WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Allianz SE v. WhoisGuard Protected / Mr. Albeena Alkimah, Allianz Recruiters LLC
Case No. D2020-1197
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Allianz SE, Germany, internally represented.
The Respondent is WhoisGuard Protected, Panama / Mr. Albeena Alkimah, Allianz Recruiters LLC, United Kingdom.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <allianzrecruiters.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 May 15, 2020. On May 15, 2020, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On May 16, 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 May 18, 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 May 22, 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 May 28, 2020. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was June 17, 2020. The Center received a communication, apparently from the Respondent, by email on May 22, 2020. The Respondent did not submit any formal response. Accordingly, the Center notified the commencement of panel appointment process on June 18, 2020.
The Center appointed Evan D. Brown as the sole panelist in this matter on July 14, 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 the parent company of one of the oldest and largest insurance and financial services groups in the world. It owns several registrations for the mark ALLIANZ, including International Trademark Reg. No. 447004 (registered on September 12, 1979) and European Union Trade Mark Reg. No. 000013656 (registered on July 22, 2002). The Respondent registered the disputed domain name on May 7, 2020. It has used the disputed domain name to set up a website titled “Allianz Recruiters”, apparently to offer employee and staffing recruitment and placement services in Dubai. The Complainant asserts that these are “faked” services.
5. Parties’ Contentions
The Complainant contends that the disputed domain name is identical or confusingly similar to the Complainant’s trademark; that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name; and, that the disputed domain name was registered and is being used in bad faith.
The Respondent did not formally respond to the Complaint. On May 22, 2020, however, the Center received an email apparently from the Respondent that communicated, in substance, the following: “What is this about. [sic.]? Our company has no relationship with the mentioned insurance firm thus there is no copyright infringement here. Thank you.”
6. Discussion and Findings
To succeed, the Complainant must demonstrate that all of the elements listed in paragraph 4(a) of the Policy have been satisfied: (i) the disputed domain name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which the Complainant has rights; (ii) the 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
A registered trademark provides a clear indication that the rights in the mark shown on the trademark certificate belong to its respective owner. See, Advance Magazine Publishers Inc., Les Publications Conde Nast S.A. v. Voguechen, WIPO Case No. D2014-0657. The Complainant has demonstrated its rights in the ALLIANZ mark by providing evidence of its numerous trademark registrations. The disputed domain name incorporates the ALLIANZ mark in its entirety. This is sufficient for showing confusing similarity under the Policy. The presence of the word “recruiting” in the disputed domain name does not prevent the finding of confusing similarity. The Complainant has established this first element under the policy.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
The Panel evaluates this element of the Policy by first looking to see whether the Complainant has made a prima facie showing that the Respondent lacks rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name. If the Complainant makes that showing, the burden of production to demonstrate rights or legitimate interests shifts to the Respondent.
The Complainant has established, prima facie, that the Respondent lacks rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. On this point, the Complainant asserts, among other things, that:
- The Respondent is not making a bona fide legitimate, noncommercial or fair use of the disputed domain name.
- The Complainant has not granted the Respondent any license or other form of authorization or consent to make use of the ALLIANZ mark.
- The Respondent is exploiting the fact that Internet users are hoping to access a website that belongs to the Complainant’s group of companies. In this way, according to the Complainant, the Respondent is a “free-rider” and “fraudster” trying to take unfair advantage of the well-known trademark of the Complainant.
These facts make the Complainant’s prima facie showing. The Respondent has not provided any evidence that rebuts this prima facie showing. In this respect, the Panel notes that the Respondent has not specifically addressed the Complainant’s contentions, but has merely claimed there is no copyright infringement – notably, in so doing, the Respondent did not claim not to be aware of the Complainant and its well-known mark; as discussed below, any such claim would be difficult to accept as being credible (see e.g., in this regard The Dannon Company Inc., Compagnie Gervais Danone v. Muhammad Bashir Ibrahim, WIPO Case No. D2016-2270, and Madonna Ciccone, p/k/a Madonna v. Dan Parisi and “Madonna.com”, WIPO Case No. D2000-0847. The Panel finds that the Complainant has established this second element under the Policy.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
The Policy requires the Complainant to establish that the disputed domain name was registered and is being used in bad faith. The Policy describes several non-exhaustive circumstances demonstrating a respondent’s bad faith registration and use. Under paragraph 4(b)(iv) of the Policy, a panel may find bad faith when a respondent “[uses] the domain name to intentionally attempt to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to [respondent’s] website or other online location, by creating a likelihood of confusion with complainant’s mark as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation, or endorsement of [respondent’s] website or location or a product or service on [respondent’s] website or location”.
Because the Complainant’s ALLIANZ mark is well known, and because it has been in use since before the registration of the disputed domain name, it is implausible to believe that the Respondent was not aware of the mark when it registered the disputed domain name. The Respondent has not provided evidence to contradict the Complainant’s assertions on this point. The Panel finds, on these facts, that the Respondent targeted the Complainant and its ALLIANZ mark when it registered the disputed domain name. These facts show bad faith registration of the disputed domain name. Bad faith use is indicated from the Respondent’s activities of using the disputed domain name to establish a website that trades off the goodwill of the Complainant’s well-known mark. The Respondent has not introduced any evidence against the Complainant’s assertions of bad faith use. The Complainant has successfully established the third UDRP element.
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 <allianzrecruiters.com> be transferred to the Complainant.
Evan D. Brown
Date: July 28, 2020