WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
The Manufacturers Life Insurance Company v. Raymond Ozara
Case No. D2020-1303
1. The Parties
The Complainant is The Manufacturers Life Insurance Company, Canada, represented by CSC Digital Brand Services AB, Sweden.
The Respondent is Raymond Ozara, Spain.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <manulifeinsurancecorp.com> (the “Domain Name”) is registered with Online SAS (the “Registrar”).
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on May 22, 2020. On May 22, 2020, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the Domain Name. On May 22, 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 28, 2020. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was June 17, 2020. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on June 20, 2020.
The Center appointed Ian Lowe as the sole panelist in this matter on June 24, 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 leading financial services company founded in 1887 and based in Canada. Its shares are listed on the Toronto, New York, Philippine, and Hong Kong Stock Exchanges. Its principal operations are in Canada, Asia, and the United States of America. The Complainant provides financial advice, insurance, and wealth and asset management services. It has over USD 0.8 trillion worth of assets under its management and administration with an international network of more than 35,000 employees and 70,000 agents.
The Complainant has carried on business under the MANULIFE mark in Canada and Asia since 1990. It is the proprietor of a number of registered trademarks in respect of MANULIFE across various territories, including European Union trademark number 00540989 registered on July 9, 1999 and Canada trademark number TMA385240 registered on May 31, 1991.
The Complainant operates a number of websites promoting its products and services, including “www.manulife.com” and “www.manulife.ca”.
The Domain Name was registered on January 31, 2020. It resolves to the Complainant’s website at “www.manulife.com”. An email server has been configured on the Domain Name enabling the Respondent to use email addresses with the suffix “@manulifeinsurancecorp.com”.
5. Parties’ Contentions
The Complainant contends that the Domain Name is confusingly similar to its MANULIFE trademark (the “Mark”), that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Domain Name, and that the Respondent registered and is using the Domain Name in bad faith within the meaning of paragraph 4(b)(i) of the Policy.
The Complainant has adduced copies of emails evidencing a sophisticated fraudulent scheme. This comprises emails from someone purporting to be a lawyer in a Canadian law firm soliciting third parties to participate in making claims on life insurance policies with the Complainant. The fraudsters have also set up a fake website for the non-existent Canadian law firm, invited the third parties to visit the website apparently at the Domain Name that resolves to the Complainant’s website, and used email addresses based on the Domain Name.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
For this Complaint to succeed in relation to the Domain Name the Complainant must prove that:
(i) the Domain Name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark 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.
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The Complainant has uncontested rights in the Mark both by virtue of its trademark registrations and as a result of the goodwill and reputation acquired through its widespread use of the Mark over many years. Ignoring the generic Top-Level Domain (“gTLD”) “.com” for this purpose, the Domain Name comprises the entirety of the MANULIFE mark, together with the terms “insurance” and “corp”. In the view of the Panel, the addition of these terms does not detract from the confusing similarity between the Mark and the Domain Name. Accordingly, the Panel finds that the Domain Name is confusingly similar to a trademark in which the Complainant has rights.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
The Complainant has made out a strong prima facie case that the Respondent could have no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Domain Name. The Registrant has not used the Domain Name in connection with a bona fide offering of goods and services, but rather to resolve to the Complainant’s principal website. The Panel considers it overwhelmingly likely that this was to lend credence to a fraudulent scheme, using email addresses comprising the Domain Name, intended to extract transaction fees from third parties and/or to phish for personal data for improper purposes. The Respondent has chosen not to respond to the Complaint or to take any steps to counter the prima facie case established by the Complainant. In the circumstances, the Panel finds that the Respondent does not have any rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Domain Name.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
In light of the nature of the Domain Name and the above finding, the Panel is in no doubt that the Respondent had the Complainant and its rights in the Mark in mind when it registered the Domain Name.
The Panel is satisfied in light of the evidence submitted by the Complainant, that the Respondent registered the Domain Name with a view to deceiving third parties into believing that the Domain Name was being operated by or authorized by the Complainant for fraudulent purposes. Accordingly, the Panel finds that the Domain Name was registered and is being used in bad faith.
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 <manulifeinsurancecorp.com> be transferred to the Complainant.
Date: July 13, 2020