WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center

ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION

Belfius Bank S.A. / Belfius Bank N.V. v. Fatih Arslan

Case No. D2020-1193

1. The Parties

The Complainant is Belfius Bank S.A. / Belfius Bank N.V., Belgium, represented internally.

The Respondent is Fatih Arslan, Turkey.

2. The Domain Name and Registrar

The disputed domain name, <belfiuscash.com> (the “Domain Name”), is registered with PDR Ltd. d/b/a PublicDomainRegistry.com (the “Registrar”).

3. Procedural History

The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on May 12, 2020. On May 13, 2020, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the Domain Name. On May 14, 2020, the Registrar transmitted by email to the Center its verification response confirming that the Respondent is listed as the registrant and providing the contact details.

The Center verified that the 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 May 19, 2020. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was June 8, 2020. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on June 9, 2020.

The Center appointed Tony Willoughby as the sole panelist in this matter on June 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 is a state-owned bank headquartered in Belgium, which commenced business under the “Belfius” name on March 1, 2012.

The Complainant is the registered proprietor of inter alia European Union Trade Mark Registration No. 010581205 registered May 24, 2012 (application filed January 23, 2012) BELFIUS (word) for a variety of goods and services in classes 9, 16, 35, 36, 41, and 45.

The Complainant is the registrant of various domain names incorporating the name “Belfius”, one of which is <belfius.be>, which it registered on January 23, 2012. The Complainant’s official website is connected to that domain name.

The Domain Name was registered on January 3, 2020 and does not appear to be in use. It is currently connected to an error page.

On January 17, 2020 and January 24, 2020 the Complainant sent emails to the Respondent drawing the Respondent’s attention to the Complainant’s trade mark rights and seeking inter alia transfer of the Domain Name. The emails were addressed to the email address appearing for the Respondent on the Registrar’s WhoIs database. The Complainant received no reply.

5. Parties’ Contentions

A. Complainant

The Complainant contends that the Domain Name is confusingly similar to the Complainant’s BELFIUS registered trade mark; that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Domain Name and that the Domain Name was registered and is being used in bad faith.

B. Respondent

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

6. Discussion and Findings

A. General

According to paragraph 4(a) of the Policy, for this Complaint to succeed in relation to the Domain Name, the Complainant must prove each of the following, namely that:

(i) the Domain Name is identical or confusingly similar to a trade mark 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.

B. Identical or Confusingly Similar

The Domain Name comprises the Complainant’s name and trade mark BELFIUS, the word “cash” and the “.com” generic Top-Level Domain identifier.

The Panel finds that the Domain Name is confusingly similar to the Complainant’s BELFIUS trade mark.

C. Rights or Legitimate Interests

The Complainant contends that its name, “Belfius”, is a made up word. By combining it with the word “cash” it is overwhelmingly probable that in registering the Domain Name the Respondent was aware of the Complainant and was intending to target the Complainant. The Complainant has produced evidence to suggest that the Domain Name has never been used whether commercially or noncommercially. The Complainant asserts that it has never granted the Respondent any permission to use its name and trade mark and the Respondent’s name bears no relation to the Domain Name.

The Panel is satisfied that the Complainant has made out a prima facie case under this element of the Policy; in other words a case calling for an answer from the Respondent.

The Respondent did not respond to the Complainant’s cease and desist emails in January 2020 and has chosen not to respond to the Complaint. The Panel cannot conceive of any basis upon which the Respondent might be said to have any rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Domain Name. The Panel concludes that the Respondent has no answer to the Complainant’s contentions. The Panel finds that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Domain Name.

D. Registered and Used in Bad Faith

In the view of the Panel, the nature of the Domain Name is such that it was registered with knowledge of the Complainant and with a view to targeting the Complainant. The Respondent has not claimed any rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Domain Name and, as indicated above, the Panel cannot conceive of any basis upon which the Respondent might be said to have any rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Domain Name. People do not register domain names for no reason. The Panel finds on the evidence on the balance of probabilities that the Respondent’s intention when registering the Domain Name was a bad faith intention, namely to use it in some way to exploit the trade mark value of the Domain Name to his own advantage and to the disadvantage of the Complainant and probably customers and would-be customers of the Complainant’s bank.

While it appears to be the case that the Domain Name has not yet been used, given the Panel’s finding as to the probable intention of the Respondent in registering the Domain Name, the Panel concludes that it represents an abusive threat hanging over the head of the Complainant. As such it constitutes a continuing abusive use of the Domain Name.

The Panel finds that the Domain Name was registered and is being used in bad faith within the meaning of 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 Domain Name, <belfiuscash.com>, be transferred to the Complainant.

Tony Willoughby
Sole Panelist
Date: June 22, 2020