the transfer of domains disputed by Complainant Confédération Nationale du Crédit Mutuel based on a similar fact pattern.

Complainants contend that Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Domain Name because Respondent has no business relationship with Complainants, nor it is related in any way to the banking group. Complainants have not authorized Respondent to use the CREDIT MUTUEL trademarks, nor is Respondent known under such a trade name. Respondent has taken no action to demonstrate rights or legitimate interests in the Domain Name, other than to register it and to activate the parking website on phone subscriptions of competitors of Respondents.

Finally, Complainant submits that Respondent registered and is using the Domain Name in bad faith. Respondent could not have been unaware of the Credit Mutuel trademarks as they are well and widely known in the field of banking and financial services. Respondent consciously infringed the trademark Credit Mutuel together with the terms “confirmation” and “mobile” to indicate mobile phone services. The words “confirmation” and “mobile” were not chosen randomly, but were intended to attract Internet users seeking to access Complainant’s Credit Mutuel website to learn about Credit Mutuel Mobile’s services. Moreover, Respondent is using the Domain Name in bad faith through the pay-per-click system on the site and by diverting Complainants’ customers to some of its competitors’ websites, thereby seeking financial gain from the renown of Complaint by disturbing CREDIT MUTEL’s online presence.

Complainant requests that the Domain Name be transferred to it.

B. Respondent

Respondent did not reply to Complainant’s contentions.

6. Discussion and Findings

Given the facts in the case file and Respondent’s failure to file a Response, the Panel accepts as true the conventions in the Complaint. Nevertheless, paragraphs 4(a) of the UDRP requires Complainant to make out three elements:

(i) The Domain Name is identical or confusingly similar to a trade mark or service mark in which Complainant has rights; and

(ii) Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Domain Name; and

(iii) Respondent has registered and is using the Domain Name in bad faith.

A. Identical or Confusingly Similar

Complainants have provided evidence demonstrating their rights in the trademarks and domain names through various trademark registrations in France and abroad and as a result of the goodwill and reputation acquired through their use of the trademarks over many years. The Panel finds that Complainants have rights in the CREDIT MUTUEL trademark in France and abroad, and concurs with previous panels in finding the CREDIT MUTUEL trademark being a well-known mark (see, e.g., Confederation Nationale du Credit Mutuel v. Philippe Marie, supra).

The Domain Name fully incorporates Complainants’ trademark CREDIT MUTUEL which is sufficient to establish confusing similarity for the purposes of the Policy (see. e.g., Magnum Piering, Inc v. The Mudjackers and Garwood S. Wilson, Sr., WIPO Case No. D2000-1525). It is the consensus view of Panels that the generic top level domain “.com” is disregarded for the purpose of assessment of identity or confusing similarity. The Domain Name includes additional terms “confirmation” and “mobile” that does not prevent the confusing similarity between the Domain Name and Complainants’ trademark, but rather suggests that the Domain Name relates to one of Complainants’ offered services (see., e.g., Crédit Industriel et Commercial v. Hola Domains, Hola Dominios Limitada, WIPO Case No. D2017-1457). Likewise, the second Complainant offers its clients services marketed as “Credit Mutuel Mobile” as a phone operator and has rights in the CREDIT MUTUEL MOBILE trademark. Accordingly, the Panel finds that the Domain Name is confusingly similar to Complainants’ trademarks, and that Complainants have established the first element.

B. Rights or Legitimate Interests

The Panel finds that the evidence submitted by Complainants establishes a prima facie case that Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the Domain Name. The Panel finds that the materials in the case indicate that Respondent is not an agent or employee of Complainants nor is he a licensee nor a subsidiary of Complainants. Based on the evidence, the Panel finds that Complainants have not granted any authorization for Respondent to use its trademark nor to register a domain name containing a textual element that is confusingly similar to their trademark.

Once Complainants have made out a prima facie case under paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy showing that Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the Domain Name, the burden shifts to Respondent to establish rights or legitimate interests. Based on the evidence presented that the Domain Name is pointing to a parking website comprising pay-per-click system, the Panel finds that Respondent is not using the Domain Name in connection with any bona fide offering. It is the consensus view of the Panels that the use of a Domain Name to redirect users to third-party sites for commercial gain cannot be legitimate use as it competes with or capitalizes on the reputation and goodwill of Complainant’s mark or otherwise misleads Internet users (WIPO Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions, Third Edition (“WIPO Overview”), section 2.9). Furthermore, Respondent has not filed a response to the Complaint.

Accordingly, the Panel finds that Complainant has established the second element of paragraph 4(a) of the Policy.

C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith

The evidence submitted by Complainants supports a finding of bad faith. In particular, the similarity between the Domain Name and Complainants’ trademarks and the purpose of the website to which the Domain Name directs support the conclusion that Respondent has deliberately attempted to attract Internet users for illegitimate reasons. It is the consensus view of the Panels that the mere registration of a domain name that is confusingly similar to a well-known trademark by and unaffiliated entity creates by itself a presumption of bad faith (WIPO Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions, Third Edition (“WIPO Overview”), section 3.1.4).

The Panel concludes that Respondent registered the Domain Name with the knowledge of the reputation of CREDIT MUTUEL trademark, which is well-known and therefore distinctive. Furthermore, the use of words “confirmation” and “mobile” combined with the trademarks CREDIT MUTUEL and CREDIT MUTUEL MOBILE cannot have been chosen without the aim to attract Complainants’ clients toward the Domain Name. Thus, the Panel concludes that Respondent intended to take advantage of the reputation of Complainants’ trademarks (see Credit Industriel et Commercial v. Hola Domains, Hola Dominious Limitada, WIPO Case No. D2017-1457, Laique SA v. Albert Levy, WIPO Case No. D2014-1113).

Further, the Panel is convinced that Respondent deliberately selected the Domain Name for commercial gain through misdirecting Internet users who are seeking Complainants’ services to Respondent’s page, which is a parking website displaying links to Complainants’ competitor websites offering mobile phone services, from which Respondent is likely to derive income. Such actions disturb Complainants’ online presence.

On the basis of all the undisputed facts, the Panel holds that Respondent registered and is using the Domain Name intentionally for the purpose of attracting Internet users and securing commercial gain from deliberate confusion with Complainants’ trademark. The Panel finds that the Domain Name was registered and is being used in bad faith with the meaning of the third element of paragraph 4(a) of the Policy.

7. Decision

For the foregoing reasons, in accordance with paragraphs 4(a) of the Policy and 15 of the Rules, the Panel orders that the disputed domain name <credit-mutuel-confirmation-mobile.com> be transferred to Complainant Confédération Nationale du Crédit Mutuel.

Ingrīda Kariņa-Bērziņa
Sole Panelist
Date: October 4, 2018