WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center


Confédération Nationale du Crédit Mutuel v. Luis Rafael Morales, Maria Izaskun Echeveste, Concepcion Olmedilla

Case No. D2019-2924

1. The Parties

The Complainant is Confédération Nationale du Crédit Mutuel, France, represented by Meyer & Partenaires, France.

The Respondents are Luis Rafael Morales, Maria Izaskun Echeveste, Concepcion Olmedilla, Spain.

2. The Domain Names and Registrar

The disputed domain names <creditmutuel-agri.com>, <creditmutuel-assurance.com> and <fr-creditmutuel.com> are registered with Hosting Concepts B.V. d/b/a Openprovider (the “Registrar”).

3. Procedural History

The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on November 28, 2019. On November 28, 2019, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain names. On November 29, 2019, the Registrar transmitted by email to the Center its verification response disclosing registrant and contact information for the disputed domain names which differed from the named Respondent and contact information in the Complaint. The Center sent an email communication to the Complainant on December 3, 2019 providing the registrant and contact information disclosed by the Registrar, and requesting the Complainant to submit an amendment to the Complaint demonstrating that all the Respondents are, in fact, the same entity and / or that all domain names are under common control, or a separate Complaint. The Center has also indicated to the Complainant that the language of the Registration Agreement was English, and invited the Complainant to provide sufficient evidence of an agreement between the Parties for French to be the language of proceeding, a Complaint translated into English, or a request for French to be the language of proceeding.

The Complainant filed a request for French to be the language of proceedings and an amended Complaint arguing that all named Respondents are the same entity on December 6, 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 in both English and French, and the proceedings commenced on December 11, 2019. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was December 31, 2019. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on January 3, 2020.

The Center appointed W. Scott Blackmer as the sole panelist in this matter on January 15, 2020. 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 Confédération Nationale du Crédit Mutuel (“CNCM”) is an association established under French law, registered in France, and headquartered in Paris. The group includes the oldest French depository bank, established in 1859. It is the second largest French banking group, offering online banking since 1996 through its principal website at “www.creditmutuel.fr”. The Complainant owns other domain names, including <creditmutuel.com>, that redirect to that website. The group claims more than 30 million clients globally (including Spain) and offers a range of insurance products, which includes farm insurance, through Assurances du Crédit Mutuel, all advertised online as well as in print and broadcast media.

The Complainant holds the following relevant CRÉDIT MUTUEL trademarks, among others:



Registration Number

Registration Date

CRÉDIT MUTUEL (words and design)



July 8, 1988

CRÉDIT MUTUEL (words and design)

International Trademark


May 17, 1991




December 3, 2008


European Union


October 20, 2011




April 27, 2001

According to the Registrar, the Domain Names were registered closely together with the same Registrar in August and September 2019, as follows:

Domain Name

Registration Date



August 1, 2019

Luis Rafael Morales


August 4, 2019

Maria Izaskun Echeveste


September 14, 2019

Concepcion Olmedilla

The names of the registrants differ, as do their postal addresses. All are located in Spain, but in two different street addresses in Madrid for the first two Domain Names, and in Alicante for the third. No organization name is given for any of the registrants, and the contact details use Gmail or Hotmail email addresses rather than email domains associated with a website indicating the Respondents’ business.

The Complaint attaches screenshots showing that the Domain Name <creditmutuel-assurance.com> has been used to redirect to a French-language page on one of the Complainant’s websites at <creditmutuel.fr> relating to the Complainant’s automobile insurance offerings in France, while the Domain Name <creditmutuel-agri.com> redirected for a time to a page on that same website relating to farm insurance. The Domain Name <fr-creditmutuel.com> continues to redirect to a page about farm insurance on the Complainant’s website. At the time of this Decision, a visit to the Domain Name

<creditmutuel-assurance.com> produces in some browsers the message that it has been reported to Microsoft for containing computer threats, while the Domain Name <creditmutuel-agri.com> does not resolve to an active website. The record includes evidence (mail exchanger “MX” records) that email servers have been activated for two of the three Domain Names, <creditmutuel-assurance.com> and <fr-creditmutuel.com>.

