WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Allianz SE v. TOVEL, INZENIRING, PROJEKTIRANJE IN SVETOVANJE D.O.O. / Igor Jelic, TOVEL, INZENIRING
Case No. D2021-2692
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Allianz SE, Germany, internally represented.
The Respondent is TOVEL, INZENIRING, PROJEKTIRANJE IN SVETOVANJE D.O.O. / Igor Jelic, TOVEL, INZENIRING, Slovenia.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <intelligenceallianz.com> is registered with Gransy, s.r.o. d/b/a subreg.cz (the “Registrar”).
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on August 17, 2021. On August 17, 2021, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On August 17, 2021, the Registrar transmitted by email to the Center its verification response:
(a) confirming it is the Registrar for the disputed domain name;
(b) disclosing registrant and contact information for the disputed domain name which differed from the named Respondent and contact information in the Complaint; and
(c) confirming that English is the language of the Registration Agreement.
The Center sent an email communication to the Complainant on August 30, 2021 providing the registrant and contact information disclosed by the Registrar, and inviting the Complainant to submit an amendment to the Complaint. The Complainant informed the Center it did not wish to make any substantive amendment to the Complaint save to identify the registrant identified by the Registrar as the Respondent.
The Center verified that 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 31, 2021. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was September 20, 2021. Several informal email communications were received from the Respondent. The Respondent did not submit any formal response. Accordingly, the Center transmitted a commencement of the panel appointment process on September 21, 2021.
On September 21, 2021, the Center transmitted a possible settlement email, however, suspension was not requested.
The Center appointed Warwick A. Rothnie as the sole panelist in this matter on October 8, 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 the ultimate parent company of an international insurance and financial services group, which has been operating continuously under the name “Allianz” since 1890 in Berlin, in Germany.
The first international branch was established in London United Kingdom in 1893. Since then it has grown to a very large multinational corporate group operating in more than 70 countries with some 147,000 employees and 100 million customers. Total revenues of the group in 2020 were approximately EUR 140 billion.
In 2020, Interbrand ranked “Allianz” at No. 39 in its Best Global Brands ranking and valued the brand at USD 12.935 billion.
The Complaint includes evidence that the Complainant owns a number of registered trademarks for ALLIANZ. For present purposes, it is sufficient to note European Union Trademark No. 000013656, ALLIANZ, registered in respect of a range of goods and services in International Classes 16, 35 and 36, and which has been registered since July 22, 2002.
In addition, the Complainant owns Canadian Registered Trademark No. 1584594, ALLIANZ, in relation to a wide range of financial and insurance services in International Class 36; construction and maintenance services, telecommunications services amongst other things. This trademark was registered on April 9, 2015.
The disputed domain name was registered on June 16, 2021.
Shortly after its registration, it began resolving to a website, which while describing its services as “Get Business Consulting, Today!” of HNWI (presumably, high net worth individuals) “the confidence of knowing their wealth and assets are being managed in the best possible way.”
5. Discussion and Findings
Paragraph 4(a) of the Policy provides that in order to divest the Respondent of the disputed domain name, the Complainant must demonstrate each of the following:
(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 has been registered and is being used in bad faith.
Paragraph 15(a) of the Rules directs the Panel to decide the Complaint on the basis of the statements and documents submitted and in accordance with the Policy, these Rules and any rules and principles of law that it deems applicable.
In an email received by the Center on September 21, 2021, the Respondent stated (original spelling and grammar):
“If you tell us what we need to do, we will consider and do it, but your approach isnt friendly and you are not clear to us, what do we need to do?
“Please explain to us, in one word? Meanwhile, we shoutdown our website intelligenceallianz and you may see and confirm.”
This appears to be an offer to surrender the disputed domain name. In any event, it appears that the website has been taken down.
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The first element that the Complainant must establish is that the disputed domain name is identical with, or confusingly similar to, the Complainant’s trademark rights.
There are two parts to this inquiry: the Complainant must demonstrate that it has rights in a trademark at the date the Complaint was filed and, if so, the disputed domain name must be shown to be identical or confusingly similar to the trademark.
The Complainant has proven ownership of a number of registered trademarks for ALLIANZ.
The second stage of this inquiry simply requires a visual and aural comparison of the disputed domain name to the proven trademarks. This test is narrower than and thus different to the question of “likelihood of confusion” under trademark law. Therefore, questions such as the scope of the trademark rights, the geographical location of the respective parties and other considerations that may be relevant to an assessment of infringement under trademark law are not relevant at this stage. Such matters, if relevant, may fall for consideration under the other elements of the Policy. e.g. WIPO Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions, Third Edition (WIPO Overview 3.0), section 1.7.
