WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center

ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION

Natixis v. WhoisGuard Protected / Emilie Fremont, Ventas Amazon

Case No. D2020-0574

1. The Parties

The Complainant is Natixis, France, represented by Inlex IP Expertise, France.

The Respondent is WhoisGuard Protected, Panama / Emilie Fremont, Ventas Amazon, France.

2. The Domain Name and Registrar

The disputed domain name <natixis-virement.com> is registered with NameCheap, Inc. (the “Registrar”).

3. Procedural History

The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on March 6, 2020. On March 9, 2020, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On March 9, 2020, 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 March 12, 2020 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 March 17, 2020.

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 March 20, 2020. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was April 9, 2020. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on April 12, 2020.

The Center appointed Michel Vivant as the sole panelist in this matter on April 17, 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 is a French corporate and financial services company.

The Complainant owns several French, European Union and International prior rights registered since 2006, composed of the term “Natixis”, as French Trademark NATIXIS registered on March 14, 2006.

The disputed domain name <natixis-virement.com> has been registered on March 3, 2020, and was resolving to an active website which was an almost identical copy of the Complainant’s website. At the time of this decision, the disputed domain name is inactive.

The Complaint was filed, as said above, on March 6, 2020.

5. Parties’ Contentions

A. Complainant

For the Complainant, the disputed domain name is identical and highly similar to its prior rights as composed of its trademark NATIXIS placed in leading position associated with the word “virement”. The Complainant underlines that the term “natixis” has no meaning and is highly distinctive whereas the word “virement” is purely descriptive of a banking activity.

Secondly, the Complainant argues that the Respondent has no rights to including trademark rights in respect of the name “natixis” and has never been authorized by the Complainant to use its trademarks in any way so that it has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name”.

Last, the Complainant considers that the disputed domain name has been registered mala fide with the aim of taking advantage of the reputation of the trademark NATIXIS which is a well-known trademark. The Complainant argues also that, at this stage, the bad faith of the Respondent is also established by the fact that, when registering the disputed domain name, the Respondent employed a privacy service in order to hide its identity. The Complainant adds that the disputed domain name is used in bad faith insofar as the Respondent has intentionally attempted to attract Internet users by creating a likelihood of confusion with the Complainant’s trademark, especially by giving access, through the disputed domain name, to “an almost plagiary of the Complainant’s website”.

The Complainant requests the transfer of the disputed domain name.

B. Respondent

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

6. Discussion and Findings

A. Identical or Confusingly Similar

The disputed domain name incorporates the Complainant’s trademark NATIXIS in its entirety, which is a practice which has always been considered by previous UDRP panels as a strong clue of cybersquatting.

Furthermore, the trademark NATIXIS is placed in leading position and it is clear that the inclusion of an additional term as “virement” does not dispel the disputed domain name from being identical or confusingly similar to the Complainant’s trademark (See section 1.8 of the WIPO Overview 3.0).

So, the Panel finds that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to the Complainant’s trademark, according to the Policy, paragraph 4(a)(i).

B. Rights or Legitimate Interests

The Respondent has never been known under the name “Natixis” which is a purely “fancy name”. The Respondent is not related in any way to the Complainant’s business and has never received from the Complainant a license or an authorization to use its marks.

The Panel observes in addition that, if the Respondent had actually rights or legitimate interests in respect with the disputed domain name, it would have been easy for the Respondent not to be defaulting and to produce its arguments.

The Panel concludes that the Complainant has established that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name, according to the Policy, paragraph 4(a)(ii).

C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith

The Panel considers that the Complainant’s trademark NATIXIS is at the same time a pure creation and, in the banking world, well-known in such a way that the Respondent could not have ignored the existence of the Complainant’s trademark at the time the disputed domain name was registered nor accordingly have chosen it fortuitously. In other words, according to UDRP previous decisions, the registration may certainly be considered as having been made in bad faith.

In addition, the fact that, when registering the disputed domain name, the Respondent employed a privacy service in order to hide its identity is also a clue of bad faith.

Furthermore, the use of the disputed domain name is manifestly designed to attract Internet users by creating a confusion with the Complainant, especially by giving access, through the aforesaid disputed domain name, to “an almost plagiary of the Complainant’s website” (as the Complainant says). Finally, the use of the word “virement” which belongs, in French, to the banking vocabulary creates a likelihood of confusion with the Complainant’s mark as described under paragraph 4(b)(iv) of the Policy.

Therefore, the Panel finds that the requirement of registration and use in bad faith is satisfied, according to the Policy, paragraph 4(a)(iii).

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 <natixis-virement.com> be transferred to the Complainant.

Michel Vivant
Sole Panelist
Date: April 23, 2020