WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center

ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION

NATIXIS v. WhoisGuard Protected, WhoisGuard, Inc. / Jacques Ralph

Case No. D2019-0048

1. The Parties

The Complainant is NATIXIS of Paris, France, represented by Inlex IP Expertise, France.

The Respondent is WhoisGuard Protected, WhoisGuard, Inc. of Panama, Panama / Jacques Ralph of Rennes, France.

2. The Domain Name and Registrar

The disputed domain name <natixis-factor.com> is registered with NameCheap, Inc. (the “Registrar”).

3. Procedural History

The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on January 9, 2019. On January 9, 2019, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On January 9, 2019, the Registrar transmitted by email to the Center its verification response disclosing registrant and contact information for the disputed domain name which differed from the named Respondent and contact information in the Complaint. The Center sent an email communication to the Complainant on January 11, 2019 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 January 14, 2019.

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 January 16, 2019. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was February 5, 2019. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on February 6, 2019.

The Center appointed Isabelle Leroux as the sole panelist in this matter on February 19, 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 is a French corporate and financial service Company NATIXIS, part of the BPCE Group, that is known internationally.

The Complainant owns prior rights registrations in France and other jurisdictions around the world, and in particular:

- French Trademark registration NATIXIS No. 3416315, filed on March 14, 2006;
- European Union Trademark registration NATIXIS FACTOR No. 5589874, filed on December 28, 2006;
- Community Trademark registration NATIXIS No. 5129176, filed on June 12, 2006;
- International Trademark registration NATIXIS No. 1071008, filed on April 21, 2010.

In addition, the Complainant and affiliates own, among others, the following domain names:

- <natixis.com>, registered on February 3, 2005, duly renewed;
- <natixis.fr>, registered on October 20, 2006, duly renewed.

The Respondents are:

- a company based in Panama which seems to be a privacy shield;
- and a French individual, Jacques Ralph.

The disputed domain name <natixis-factor.com> was registered on December 17, 2018, through a company based in the United States of America.

The disputed domain name resolves to a parking page.

5. Parties’ Contentions

A. Complainant

(i) The Complainant contends that the disputed domain name is identical or confusingly similar to the trademark registrations of the Complainant, since the disputed domain name reproduces identically the NATIXIS and NATIXIS FACTOR trademarks on which the Complainant has rights.

(ii) The Complainant contends that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the the name “Natixis” or “Natixis Factor”. The Complainant submits that the Respondent is not affiliated with the Complainant nor authorized or licensed by the Complainant to use its trademarks.

Besides, the Complainant contends that the Respondent does not make any use of the disputed domain name but that email servers have been configured on the disputed domain name, which is a potential risk of the Respondent intention to use it to send fraudulent emails.

(iii) The Complainant contends that the disputed domain name was registered in bad faith. The Complainant submits that its trademarks are well-known in France and throughout the world and the Respondent knew or should have known the existence of the Complainant’s rights.

The Complainant also contends that the disputed domain name is “used” in bad faith as the Respondent’s address does not exist and contains wrong information.

(iv) The Complainant requests that the disputed domain name be transferred to the Complainant.

B. Respondent

The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.

6. Discussion and Findings

The Complainant has the burden of proving each of the following three elements under paragraph 4(a) of the Policy in order to be entitled to a transfer of the disputed domain name:

(i) The domain name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which the Complainant has 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.

These elements will be examined in turn below.

A. Identical or Confusingly Similar

The relevant part of the disputed domain name is <natixis-factor> as the generic Top-Level Domain (gTLD) “.com” is not relevant in determining confusing similarity and has to be analyzed without a legal significance.

In this regard, previous UDRP panels have regularly ruled that the 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).

The Complainant provided evidence that it has prior rights in the NATIXIS and NATIXIS FACTOR trademarks, well before the Respondent registered the disputed domain name. This satisfies the Panel that the Complainant has registered rights on NATIXIS trademarks for the purposes of the Policy. The trademarks are fully and identically reproduced in the disputed domain name <natixis-factor.com>.

Therefore, the Panel finds that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to the trademarks NATIXIS and NATIXIS FACTOR on which the Complainant has prior rights, and the requirements under paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Policy are satisfied.

B. Rights or Legitimate Interests

The Complainant submits that the Respondent has not been authorized by the Complainant to use its trademarks and that there is no business relationship existing between the Complainant and the Respondent.

It appears the Respondent is not commonly known by the disputed domain name or the name “Natixis” and the disputed domain name resolves to a parking page.

Accordingly, the Complainant has established a prima facie case that the Respondent does not have rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name.

Since the Respondent has not replied to the Complaint and, thus, has not presented any other evidence or elements to justify any rights or legitimate interests in connection with the disputed domain name, the Panel finds no indication that any of the circumstances described in paragraph 4(c) of the Policy could apply to the present matter.

Therefore, given the circumstances described above, the Panel finds that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name and thus the requirement under paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy is satisfied.

C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith

Paragraph 4(b) of the UDRP Policy sets out examples of circumstances that will be considered by an administrative panel to be evidence of bad faith registration and use of a domain name, as follows:

(i) Circumstances indicating that the domain name was registered or acquired primarily for the purpose of selling, renting, or otherwise transferring the domain name registration to the complainant who is the owner of the trademark or service mark or to a competitor of that complainant, for valuable consideration in excess of the domain name registrant’s out-of-pocket costs directly related to the domain name; or

(ii) The domain name was registered in order to prevent the owner of the trademark or service mark from reflecting the mark in a corresponding domain name, provided that the domain name registrant has engaged in a pattern of such conduct; or

(iii) The domain name was registered primarily for the purpose of disrupting the business of a competitor; or

(iv) By using the domain name, the domain name registrant intentionally attempted to attract for financial gain, Internet users to the registrant’s website or other on-line location, by creating a likelihood of confusion with the complainant’s mark as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation, or endorsement of the registrant’s website or location or of a product or service on the registrant’s website or location.

It has been proved to the Panel’s satisfaction that the Complainant’s NATIXIS and NATIXIS FACTOR trademarks are well-known in France and all around the world, and the Panel agrees with the Complainant that the Respondent could not reasonably ignore the Complainant’s trademarks and activities at the time the registration was made.

Previous UDRP panels have regularly ruled that bad faith was found where a domain name is so obviously connected with a well-known trademark that its use by someone, with no connection to the trademark, suggests opportunistic bad faith. See LEGO Juris A/S v. store24hour, WIPO Case No. D2013-0091 and Carrefour v. Jean-Claude Bot / Albert Pierre, WIPO Case No. D2017-0969.

Besides, as noticed by the Complainant, the Respondent’s address does not exist and contains wrong information, as for instance the name of the street “la poupée qui tousse” does not exist in France and is quite fanciful.

Finally, the Complainant uses the trademark NATIXIS FACTOR in accordance with banking and financial services. The Respondent uses the disputed domain name in connection with a website displaying links to services in the financial industry. The Panel concurs with the Complainant that there is a likelihood of confusion between the disputed domain name and the prior trademarks of the Complainant.

Accordingly, this Panel finds that Respondent’s bad faith and his intention to take undue advantage of the Complainant’s trademark rights has been demonstrated.

In the absence of a response, the Respondent offered no information on the intention of such use.

For the above reasons, the Panel finds the Respondent registered and uses the disputed domain name in bad faith, and thus the condition of paragraph 4(a)(iii) of the Policy has been satisfied.

7. Decision

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, <natixis-factor.com> be transferred to the Complainant.

Isabelle Leroux
Sole Panelist
Date: March 5, 2019