Because these Domain Names were registered with the same Registrar over a short period of time and have all been used similarly to redirect to the Complainant’s website (two of them to the same section of the Complainant’s website), it seems likely that the three Spanish registrants are identical or related parties. This inference is bolstered by the fact that the three Domain Names are all formed in the same manner, incorporating the Complainant’s CRÉDIT MUTUEL mark in its entirety and adding a relevant generic term or abbreviation

5. Parties’ Contentions

A. Complainant

The Complainant asserts that all three Domain Names are confusingly similar to its registered CRÉDIT MUTUEL mark, adding generic terms or abbreviations that enhance rather than avoid confusion. “Assurance” (insurance) is one of the Complainant’s major business activities, and it has traditionally furnished banking and insurance services aimed at the market of farmers (agriculteurs, abbreviated “agri”). The Complainant’s largest market is in France, abbreviated “fr”.

The Complainant has not authorized anyone to use its mark in these Domain Names, and the Respondent, which has not made its own commercial or noncommercial use of the Domain Names, has no evident rights or legitimate interests in them. Instead, by pointing the Domain Names to the Complainant’s official website, the Respondent gives the appearance of legitimacy to them so that they could be used for less visible and illegitimate purposes, such as fraudulent emails. The Complainant infers bad faith, because of the fame of the mark and the difficultly of conceiving any legitimate end for which the Domain Names could be employed. The Complainant cites WIPO Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions, Third Edition (“WIPO Overview 3.0”), section 3.1.4: “Panels have consistently found that the mere registration of a domain name that is identical or confusingly similar (particularly domain names comprising typos or incorporating the mark plus a descriptive term) to a famous or widely-known trademark by an unaffiliated entity can by itself create a presumption of bad faith.”

The Complainant considers that the three registrants’ names and addresses are likely fictitious or usurped.

B. Respondent

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

6. Discussion and Findings

Paragraph 4(a) of the Policy provides that in order to divest a respondent of a domain name, a complainant must demonstrate each of the following:

(i) the domain name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which the complainant has rights; and

(ii) the respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the domain name; and

(iii) the domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.

Under paragraph 15(a) of the Rules, “A Panel shall decide a complaint on the basis of the statements and documents submitted and in accordance with the Policy, these Rules and any rules and principles of law that it deems applicable”.

6.1 Preliminary Matters: Language of the Proceeding

The Rules, paragraph 11, provide that in the absence of an agreement between the parties, or as otherwise specified in the registration agreement, the language of the administrative proceeding shall be the language of the registration agreement, which in this case is English. The Panel may determine otherwise in the interests of equity and efficiency. See WIPO Overview 3.0, section 4.5.

The Complainant in this proceeding is French and has submitted the Complaint in French along with a request to conduct the proceeding in that language, largely because the Domain Names are French have at times directed to pages on the Complainant’s French-language website. The Respondents appear to be individuals residing in Spain, but they have not submitted a Response or replied to any communications in English and French from the Complainant or the Center.

In view of the facts that the Respondents registered the French-language Domain Names with a Dutch Registrar using an English-language agreement, redirecting the Domain Names at times to a French-language website, the Panel finds no prejudice to the parties in allowing the Complaint to be submitted in French without translation (the Panel is conversant in that language). The Panel notes that the Complainant has been party to other WIPO UDRP proceedings in English and does not require a French-language decision. Hence, in the interest of efficiency and without prejudice to any of the parties, the Panel will proceed to a Decision that will be published in English.

6.2 Preliminary Matters: Consolidation and Multiple Respondents

The Rules, paragraph 3(c), provide that a “complaint may relate to more than one domain name, provided that the domain names are registered by the same domain-name holder.” Panels have also consolidated proceedings where they found that that multiple domain names appeared to be under common control, consolidation would be equitable for all parties and consolidation would be in the interest of procedural efficiency. See WIPO Overview 3.0, section 4.11.2.

As noted above in reviewing the factual background, the three Domain Names were registered in the names of three different individuals in Spain but with the same Registrar, within a short period of time, and then used similarly to redirect to pages on the Complainant’s own website. The Panel finds it probable that the Respondents, who have been silent in response to the Complaint and communications from the Center, are identical or related and engaged in a common enterprise that has no evident legitimate purpose.

The Panel finds that (a) the Domain Names are likely under common control, (b) consolidation would be equitable to all parties, and (c) consolidation is in the interest of procedural efficiency. The three named Respondents will be referred to hereafter as the “Respondent”.

A. Identical or Confusingly Similar

The first element of a UDRP complaint “functions primarily as a standing requirement” and entails “a straightforward comparison between the complainant’s trademark and the domain name”. See WIPO Overview 3.0 , section 1.7.

