WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Swiss Re Ltd. v. WhoisGuard Protected, WhoisGuard, Inc. / mikell Karo, dineroQ
Case No. D2020-2001
1. The Parties
Complainant is Swiss Re Ltd., Switzerland, represented by TIMES Attorneys, Switzerland.
Respondent is WhoisGuard Protected, WhoisGuard, Inc., Panama / mikell Karo, dineroQ, Nigeria.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <swissreinsurancecompanyltd.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 July 30, 2020. On July 30, 2020, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On July 30, 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 Complainant on July 31, 2020 providing the registrant and contact information disclosed by the Registrar, and inviting Complainant to submit an amendment to the Complaint. Complainant filed an amendment to the Complaint on July 31, 2020.
The Center verified that the Complaint together with the amendment 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 Respondent of the Complaint, and the proceedings commenced on August 5, 2020. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was August 25, 2020. Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified Respondent’s default on August 26, 2020.
The Center appointed Georges Nahitchevansky as the sole panelist in this matter on September 3, 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
Complainant, Swiss Re Ltd., is a wholesale provider of reinsurance, insurance and financial services. Complainant uses the name and mark SWISS RE in connection with its services. Complainant owns a number of registrations for its SWISS RE mark alone or with a design element, including several International registrations (Nos. 1067014, 624637 and 1223592, registered respectively on November 26, 2010, August 16, 1994, and June 12, 2014) that cover multiple jurisdictions around the world. The earliest of Complainant’s International Registration issued to registration in 1994. Complainant also owns a subsidiary that uses the name “Swiss Reinsurance Company Ltd.”
Respondent is an individual who is based in Nigeria. Respondent registered the disputed domain name on March 5, 2020. Complainant sent Respondent, through the Registrar, a demand letter on March 6, 2020. Respondent does not appear to have replied. The disputed domain name resolves to a web page that uses the header “Donate B Bitcoin” and what appears to be some sort of code, “1CgSncckvWpbVemZt16b4nLiRC4Hn7wJMU.”
5. Parties’ Contentions
Complainant asserts that it has been providing insurance, reinsurance and financial services since 1863 and as a result Complainant and its trademarks are well-known internationally.
Complainant argues that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to Complainant’s SWISS RE mark, as it fully incorporates the mark SWISS RE (an abbreviation for “reinsurance”) at the head of the disputed domain name with the terms “company” and “ltd”. Complainant further argues that the disputed domain name is identical to the name of Complainant’s subsidiary Swiss Reinsurance Company Ltd.
Complainant contends that Respondent has no rights or legitimate interest in the disputed domain name as Respondent (i) has no connection to Complainant or license to use the disputed domain name, (ii) that a search through Google reveals that there is no person or entity outside of Complainant that has an arguable right in the disputed domain name that mirrors the exact name of Complainant’s subsidiary, and (iii) failed to respond to Complainant’s demand letter.
Lastly, Complainant asserts that Respondent has registered and used the disputed domain name in bad faith as Complainant is well known and the disputed domain name clearly, and beyond doubt, refers to Complainant and its subsidiary. Complainant also argues that Respondent has acted in bad faith by not responding to Complainant’s demand letter and by not using the disputed domain name for any legitimate purpose. In that regard, Complainant maintains that Respondent registered the disputed domain name to either benefit from Complainant’s reputation and to deceive consumers or to sell the disputed domain name to either Complainant or someone with nefarious intentions.
Respondent did not reply to Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
Under paragraph 4(a) of the Policy, to succeed Complainant must satisfy the Panel that:
(i) the disputed domain name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which Complainant has rights;
(ii) Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name; and
(iii) the disputed domain name was registered and is being used in bad faith.
Here, although Respondent has failed to respond to the complaint, the default does not automatically result in a decision in favor of Complainant, nor is it an admission that Complainant’s claims are true. The burden remains with Complainant to establish the three elements of paragraph 4(a) of the Policy by a preponderance of the evidence. A Panel, however, may draw appropriate inferences from a respondent’s default in light of the particular facts and circumstances of the case, such as regarding factual allegations that are not inherently implausible as being true. See section 4.3 of the WIPO Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions, Third Edition (“WIPO Overview 3.0”); see also The Knot, Inc. v. In Knot We Trust LTD, WIPO Case No. D2006-0340.
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
Complainant has provided evidence that it owns trademarks registrations for the mark SWISS RE and that the name of one its subsidiaries is Swiss Reinsurance Company Ltd. The disputed domain name fully incorporates Complainant’s SWISS RE mark and is identical to the name of Complainant’s subsidiary Swiss Reinsurance Company Ltd. As the mark is recognizable in the disputed domain name, the Panel concludes that Complainant has satisfied the requirements of paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Policy. See section 1.7 of the WIPO Overview 3.0.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
Under paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy, the complainant must make at least a prima facie showing that the respondent possesses no rights or legitimate interests in a disputed domain name. Malayan Banking Berhad v. Beauty, Success & Truth International, WIPO Case No. D2008-1393. Once the complainant makes such a prima facie showing, the burden of production shifts to the respondent, though the burden of proof always remains on the complainant. If the respondent fails to come forward with evidence showing rights or legitimate interests, the complainant will have sustained its burden under the second element of the UDRP.
Based on the evidence submitted in this proceeding, and Respondent’s failure to participate in this matter, it appears more likely than not that Respondent does not have a legitimate interest in the disputed domain name. Respondent, who is based in Nigeria, is known by the name “mikell Karo, dineroQ” and not Swiss Reinsurance Company Ltd., and has no connection to Complainant or its reinsurance services. Moreover, Respondent has made limited use of the disputed domain name since registering it in March 2020 for a static web page that appears to relate to alleged donations of bitcoins, which in and of itself appears to be for Respondent’s own benefit or a scheme that Respondent is pursuing. Notably, Respondent has not only failed to contest any of Complainant’s allegations, but has provided no explanation as to how and why Respondent registered the disputed domain name that incorporates the SWISS RE mark and which copies the exact name of Complainant’s subsidiary Swiss Reinsurance Company Ltd. Such failures when viewed in conjunction with Complainant’s rights in the SWISS RE mark and Swiss Reinsurance Company Ltd. name suggests that Respondent lacks any legitimate purpose or basis for registering the disputed domain name and has done so as an opportunistic act for the benefit or profit of Respondent.
Given that Complainant has established with sufficient evidence that it owns rights in the SWISS RE mark and Swiss Reinsurance Company Ltd. name, and given Respondent’s above noted actions and failure to respond, the Panel concludes that Respondent does not have rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name and that none of the circumstances of paragraph 4(c) of the Policy are evident in this case.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
Given Respondent’s actions as noted above, Respondent’s lack of connection to Complainant or Complainant’s SWISS RE mark and Swiss Reinsurance Company Ltd. name, and Respondent’s failure to appear in this matter, it is easy to infer that Respondent’s registration of the disputed domain name which fully copies of Complainant’s subsidiary was done opportunistically and in bad faith. The fact that Respondent (i) has held the disputed domain name for about six months and has used it only with a static web page for alleged bitcoin donations, (ii) failed to respond to Complainant’s demand letter or the instant proceeding, and (ii) has provided no reasonable explanation for registering a domain name that is identical to the name of Complainant’s subsidiary, underscores that Respondent’s intent in registering and using the disputed domain name is more likely than not in bad faith, for the profit of Respondent or for some illegitimate purpose.
Accordingly, the Panel finds that Complainant succeeds under this element 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 <swissreinsurancecompanyltd.com> be transferred to Complainant.
Date: September 17, 2020