WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Confédération Nationale Du Crédit Mutuel v. Contact Privacy Inc. Customer 1244383389 / Tamas
Case No. D2019-1702
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Confédération Nationale Du Crédit Mutuel, France, represented by MEYER & Partenaires, France.
The Respondent is Contact Privacy Inc. Customer 1244383389, Canada /Tamas, Italy.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <créditmutuelservice.com> is registered with Google LLC (the “Registrar”).
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on July 18, 2019. On July 19, 2019, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On July 19, 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 July 23, 2019, providing the registrant and contact information disclosed by the Registrar, and inviting the Complainant to submit an amendment to the Complaint. On the same day, the Center sent an email to the Parties informing them in English and French that the language of the Registered Agreement was French. The Complainant filed an amended Complaint on July 24, 2019, and requested on July 25, 2019, that English be the language of proceedings. The Respondent did not submit any comments.
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 July 30, 2019. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was August 19, 2019. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on August 20, 2019.
The Center appointed Lorenz Ehrler as the sole panelist in this matter on August 27, 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 the political and central body for the banking group CREDIT MUTUEL. With its 12 million clients and more than 3000 offices spread all over France, it is the second biggest group in France in the field of banking and insurance services.
The Complainant holds a series of trademarks “CREDIT MUTUEL”, including the French word and device trademarks nrs. 1475940 and 1646012, and the European Union (word) trademark nr. 9943135. The latter is protected, in particular, in Italy. Furthermore, the Complainant also holds several domain names containing the elements “Credit Mutuel”, such as <creditmutuel.com>, <creditmutuel.org>, <creditmutuel.info>, etc.
The Complainant’s trademarks and domain names were registered long before the disputed domain name, which was registered on April 23, 2019. Furthermore, the disputed domain name does not resolve to an active website.
5. Parties’ Contentions
The Complainant contends that the disputed domain name, <créditmutelservices.com>, is confusingly similar to its “CREDIT MUTUEL” trademarks and that “CREDIT MUTUEL” is a well-known trademark in the financial and insurance industries.
Furthermore, the Complainant states that the Respondent has not at any time been commonly known by the disputed domain name and that it is not making any legitimate use of it.
Lastly, the Complainant contends that the Respondent registered and uses the disputed domain name in bad faith, even though it does not resolve to any website.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
According to paragraph 4(a) of the Policy, the Complainant must prove that:
(i) the disputed domain name registered by Respondent is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which Complainant has rights;
(ii) the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name; and
(III) the disputed domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.
A. Language of the Proceedings
Pursuant to paragraph 11 of the Rules, the language of the administrative proceeding is the language of the registration agreement, subject to the authority of the Panel to determine otherwise, having regard to the circumstances of the administrative proceeding.
In the case at hand, the Complainant filed its request in English even though the registration agreement appears to have been made in French. The Complainant has therefore requested that English be the procedural language instead of French. It argues, in particular, that English is the common language in international business and that translating the request into French would cause undue delay in the current proceedings.
Several scenarios may warrant proceeding in another language than that of the registration agreement, e.g. if it is proven or highly probable that the Respondent can understand the language of the complaint and/or if it would appear unfair to cause any delays in the proceedings by ordering the Complainant to translate the Complaint.
On the one hand, the panel notes that the Respondent is located in Milan, Italy. The file does not contain any indications with regard to any language spoken or understood by the Respondent, other than Italian, due to his place of residence. This being said, as the Complainant rightly points out, English is the lingua franca in international business, and in Europe (including in Italy), every schoolchild learns English. On the other hand, even though given the opportunity in English and in French, the Respondent has not filed any response and therefore has not expressed any views on the language of the proceedings, which indicates that this issue is indifferent to him. In light of these circumstances, it seems fair and appropriate to accept the complaint in English and to carry on these proceedings in English.
B. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The trademarks put forward by the Complainant demonstrate that the Complainant has rights in relevant trademarks.
Under the UDRP, the requirement under paragraph 4(a) of the Policy requires the disputed domain name to be identical or confusingly similar to Complainant’s trademarks. There is no requirement of similarity of goods and/or services.
