WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Gecina v. Registration Private, Domains By Proxy, LLC / Nurullah Unlu
Case No. D2020-0599
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Gecina, France, represented by Cabinet Santarelli, France.
The Respondent is Registration Private, Domains By Proxy, LLC, United States of America / Nurullah Unlu, Turkey.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <gec1na.com> 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 March 10, 2020. On March 10, 2020, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On March 11, 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 13, 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 14, 2020.
The Center appointed Knud Wallberg as the sole panelist in this matter on April 22, 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, GECINA was established in 1959 and is currently one of the leading real estate group in Europe that owns, manages and develops real estate assets of EUR 19.3 billion at the end of 2018.
The Complainant holds a number of trademark registrations for the mark GECINA just as the Complainant is the owner of European Union Trademark Registration No. 018130214 consisting of a figurative depiction of the term GEC1NA, filed on September 27, 2019, and registered on January 11, 2020, for services in classes 35, 36, 37, 42, and 43 of the Nice Classification. The said registration has a priority date of April 15, 2019.
The Complainant is the owner of several domain names that contains its mark GECINA, which are used to host the Complainant´s websites such as “www.gecina.fr” and “www.cecina.com”.
The disputed domain name was registered on June 21, 2019. The disputed domain name resolves to a website that purports to offer inter alia real estate services in Turkey.
5. Parties’ Contentions
The Complainant asserts that the disputed domain name is identical to the Complainant’s trademark GEC1NA, since it incorporates the mark in its entirety and since the generic Top-Level Domain (“gTLD”) “.com” is insufficient to avoid a finding of confusing similarity between the disputed domain name and the Complainant’s marks.
The Complainant further asserts that the Respondent has not been authorized by the Complainant to use the trademark GEC1NA and that the Respondent and has no rights to or legitimate interests in the name GEC1NA. The “contact page” of the Respondent’s website thus shows that the Respondent is not officially named “gecina” but instead “İsmet Gökşen Cd” which is a clear indication of bad faith.
Finally the Complainant asserts that the Respondent has registered and is using the disputed domain name in bad faith. The timing of the registration of the disputed domain name, which was made on June 21, 2019 is only a few months after the public release of the Complainant's new logo depicting the GEC1NA mark and even closer after the first filing corresponding trademark, and shows that the registration of the disputed domain name was done in bad faith. The disputed domain name resolves to an active website that inter alia purports to offer real estate services. Furthermore, the Complainant’s logo is reproduced on the website which clearly demonstrates that the Respondent intentionally attempts to attract Internet users to the Respondent’s web site for commercial gain by creating a likelihood of confusion with the Complainant’s mark as to the sponsorship, affiliation, or endorsement of the Respondent’s web site or of the Respondent’s services.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
According to paragraph 15(a) of the Rules the Panel shall decide the Complaint in accordance with the Policy, the Rules and any rules and principles of law that it deems applicable.
Paragraph 4(a) of the Policy directs that a complainant must prove each of the following:
(i) that the domain name registered by the respondent is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which the complainant has rights;
(ii) that the respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the domain name; and
(iii) that the domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.
Paragraph 4(a) of the Policy states that the burden of proving that all these elements are present lies with the complainant. At the same time, in accordance with paragraph 14(b) of the Rules, if a party, in the absence of exceptional circumstances, does not comply with any provision of, or requirement under, the Rules, or any request from the Panel, the Panel shall draw such inferences therefrom as it considers appropriate.
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The Panel finds that the disputed domain name <gec1na.com> is identical to the Complainant’s registered trademark GEC1NA in the sense of paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Policy since the disputed domain name incorporates this mark in its entirety. The gTLD “.com” is a standard registration requirement and as such is disregarded under the first element confusing similarity test. See section 1.11.1 of the WIPO Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions, Third Edition (“WIPO Overview 3.0”).
The Panel finds that the conditions in paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Policy are therefore fulfilled in relation to the disputed domain name.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
It is clear from the facts of the case that the Complainant has not licensed or otherwise permitted the Respondent to use the GEC1NA trademark and that the Respondent has no independent rights in term “gec1na”.
Given the circumstances of this case, and in particular the way that the Respondent has been and is using the disputed domain name, and noting the Respondent did not reply to the Complaint, the Panel finds that the Complainant has established that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. The Respondent has not produced, and indeed there is no other evidence of the types of circumstances set out in paragraph 4(c) of the Policy that might give rise to rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name on the part of the Respondent in these proceedings.
Consequently, the Panel finds that the conditions in paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy are also fulfilled.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
Paragraph 4(a)(iii) of the Policy requires the complainant to prove both registration and use of the disputed domain name in bad faith. Paragraph 4(b) of the Policy provides an example of circumstances which shall be evidence of registration and use in bad faith:
(i) circumstances indicating that the respondent has registered or has acquired the domain name primarily for the purpose of selling, renting, or otherwise transferring the domain name registration to the complainant who is the owner of the trademark or service mark or to a competitor of that complainant, for valuable consideration in excess of the respondent’s documented out-of-pocket costs directly related to the domain name; or
(ii) the respondent has registered the domain name in order to prevent the owner of the trademark or service mark from reflecting the mark in a corresponding domain name, provided that the respondent has engaged in a pattern of such conduct; or
(iii) the respondent has registered the domain name primarily for the purpose of disrupting the business of a competitor; or
(iv) by using the domain name, the respondent has intentionally attempted to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to its website or other online location, by creating a likelihood of confusion with the complainant’s mark as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation, or endorsement of the respondent’s website or location or of a product or service on the respondent’s website or location.
Accordingly, for the Complainant to succeed, the Panel must be satisfied that the disputed domain name was registered and is being used in bad faith.
Given the circumstances of the case, in particular the distinctive nature of the mark GEC1NA and the fact that the disputed domain name was registered shortly after the Complainant had published their new logo containing the GEC1NA mark and had applied for registration of the said mark, it is inconceivable to the Panel that the Respondent registered the disputed domain name without prior knowledge of the Complainant and of the Complainant’s mark. Further, the Panel finds that the Respondent could not have been unaware of the fact that it chose a domain name which could attract Internet users in a manner that is likely to create confusion for such users.
The Panel therefore finds that the disputed domain name was registered in bad faith.
The disputed domain name is used for a website on which the Respondent reproduces the Complainant’s logo and on which the Respondent purports to offer services some of which are similar to the services that are offered by the Complainant. This clearly is intended to give Internet users the impression that the website is an official website of the Complainant or a website that is authorized by the Complainant, which is not the case. The Panel therefore finds that the Respondent by its registration and use of the disputed domain name intentionally creates a likelihood of confusion as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation or endorsement of the disputed domain names with the purpose of attracting Internet users to the website for commercial gain as per paragraph 4(b)(iv) of the Policy.
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 <gec1na.com> be transferred to the Complainant.
Date: May 6, 2020