In undertaking that comparison, it is permissible in the present circumstances to disregard the generic Top-Level-Domain (“gTLD”) component as a functional aspect of the domain name system. WIPO Overview 3.0, section 1.11.
Disregarding the “.com” gTLD, the disputed domain name consists of the Complainant’s registered trademark and the term “intelligence”. As this requirement under the Policy is essentially a standing requirement, the addition of such a term does not preclude a finding of confusing similarity. See e.g. WIPO Overview 3.0, section 1.8. Apart from anything else, the Complainant’s trademark remains visually and aurally recognisable within the disputed domain name.
Accordingly, the Panel finds that the Complainant has established that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to the Complainant’s trademark and the requirement under the first limb of the Policy is satisfied.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
The second requirement the Complainant must prove is that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name.
Paragraph 4(c) of the Policy provides that the following circumstances can be situations in which the Respondent has rights or legitimate interests in a disputed domain name:
(i) before any notice to [the Respondent] of the dispute, [the Respondent’s] use of, or demonstrable preparations to use, the [disputed] domain name or a name corresponding to the [disputed] domain name in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services; or
(ii) [the Respondent] (as an individual, business, or other organization) has been commonly known by the [disputed] domain name, even if [the Respondent] has acquired no trademark or service mark rights; or
(iii) [the Respondent] is making a legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the [disputed] domain name, without intent for commercial gain to misleadingly divert consumers or to tarnish the trademark or service mark at issue.
These are illustrative only and are not an exhaustive listing of the situations in which a respondent can show rights or legitimate interests in a domain name.
The onus of proving this requirement, like each element, falls on the Complainant. Panels have recognized the difficulties inherent in proving a negative, however, especially in circumstances where much of the relevant information is in, or likely to be in, the possession of the respondent. Accordingly, it is usually sufficient for a complainant to raise a prima facie case against the respondent under this head and an evidential burden will shift to the respondent to rebut that prima facie case. The ultimate burden of proof, however, remains with the Complainant. See e.g., WIPO Overview 3.0, section 2.1.
The Complainant states that it has not authorised the Respondent to use the disputed domain name. Nor is the Respondent affiliated with it.
The disputed domain name is not derived from the Respondent’s name.
It appears from the website to which the disputed domain name resolved before the Respondent took it down that there is, or may have been, a company in Quebec, Canada under the name Intelligence Allianz Ltée.
It is not clear whether there is in fact such a company. Nor, if there is such a company, is it clear when it was incorporated under that name (if at all). What is clear having regard to how long the Complainant and its group have been operating under the name “Allianz” that it is extremely unlikely that the company name was adopted before the Complainant’s adoption of it. Also, having regard to the wealth and asset management services which the website claimed to offer, it appears extremely unlikely that the German spelling “Allianz” was adopted in French-speaking Quebec without knowledge of the Complainant, its corporate group and trademark.
It also appears that the wealth and asset management services claimed to be offered through the website are services, which the Complainant offers and which are encompassed in its registered trademarks.
Bearing in mind that the Respondent has not attempted to claim any rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name, therefore, the Panel finds that the Complainant has established the required prima facie case that the Respondent does not have rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. The basis on which the Respondent has adopted the disputed domain name, therefore, calls for explanation or justification. The Respondent has not sought to rebut that prima facie case or advance any claimed entitlement. Accordingly, the Panel finds the Complainant has established the second requirement under the Policy also.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
Under the third requirement of the Policy, the Complainant must establish that the disputed domain name has been both registered and used in bad faith by the Respondent. These are conjunctive requirements; both must be satisfied for a successful complaint: see e.g. Burn World-Wide, Ltd. d/b/a BGT Partners v. Banta Global Turnkey Ltd WIPO Case No. D2010-0470.
Generally speaking, a finding that a domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith requires an inference to be drawn that the respondent in question has registered and is using the disputed domain name to take advantage of its significance as a trademark owned by (usually) the complainant.
As discussed in section 5B above, it appears extremely likely that the Respondent was aware of the Complainant, its corporate group and ALLIANZ trademark when the Respondent registered the disputed domain name.
As the website claiming to offer wealth and asset management services became active within a short time after registration of the disputed domain name, it appears reasonable to infer the disputed domain name was registered for use in providing such services.
Registration of the disputed domain name apparently to offer services in competition with the Complainant’s services without rights or legitimate interests constitutes registration in bad faith. Likewise, the use made of the disputed domain name constitutes use in bad faith also.
Accordingly, the Complainant has established all three requirements under 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, <intelligenceallianz.com>, be transferred to the Complainant.
Warwick A. Rothnie
Date: October 22, 2021