WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center

ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION

Amundi Asset Management v. Emily DUBOIS

Case No. D2021-0098

1. The Parties

The Complainant is Amundi Asset Management, France, represented by Nameshield, France.

The Respondent is Emily DUBOIS, France.

2. The Domain Name and Registrar

The disputed domain name <amundi-ai-sas.com> is registered with Hosting Concepts B.V. d/b/a Openprovider (the “Registrar”).

3. Procedural History

The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on January 13, 2021. On January 13, 2021, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On January 14, 2021, 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 the Complainant on January 19, 2021 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 January 20, 2021.

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 February 2, 2021. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was February 22, 2021. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on February 23, 2021.

The Center appointed Alexandre Nappey as the sole panelist in this matter on March 19, 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

The Complainant is AMUNDI ASSET MANAGEMENT, a French major asset manager which has offices in 37 countries in Europe, Asia-Pacific, the Middle-East and the Americas.

The Complainant owns the international trademark AMUNDI n°1024160 registered since September 24, 2009.

The disputed domain name, <amundi-ai-sas.com> was registered on January 5, 2021, and does not resolve to any active website.

The Respondent has used the disputed domain name to set up an email account “[...]@amundi-ai-sas.com” using the name of an employee of the Complainant, and which has been used to send emails.

A copy of an email sent from this email account has been annexed to the Complaint.

5. Parties’ Contentions

A. Complainant

- Identity or confusing similarity:

First the Complainant indicates that the domain name <amundi-ai-sas.com> is confusingly similar with its prior trademarks AMUNDI. “The trademark is included in its entirety (The letters “AI” standing for “Alternative Investments”).”

- Rights of legitimate interests:

Secondly, the Complainant alleges that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name.

The Complainant asserts that:

- the Respondent is not identified in the WhoIs database as the disputed domain name;
- the Respondent is not affiliated with nor authorized by the Complainant in any way;
- the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name, and is not related in any way to its business;
- the Complainant does not carry out any activity for, nor has any business with the Respondent;
- neither license nor authorization has been granted to the Respondent to make any use of the Complainant’s trademark AMUNDI, or apply for registration of the disputed domain name by the Complainant;
- the domain name is inactive: so the Respondent has no demonstrated plan to use the disputed domain name.

- Bad faith:

Finally, on the third element of the Policy, the Complainant claims that the Respondent acted in bad faith when registering and using the disputed domain name.

- Registered in bad faith:

The Complainant alleges that its trademark AMUNDI is used worldwide: the Complainant is present in more than 37 countries and ranks in the top 10 globally in asset manager by assets under management.

Previous Panel confirmed the notoriety of the trademark AMUNDI.

Then the Complainant submits that, given the distinctiveness of the Complainant’s trademark and reputation, it is reasonable to infer that the Respondent has registered the domain name with full knowledge of the Complainant’s trademark, constituting opportunistic bad faith.

- Used in bad faith:

The Complainant also states that the disputed domain name is used in bad faith as the Respondent used the disputed domain name in relation to a corresponding email address, namely “[…]@amundi-ai-sas.com”, which has been utilized to impersonate one of the Complainant’s employees in order to perpetuate a financial fraud/phishing scam.

B. Respondent

The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.

6. Discussion and Findings

Notwithstanding the lack of a response from the Respondent, it remains up to the Complainant to make out its case in accordance with paragraph 4(a) of the Policy, and to demonstrate that:

(i) the disputed 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 disputed domain name; and
(iii) the disputed domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.

However, under paragraph 14(b) of the Rules, where a Party does not comply with any provision of the Rules, the Panel “shall draw such inferences therefrom as it considers appropriate”.

Having consideration to the Parties’ contentions, the Policy, Rules, Supplemental Rules and applicable substantive law, the Panel’s findings on each of the above-mentioned elements are the following:

A. Identical or Confusingly Similar

The Panel is satisfied that the Complainant owns numerous trademark rights in the name AMUNDI. This trademark is fully reproduced in the disputed domain name <amundi-ai-sas.com>.

