WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center

ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION

Allianz SE v. Seyram Tetteh

Case No. D2019-2412

1. The Parties

The Complainant is Allianz SE, Germany, represented internally

The Respondent is Seyram Tetteh, Ghana.

2. The Domain Name and Registrar

The disputed domain name <allianzfinancetrust.com> (the “Domain Name”) is registered with GoDaddy.com, LLC (the “Registrar”).

3. Procedural History

The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on October 4, 2019. On October 4, 2019, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On October 7, 2019, the Registrar transmitted by email to the Center its verification response disclosing registrant and contact information for the Domain Name which differed from the named Respondent and contact information in the Complaint. The Center sent an email communication to the Complainant on the same day, 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 October 7, 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 October 23, 2019. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was November 12, 2019. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on November 13, 2019.

The Center appointed Wolter Wefers Bettink as the sole panelist in this matter on November 28, 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’s oldest company was founded in 1890 in Berlin, Germany. The Complainant has approximately 142,000 employees worldwide, and serves around 92 million customers in more than 70 countries. The Complainant is the market leader in the German insurance market and is one of the world’s largest asset managers, with third party assets of EUR 1,436 billion under management at the end of year 2018.

The Complainant is the owner of, inter alia, the following trade marks (the “Trade Marks”):

Trade mark

Country/Register

Reg. No.

Reg. Date

ALLIANZ

International Register

447 004

September 12, 1979

ALLIANZ

International Register

714 618

May 4, 1999

ALLIANZ and Design

International Register

713 841

May 3, 2019

ALLIANZ

Germany

987 481

July 11, 1979

ALLIANZ

Germany

399 27 827

July 16, 1999

ALLIANZ

European Union Community Trade Mark

000013656

July 22, 2002

ALLIANZ and Design

European Union Community Trade Mark

002981298

April 5, 2004

In its Best Global Brands 2018 study, the international marketing agency Interbrand ranked the trade mark ALLIANZ as No. 49 with a value of USD 10,821 million.

The Domain Name was registered on June 15, 2019 and resolves to a website allegedly phishing private data from Internet users.

5. Parties’ Contentions

A. Complainant

According to the Complainant, the Domain Name is confusingly similar to the Trade Marks in which the Complainant has rights, as Internet users will recognize the Trade Marks in the Domain Name. In addition, the Complainant submits, under the Domain Name customers expect to reach one of the websites belonging to the Complainant or one of its subsidiaries, since by the use of the name “Allianz” the clear impression is made that the Domain Name refers to the Trade Marks, leading customers to the wrong domain name and increasing the danger of confusion and exploitation. Furthermore, the Complainant contends, the use of the Domain Name for services such as banking and asset management implies that the Respondent belongs to the Complainant’s group of companies and deludes potential customers into thinking that the Respondent is part of that group.

The Complainant states that the Respondent has no right or legitimate interest in the Trade Marks, as it holds no trade mark registrations for a trade mark including the name “Allianz”, has not received a license or any other form of authorization or consent from the Complainant to use the Trade Marks. In addition, according to the Complainant, the Respondent’s activities do not correspond to any of the circumstances set forth in the Policy, paragraph 4(c), that would evidence any rights to or legitimate interests in the Domain Name, did not use the Domain Name in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services before having been notified of this dispute, is not commonly known by the Domain Name and is not making legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the Domain Name.

The Complainant submits that the Respondent intentionally attempted, by using the Domain Name, to convince Internet users to act as being instructed (i.e. to reveal private information and data) by creating a likelihood of confusion with the Trade Marks as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation or endorsement of the Domain Name. Furthermore, the Complainant states, since the Trade Marks are well-known in many countries, especially with regard to insurance and financial affairs, it cannot be reasonably argued that the Respondent would have been unaware of the Trade Marks when registering the Domain Name. The Complainant concludes that the Respondent acted in bad faith when registering the Domain Name and continues to do so by using the email address [...]@allianzzbank.com and a website connected to the Domain Name to phish private data from individuals interested in the faked banking services.

