WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Seeyond v. Seeyond Capital
Case No. D2020-0370
1. The Parties
Complainant is Seeyond, France, represented by Inlex IP Expertise, France.
Respondent is Seeyond Capital, United States of America (“United States”).
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name is <seeyondcapital.com> which is registered with NameCheap, Inc. (the “Registrar”).
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on February 17, 2020. On February 17, 2020, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On the same day, the Registrar transmitted by email to the Center its verification response disclosing registrant and contact information for the disputed domain name which differed from those in the Complaint. The Center sent an email communication to Complainant on February 18, 2020, providing the registrant and contact information disclosed by the Registrar, and inviting Complainant to submit an amendment to the Complaint. Complainant filed an amended Complaint on February 18, 2020.1
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 Respondent of the Complaint, and the proceedings commenced on February 24, 2020. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was March 15, 2020. Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified Respondent’s default on March 18, 2020.
The Center appointed Gerardo Saavedra as the sole panelist in this matter on April 6, 2020. This Panel finds that it was properly constituted. This 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
Complainant is a French company located in Paris, France, and an affiliate of Natixis Investment Managers, which is specialized in equity strategies, multi-asset strategies, volatility & overlay strategies. Complainant is the volatility management and structured product investment division of Natixis AM, and offers a range of funds with four areas of expertise: structured management, flexible asset allocation, active volatility management, model-driven equity management and long/short equity. Complainant manages around EUR 9 billion in assets.
Complainant has rights, among others, over the SEEYOND trademark for which it holds International registration No. 1146521 in classes 35 and 36, registered on August 14, 2012; registration No. 10787315 in classes 16, 35 and 36, registered on September 10, 2012, with the European Union Intellectual Property Office; and registration No. 3897507 in classes 16, 35 and 36, registered on June 8, 2012, with the National Institute of Industrial Property of France.
The disputed domain name was registered on February 4, 2020. By the time the Complaint was filed, the website associated to the disputed domain name showed, among others, a logo followed by “seeyondcapital”, “Fast Growing Financial Services Firm”, “About Us Our Corporate Profile Seeyond Capital is one of the fast growing Financial Services firm. Following lhe Bank of America and (our bank) initiated reforms in the banking industry, our erstwhile parent company, Natixis Investment Managers divested its shareholding in the company The company was acquired by select investors, management and staff of Seeyond Capital. Founded in 2017, Seeyond Capital (then Natixis Asset Management Limited). We are uniquely positioned to provide comprehensive services to meet our Clients’ investment requirements”.
5. Parties’ Contentions
Complainant’s assertions may be summarized as follows.
Complainant owns several trademark registrations for SEEYOND. The sign SEEYOND has no meaning and is highly distinctive. Complainant’s affiliates hold the following domain names: <seeyond-am.com>, registered on August 22, 2012, and <seeyond-am.fr>, registered on August 23, 2012.
The disputed domain name should be considered confusingly similar to Complainant’s SEEYOND trademark since it entirely reproduces such trademark, placed in leading position, followed by the term “capital” which is descriptive of Complainant's activities and adds no distinctiveness. Consumers will be led to think that the disputed domain name belongs to Complainant or is registered and used with Complainant’s authorization.
Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name. There is no relationship between Complainant and Respondent, and Complainant has not authorized Respondent to use its trademarks in any way.
Respondent has no prior rights in respect of the name “seeyond”. According to a search at the trademark database TMView, there are no trademark files for “seeyond capital”, “seeyondcapital” or “seeyondcapital.com”.
The website associated to the disputed domain name shows Complainant's trademark SEEYOND at the top of the page and the website offers financial services. Further, such website shows content whereby Respondent pretends to pass as a former subsidiary of Natixis Asset Management Limited.
Respondent has registered the disputed domain name in bad faith for taking advantage of the reputation and credibility of Complainant. It is in the public interest to transfer the disputed domain name to Complainant in order to avoid that it is used for misleading the consumers. Respondent hid its identity to avoid being notified of an UDRP proceeding, which is an inference of bad faith.
The website associated to the disputed domain name usurps the identity of Complainant by pretending being a parent company of Natixis Asset Management, which is deliberately mentioned in order to mislead the consumers. The website associated to the disputed domain name shows the city of Paris (France) as Respondent’s address, which is different to the city and country provided as Respondent’s address by the Registrar. Since Complainant is located in Paris (France), there is reason to believe that Respondent deliberately mentioned said city on its website in order to lend credibility to the information mentioned about Natixis Asset Management on such website. All that is highly suspicious, and thus it is reasonable to assume that the registration of the disputed domain name has been made for usurping Complainant’s identity, misleading consumers and, in all likelihood, for scam purposes.
Respondent’s aim is to lead the consumer to confusion in order to obtain contact details and personal data of Internet users or even fraudulent payments. Since the disputed domain name is being used for illegitimate activity such as phishing, Respondent's bad faith is evident.
Complainant requests that the disputed domain name be transferred to Complainant.
Respondent did not reply to Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
Paragraph 15(a) of the Rules instructs the Panel to “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”.
The lack of response from Respondent does not automatically result in a favorable decision for Complainant.2 The burden for Complainant, under paragraph 4(a) of the Policy, is to show: (i) that the disputed domain name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which Complainant has rights; (ii) that 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. Identical or Confusingly Similar
It is undisputed that Complainant has rights over the SEEYOND trademark.
