WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center

ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION

Banque Federale du Credit Mutuel (BFCM) v. Marck Line, INC WORK

Case No. D2019-1006

1. The Parties

The Complainant is Banque Federale du Credit Mutuel (BFCM), France, represented by MEYER & Partenaires, France.

The Respondent is Marck Line, INC WORK, France.

2. The Domain Name and Registrar

The disputed domain name <targobanksms.link> is registered with GMO Internet, Inc. d/b/a Discount‑Domain.com and Onamae.com (the “Registrar”).

3. Procedural History

The Complaint was filed in English with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on May 2, 2019. On May 2, 2019, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On May 8, 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 May 9, 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 May 13, 2019.

On May 9, 2019, the Center transmitted an email in English and Japanese to the Parties regarding the language of the proceeding. The Complainant requested that English be the language of the proceeding in the amended Complaint submitted on May 13, 2019. The Respondent did not comment on the language of the proceeding.

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, in English and Japanese, of the Complaint, and the proceedings commenced on May 24, 2019. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was June 13, 2019. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on June 17, 2019.

The Center appointed Keiji Kondo as the sole panelist in this matter on June 25, 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 Crédit Mutuel group (the “Group”) is the main banking group within Crédit Mutuel. It is made up of 11 federations of Crédit Mutuel and their affiliated banks, including the Complainant, Banque Fédérative du Crédit Mutuel (BFCM). BFCM is the holding company of the Group acting as the central treasury and undertakes capital and money market activities on behalf of the Group.

At the very beginning, CITIBANK PRIVATKUNDEN AG & Co. KGaA, a commercial bank, provided personal and business banking services to corporations, government agencies, financial institutions and consumers in Germany. On February 22, 2010, CITIBANK PRIVATKUNDEN AG & Co. KGaA has changed its trade name into TARGO BANK AG & Co. KGaA.

In June 2017, the Crédit Mutuel group, through the Complainant, becomes the sole shareholder of TARGOBANK. The Complainant currently operates a web portal at “www.targobank.de”, (in German language only) dedicated to its products and services and providing a lot of information to the public about financial information (Annex D to Complaint).

There is no information available about the Respondent’s details. The disputed domain name has been registered by a company named “Marck Line, INC WORK” and located in France. The registration was first created on March 20, 2019. Shortly after its registration, the disputed domain name was directing to an “under construction” holding page (Annex H1 to Complaint). At the time of the filing of this Complaint, access to the domain name is forbidden, denied by the server due to a 403 error (Annex H2 to Complaint).

The Complainant is the registered owner of trademarks comprising the word “targo bank”, inter alia,:

TARGO Bank, International trademark registration number 1013173 of July 22, 2009, in classes 16, 35, 36 and 38 of 1957 Nice Agreement (Annex E1 to Complaint).

5. Parties’ Contentions

A. Complainant

First, it is well established that the generic Top-Level Domain (“gTLD”) “.link”, as well as other gTLDs “.com” or “.net” for example, has not to be taken into account while comparing the disputed domain name with the claimed trademarks, as it is a technical and necessary part of a domain name with no distinguishing feature nor legal significance.

Second, the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to its trademark TARGO BANK. Indeed, the trademark TARGO BANK is entirely reproduced in the disputed domain name, together with the acronym “sms” (meaning “short message system”), commonly used in the field of telecommunication. The sole difference between the disputed domain name <targobanksms.link> and the Complainant’s trademarks consists in the adjunction of the letters “sms” in the disputed domain name.

The Respondent is not related in any way to the Complainant’s business: it is not one of its agents and does not carry out any activity for, or has any business with the Complainant. The Complainant has granted no license or authorization to the Respondent to make any use, or apply for registration of the disputed domain name.

This use or rather non-use is neither a bona fide offering of goods or services pursuant to Policy paragraph 4(c)(i) nor a legitimate noncommercial or fair use pursuant to Policy Paragraph 4(c)(iii). Therefore, considering these elements, the Respondent should be considered as having no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name.

