WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Credit Agricole S.A. v. Joerg Kruszewski
Case No. D2021-1275
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Credit Agricole S.A., France, represented by Nameshield, France.
The Respondent is Joerg Kruszewski, Germany.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <creditagricole.email> is registered with PSI-USA, Inc. dba Domain Robot (the “Registrar”).
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on April 26, 2021. On April 26, 2021, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On April 27, 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 April 29, 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 April 30, 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 May 7, 2021. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was May 27, 2021. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on June 3, 2021.
The Center appointed WiIliam A. Van Caenegem as the sole panelist in this matter on June 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
The Complainant is a major retail bank. It owns several registered trademarks that include CREDIT AGRICOLE, such as the International trademark CREDIT AGRICOLE n°1064647 registered on January 4, 2011; and the European Union trademark CA CRÉDIT AGRICOLE n°005505995 registered since December 20, 2007.
The Complainant is also the owner of a number of domain names that include the words “credit agricole” such as <credit-agricole.com> registered on December 31, 1999.
The disputed domain name was registered on April 25, 2021 and points to a parking page.
5. Parties’ Contentions
The Complainant is a leading retail bank in France and one of the biggest banks in Europe. The Complainant contends that the disputed domain name is identical to its CREDIT AGRICOLE trademark. It says that many panel decisions have confirmed its rights over the mark CREDIT AGRICOLE. It maintains that the addition of the new “.email” extension is not sufficient to avoid the finding that the disputed domain name is identical to the Complainant’s trademarks and linked to the Complainant.
The Complainant argues that all it has to do is make out a prima facie case that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. It asserts that the Respondent is not known as “credit agricole” and has not acquired trademark rights in relation to this mark. The Complainant indicates that it has not authorized the Respondent’s use of the CREDIT AGRICOLE mark and that he is not affiliated nor has had business with it in any way. The Complainant contends that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name.
The Complainant says that it is the prime bank and insurance company in Europe, with 51 million customers in France and 142,000 employees worldwide. The mark CREDIT AGRICOLE is only ever associated with the Complainant, as is demonstrated by the results of any Internet search for that term. It is inconceivable according to the Complainant, that the Respondent registered the disputed domain name without actual knowledge of the Complainant’s rights in the mark CREDIT AGRICOLE. The disputed domain name points to a parking site and the Respondent has made no further use of it. According to the Complainant, it is therefore not possible to conceive of any plausible actual, or contemplated use of the disputed domain name by the Respondent that would not be illegal, such as by amounting to passing off, an infringement of consumer protection legislation, or an infringement of the Complainant’s rights under trademarks law.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The disputed domain name is identical to the trademark CREDIT AGRICOLE to which the Complainant has exclusive rights in relation to banking and finance.
The Panel therefore holds that the requirement of the UDRP, paragraph 4(a)(i) has been established.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
There is nothing before the Panel to indicate that the Respondent has any rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. The Respondent has not filed any response. The disputed domain name is identical to the CREDIT AGRICOLE trademark of the Complainant. The Respondent has made no use of the disputed domain name which simply points to a parking page. It is in any case very difficult to conceive of any use the Respondent, totally unaffiliated as he is with the Complainant, could legitimately make of a domain name identical to a trademark so distinctive as that of the Complainant.
The Panel therefore holds that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
The Complainant is known under its trademark CREDIT AGRICOLE and is a very large banking and insurance group with 142,000 employees around the world. It is inconceivable that the Respondent would not have been aware of the rights of the Complainant in the trademark with which the disputed domain name is an identical match. The Respondent has done nothing with the disputed domain name that even remotely suggests any legitimate use of it, if such use were a possibility in any case. The passive holding of a disputed domain name that incorporates the trademark of an unrelated party has been consistently held to amount to bad faith, in particular where no legitimate use of the disputed domain name appears possible.
Therefore, the Panel holds that the disputed domain name was registered and used in bad faith.
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 <creditagricole.email> be transferred to the Complainant.
William A. Van Caenegem
Date: June 15, 2021