Since the addition of a generic Top-Level Domain suffix after a domain name is technically required, it is well established that such element may be disregarded where assessing whether a domain name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark. The disputed domain name identically reflects the SEEYOND trademark, albeit followed by the suffix “capital”. It is clear to this Panel that “seeyond” is recognizable in the disputed domain name, and that the addition of such suffix in the disputed domain name does not avoid its confusing similarity with said trademark (see sections 1.7 and 1.8 of the WIPO Overview 3.0).
Thus, this Panel finds that Complainant has satisfied paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Policy.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
Complainant has alleged and Respondent has failed to deny that Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name.
Complainant asserts that it has not authorized Respondent to use its trademark, that there is no relationship between Complainant and Respondent, and that Respondent does not own any trademarks for “seeyond capital” or “seeyondcapital.com”.
This Panel notices that Respondent’s name as registrant substantially corresponds to the disputed domain name (except for the “.com” suffix). Having the disputed domain name as Respondent’s name as registrant is not, by itself, sufficient to establish that Respondent is in fact commonly known by the disputed domain name. Likewise, there is no indication in the file that Respondent’s name as registrant fully corresponds to the real name of Respondent (see SuperMedia LLC v. Superpages Vip, WIPO Case No. D2011-1293). It might be that Respondent might have adopted the disputed domain name as its name as registrant as a scheme to convey a false impression, as further noted below.
Respondent is using the website associated to the disputed domain name to offer financial services, which is the field of Complainant’s activitites, and to convey the impression that such website belongs or is related to Complainant (screenshots of said website included in the Complaint, see section 4 above). Such use demonstrates neither a bona fide offering of goods or services nor a legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the disputed domain name. Further, it seems to this Panel that the nature of the disputed domain name carries a risk of implied affiliation (see section 2.5.1 of the WIPO Overview 3.0).
This Panel considers that Complainant has established prima facie that Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name (see Intocast AG v. Lee Daeyoon, WIPO Case No. D2000-1467, and section 2.1 of the WIPO Overview 3.0). In the file there is no evidence of circumstances of the type specified in paragraph 4(c) of the Policy, or of any other circumstances, giving rise to rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name by Respondent.
Based on the aforesaid, this Panel concludes that paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy is satisfied.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
Taking into consideration that Complainant’s registration and use of the SEEYOND trademark preceded the creation of the disputed domain name, the composition of the disputed domain name (Complainant’s name and trademark followed by the term “capital” which may well be deemed as evocative of Complainant’s field of activities) and the content of the website associated to the disputed domain name, this Panel is of the view that Respondent should have been aware of the existence of Complainant and Complainant’s trademark at the time it obtained the registration of the disputed domain name.
The website linked to the disputed domain name has been used to offer financial services (which is the field of Complainant’s activities) and, by making reference to Natixis, to convey the impression that such website belongs to Complainant or is somewhat related to Complainant, which impression is reinforced by the fact that such website shows Paris (France) as headquarters of the website operator (while Respondent’s address is in the United States of America, as per the report provided by the Registrar).3 It seems to this Panel that in using the disputed domain name, Respondent has sought to impersonate Complainant or, at least, to create a likelihood of confusion with Complainant and its SEEYOND trademark as to the sponsorship, source, affiliation, or endorsement of the website and services offered therein, when in fact there is no such connection.
Further, the fact that Respondent has hidden its identity and contact information through a privacy service has been a further indicative of bad faith under several UDRP decisions (see section 3.6 of the WIPO Overview 3.0).
In sum, the overall evidence in the file shows that Respondent deliberately targeted Complainant and its trademark at the time it obtained the disputed domain name with the intention to benefit from them and potentially disrupt Complainant’s business or deceive Internet users, which denotes bad faith.
In this Panel’s view, the lack of response is also indicative that Respondent lacks arguments and evidence to support its holding of the disputed domain name in good faith.
In light of the above, this Panel finds that Complainant has satisfied paragraph 4(a)(iii) of the Policy.
For the foregoing reasons, in accordance with paragraphs 4(i) of the Policy and 15 of the Rules, this Panel orders that the disputed domain name <seeyondcapital.com> be transferred to Complainant.
Date: April 20, 2020
1 The original Complaint was filed against WhoisGuard Protected, which appeared as registrant in the corresponding WhoIs report. The amended Complaint was filed against Respondent, as per the information disclosed by the Registrar.
2 See Berlitz Investment Corp. v. Stefan Tinculescu, WIPO Case No. D2003-0465: “the panel finds that as a result of the default, Respondent has failed to rebut any of the factual assertions that are made and supported by evidence submitted by Complainant. The panel does not, however, draw any inferences from the default other than those that have been established or can fairly be inferred from the facts presented by Complainant and that, as a result of the default, have not been rebutted by any contrary assertions or evidence.” See also section 4.3 of the WIPO Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions, Third Edition (“WIPO Overview 3.0”).
3 See Bartercard Ltd & Bartercard International Pty Ltd. v Ashton-Hall Computer Services, WIPO Case No. D2000-0177: “the Domain Name has been used to host a website offering competing products to those offered by the Complainant [...] this suggests that the Respondent registered the Domain Name with the primary intention of disrupting the business of a competitor [...] It also indicates that the Respondent has used the Domain Name to attract Internet users to its website for commercial gain by virtue of confusion with the Complainant’s mark [...] Under the Policy, both of these are sufficient to show registration and use of the Domain Name in bad faith.”