WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Compagnie de Saint-Gobain v. Fahima TAGZIRT
Case No. D2021-1766
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Compagnie de Saint-Gobain, France, represented by Tmark Conseils, France.
The Respondent is Fahima TAGZIRT, France.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <saints-gobain.com> 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 June 4, 2021. On June 4, 2021, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On June 5, 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 June 9, 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 amendment to the Complaint on June 9, 2021.
The Center verified that the Complaint together with the amendment to the 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 June 17, 2021. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was July 7, 2021. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on July 15, 2021.
The Center appointed Elise Dufour as the sole panelist in this matter on July 22, 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 well-established French company, a leader in the production and sale of construction materials worldwide.
The Complainant owns several trademark registrations in many countries including the following trademarks:
- European Union Trade Mark registration SAINT-GOBAIN No. 001552843, registered on December 18, 2001, notably in classes 17, 19-21 and 37;
- International registration SAINT-GOBAIN No. 740183, registered on July 26, 2000, inter alia, in classes 17, 19-21, and 37;
- French trademark registration SAINT-GOBAIN No. 3005563, registered on February 4, 2000, inter alia, in classes 17, 19-21, and 37.
The mark SAINT-GOBAIN constitutes the registered company name of the Complainant, and the Complainant’s domain name <saint-gobain.com>, registered on December 29, 1995, is being used internationally.
The disputed domain name <saints-gobain.com> was registered on May 18, 2021 and is inactive.
The Complainant provided evidence that the disputed domain name was used to create an email address impersonating one of the Complainant’s employees in order to attempt obtaining a money transfer from one of the Complainant’s clients.
5. Parties’ Contentions
The Complainant firstly contends that the disputed domain name is almost identical to its trademark, company name, and domain names, inasmuch it only differs by the addition of the letter “s” to the word “saint”.
The Complainant secondly alleges that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. In that respect the Complainant stresses that it has long prior rights over the trademark, company name, and domain names comprising the distinctive SAINT‑GOBAIN trademark. The Respondent is not known under the said trademark, and does not operate a genuine activity under the name “saints-gobain”. Finally, the Complainant has never licensed or otherwise authorized in any way the Respondent to use the name “SAINT-GOBAIN”.
Thirdly, for the Complainant, the disputed domain name was registered and used in bad faith for the following reasons:
- the Complainant has been using its trademark worldwide and well before the registration of the disputed domain name;
- the Respondent, who seems to be a person located in France, must thus have known of the Complainant’s prior rights and wide use of SAINT-GOBAIN when registering the disputed domain name, which is inactive; and,
- the disputed domain name was used by the Respondent to impersonate an employee of the Complainant in order to scam its’ commercial partners by sending emails from an “[employee]@saints-gobain.com” address, to fraudulently obtain money.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
In the absence of a formal Response, the discussion and findings will be based upon the contentions in the Complaint and any reasonable position that can be attributable to the Respondent.
According to paragraph 4(a) of the Policy, for this Complaint to succeed in relation to the disputed domain name, the Complainant must prove each of the following, namely 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 was registered and is being used in bad faith.
The Panel will further analyse the potential concurrence of the above circumstances.
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The disputed domain name wholly incorporates the Complainant’s trademarks SAINT-GOBAIN, which, as long established by previous UDRP panels, may be sufficient to determine that a disputed domain name is identical or confusingly similar to the Complainant’s trademarks.
In addition, the disputed domain name only differs from the Complainant’s trademark SAINT-GOBAIN through the addition of a letter “s” to “saint”. The Complainant’s mark is nevertheless clearly recognizable and entirely contained in the disputed domain name. In that respect, a domain name which consists of a common, obvious, or intentional misspelling of a trademark is considered by panels to be confusingly similar to the relevant mark for purposes of the first element. (See section 1.9 of the WIPO Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions, Third Edition (WIPO Overview 3.0)).
Finally, it is well established that the addition of the generic Top-Level Domain (“gTLD”) “.com” should be disregarded when assessing similarity as it is a standard registration requirement (See section 1.11 of the WIPO Overview 3.0, SAP SE v. Mohammed Aziz Sheikh, Sapteq Global Consulting Services, WIPO Case No. D2015-0565).
Thus, the Panel finds that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to the Complainant’s trademarks.
The Panel finds that the requirement of paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Policy is met.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
On the basis of the submitted evidence and arguments, the Panel considers that the Complainant has successfully established a prima facie case that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. The Respondent is not commonly known under the disputed domain name, nor owns any registered rights on the disputed domain name or been authorized by the Complainant to use the prior trademarks in any way. As such, the Panel finds that the burden of production regarding this element shifts to the Respondent (see section 2.1 of the WIPO Overview 3.0).
However, the Respondent did not provide any Response or evidence in this administrative proceeding.
The Panel considers that if the Respondent had rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name, the Respondent would have probably produced its arguments.
In addition, the Respondent is not making any legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the disputed domain name, but rather it registered the disputed domain name with the intention to scam Complainants’ clients and thereby obtain illegal monetary compensation for its own benefit.
On the basis of the foregoing, the Panel considers that none of the circumstances of rights or legitimate interests envisaged by paragraph 4(c) of the Policy apply, and that the Complainant has satisfied the requirements of the second element under the Policy.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
With regards to the registration of the disputed domain name, the Panel finds that at the time of the registration of the disputed domain name, the Respondent knew or should have been aware of the existence of the Complainant’s trademarks and activities. Indeed, given the fact that the Complainant’s trademarks are well-known in the production and sale of construction materials and are highly distinctive, the Respondent cannot credibly claim to have been unaware of the existence of the previous trademarks (section 3.2.2 of the WIPO Overview 3.0).
The Panel hence finds that the disputed domain name was registered in bad faith.
As to the disputed domain name used in bad faith, the disputed domain name is inactive and links to an “Error 521” page.
However, the Complainant provided evidence that the disputed domain name was used to create an email address impersonating one of the Complainant’s employees, in order to try to obtain a fraudulent money transfer from one of the Complainant’s clients.
This obviously falls in the scope of bad faith use as defined by the Policy (see section 3.4 of WIPO Overview 3.0).
Therefore, the Panel finds that the requirement of registration and use in bad faith is satisfied, according to the 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 disputed domain name <saints-gobain.com> be transferred to the Complainant.
Date: August 5, 2021