WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Renault SAS v. WhoisGuard, Inc. / Jota Tresele
Case No. D2020-2081
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Renault SAS, France, represented by Dreyfus & associés, France.
The Respondent is WhoisGuard, Inc., Panama / Jota Tresele, Spain.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <renault-credit.com> (the “Domain Name”) is registered with NameCheap, Inc. (the “Registrar”).
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on August 5, 2020. On August 6, 2020, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the Domain Name. On August 6, 2020, the Registrar transmitted by email to the Center its verification response disclosing registrant and contact information for the Domain Name which differed from the named Respondent and contact information in the Complaint. The Center sent an email communication to the Complainant on August 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 August 14, 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 August 17, 2020. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was September 6, 2020. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on September 10, 2020.
The Center appointed Mathias Lilleengen as the sole panelist in this matter on September 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 is present in 134 countries and has sold 2,532,567 vehicles in 2018. The Complainant’s business is divided into 2 operational sectors: (1) automotive, including the design, production and distribution of products through a sales network, and (2) services, including sales financing, rental, maintenance and service contracts. RCI Bank and Services is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Complainant that offers consumers a range of financing solutions and services.
The Complainant owns numerous trademark registrations for RENAULT around the world, for example European Union Trademark RENAULT no. 013647061, filed on January 16, 2015 and registered on May 13, 2015, and European Union trademark RENAULT no. 010684462, filed on February 29, 2012 and registered on August 9, 2012. The Complainant also operates websites from the domain names <renault.com> registered on November 22, 1994, and <renault.fr> registered on January 1, 1995.
The Domain Name was registered on January 7, 2020. At the time of the Complaint and the time of drafting the Decision, the Domain Name resolved to an inactive web page.
5. Parties’ Contentions
The Complainant provides evidence of trademark registrations and argues that its trademark is well known. The Complainant also argues that the Domain Name reproduces the Complainant’s trademark with the addition of the term “credit”, and this is insufficient to avoid confusion, especially since the Complainant also operates in the financial sector.
The Complainant asserts that the Respondent is not authorized to use the Complainant’s trademark. The Respondent is not commonly known by the Domain Name. The Respondent cannot establish rights in the Domain Name, as it has not made any use of, or demonstrable preparations to use, the Domain Name in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services. The Domain Name resolves to an inactive page, and as the Respondent fails to show any intention of noncommercial or fair use of the Domain Name, one can only deduce that the Respondent has no legitimate interest or rights in the Domain Name.
The Complainant believes it is implausible that the Respondent was unaware of the Complainant when it registered the Domain Name. The Domain Name is currently inactive. Nevertheless, this state of inactivity does not mean that the Domain Name is used in good faith. The Complainant and its trademark have a strong reputation, and in view of the notoriety of the Complainant, it is not possible to conceive a plausible circumstance in which Respondent could legitimately use the Domain Name. It would invariably result in misleading diversion and taking unfair advantage of the Complainant’s rights.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The Complainant has established rights in the trademark RENAULT. The test for confusing similarity involves a comparison between the trademark and the Domain Name. In this case, the Domain Name reproduces the Complainant’s trademark with the addition of the term “credit”. The addition does not prevent confusing similarity between the Domain Name and the Complainant’s trademark. For the purpose of assessing under paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Policy, the Panel may ignore the generic Top-Level Domain (“gTLD”) “.com”; see WIPO Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions, Third Edition (“WIPO Overview 3.0”), section 1.11.
The Panel finds that the Domain Name is confusingly similar to a trademark in which the Complainant has rights in accordance with paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Policy.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
The Complainant has made unrebutted assertions that it has not granted any authorization to the Respondent to register the Domain Name containing the Complainant’s trademark or otherwise make use of its mark. The Respondent cannot establish rights in the Domain Name, as it has not made use of, or demonstrable preparations to use, the Domain Name in connection with a bona fide offering. The Domain Name resolves to an inactive page.
The Panel finds that the Complainant has made out an unrebutted prima facie case. Accordingly, the Panel finds that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Domain Name in accordance with paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
The Domain Name is identical to the Complainant’s well-known trademark. The Respondent must have been aware of the Complainant when the Respondent registered the Domain Name. The Panel agrees with the Complainant that it is not possible to conceive a plausible circumstance in which the Respondent could legitimately use the Domain Name, as it would invariably result in misleading diversion and taking unfair advantage of the Complainant’s rights. It is likely that the Respondent has registered the Domain Name to resell it, and/or to attract Internet users to the Respondent’s website or other online location by creating a likelihood of confusion with the Complainant’s trademark.
For the reasons set out above, the Panel concludes that the Domain Name was registered and is being used in bad faith, within the meaning of paragraph 4(a)(iii) 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 Domain Name <renault-credit.com> be transferred to the Complainant.
Date: October 1, 2020