WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Swiss Life AG and Swiss Life Intellectual Property Management AG v. WhoisGuard, Inc. / Robin Connelly
Case No. D2018-2637
1. The Parties
The Complainants are Swiss Life AG and Swiss Life Intellectual Property Management AG of Zürich, Switzerland, represented by FMP Fuhrer Marbach & Partners, Switzerland.
The Respondent is WhoisGuard, Inc. of Panama / Robin Connelly of Bahrain.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <swisslife.site> (the “Domain Name”) is registered with NameCheap, Inc. (the “Registrar”).
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on November 16, 2018. On November 19, 2018, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the Domain Name. On November 19, 2018, the Registrar transmitted by email to the Center its verification response disclosing registrant and contact information for the Domain Name which differed from the named Respondent and contact information in the Complaint. The Center sent an email communication to the Complainants on November 23, 2018 providing the registrant and contact information disclosed by the Registrar, and inviting the Complainants to submit an amendment to the Complaint. The Complainants filed an amended Complaint on November 26, 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 November 28, 2018. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was December 18, 2018. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on December 20, 2018.
The Center appointed Ian Lowe as the sole panelist in this matter on January 4, 2019. 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 Complainants are members of the Swiss Life group that comprises Switzerland’s largest life insurance company and one of Europe’s leading comprehensive life and pensions and financial solutions providers. As at December 2017, it had approximately CHF 246 billion of assets under management and turnover of more than CHF 18.5 billion for the year. Swiss Life was founded in 1857 and adopted its current name in 2002.
The Complainants are the proprietors of a substantial number of registered trademarks in respect of both the word mark SWISS LIFE (the “Mark”) and its “Swiss Life” and device mark (the “Logo”). These include Switzerland trademark number 2P-436709 registered on February 12, 1997, and European Union trademark number 3438413 registered on October 20, 2006 (both in respect of the Mark) and Switzerland trademark number P-520243 registered on April 5, 2004, and International trademark number 829188 registered on April 30, 2004 designating a number of territories (both in respect of the Logo).
The Domain Name was registered on November 6, 2018. According to the Registrar’s WhoIs details, the address provided by the Respondent includes:
The Domain Name no longer resolves to an active website. At the time of the filing of the Complaint it resolved to a website (the “Website”) which featured the Complainants’ Logo at the top of the home page and appeared to offer investors returns of between 36% and 98%. The Website’s “About Swiss Life” rubric claimed that “swisslife.site is a global multi-strategy hedge fund providing investors with an attractive level of income together with the potential for capital and income growth…”. The Website solicited payments by electronic currencies such as Ethereum and Bitcoin. The Logo also appeared on other webpages of the Website. It did not provide any information as to the Respondent’s identity or address.
5. Parties’ Contentions
The Complainants contend that the Domain Name is identical to its Mark, that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Domain Name, and that the Respondent registered and is using the Domain Name in bad faith within the meaning of paragraph 4(b)(i) of the Policy.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainants’ contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
For this Complaint to succeed in relation to the Domain Name the Complainants must prove that:
(i) the Domain Name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which the Complainants have rights; and
(ii) the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Domain Name; and
(iii) the Domain Name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The Complainants have uncontested rights in the Mark, SWISS LIFE, by virtue of its various trademark registrations. In addition, as a result of the goodwill and reputation acquired through its widespread use of the Mark over many years, the Complainants have acquired unregistered trademark rights in respect of the Mark. Ignoring the generic Top-Level Domain (“gTLD”) “.site”, the Domain Name is identical to the Mark, SWISS LIFE. Accordingly, the Panel finds that the Domain Name is identical to a trademark in which the Complainants have rights.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
The Complainants have made out a strong prima facie case that the Respondent could have no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Domain Name. The Respondent has not used the Domain Name for the bona fide provision of goods and services but for a website featuring the Logo and the Mark and purporting therefore to be operated by the Complainants. The Panel considers that the inescapable inference is that the Website was set up, using the Domain Name, for fraudulent purposes, by taking advantage of the Complainants’ rights in the Mark, either to phish for personal data for improper purposes or to draw users in to fraudulent transactions. The Respondent has chosen not to respond to the Complaint or to take any steps to counter the prima facie case established by the Complainants. In the circumstances, the Panel finds that the Respondent does not have any rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Domain Name.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
In light of the nature of the Domain Name and the above finding, the Panel considers that the Respondent must have had the Complainants and its rights in the Mark in mind when it registered the Domain Name. The Panel cannot conceive of any legitimate use to which the Respondent could put the Domain Name.
In the Panel’s view, the Respondent registered the Domain Name for commercial gain with a view to taking unfair advantage of the Complainants’ rights in the Mark, by confusing Internet users into believing that the Domain Name was being operated by or authorized by the Complainants. The Respondent has used the Website with a view to extracting personal data for improper purposes or to lure users into fraudulent transactions. Accordingly, the Panel finds that the Domain Name was registered and is being used in bad faith.
For the foregoing reasons, in accordance with paragraphs 4(i) of the Policy and 15 of the Rules, the Panel orders that the Domain Name <swisslife.site> be transferred to the Complainant.
Date: January 10, 2019