The trademark TARGO BANK has acquired reputation at least in Germany where the trademark has the substantial part of its business and a specific web portal at “www.targobank.de”. It is difficult to imagine that the Respondent could have ignored the trademark TARGO BANK at the time it registered the disputed domain name <targobanksms.link>.

The disputed domain name is directing to a “403 error /forbidden” webpage (Annex H2 to Complaint). The possible content of the website associated to the disputed domain name may not be reachable, temporarily or definitively. As a result, the disputed domain name appears as being unused. This visible non-use of the disputed domain name <targobanksms.link> constitutes bad faith use, as “passive holding”.

B. Respondent

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

6. Discussion and Findings

6.1 Language of proceedings

The Complainant requested that English be the language of the proceeding. Considering the following circumstances the Panel, exercising his authority to determine the language of the proceeding under paragraph 11(a) of the Rules, has decided English as the language of the proceeding, considering:

- The Complaint was filed in English;

- The language of the Registration Agreement is Japanese as confirmed by the Registrar;

- The Complainant is a French entity;

- The Respondent’s address is in France;

- On May 9, 2019, the Center transmitted an email in English and Japanese to the Parties regarding the language of the proceeding. The Complainant requested that English be the language of the proceeding in the amended Complaint submitted on May 13, 2019, but the Respondent did not comment on the language of the proceeding;

- The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions in any way; and

- Ordering the translation of the Complaint would only result in extra delay and cost for the Complainant.

6.2 Substantive Issues

A. Identical or Confusingly Similar

The disputed domain name consists of “targobank, “sms” and “.link”. The part “targobank” is identical to the Complainant’s trademark TARGO BANK, except for a space between “targo” and “bank”, and capitalization of “targo”, which does not at all affect finding of confusing similarity.

The added part “sms” is an acronym of “short message system”. It may convey a meaning that the disputed domain name is somehow related to a service using the short message system, but it would not avoid confusing similarity. Addition of the gTLD, “.link”, does not affect the conclusion in this analysis.

Accordingly, the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to the Complainant’s trademark TARGO BANK within the meaning of paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Policy.

B. Rights or Legitimate Interests

There is no information available about the Respondent’s details, but it is obvious that the Respondent’s name “Marck Line, INC WORK” has no similarity to “targo” or “targobank”. The Complainant contends that the Respondent is not an agent of the Complainant, and has not been licensed or authorized to make any use, or apply for registration of the disputed domain name, and, since the Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions, the Panel has found no reason to conclude to the contrary. Accordingly, the Panel concludes that the Respondent has never been commonly known by the disputed domain name.

The domain name directed to an “under construction” holding page shortly after the registration of the disputed domain name, and later, access to the disputed domain name is denied by the server due to a “403 error”. There is no evidence on the record suggesting that the disputed domain name is used either in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services, or for legitimate noncommercial or fair purposes.

Accordingly, the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name under paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy.

C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith

The Complainant’s trademark TARGO Bank has acquired reputation. Although the Complainant does not specifically contend, the term “targo” does not seem to have any meaning either in French or in German. Within the knowledge of the Panel, it does not have any meaning either in English or in Japanese. Therefore, the Panel concludes that “targo” is a coined word without any specific meaning. Combining the reputation of the Complainant’s trademark and the fact that “targo” is a coined word, the Panel concludes that the Respondent registered the disputed domain name in bad faith by intentionally combining the terms “targobank” and “sms”, with the knowledge of the Complainant’s business.

In the present case, the Panel notes the following circumstances:

- The Complainant’s trademark TARGO Bank has acquired reputation;
- The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions; and
- The Respondent’s information is fictitious, or at least incomplete, for preventing others from reaching the Respondent.

Currently, the disputed domain name is directing to a “403 error /forbidden” webpage. The disputed domain name appears as being unused. The non-use of the disputed domain name, under the circumstances mentioned above, constitutes bad faith use.

Accordingly, the Panel concludes that the Respondent registered and has been using the disputed domain name in bad faith within the meaning of paragraph 4(a)(iii) of the Policy.

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 <targobanksms.link> be transferred to the Complainant.

Keiji Kondo
Sole Panelist
Date: July 2, 2019