B. Respondent

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

6. Discussion and Findings

A. Identical or Confusingly Similar

The Complainant has shown that it has registered rights in the Trade Marks. The Domain Name is confusingly similar to the Trade Marks as it incorporates ALLIANZ, of which the Trade Marks consist, in its entirety. The addition of the descriptive terms “finance” and “trust” does not avoid a finding of confusing similarity between the Domain Name and the Trade Marks (see WIPO Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions, Third Edition (“WIPO Overview 3.0”), section 1.8; see also, inter alia, TPI Holdings, Inc. v. Carmen Armengol, WIPO Case No. D2009-0361, and F. Hoffmann-La Roche AG v. John Mercier, WIPO Case No. D2018-0980). The generic Top-Level Domain (“gTLD”) “.com” is typically disregarded under the confusing similarity test, since it is a technical registration requirement (see WIPO Overview 3.0, section 1.11). Therefore, the Panel finds that the Domain Name is confusingly similar to the Trade Marks in which the Complainant has rights.

B. Rights or Legitimate Interests

Under paragraph 4(c) of the Policy, the second element a complainant has to prove is that a respondent lacks rights or legitimate interests in a domain name. This may result in the often impossible task of “proving a negative”, requiring information that is often primarily within the knowledge or control of the respondent. In order to satisfy the second element, the Complainant has to make out a prima facie case that the Respondent does not have rights or legitimate interests in the Domain Name. If the Complainant succeeds in doing so, the burden of production on this element shifts to the Respondent to come forward with relevant evidence demonstrating rights or legitimate interests in the Domain Name. If the Respondent fails to come forward with such relevant evidence, the Complainant is deemed to have satisfied the second element (see WIPO Overview 3.0, section 2.1).

Based on the evidence and the undisputed submissions of the Complainant, the Panel concludes that the Respondent has not received the Complainant’s consent to use the Trade Marks as part of the Domain Name, is not commonly known by the Domain Name and has not acquired trade mark rights in the Domain Name. The Panel notes that the Complainant states in the Complaint that the Respondent uses the e-mail address […]@allianzfinancetrust.com and a website connected to the Domain Name to phish private data from individuals interested in the faked banking services. A search by the Panel for the Domain Name on the Internet resulted in the message “This page cannot be reached”. However, the Complainant has submitted (undated) screen shots of a website which inter alia prominently displays the name “Allianz Finance Trust” and contains inter alia the following texts: “To reposition Allianz Finance Trust's Corporate Banking as the top indigenous brand in the industry with well trained and highly motivated staff providing cutting edge service to our customers. Mission to build strong bonds with corporate customers and offer them solution based corporate banking services through dedicated relationship management” and “Enjoy peace of mind and security with your transactions with the flexible and convenient overdraft protection from Allianz Finance Trust. Subject to credit approval”.

As there is no evidence that the Respondent is actually offering banking or other financial services, the website was apparently used to obtain personal data from users, who are misled into believing that the website is supported by or connected to the Complainant. Therefore, it is evident that the Domain Name is not used for a bona fide offering of goods or services, nor does its use constitute a legitimate noncommercial or fair use.

In view of the above circumstances, the Panel concludes that the Complainant has established that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the Domain Name.

C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith

Based on the information and the evidence provided by the Complainant, the Panel finds that at the time of registration of the Domain Name the Respondent was or should have been aware of the Trade Marks, since:

- the Respondent’s registration of the Domain Name occurred 40 years after the registration of the earliest of the Trade Marks;

- the trade mark ALLIANZ is a well-known trade mark in relation to insurance and other financial services;

- the addition of “finance” and “trust” to “Allianz” in the Domain Name indicates that the Respondent was aware of the business of the Complainant;

- a simple trade mark register search, or even an Internet search, prior to registration of the Domain Name in its name would have informed the Respondent of the existence of the Trade Marks.

The Panel finds bad faith use in the use of the Domain Name for a website which, as set out under 6B above, apparently aims to obtain personal data from Internet users, who are misled into believing that the website is supported by or connected to the Complainant. In addition, the following circumstances taken together warrant a finding of bad faith use of the Domain Name:

- the probability that the Respondent was aware or should have been aware of the Complainant’s rights in the Trade Marks;

- the lack of a formal Response of the Respondent.

Therefore, the Panel concludes that the Domain Name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.

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 <allianzfinancetrust.com> be transferred to the Complainant.

Wolter Wefers Bettink
Sole Panelist
Date: December 13, 2019