WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Swiss Re Ltd v. Maximilian Stahl
Case No. D2021-2280
1. The Parties
Complainant is Swiss Re Ltd, Switzerland, represented by TIMES Attorneys, Switzerland.
Respondent is Maximilian Stahl, Germany.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The Domain Name <swissre.global> is registered with united-domains AG (the “Registrar”).
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on July 14, 2021. On July 14, 2021, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On July 20, 2021, 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 July 20, 2021, providing the registrant and contact information disclosed by the Registrar, and inviting the Complainant to submit an amendment to the Complaint. Complainant filed an amendment to the Complaint on July 23, 2021.
On August 13, 2021, the Center transmitted an email in English and German to the Parties regarding the language of the proceeding. The Complainant submitted a request for English to be the language of the proceeding. The Respondent sent an informal communication in German to the Center on August 16, 2021.
On August 23, 2021, the Complainant requested the suspension of the proceeding. On August 27, 2021, the Complainant requested the reinstitution of the proceeding.
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 Respondent of the Complaint, and the proceedings commenced on August 27, 2021. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was September 16, 2021. No Response was received from the Respondent. Pursuant to paragraph 6 of the Rules, on October 6, 2021, the Center informed the Parties that it would proceed with the panel appointment process.
The Center appointed Marina Perraki as the sole panelist in this matter on October 14, 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. Procedural issue: Language of the proceedings
Paragraph 11(a) of the Rules provides that the language of the proceeding shall be the language of the Registration Agreement unless otherwise specified in that agreement or agreed by the parties. The paragraph also provides that the Panel has the authority to determine otherwise, having regard to the circumstances of the administrative proceeding. The Registration Agreement is in German. Notwithstanding the Registration Agreement being in German, Complainant requested that English be adopted as the language of the present proceeding.
The Panel considers the following assertions of Complainant:
- the Domain Name has resolved to a website, the text of which was in the English language;
- although the language of the Registration Agreement is German, the additional terms and conditions for the registration of .global domain names is in English, therefore it follows that Respondent understands English, as Respondent presumably read and understood the additional terms to which he had to agree to;
- the Center’s communications were sent in both English and German and despite allowing for the submission of the Response in German, the Respondent did not submit any further communications than its informal communication of August 16, 2021.
The Panel accepts Complainant’s request and determines that the language of this proceeding will be English (see WIPO Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions, Third Edition (“WIPO Overview 3.0”), sections 4.5.1 and 4.5.2, Laverana GmbH & Co. KG v. Silkewang, Jiangsu Yun Lin Culture Communication Co., Ltd. / xia men yi ming wang luo you xian gong si, WIPO Case No. D2016‑0721, eBay Inc. v. NicSoft, Antonio Francesco Tedesco, WIPO Case No. D2014-0812).
5. Factual Background
Complainant is a wholesales provider of reinsurance, insurance, and financial services founded in 1863. Complainant is currently one of the biggest reinsurance providers in the world.
Complainant is the owner of SWISS RE trademark registrations, including the Swiss trademark registration no 717011, SWISS RE (word), filed on July 26, 2010, and registered on June 6, 2018, for goods and services in International Classes 9, 16, 35 ,36 41, and 42.
The Domain Name was registered on January 22, 2016, and leads to a website (“the Website”), with links to insurance offerings of other insurance companies. Furthermore, the Domain Name is being offered for sale for EUR 1,500 on “sedo.com”.
6. Parties’ Contentions
Complainant asserts that it has established all three elements required under paragraph 4(a) of the Policy for a transfer of the Domain Name.
Respondent did not reply to Complainant’s contentions. In Respondent’s informal communication of August 16, 2021, Respondent requested to speak with Complainant over the phone. Subsequently, Complainant requested both the suspension and reinstitution of the proceeding following failed settlement negotiations. No further communications were received from Respondent following the formal commencement and notification of the Complaint to Respondent.
7. Discussion and Findings
Paragraph 4(a) of the Policy lists the three elements that 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 Domain Name incorporates Complainant’s trademark SWISS RE in its entirety.
The generic Top-Level Domain (“gTLD”) “.global” is disregarded, as gTLDs typically do not form part of the comparison as they are required for technical reasons (Rexel Developpements SAS v. Zhan Yequn, WIPO Case No. D2017-0275; Hay & Robertson International Licensing AG v. C. J. Lovik, WIPO Case No. D2002-0122).
The Panel finds that the Domain Name is identical to the SWISS RE mark of Complainant.
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 Respondent 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 (as an individual, business, or other organization) 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 Panel concludes that Respondent lacks rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Domain Name.
Respondent has not submitted any response and has not claimed any such rights or legitimate interests with respect to the Domain Name. As per Complainant, Respondent was not authorized to register the Domain Name. The Domain Name consists of Complainant’s trademark in its entirety, carrying a high risk of implied affiliation that cannot constitute fair use.
Prior to the notice of the dispute, Respondent did not demonstrate any use of the Domain Name or a trademark corresponding to the Domain Name in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services.
On the contrary, as Complainant demonstrated, the Domain Name resolved to the Website which contained sponsored listings to competing websites.
Respondent has not provided a plausible explanation about the inclusion of these links on the Website. In the absence of such explanation, it appears not unlikely to the Panel that the inclusion of these links was intended to increase the traffic to the Domain Name, which would increase their attractiveness and price in case of offer for sale (Sanofi v. Privacy Hero Inc. / Honey Salt ltd, pat honey salt, WIPO Case No. D2020-2836). Furthermore, the Domain Name is being offered for sale on “sedo.com” for EUR 1,500.
The Panel finds that these circumstances do not confer upon Respondent any rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Domain Name.
Complainant has established Policy, paragraph 4(a)(ii).
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 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 has registered and used the Domain Name in bad faith.
Because the SWISS RE mark had been used and registered by Complainant before the Domain Name registration, the Panel finds it more likely than not that Respondent had Complainant’s mark in mind when registering the Domain Name (Tudor Games, Inc. v. Domain Hostmaster, Customer ID No. 09382953107339 dba Whois Privacy Services Pty Ltd / Domain Administrator, Vertical Axis Inc., WIPO Case No. D2014-1754; Parfums Christian Dior v. Javier Garcia Quintas and Christiandior.net, WIPO Case No. D2000-0226).
Respondent should have known about Complainant’s rights, as such knowledge is readily obtainable through a simple browser search (See Caesars World, Inc. v. Forum LLC, WIPO Case No. D2005-0517; Compart AG v. Compart.com / Vertical Axis Inc., WIPO Case No. D2009-0462).
Furthermore, Respondent could have conducted a trademark search and would have found Complainant’s prior registrations in respect of SWISS RE (Citrix Online LLC v. Ramalinga Reddy Sanikommu Venkata, WIPO Case No. D2012-1338).
As regards use, the Domain Name resolved to the Website which contained sponsored listings to competing websites. Furthermore, the Domain Name is being offered for sale on “sedo.com” for EUR 1,500. This, in view also of the finding that Respondent has no rights to or legitimate interests in the Domain Name, constitutes evidence of bad faith use (Aygaz Anonim Sirketi v. Arthur Cain, WIPO Case No. D2014-1206; WIPO Overview 3.0, section 3.1). The fact that the Domain Name is identicalto the SWISS RE trademark of Complainant, is also clear indication that an offer to sell the Domain Name constitutes bad faith.
Under these circumstances and on this record, the Panel finds that Respondent has registered and is using the Domain Name in bad faith.
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 disputed domain name, <swissre.global> be transferred to Complainant.
Date: October 28, 2021