WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
CA Indosuez (Switzerland) SA v. Bruce C. Whitehurst, Xray Eye & Vision Clinics
Case No. D2020-2766
1. The Parties
Complainant is CA Indosuez (Switzerland) SA, Switzerland, represented by id est avocats sàrl, Switzerland.
Respondent is Bruce C. Whitehurst, Xray Eye & Vision Clinics, Slovenia.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <ca-suissee.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 October 21, 2020. On October 21, 2020, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the Domain Name. On October 22, 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 Complainant on October 22, 2020 providing the registrant and contact information disclosed by the Registrar, and inviting Complainant to submit an amendment to the Complaint. Complainant filed an amended Complaint on October 26, 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 Respondent of the Complaint, and the proceedings commenced on October 27, 2020. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was November 16, 2020. Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified Respondent’s default on November 17, 2020.
The Center appointed Robert A. Badgley as the sole panelist in this matter on November 25, 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
Crédit Agricole is a large and longstanding French bank. One of its affiliates, Complainant CA Indosuez (Switzerland) SA, has operated in Switzerland since 1876. Crédit Agricole and its affiliates (including Complainant) have used CA as a trademark for many years. Crédit Agricole holds various trademark registrations, including Swiss trademark CA CREDIT AGRICOLE (Reg. No. 2P-425521, registered on May 17, 1996) and international trademark CA (figurative) (Reg. No. 933604, registered on March 23, 2007). In addition, Crédit Agricole owns the domain name <ca-suisse.com>, which resolves to a commercial website operated by Complainant in the French language (“Suisse” being the French word for “Switzerland”).
The Domain Name was registered on September 2, 2020. The Domain Name does not resolve to an active website. Complainant asserts that Respondent has never had a relationship with Complainant, and that Complainant has never authorized Respondent to use the CA mark in a domain name or otherwise.
According to Complainant, Respondent has also registered other domain names reflecting the trademarks of third parties, including the domain name <hagleitner-at.com>, which corresponds to the HAGLEITNER trademark held by an Austrian firm. Further, Complainant points out that Respondent has been held to be in bad faith under the UDRP in prior cases, including Agfa-Gevaert N.V. v. Bruce C. Whitehurst, Xray Eye & Vision Clinics, WIPO Case No. D2020-1105 (transferring <agfa-com.com>), and Perstorp AB v. Bruce C. Whitehurst, Xray Eye & Vision Clinics, WIPO Case No. D2020-1668 (transferring <prestorp.com>).
5. Parties’ Contentions
Complainant contends that it has satisfied each of the elements required under the Policy for a transfer of the Domain Name.
Respondent did not reply to Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
Paragraph 4(a) of the Policy lists the three elements which Complainant must satisfy with respect to the Domain Name:
(i) the Domain Name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which Complainant has rights; and
(ii) 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 Panel concludes that Complainant has rights in the trademarks CA and CA CREDIT AGRICOLE for the purposes of the Policy as demonstrated in the record. The Panel also concludes that the Domain Name is confusingly similar to the CA mark. The Domain Name incorporates the CA mark in its entirety, and adds, after a hyphen, the letters “suissee.” These letters are a misspelling of “Suisse,” which is one of the countries in which Complainant has operated for many years.
Complainant has established Policy paragraph 4(a)(i).
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
Pursuant to paragraph 4(c) of the Policy, Respondent may establish its rights or legitimate interests in the Domain Name, among other circumstances, by showing any of the following elements:
(i) before any notice to you [Respondent] of the dispute, your use of, or demonstrable preparations to use, the Domain Name or a name corresponding to the Domain Name in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services; or
(ii) you [Respondent] (as an individual, business, or other organization) have been commonly known by the Domain Name, even if you have acquired no trademark or service mark rights; or
(iii) you [Respondent] are making a legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the Domain Name, without intent for commercial gain to misleadingly divert consumers or to tarnish the trademark or service mark at issue.
The Panel concludes that Respondent lacks rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Domain Name. Respondent has not come forward in this proceeding to articulate or prove his bona fide vis-à-vis the Domain Name. On the undisputed record before the Panel, it appears clear that Respondent has engaged in “typo-squatting” (as he had done in at least one previous case decided under the UDRP, as noted above). As noted above, Complainant has no relationship with Respondent, and Complainant has never authorized Respondent to use the CA trademark in a domain name or otherwise.
Complainant has established Policy paragraph 4(a)(ii).
C. Registered or Used in Bad Faith
Paragraph 4(b) of the Policy provides that the following circumstances, “in particular but without limitation,” are evidence of the registration and use of the Domain Name in “bad faith”:
(i) circumstances indicating that Respondent has registered or has acquired the Domain Name primarily for the purpose of selling, renting, or otherwise transferring the Domain Name registration to Complainant who is the owner of the trademark or service mark or to a competitor of that Complainant, for valuable consideration in excess of its documented out of pocket costs directly related to the Domain Name; or
(ii) that Respondent has registered the Domain Name in order to prevent the owner of the trademark or service mark from reflecting the mark in a corresponding domain name, provided that Respondent has engaged in a pattern of such conduct; or
(iii) that Respondent has registered the Domain Name primarily for the purpose of disrupting the business of a competitor; or
(iv) that by using the Domain Name, Respondent has intentionally attempted 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 of a product or service on Respondent’s website or location.
The Panel concludes that Respondent registered and used the Domain Name in bad faith. Given Respondent’s prior history of registering domain names similar to established trademarks, and in some instances engaging in typo-squatting, the Panel concludes that Respondent’s conduct falls squarely within the above-quoted Policy paragraph 4(b)(ii).
Complainant has established Policy paragraph 4(a)(iii).
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 <ca-suissee.com> be transferred to Complainant.
Robert A. Badgley
Date: December 9, 2020