WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center

ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION

Confédération Nationale du Crédit Mutuel and Caisse Fédérale de Crédit Mutuel v. Monika Sarr

Case No. D2019-2632

1. The Parties

The Complainants are (1) Confédération Nationale du Crédit Mutuel and (2) Caisse Fédérale de Crédit Mutuel, France, both represented by MEYER & Partenaires, France.

The Respondent is Monika Sarr, Germany.

2. The Domain Name and Registrar

The disputed domain name <creditmutul-bfcm.com> is registered with One.com A/S (the “Registrar”).

3. Procedural History

The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on October 28, 2019. On October 28, 2019, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On November 5, 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 November 6, 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 November 8, 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 November 14, 2019. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was December 4, 2019. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on December 5, 2019.

The Center appointed Andrea Mondini as the sole panelist in this matter on December 10, 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.

An email was sent to the Complainant by the Center on November 6, 2019, notifying the Complainant that the registration agreement is in German. On November 8, 2019, the Complainant requested that the proceedings shall be in English. The Respondent did not comment on the language of proceedings.

4. Factual Background

The Complainant 1, Confédération Nationale du Crédit Mutuel, is the political and central body of the French banking group Crédit Mutuel. The Complainant 2, Caisse Fédérale de Crédit Mutuel, provides retail and investment bank services through specialized networks. BFMC (Banque Fédérative de Crédit Mutuel) also belongs to the Crédit Mutuel group.

The Crédit Mutuel group is one of the largest French banking groups with more than 12 million clients and 3178 offices in France.

The Complainant 1 owns numerous registrations for the trademark CRÉDIT MUTUEL, including European Union Trade Mark (EUTM) no. 9943135 registered on October 20, 2011.

The Complainant 2 owns the EUTM trademark BFCM (no. 13443015) registered on August 24, 2015.

The disputed domain name was registered on July 27, 2019, and does not resolve to any active website.

5. Parties’ Contentions

A. Complainant

The Complainants in essence contend the following:

The trademark CRÉDIT MUTUEL is well-known. The disputed domain name includes the CRÉDIT MUTUEL mark and the BFCM mark. The omission of the letter “e” in the dispute domain name (“mutul” instead of “mutuel”) does not dispel confusing similarity, but is a typical indication of typosquatting. Therefore, the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to the Complainants’ trademarks.

The Complainants have not licensed or otherwise authorized the Respondent to use their trademarks. The Respondent therefore has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name, or any rights in the trademarks at issue, or association with the Complainants whatsoever.

The disputed domain name has been registered in bad faith: the fact that the Complainants’ trademarks are well-known creates the presumption that the Respondent registered it for the purpose of selling it to the Complainants or one of their competitors or to attract Internet users for commercial gain.

The Respondent used the disputed domain name in bad faith by passively holding it without a legitimate purpose.

B. Respondent

The Respondent did not reply to the Complainants’ contentions.

6. Discussion and Findings

According to paragraph 4(a) of the Policy, in order to succeed, a complainant must establish each of the following elements:

(i) the disputed domain name is identical or confusingly similar to the trademark or service mark in which the 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.

6.1. Language of the Proceeding

In the present case, German is the language of the registration agreement. Pursuant to paragraph 11 of the Rules, unless otherwise agreed by the parties, the default language of the proceeding is the language of the registration agreement, subject to the authority of the panel to determine otherwise.

Paragraph 10 of the Rules vests a panel with authority to conduct the proceedings in a manner it considers appropriate while also ensuring both that the parties are treated with equality, and that each party is given a fair opportunity to present its case.

The Complainants filed the Complaint in English and, on November 8, 2019, they submitted a request for English to be the language of the proceeding. The Respondent did not submit any request regarding the language of the proceeding.

Considering that the Respondent did not submit a response or any request regarding the language of the proceeding, and the arguments put forward by the Complainants, the Panel determines that the language of the proceeding is English.

6.2 Substantive Issues

A. Identical or Confusingly Similar

The Complainants have shown that they hold registrations for the trademarks CRÉDIT MUTUEL and BFCM.

The Panel thus finds that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to the Complainants’ trademarks, because it combines these two trademarks. The omission of the letter “e” in the disputed domain name (“mutul” instead of “mutuel”) does not dispel confusing similarity, but is rather an indication of typosquatting.

Accordingly, the Panel finds that the Complainants have satisfied the requirement under paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Policy.

B. Rights or Legitimate Interests

The Complainants contend, credibly, that they have not authorized the Respondent to register or use the Complainants’ trademarks CRÉDIT MUTUEL and BFCM in the disputed domain name, and that there is no relationship whatsoever between the Parties. In the absence of any Response, the Panel concludes that the Respondent was not authorized or licensed to use the Complainants’ trademarks in the disputed domain name and that there is no indication of any legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the disputed domain name. Accordingly, the Panel finds that the Respondent does not have rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name.

Therefore, the Panel finds that the Complainants have satisfied the requirement under paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy.

C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith

The Complainants have demonstrated that the CRÉDIT MUTUEL mark is well-known (see also Confederation Nationale du Credit Mutuel v. Domain Privacy Service Fbo Registrant, WIPO Case No. D2015-0944 (<credit-mutuelcm.com>)).

Considering:

(i) that the trademark CRÉDIT MUTUEL is well-known;
(ii) that no legitimate use by the Respondent of the combination CRÉDIT MUTUEL and BFCM is conceivable; and
(iii) the passive holding of the disputed domain name without a legitimate purpose, the Panel concludes that the disputed domain name has been registered and used in bad faith.

The Panel therefore finds that the Complainants have satisfied the requirement under 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 <creditmutul-bfcm.com> be transferred to the Complainant 2, Caisse fédérale de Crédit Mutuel.

Andrea Mondini
Sole Panelist
Date: December 16, 2019