WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Allianz SE v. Withheld for Privacy Purposes, Privacy service provided by Withheld for Privacy ehf / Peter Ogali, Enternija
Case No. D2021-2338
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Allianz SE, Germany, internally represented.
The Respondent is Withheld for Privacy Purposes, Privacy service provided by Withheld for Privacy ehf, Iceland / Peter Ogali, Enternija, Nigeria.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <cryptoallianzcapital.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 July 19, 2021. On July 19, 2021, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On the same day, 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 July 22, 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 July 23, 2021. The Respondent sent an informal email to the Center on July 22, 2021, merely asking why he had received an email.
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 August 5, 2021. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was August 25, 2021. No formal Response was filed with the Center.
The Center appointed Anne-Virginie La Spada as the sole panelist in this matter on September 29, 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 German world-renowned insurance and financial services group, whose first company was founded in Berlin in 1890. It operates under the name “Allianz”. The trademark ALLIANZ has been recognized as a leading global brand.
The Complainant is the owner of various registrations worldwide for the trademark ALLIANZ, including:
- International registration number 447004 of September 12, 1979 in class 36
- International registration number 714618 of May 4, 1999 in classes 16, 35 and 36
- European Union Trade Mark registration no.000013656, registered on July 22, 2002 in classes 16, 35 and 36
The Complainant is the beneficial owner of various domain names including “Allianz” among which <allianz.com>, <allianz.de>, <allianz.us> or <allianz.de>.
The Respondent registered the disputed domain name on June 27, 2021.
The disputed domain name resolves to a website offering financial services, purportedly operated by “one of the Allianz Group’s asset managers for alternative equity investments” according to the screenshot on the record provided by the Complainant.
5. Parties’ Contentions
The Complainant alleges that the disputed domain name reproduces its famous ALLIANZ trademark and that such trademark is readily recognizable in the disputed domain name so that it is confusingly similarity with the ALLIANZ trademark.
The Complainant has not licensed or otherwise permitted the Respondent to use the ALLIANZ trademark or any variation thereof. The Complainant also contends that the Respondent is not commonly known by the disputed domain name.
According to the Complainant, the choice of the famous ALLIANZ trademark and the manner of use of the disputed domain name aim at creating a direct affiliation with the Complainant and its business. Therefore, the Respondent is not making a legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the disputed domain name within the meaning of the Policy.
In addition, the Complainant alleges that given its worldwide reputation, the Respondent was aware of the ALLIANZ trademark at the time of registering the disputed domain name. The Complainant further contends that the use of the disputed domain name in connection to a website and to an email address for the likely purpose of phishing data from individuals interested in the financial services offered on the Respondent’s website constitutes use in bad faith.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
According to paragraph 4(a) of the Policy, a complainant must assert and prove each of the following:
(i) the domain name registered by the respondent 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 domain name; and
(iii) the domain name registered by the respondent has been registered and is being used in bad faith.
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The Complainant owns various trademark registrations for the mark ALLIANZ.
The disputed domain name <cryptoallianzcapital.com> reproduces the Complainant’s trademark in its entirety with no alteration and combines this trademark with the terms “crypto” and “capital”.
UDPR panels consider that where the relevant trademark is recognizable within the disputed domain name, the addition of other terms (whether descriptive, geographical, pejorative, meaningless, or otherwise) does not prevent a finding of confusing similarity under the first element of paragraph 4(a) of the Policy (see section 1.8 of the WIPO Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions, Third Edition (“WIPO Overview 3.0”)).
In the present case, the trademark ALLIANZ is clearly recognizable in the disputed domain name. The mere addition of the terms “crypo” and “capital” does not change the overall impression produced by the disputed domain name and does not prevent a finding of confusing similarity between the disputed domain name and the Complainant’s trademark.
UDRP panels also accept that a generic Top-Level Domain (“gTLD”), such as “.com”, may be disregarded when assessing whether a domain name is identical or confusing similar to a trademark (see section 1.11 of the WIPO Overview 3.0).
The Complainant has thus satisfied the condition set forth in paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Policy.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
Based on the information submitted by the Complainant, the Respondent does not appear to have rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name, nor has the Complainant granted to the Respondent an authorization to use the disputed domain name. Moreover, there is no evidence indicating that the Respondent is commonly known by the disputed domain name.
Furthermore, the use of the disputed domain name in connection to a website that offers financial services and pretends to be operated by a company that is part of the “Allianz Group” shows that the Respondent targets the Complainant, which supports the apparent lack of rights or legitimate interests of the Respondent in the disputed domain name. Indeed, impersonating the Complainant or make it appear that there is a link with it can hardly be a legitimate or fair use.
Finally, the Respondent did not file a response to the Complaint. The Panel may draw from the lack of a Response the inferences that it considers appropriate, according to the Rules, paragraph 14(b). The Panel finds that the Complainant has established a prima facie case that the Respondent lacks rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name, and that the Respondent’s silence corroborates such prima facie case.
Accordingly, the Panel finds that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name, and that the Complainant has satisfied the condition set out in paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
Given the distinctive and well-known character of the Complainant’s ALLIANZ trademark, the Panel accepts that the Respondent most probably knew of the Complainant’s trademark when it registered the disputed domain name in June 2021. The adjunction to the trademark ALLIANZ of the terms “crypto” and “capital”, which are commonly used in the field of finance, makes it appear all the more likely that the Respondent was aware of the Complainant’s trademark at the time of registration.
The Panel therefore finds that the Respondent registered the disputed domain name in bad faith.
In addition, the screenshots of the website to which the disputed domain name resolves show that the Respondent used the disputed domain name in connection with an active website purportedly operated by a company affiliated to the Complainant.
The Panel finds that in using the disputed domain name in connection with such a website, the Respondent intentionally created a likelihood of confusion with the Complainant’s mark as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation, or endorsement of its website and the services offered therein, in bad faith, within the meaning of paragraph 4(b)(iv) of the Policy.
Furthermore, the screenshots of the website connected to the disputed domain name also show an email address corresponding to the disputed domain name.
Under these circumstances, the Panel considers it likely that the Respondent has used or intended to use the disputed domain name as a support for a potential fraudulent email scheme, namely to impersonate the Complainant and extract personal or financial data from persons believing that the website is an official website of the Complainant. Previous UDRP panels have found that such behavior amounts to use of a domain name in bad faith (see Marriott International, Inc., Marriott Worldwide Corporation and The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, LLC v. Van C Bethancourt Jr., Andre Williams, WIPO Case No. D2018-2428 and Accor v. Sangho Heo, Contact Privacy Inc., WIPO Case No. D2014-1471).
The Panel accepts therefore that the disputed domain name is being used in bad faith.
For the reasons set out above, the Panel finds that the Respondent has registered and used the disputed domain name in bad faith, and that the Complainant has satisfied the condition set forth in paragraph 4(a)(iii) 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 <cryptoallianzcapital.com> be transferred to the Complainant.
Anne-Virginie La Spada
Date: October 14, 2021