The existence of confusing similarity within the meaning of paragraph 4(a) of the Policy is not in doubt in the present case, given that the main element in the disputed domain name, i.e. “Crédit Mutuel”, is identical with the Complainant’s trademark “CREDIT MUTUEL”. Indeed, it is obvious that there is a high risk that Internet users, when confronted with the disputed domain name, would believe the disputed domain name belongs to or is associated with the Complainant. The incorporation of a trademark in its entirety is typically sufficient to establish that a disputed domain name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark. The other element of the disputed (second level) domain name, i.e. the element “service” is descriptive and does not prevent confusing similarity.
As far as the gTLD “.com” is concerned, this element has a technical function and therefore is typically not taken into account when assessing the issue of identity or confusing similarity.
The Panel thus finds that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar with the Complainant’s trademark “CREDIT MUTUEL”.
C. Rights or Legitimate Interests
The Complainant contends that the Respondent does not have any rights or legitimate interest in the disputed domain name, in particular that the Respondent has not at any time been commonly known by the disputed domain name and that the Respondent is not making legitimate use of said domain name. The Complainant states that it has not granted the Respondent any rights to use its trademarks.
UDRP panels found in previous decisions that in the absence of any license or permission from the complainant to use trademarks, no bona fide or legitimate use of a disputed domain name may reasonably be claimed (Lego Juris A/S v. DomainPark Ltd, David Smith, Above.com Domain Privacy, Transure Enterprise Ltd, Host master, WIPO Case No. D2010-0138).
Furthermore, by not submitting any response to the Complaint, the Respondent failed to invoke any circumstance that might demonstrate, pursuant to paragraph 4(c) of the Policy, that it holds any rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name (Ahead Software AG. v. Leduc Jean, WIPO Case No. D2004-0323; Nintendo of America, Inc., v. Tasc, Inc. and Ken Lewis, WIPO Case No. D2000-1563,finding that respondent’s default was sufficient to conclude that it had no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain names).
The Panel finds that the Complainant has made an unrebutted prima facie showing that the Respondent does not have any rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name.
D. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
Paragraph 4(a)(iii) of the Policy provides that the Complainant must, in addition to the matters set out above, demonstrate that the disputed domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.
The undisputed prima facie evidence establishes that the Respondent is not affiliated with the Complainant and has no license or other authorization to use the Complainant’s trademark or name.
The Respondent registered the disputed domain name well after the Complainant’s trademark was in use and became well-known. The Panel finds that the Respondent should have known about the Complainant’s trademark and business when registering the disputed domain name. It is highly improbable to the Panel that, given the undisputable reputation of the “CREDIT MUTUEL” trademark, which is also present in Italy through its subsidiary bank CIC, the Respondent was unaware of it at the time of the registration of the disputed domain name.
This Panel further considers that the disputed domain name for itself is a strong indication that the Respondent was aware of the Complainant’s trademark “CREDIT MUTUEL”, as it seems more than unlikely that the Respondent would have created – randomly – a distinctive sign that is identical with the Complainant’s distinctive trademark (Motul v. Contact Privacy Inc. Customer 0138693539 / Konstantin Speranskii, WIPO Case No. D2016-2632).
The Complainant rightly contends that the passive holding of a disputed domain name can constitute a factor in finding bad faith registration and use pursuant to paragraph 4(a)(iii). Previous panels indeed held that bad faith can be found where the respondent makes no use of the disputed domain name, if there are no indications that the respondent could have registered and used the disputed domain name for any non-infringing purpose (Alitalia Linee Aeree Italiane S.p.A. v. Colour Digital, WIPO Case No. D2000-1260). The Respondent has provided no evidence whatsoever of any actual or contemplated good faith registration or use by it of the disputed domain name.
The Respondent has not submitted any evidence to rebut the Complainant’s claims and assertions.
The Complainant therefore has established registration and use of the disputed domain name 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 disputed domain name <créditmutuelservice.com> be transferred to the Complainant.
Date: September 5, 2019