WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Confédération Nationale du Crédit Mutuel v. GARR Garderie
Case No. D2018-1871
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Confédération Nationale du Crédit Mutuel of Paris, France, represented by MEYER & Partenaires, France.
The Respondent is GARR Garderie of Grenoble, France.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <mutuelcreditinvest.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 August 16, 2018. On August 16, 2018, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On August 17, 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 21, 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 27, 2018. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was September 16, 2018.
The Center received an informal email communication from the Respondent on August 30, 2018. The Respondent did not file any substantive Response. The Center informed the Parties that it would proceed to panel appointment on September 18, 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;
- <mutuelcredit.fr> registered on October 22, 2008.
The disputed domain name <mutuelcreditinvest.com> was registered on July 12, 2018. At the time of the filing of the Complaint, the disputed domain name resolved to a website offering financial services under the Complainant’s Trademarks. It is now inactive.
5. Parties’ Contentions
(i) The Complainant essentially contends that the disputed domain name is 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 the term “invest” and of the generic Top-Level Domain name “.com” is not sufficient to avoid a likelihood of confusion.
(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 is not related in any way to the Complainant and was never granted by the Complainant any authorization to use the Trademarks.
The Complainant further states that no trade name or corporate name or trademark is registered with the terms “MUTUEL CREDIT INVEST”.
Lastly, the Complainant adds that the disputed domain name resolves to a website reproducing the Complainant’s Trademarks and company name as well as other French banks’ trademarks and company names.
(iii) The Complainant submits that the Respondent has registered and is using the disputed domain name in bad faith. The Complainant contends 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 essentially states that the disputed domain name is used in bad faith as the Respondent, through the related website, seeks to create a risk of confusion by making Internet users of average attention believe that they are browsing an official website of the Complainant.
The Complainant also contends that the Respondent may collect personal data of the website visitors through the contact webpage and use them in the future in a fraudulent way.
Finally, the Complainant states that email servers are activated on the disputed 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 acknowledged receipt of the notification of the Complaint, by email on August 30, 2018, but did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
6.1 Procedural Aspects
The Panel notes that no substantive 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 <mutuelcreditinvest.com> with the Trademarks, the Panel finds that the verbal elements of the Trademarks are replicated in their entirety in the disputed domain name, the latter simply differing by an inversion of “credit” and “mutuel” and by the addition of the term “invest”.
The Panel considers that the sole inversion of “credit” and “mutuel” in the disputed domain <mutuelcreditinvest.com> does not prevent the confusing similarity between the disputed domain name and the Complainant’s trademark. See Confédération Nationale du Crédit Mutuel v. Taing Sunnguon, WIPO Case No. D2011-1419.
Moreover, the Complainant provides evidence that the associated term “invest” describes the core of activity of the Complainant. In this regard, the WIPO Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions, Third Edition (“WIPO Overview 3.0”) states that the addition of a descriptive term would not prevent a finding of confusing similarity (WIPO Overview 3.0, section 1.8).
Lastly, previous UDRP panels have regularly ruled that the generic Top-Level Domain (“gTLD”), such as “.com”, is not to be taken into consideration when examining the identity or similarity between the Complainant’s trademarks and the disputed domain names (CBS Broadcasting Inc. v. Worldwide Webs, Inc., WIPO Case No. D2000-0834).
Therefore the Panel finds that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to the Trademarks and that the Complainant has satisfied the requirement of paragraph 4(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 disputed domain name, 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:
- The Respondent is not in any way related to the Complainant as the Respondent is not one of the Complainant’s agents, employees or subsidiaries;
- The Complainant has never granted any authorization to the Respondent to use the Trademarks;
- There is no indication that the Respondent is known under the disputed domain name.
The Respondent’s use of the disputed domain name in connection with a website that gives the misleading impression of being that of the Complainant does not give rise to rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name on the part of the Respondent. 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 Complainant’s 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 UDRP 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.
Furthermore, the Complainant also shows that the disputed domain name used to resolve to a website offering financial services. This website contained several quotes of the Complainant’s website and references to the Complainant’s Trademarks, indicative of the Respondent’s knowledge of the Complainant. Previous UDRP panels have ruled that the addition of the term “invest” may increase the risk of confusion when the Complainant offers services related to business finance and insurance. See, Costco Wholesale Membership Inc. and Costco Wholesale Corporation v. Domain Privacy Services, WIPO Case No. D2016-2624; PayPal Inc. v. Domain Admin, Whois Privacy Corp., WIPO Case No. D2015-1920.
Such use of the disputed domain name is clearly intended to divert consumers seeking to reach the Complainant’s website. Accordingly, this Panel finds that the intention of the Respondent to take undue advantage of the Complainant’s Trademarks has been demonstrated.
Lastly, the Panel notes that the disputed domain name is now inactive. In any event, the non-use of a domain name does not prevent a finding of bad faith under the doctrine of passive holding (WIPO Overview 3.0, section 3.3).
For the above reasons, the Panel finds that the condition of paragraph 4(a)(iii) of the Policy has been satisfied.
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 <mutuelcreditinvest.com> be transferred to the Complainant.
Date: October 12, 2018