All three Domain Names incorporate the Complainant’s registered CRÉDIT MUTUEL trademark in its entirety and add French dictionary words or common abbreviations, which do not avoid confusion. As the Complainant observes, this is particularly unlikely to avoid confusion because in each case the word or abbreviation is relevant to the Complainant’s business. The Panel finds the Domain Names confusingly similar to the Complainant’s mark. As in most cases, the generic Top-Level Domain (“gTLD”) “.com” is disregarded. Id., section 1.7.

The Panel concludes, therefore, that the Complainant has established the first element of the Complaint.

B. Rights or Legitimate Interests

Paragraph 4(c) of the Policy gives non-exclusive examples of instances in which the Respondent may establish rights or legitimate interests in the Domain Name, by demonstrating any of the following:

(i) before any notice to it of the dispute, the Respondent’s use of, or demonstrable preparations to use, the Domain Name or a name corresponding to the Domain Name in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services; or

(ii) that the Respondent has been commonly known by the Domain Name, even if it has acquired no trademark or service mark rights; or

(iii) the Respondent is making a legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the Domain Name, without intent for commercial gain to misleadingly divert consumers or to tarnish the trademark or service mark at issue.

Since a respondent in a UDRP proceeding is in the best position to assert rights or legitimate interests in a domain name, it is well established that after a complainant makes a prima facie case, the burden of production on this element shifts to the respondent to come forward with relevant evidence of its rights or legitimate interests in the domain name. See WIPO Overview 3.0, section 2.1. The Complainant has demonstrated trademark rights, a lack of permission to incorporate the Complainant’s mark in the Domain Names, and the Respondent’s use of the Domain Names only to redirect Internet users to the Complainant’s own website and to activate servers for email use. The Respondent has not come forward to demonstrate any rights or legitimate interests in doing so, and such uses raise obvious risks of deception and fraud. Accordingly, the Panel concludes that the Complainant has established the second element of the Complaint.

C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith

The Policy, paragraph 4(b), furnishes a non-exhaustive list of circumstances that “shall be evidence of the registration and use of a domain name in bad faith”, including the following (in which “you” refers to the registrant of the domain name):

“(iv) by using the domain name, you have intentionally attempted to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to your web site or other on-line location, by creating a likelihood of confusion with the complainant's mark as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation, or endorsement of your web site or location or of a product or service on your web site or location.”

The Respondent was clearly aware of the Complainant, a very well-known French banking and insurance group, as the deliberate redirection of the Domain Names to the Complainant’s website demonstrates. While the evidence does not show how the Domain Names were used, to date, to divert Internet users to a site controlled by the Respondent, the illustrations of bad faith in paragraph 4(b) are not exclusive, and launching or preparing to launch a fraudulent scheme certainly equates to bad faith within the meaning of the Policy. There are many instances of domain names used for either counterfeit websites (one involving this Complainant is Crédit Industriel et Commercial S.A., Confédération Nationale du Crédit Mutuel v. Nobile Ansser, Daniel Vidalzaluc, Katalina Slounig, WIPO Case No. D2018-2820) or for email phishing scams, such as Jones Lang LaSalle IP, Inc. v. George Smith, WIPO Case No. D2018-2478. As the panel observed in Compagnie Générale des Etablissements Michelin v. Contact Privacy Inc. Customer 124896988 / Mingyan Li, WIPO Case No. D2018-1557, simply redirecting users to the Complainant’s official website “can establish bad faith as Respondent retains control over the redirection thus creating an implied ongoing threat to Complainant”.

Here, it is likely that the registration and redirection of the Domain Names represent steps toward a fraudulent scheme, as there is no evident legitimate reason for acquiring Domain Names that appear to be associated with a financial institution and then giving them a false veneer of legitimacy by pointing them to the Complainant’s official website, while activating associated email servers. The Microsoft security warning now triggered by one of the Domain Names also indicates an escalation to more sinister utilization of that Domain Names. The Respondent has not appeared to offer a more benign explanation, and the Panel is at a loss to imagine one that could exist.

The Panel concludes on this record that the third element of the Complaint, bad faith, has been established.

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 Domain Names, <creditmutuel-agri.com>, <creditmutuel-assurance.com>, and <fr-creditmutuel.com>, be transferred to the Complainant.

W. Scott Blackmer
Sole Panelist
Date: January 22, 2020