WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Allianz SE v. WhoisGuard Protected / Danny Murphy
Case No. D2020-3106
1. The Parties
Complainant is Allianz SE, Germany, internally-represented.
Respondent is WhoisGuard Protected, Panama / Danny Murphy, United Kingdom.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <allianzir.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 November 19, 2020. On November 19, 2020, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On November 19, 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 named Respondent and contact information in the Complaint. The Center sent an email communication to Complainant on November 20, 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 November 23, 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 December 9, 2020. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was December 29, 2020. Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Parties of Respondent’s default on December 30, 2020.
The Center appointed Ingrīda Kariņa-Bērziņa as the sole panelist in this matter on January 12, 2021. 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 is an international provider of insurance and financial services headquartered in Germany and trading under the ALLIANZ mark. It is the provider of numerous trademark registrations, including the following:
- International trademark No. 447004 for ALLIANZ (word mark), registered on September 12, 1979, for services in class 36;
- German trademark No. 987481 for ALLIANZ (word mark), registered on July 11, 1979 for services in class 36;
- European Union Trade Mark No. 000013656 for ALLIANZ (word mark), registered on July 22, 2002 for goods and services in classes 16, 35 and 36.
Complainant owns numerous domain names incorporating the ALLIANZ mark, including <allianz.com> and <allianz.de>. Complainant also owns domain names incorporating its ALLIANZ mark and another element, such as <allianzgi.com> and <allianz-jobs.com>.
Respondent registered the disputed domain name on October 22, 2020. The disputed domain name redirects to Complainant’s primary website at “www.allianz.com.”
5. Parties’ Contentions
Complainant’s contentions may be summarized as follows:
Under the first element, Complainant states that it is the parent company of one of the oldest and largest international insurance and financial services groups in the world. Its predecessor entity was founded in 1890 in Berlin. Complainant employs approximately 147,000 employees worldwide and serves 100 million customers in 70 countries. Complainant has used the ALLIANZ mark in connection with its businesses for over 100 years, has registered its rights in the mark worldwide, and has invested significant resources in developing and promoting the brand. The distinctive and well-known ALLIANZ mark has been found to have a high level of recognition by courts in various jurisdictions.
Under the second element, Complainant states that Respondent holds no trademark registrations for any ALLIANZ mark and has never received permission from Complainant to use the ALLIANZ mark. Respondent has not used the disputed domain name in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services, nor is Respondent known by the disputed domain name. Respondent is using the disputed domain name to take unfair advantage of the well-known trademark of Complainant. The Internet user will recognize the famous corporate name and trademark of Complainant in the disputed domain name.
Under the third element, Complainant states that Respondent used the disputed domain name to convince Internet users to reveal private information and data by creating a likelihood of confusion with Complainant’s mark as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation or endorsement of the disputed domain name. The Allianz mark is very well-known in many countries. It cannot be argued that Respondent could have been unaware of the trademark when registering the disputed domain name. Respondent’s name refers to the German term “Allianz” without any other reference to Germany or the German language. It is unlikely that Respondent unintentionally selected Complainant’s distinctive trademark. Respondent registered the disputed domain name in bad faith and is using the email address “[,,,]@allianzir.com” to phish private data from individuals interested in the faked financial services.
Complainant requests transfer of the disputed domain name.
Respondent did not reply to Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
Given the facts in the case file and Respondent’s failure to file a response, the Panel accepts as true the contentions in the Complaint. Nevertheless, paragraph 4(a) of the UDRP requires Complainant to make out all three of the following:
(i) the disputed 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 disputed domain name; and
(iii) Respondent has registered and is using the disputed domain name in bad faith.
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
Complainant has provided evidence establishing that it has trademark rights in the ALLIANZ mark through registrations in Germany, the European Union and internationally, thereby satisfying the threshold requirement of having trademark rights for purposes of standing to file a UDRP case. See WIPO Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions, Third Edition (“WIPO Overview 3.0”), section 1.2.1.
In comparing Complainant’s ALLIANZ mark with the disputed domain name, <allianzir.com>, the Panel finds that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar with Complainant’s mark. The disputed domain name contains Complainant’s ALLIANZ mark in its entirety. The addition of the letters “ir” does not prevent a finding of confusing similarity with Complainant’s mark.
Section 1.7 of WIPO Overview 3.0 provides: “It is well accepted that the first element functions primarily as a standing requirement. The standing (or threshold) test for confusing similarity involves a reasoned but relatively straightforward comparison between the complainant’s trademark and the disputed domain name.”
It is the well-established view of UDRP panels that the generic Top-Level Domain (“gTLD”) “.com” is viewed as a standard registration requirement and as such is disregarded under the first element confusing similarity test (see WIPO Overview 3.0, section 1.11.1, and cases cited thereunder).
Accordingly, the Panel finds that Complainant has established the first element under paragraph 4(a) of the Policy.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
Pursuant to paragraph 4(c) of the Policy, a respondent may establish rights to or legitimate interests in a domain name by demonstrating any of the following:
(i) before any notice to it of the dispute, Respondent’s 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) Respondent has been commonly known by the domain name, even if it has acquired no trademark or service mark rights; or
(iii) Respondent is 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 circumstances stated in the Complaint and evidence in support set forth in the Annexes to the Complaint indicate that, at the time that Respondent registered the disputed domain name, Respondent had no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. The nature of the disputed domain name, which contains Complainant’s long-established ALLIANZ mark together with the letters “ir”, cannot constitute fair use because Respondent thereby effectively impersonates or suggests sponsorship or endorsement by Complainant, the trademark owner. See WIPO Overview 3.0, section 2.5.1.
The Panel finds that there is no evidence that Respondent is commonly known by the disputed domain name or is using the ALLIANZ mark with the permission of Complainant. The evidence in the record indicates the disputed domain name is used to generate fraudulent emails to impersonate Complainant and defraud Internet users. Such unlawful use can never confer rights or legitimate interests on a respondent. See WIPO Overview 3.0, section 2.13.1.
The Panel therefore finds that the evidence submitted by Complainant establishes a prima facie case that Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name.
Pursuant to WIPO Overview 3.0, section 2.1, and cases thereunder, where Complainant makes out a prima facie case that Respondent lacks rights or legitimate interests, the burden of production on this element shifts to Respondent to come forward with relevant evidence demonstrating rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name.
Respondent, in failing to file a response, has not submitted any evidence or arguments demonstrating such rights or legitimate interests, nor has it rebutted any of Complainant’s contentions.
Accordingly, the Panel finds that Complainant has established the second element under paragraph 4(a) of the Policy.
C. Registered and 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 disputed domain name in bad faith:
(i) circumstances indicating that Respondent has registered or has acquired the disputed 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 disputed domain name; or
(ii) that Respondent has registered the disputed 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 disputed domain name primarily for the purpose of disrupting the business of a competitor; or
(iv) that by using the disputed 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 finds bad faith registration and use under the Policy. Complainant’s rights in the ALLIANZ mark significantly predate the registration of the disputed domain name. Given the evidence presented, it is not credible that Respondent was unaware of Complainant’s well-established mark when it registered the disputed domain name. The record supports a finding that Respondent registered the disputed domain name specifically with the intention of impersonating Complainant.
Considering all these circumstances, the Panel finds that such a registration creates a presumption of bad faith. See WIPO Overview 3.0, section 3.1.4, describing the types of evidence that may support a finding of bad faith.
The Panel therefore finds that Complainant has established the third element under paragraph 4(a) 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 <allianzir.com> be transferred to Complainant.
Date: January 25, 2021