WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Compagnie Française d’Assurance pour le Commerce Extérieur v. Mehmet Cenk Ceylan
Case No. D2021-2360
1. The Parties
Complainant is Compagnie Française d’Assurance pour le Commerce Extérieur, France, represented by Novagraaf France, France.
Respondent is Mehmet Cenk Ceylan, Turkey.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <cofacetrades.com> is registered with GoDaddy.com, LLC (the “Registrar”).
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on July 21, 2021. On July 21, 2021, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On July 22, 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 Complainant on July 26, 2021, providing the registrant and contact information disclosed by the Registrar, and inviting Complainant to submit an amendment to the Complaint. Complainant filed an amended Complaint on July 26, 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 Respondent of the Complaint, and the proceedings commenced on July 30, 2021. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was August 19, 2021. Respondent did not submit any Response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Parties of Respondent’s default on September 8, 2021.
The Center appointed Ingrida Kariņa-Bērziņa as the sole panelist in this matter on September 20, 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
Complainant is an international credit insurance company founded in France in 1946. It is the proprietor of several trademark registrations for its COFACE mark, including the following:
- French trademark No. 96656978 for COFACE (word mark), registered on December 24, 1996, for services in classes 35, 36, and 41;
- International Trademark registration No. 678577 for COFACE (word mark) registered on June 10, 1997, for services in classes 35 and 36;
- European Union Trade mark registration No. 000500793 for COFACE (word mark) registered on January 25, 1999, for services in classes 35 and 36.
Complainant registered the domain name <coface.com> on December 16, 1996, and operates its primary business website at “www.coface.com”.
The disputed domain name was registered by Respondent on October 6, 2020. It does not resolve to an active website. The record reflects that email servers have been configured for it.
The record contains a copy of Complainant’s cease-and-desist letter to Respondent dated June 8, 2021. The record does not contain any response to this letter.
5. Parties’ Contentions
Complainant’s contentions may be summarized as follows:
Under the first element, Complainant states that it was founded in 1946 and has become one of most popular credit insurance companies in the world with approximately 4,100 collaborators in 100 countries. The group is therefore very well established in its sector of activity in France and worldwide and is a global trade credit insurance partner in the industry. The mark COFACE is an acronym of COMPAGNIE FRANCAISE D’ASSURANCE POUR LE COMMERCE EXTERIEUR. The commercial name COFACE was registered in France on April 16, 1986. The disputed domain name incorporates the COFACE mark in its entirety, with the addition of the non-distinctive term “trades”.
Under the second element, Complainant states that it has never licensed or otherwise authorized registration of the disputed domain name nor use of its intellectual property rights to Respondent. Respondent has no trademark rights.
Under the third element, Complainant states that bad faith is evidenced by the fact that the COFACE mark is well-known; Respondent did not respond to its cease-and-desist letter; Respondent hid its identity. Email servers have been configured for the disputed domain name, therefore, Respondent could use the disputed domain name to send fraudulent emails. The website at <cofacetrades.com> is declared insecure by basic servers, showing that there is a threat of phishing.
Complainant requests transfer of the disputed domain name.
Respondent did not reply to Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
Paragraph 4(a) of the UDRP requires Complainant to make out all three of the following:
(i) the disputed 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 disputed domain name; and
(iii) Respondent has registered and is using the disputed domain name in bad faith.
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
Complainant has provided evidence establishing that it has trademark rights in the COFACE mark through registrations in France, the European Union, and internationally. Complainant thereby satisfies the threshold requirement of having trademark rights for purposes of standing to file a UDRP case. See WIPO Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions, Third Edition (“WIPO Overview 3.0”) , section 1.2.1.
In comparing Complainant’s COFACE mark with the disputed domain name, the Panel finds that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to Complainant’s mark. The disputed domain name comprises Complainant’s mark followed by the term “trades”. It is the consensus view of UDRP panels that the addition of the terms does not prevent a finding of confusing similarity because Complainant’s mark is clearly recognizable within the disputed domain name. See, for example, WIPO Overview 3.0, section 1.8, and UDRP cases such as Ansell Healthcare Products Inc. v. Australian Therapeutics Supplies Pty, Ltd, WIPO Case No. D2001-0110; and Wachovia Corporation v. Peter Carrington, WIPO Case No. D2002-0775.
It is the well-established view of UDRP panels that the generic Top-Level Domain “.com” is viewed as a standard registration requirement and as such is disregarded under the first element confusing similarity test (see WIPO Overview 3.0, section 1.11.1, and cases cited thereunder).
Accordingly, the Panel finds that Complainant has established the first element under paragraph 4(a) of the Policy.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
The circumstances stated in the Complaint and evidence in support set forth in the annexes thereto indicate that Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name.
The Panel finds that the evidence submitted by Complainant establishes a prima facie case that Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. Respondent is not authorized by Complainant and has no trademark rights in the COFACE mark. The disputed domain name contains Complainant’s mark in its entirety, thereby suggesting sponsorship or endorsement by the trademark owner. Such use cannot confer rights or legitimate interests. See, for example, WIPO Overview 3.0, section 2.5.1.
Pursuant to WIPO Overview 3.0, section 2.1, and cases thereunder, where Complainant makes out a prima facie case that Respondent lacks rights or legitimate interests, the burden of production on this element shifts to Respondent to come forward with relevant evidence demonstrating rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain names.
Respondent has not proved rights or legitimate interests. There is no evidence that Respondent is commonly known by the disputed domain name, or that there are any circumstances or activities that would establish Respondent’s rights therein. The disputed domain name is inactive. There is no evidence that the disputed domain name has been registered or is being used for a legitimate noncommercial purpose. See WIPO Overview 3.0, section 2.1, and cases cited thereunder.
Accordingly, the Panel finds that Complainant has established the second element under paragraph 4(a) of the Policy.
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 a disputed domain name in bad faith:
(i) circumstances indicating that Respondent has registered or has acquired the disputed 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 the documented out-of-pocket costs directly related to the domain name; or
(ii) Respondent has registered the disputed 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) Respondent has registered the disputed domain name primarily for the purpose of disrupting the business of a competitor; or
(iv) by using the disputed 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 finds that Complainant has demonstrated Respondent’s bad faith registration and use of the disputed domain name. Complainant’s rights in its COFACE mark predate the registration the disputed domain name by at least 25 years. The disputed domain name reflects Complainant’s COFACE mark in its entirety, together with the term “trades”, which can be viewed as descriptive of Complainant’s business as a trade credit insurance provider. On balance, the Panel finds that Respondent was aware of Complainant when registering the domain name.
The Panel finds that Respondent has demonstrated bad faith by passive holding of the disputed domain name. Such a finding is consistent with previous UDRP decisions, such as Telstra Corporation Limited v. Nuclear Marshmallows, WIPO Case No. D2000-0003. See also WIPO Overview 3.0, section 3.3. Complainant has provided sufficient evidence that its COFACE mark is well known, and Respondent has provided no evidence of actual or contemplated good-faith use of the disputed domain name. Moreover, Respondent has concealed his identity, failed to respond to Complainant’s cease-and-desist letter, and configured email servers for the disputed domain name. All these factors support a holding of bad faith registration and use of the disputed domain name.
The Panel therefore finds that Complainant has established the third element under paragraph 4(a) 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 <cofacetrades.com> be transferred to Complainant.
Date: October 4, 2021