WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center


NATIXIS v. Richard Boyce, App Security Services

Case No. D2019-0827

1. The Parties

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

The Respondent is Richard Boyce, App Security Services, United States of America (“United States”).

2. The Domain Name and Registrar

The disputed domain name <altairsite.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 April 11, 2019. On April 11, 2019, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On April 11, 2019, 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 April 16, 2019. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was May 6, 2019. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on May 7, 2019.

The Center appointed Desmond J. Ryan as the sole panelist in this matter on May 20, 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 large financial institution headquartered in Paris but having operations throughout the world including the United States and is involved in funding largescale projects which have generated substantial media coverage. For example, to the Panel’s personal knowledge, a large scale solar farm which has been prominently publicized in Australia.

No information is available regarding the Respondent other than what is shown in the WhoIs for the disputed domain name.

The disputed domain name was registered on March 4, 2019 and currently is inactive.

The Complainant is the owner of French trade mark Registration No. 3103878 for +X ALTAÏR registered on June 6, 2001 and French trade mark Registration No. 3499606 NATIXIS ALTAÏR registered on May 10, 2007. Annex 4 to the Complaint lists trade mark registrations owned by the Complainant in most countries and regions of the world; however, none of those registrations appear to relate to the +X ALTAÏR or NATIXIS ALTAÏR trade marks in places other than France.

5. Parties’ Contentions

A. Complainant

The Complainant’s contentions may be summarized as follows:

(i) The disputed domain name wholly contains the dominant part of the Complainant’s trade mark +X ALTAÏR and is confusingly similar to it. The small difference between the Complainant’s registered trade marks and the term “altair” in the disputed domain name is not sufficient to suppress the confusing similarity. Further, the addition of the descriptive word “site” suggests a website linked to the Complainant and its trade marks.

(ii) A Google search for the terms “natixis altaïr” yields about 72,000 results showing that the Complainant is widely known under its trade mark NATIXIS ALTAÏR.

(iii) The Respondent has no trade mark rights in respect of the name “altairsite”. There is no legal or business relationship between the Complainant and the Respondent; the disputed domain name is not in use; therefore the Respondent has no legitimate interest in registering or using the disputed domain name.

(iv) The disputed domain name was registered with the aim of taking advantage of the reputation of the Complainant’s trade marks. The fact that the domain name is not active does not prevent a finding of bad faith.

(v) The Complainant and its trade marks have been recognized in 20 prior decisions under the Policy issued by the Center.

(vi) The Complainant is well and widely known and has more than 20,000 employees in 38 countries so that its trade marks +X ALTAÏR and NATIXIS ALTAÏR are well known thanks to the notoriety of the Complainant. A Google search of the term “natixis” yields over 4 million results.

(vii) It is therefore unlikely that the Respondent was unaware of the Complainant’s activities and its trade marks and has registered the disputed domain name for the purpose of taking advantage of the reputation and credibility of the Complainant.

B. Respondent

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

6. Discussion and Findings

To succeed in its Complaint, the Complainant must prove on the balance of probability each of these elements set out in paragraph 4(a) of the Policy.

A. Identical or Confusingly Similar

In the light on the Panel’s findings under paragraph 4(a)(iii) of the Policy, it is unnecessary to address this question in detail. However, for the record, the Panel considers that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to the Complainant’s trade mark +X ALTAÏR. The first element is therefore satisfied.

B. Rights or Legitimate Interests

Again, a detailed discussion of this element is not necessary in the light of the Panel’s finding under paragraph 4(b)(iii). However, for the sake of the record, the Panel finds that the Complainant has established a prima face case and the Respondent has not attempted to rebut that prima face case. The second element is therefore satisfied.

C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith

To succeed under this paragraph of the Policy, the Complainant must show on the balance of probability, that the Complainant registered the disputed domain name in bad faith and has used it in bad faith. Paragraph 4(b)(iv) of the Policy provides a number of non-limiting examples circumstances which, if satisfied, will establish that the disputed domain name was registered and has been used in bad faith.

Fundamental to a showing of registration and use in bad faith under paragraph 4(b) of the Policy is a showing that the Respondent was aware of the Complainant and its rights in the trade mark incorporated in the disputed domain name and deliberately sought to capitalize in some way on the reputation attached to that trade mark. The Panel finds insufficient evidence to support the Complainant’s contention that that is the case here.

The Complaint provides ample evidence that the Complainant and its NATIXIS trade mark are well known and had been widely promoted but we are not concerned here with a domain name including the term “natixis”; it is the Complainant’s reputation in the term ALTAÏR and the Respondent’s knowledge of it which is relevant. The Complainant does not provide corresponding evidence of use and reputation of the Complainant’s +X ALTAÏR trade mark or of the “altaïr” component of its NATIXIS ALTAÏR trade mark. The Complainant has listed 20 decisions under the Policy in which it has been successful but all those cases relate to the domain names in which the relevant particular is the term “natixis”, not the term “altaïr”. Similarly, the Complainant notes that a Google search of the terms “natixis altaïr” gives about 72,000 results. However, the hits listed for that search in the Complainant’s Annex 6 were more likely triggered by the term “natixis” rather than the term “altaïr”. A Google search conducted by the Panel, under the authority conferred by paragraphs 10 and 12 of the Rules, using the term “altaïr” alone as the search term produced about 36 million results ranging from NASA rockets to software platforms and restaurants but neither the Complainant nor its trade marks appeared in the first 20 pages of those results.

Again, the Panel notes from Annex 4 to the Complainant that whilst the Complainant has a large portfolio of trade marks covering most countries and regions of the world, it is only in France that the trade marks +X ALTAÏR and NATIXIS ALTAÏR are registered.

Accordingly, the Panel finds that whilst there is ample evidence to show that the Complainant’s name and trade mark NATIXIS are well and widely known, the Complainant has not produced sufficient evidence to show that it has a reputation in the term “altaïr” such that the Panel can draw an inference that the Complainant’s +X ALTAÏR and NATIXIS ALTAÏR trade marks would be known to the Respondent in the United States or that the Respondent’s registration of the disputed domain name was motivated by a desire to capitalize on the reputation of the Complainant in its trademarks containing the term “altaïr”. The Complainant has failed in this case because it has not shown to the satisfaction of the Panel that it is more likely than not that the Respondent, located in the United States, registered the disputed domain name with the Complainant’s trade mark in mind and with the intention of capitalizing on its reputation. Should the Complainant find new evidence that the Respondent was aware of the Complainant’s trade mark and was motivated by it rather than by some other connotation of “altair”, such as NASA rockets or a software platform, that may be grounds for filing a new Complaint; that would be for a future Panel to decide. The Panel therefore finds that the Complainant has failed to satisfy the third element of the Policy.

7. Decision

For the foregoing reasons, the Complaint is denied.

Desmond J. Ryan AM
Sole Panelist
Date: June 3, 2019