WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Confédération Nationale du Crédit Mutuel v. Domain Administrator, Fast Serv Inc. d.b.a. QHoster.com / Konate Asita
Case No. D2018-2748
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Confédération Nationale du Crédit Mutuel of Paris, France, represented by MEYER & Partenaires, France.
The Respondent is Domain Administrator, Fast Serv Inc. d.b.a. QHoster.com of Belize City, Belize / Konate Asita of California, United States of America (“United States”).
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <credit-mutuell.info> is registered with NameSilo, LLC (the “Registrar”).
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on November 29, 2018. On November 29, 2018, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On November 29, 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 the Respondent of the Complaint, and the proceedings commenced on December 3, 2018. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was December 23, 2018. The Respondent submitted informal email communications on December 12 and 15, 2018 but did not submit a formal response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Parties on December 26, 2018 that it would proceed to panel appointment. On December 26, 2018, the Respondent submitted another informal email communication.
The Center appointed Jacob (Changjie) Chen as the sole panelist in this matter on January 16, 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 Complainant, Confédération Nationale du Crédit Mutuel, the political and central body for the banking group CREDIT MUTUEL, mainly provides banking services for both individuals and business. The Complainant is the owner of the CREDIT MUTUEL trademarks, e.g. French Trademark No. 1646012, registered on July 8, 1988; French Trademark No.1646012, registered on November 20, 1990; and European Trademark No. 009943135, registered on October 20, 2011. The Complainant registered domain names <creditmutuel.com> on October 28, 1995 and <creditmutuel.fr> on August 10, 1995, and has been operating websites “www.creditmutuel.com” and “www.creditmutuel.fr” to provide its banking services. Further, the Complainant owns domain names <creditmutuel.net>, registered on October 3, 1996; <creditmutuel.org>, registered on June 3, 2002; and <creditmutuel.info>, registered on September 13, 2001.
The Respondent, Fast Serv Inc. d.b.a. QHoster.com, registered the disputed domain name on October 26, 2018. The disputed domain name resolved to an index webpage at the time of filing the Complaint while the resolved website is not active when the Panel renders the decision.
5. Parties’ Contentions
The Complainant contends that the disputed domain name is identical or confusingly similar to the Complainant’s CREDIT MUTUEL trademark, and the doubling of the final letter “l” and the addition of a dash (“-”) between “credit” and “mutuel” could not distinguish the disputed domain name from the Complainant’s trademark.
The Complainant further contends that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name.
The Complainant finally contends that the disputed domain name was registered and is being used in bad faith.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The Complainant is the owner of the CREDIT MUTUEL trademark, early registered in 1988, French Trademark No. 1646012, far predated the registration date of the disputed domain name (October 26, 2018). The Complainant has successfully established its right upon the trademark.
The disputed domain name <credit-mutuell.info> incorporates the Complainant’s trademark CREDIT MUTUEL in its entirety, with a doubling of the final letter “l” and an addition of a dash in the middle of the Complainant’s trademark. UDRP jurisprudence has established that incorporation of a complainant’s trademark in its entirety into a domain name is sufficient to establish that the domain name is identical or confusingly similar to the complainant’s trademark. Moreover, the mere repeated “l” and “-” does not significantly affect the appearance or pronunciation of the disputed domain name. This conduct is commonly referred to as “typosquatting” and results into confusing similarity. See Wachovia Corporation v. Peter Carrington, WIPO Case No. D2002-0775; and Schneider Electric S.A. v. Domain Whois Protect Service / Cyber Domain Services Pvt. Ltd., WIPO Case No. D2015-2333.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
The Panel is satisfied that the Complainant has made out a prima facie case that the Respondent does not have rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name. The burden of production is hence shifted to the Respondent to rebut the Complainant’s contentions. In this case, the Respondent’s failure to submit a response to rebut the Complainant’s prima facie case is deemed to have satisfied paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy according to the WIPO Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions, Third Edition (“WIPO Overview 3.0”), section 2.1. See Construction Skills Certification Scheme Limited v. Mara Figueira, WIPO Case No. D2010-0947.
Therefore, the Panel concludes that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
The Panel notes that the disputed domain name was registered on October 26, 2018, thirty years after the registration date of the Complainant’s trademark. Given the reputation of the Complainant, the Panel holds that the Respondent must have been aware of the Complainant’s trademark and/or services at the time of registering the disputed domain name as a simple Internet search would show that the mark CREDIT MUTUEL links to the Complainant. Without any rights or legitimate interests, the Respondent’s registration of the disputed domain name is indicative of bad faith.
The Panel further observes that the disputed domain name was resolved to an index webpage, with only a file named “cgi-bin”, but now the website is inactive. The Panel accepts that the Respondent used the disputed domain name actively by only connecting to the server and displaying a “cgi-bin” folder, but the resolved website is subsequently not active. Thus, the Panel views that the Respondent has been passively holding the disputed domain after registration. This may in certain circumstances amount to bad faith. Revevol SARL v. Whoisguard Inc. / Australian Online Solutions, Domain Support, WIPO Case No. D2015-0379. Given the reputation of the Complainant and the failure of the Respondent to submit a response or to provide any evidence of actual or contemplated good-faith use, the Panel finds that the disputed domain name has been registered and used in bad faith.
For the reasons above, the Panel concludes that the third element of the Policy has been established.
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-mutuell.info> be transferred to the Complainant.
Jacob (Changjie) Chen
Date: January 31, 2019