The addition of the suffixes “ai” (which the Complainant submits stands for “alternative investments” and refers to some of the Complainant’s activities) and “sas” (representing the French acronym for “société par actions simplifiée” which means simplified joint stock company, the legal form of the Complainant) does not prevent the disputed domain name from being confusingly similar to the Complainant’s trademark.

B. Rights or Legitimate Interests

Under the Policy, a complainant is required to make out a prima facie case that the respondent lacks rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. Once such a prima facie case is made, the respondent carries the burden of demonstrating rights or legitimate interests in the domain name. If the respondent fails to do so, the complainant is deemed to have satisfied paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy.

Considering the difficulty to demonstrate a negative, UDRP panels generally find that if the complainant raises a prima facie case that the respondent lacks rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name under paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy, then the burden of production shifts to the respondent to demonstrate its rights or legitimate interests. (See De Beers Intangibles Limited v. Domain Admin, Whois Privacy Corp., WIPO Case No. D2016-1465).

Here, the Complainant has clearly satisfied its burden of evidence: the Complainant has argued that it does not know the Respondent, is not linked to the Respondent, and that to its knowledge the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. Besides, the disputed domain name is not used in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services. On the contrary, the operation by the Respondent of a phishing scheme demonstrates a lack of rights or legitimate interest.

Furthermore, the composition of the disputed domain name, consisting of the Complainant’s well-known trademark with an additional term, cannot constitute fair use in these circumstances as it carries a risk of implied affiliation and effectively impersonates or suggests sponsorship or endorsement by the Complainant. See section 2.5.1 of WIPO Overview 3.0.

The Panel finds that the Complainant has made a prima facie case that the Respondent lacks rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name, which has not been rebutted by the Respondent. The Complainant is therefore deemed to have satisfied paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy.

C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith

Paragraph 4(b) of the Policy sets out examples of circumstances that will be considered by a panel to be evidence of bad faith registration and use of a domain name.

It provides that:

“For the purposes of Paragraph 4(a)(iii), the following circumstances, in particular but without limitation, if found by the Panel to be present, shall be evidence of the registration and use of a domain name in bad faith:

(i) circumstances indicating that you have registered or you have acquired the domain name primarily for the purpose of selling, renting, or otherwise transferring the domain name registration to the complainant who is the owner of the trademark or service mark or to a competitor of that complainant, for valuable consideration in excess of your documented out-of-pocket costs directly related to the domain name; or
(ii) you have 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 you have engaged in a pattern of such conduct; or
(iii) you have registered the domain name primarily for the purpose of disrupting the business of a competitor; or
(iv) by using the domain name, you have intentionally attempted to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to your web site or other on-line location, by creating a likelihood of confusion with the complainant’s mark as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation, or endorsement of your web site or location or of a product or service on your web site or location.”

Since AMUNDI is a distinctive trademark and there is no evidenced relationship between the Parties, and since the disputed domain name is a combination of the trademark AMUNDI and the words “ai” which submittedly stands for “alternative investments” directly referring to the Complainant’s activities and “sas” (French acronym for “société par actions simplfiée”, i.e. simplified joint stock company), it may be concluded that the Respondent was aware of the Complainant’s trademark at the time it registered the disputed domain name.

Moreover, the Complainant submitted evidence showing that the Respondent has operated a phishing scheme impersonating an employee of the Complainant and trying to confuse the persons with which it established contacts.

The use of a misleading email address, to impersonate the Complainant, luring a number of individuals, is use in bad faith.

Therefore, the Panel also finds that the disputed domain name <amundi-ai-sas.com> was registered and is being used by the Respondent in bad faith.

Accordingly, the third criteria set out in paragraph 4(a) of the Policy is also satisfied.

7. Decision

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, <amundi-ai-sas.com> be transferred to the Complainant.

Alexandre Nappey
Sole Panelist
Date: April 2, 2021