WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center

ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION

Thales, Thales Alenia Space v. THALES ALENIA SPACE

Case No. D2021-3022

1. The Parties

Complainants are Thales and Thales Alenia Space, France, represented by Dreyfus & associés, France.

Respondent is THALES ALENIA SPACE, France.

2. The Domain Name and Registrar

The disputed domain name <thalesaleniaspacfrance.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 September 14, 2021. On September 14, 2021, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On September 15, 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 September 16, 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 September 21, 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 September 27, 2021. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was October 17, 2021. Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified Respondent’s default on October 19, 2021.

The Center appointed Christophe Caron as the sole panelist in this matter on October 27, 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

Complainants are the companies Thales and Thales Alenia Space, located in France.

Thales is a French multinational company that designs and builds electrical systems and provides services for the aerospace, defense, ground transportation and security markets.

Thales Alenia Space is a French-Italian aerospace manufacturer specializing in the space industry.

Complainants own several trademarks consisting in the sign “thales” and “thales alenia space”, and notably:

- European Union trademark THALES No. 002186088, registered on November 9, 2006
- French trademark THALES No. 1318674, registered on July 30, 1985
- Italian trademark THALES ALENIA SPACE No. 302017000046467, registered on December 10, 2018

In addition, Complainants operate among domain names <thalesaleniaspace.com> and <thalesgroup.com>.

The disputed domain name <thalesaleniaspacfrance.com> was registered on June 18, 2021. The disputed domain name redirects towards the Registrar’s default page.

5. Parties’ Contentions

A. Complainants

First, Complainants request the consolidation of Complainants for the purposes of the present Complaint on the grounds that consolidation is procedurally efficient, and fair and equitable to all parties and fulfills the purpose of paragraph 1 of the Policy to provide a cheaper, speedier alternative to litigation.

Then, Complainants make the following contentions.

Identical or Confusingly Similar

Complainants claim that the disputed domain name is “virtually” identical and hence confusingly similar to Complainants’ trademarks THALES and THALES ALENIA SPACE. According to Complainants, the disputed domain name reproduces Complainants’ trademark THALES and imitates the trademark THALES ALENIA SPACE, associated with the geographical term “France”. They add that the adjunction of the term “France” is insufficient to avoid confusing similarity between the disputed domain name and Complainants’ trademarks. Complainants consider that the disputed domain name is likely to confuse Internet users into believing that it will direct them to a website related to Complainants and lead them on a false trail.

Complainants conclude that the disputed domain name should be considered confusingly similar to the trademarks in which Complainants have rights.

Rights or Legitimate Interests

Complainants state that Respondent is neither affiliated with Complainants in any way nor has been authorized by Complainants to use and register their trademarks, or to seek registration of any domain name incorporating said trademarks. Furthermore, they add that Respondent cannot claim prior rights or legitimate interest in the disputed domain name as the THALES and THALES ALENIA SPACE trademarks precede the registration of the disputed domain name for years.

Considering these elements, Complainants conclude that Respondent has no rights and no legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. Complainants maintain that the disputed domain name associates Complainants’ trademarks THALES and THALES ALENIA SPACE with the term “France”, which targets not only Complainants, but their subsidiary Thales Alenia Space France, as well. Thus, this constitutes clear evidence that Respondent wishes to give an overall impression that the disputed domain name is somehow related to Complainants, their corporate group and their activities. Complainants add that the disputed domain name resolves to the registrar’s default page and it was used for fraud in a phishing scheme. Consequently, the disputed domain name is not used in any type of legitimate business or services.

Complainants conclude that it is established that Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect to the disputed domain name.

Registration and Use in Bad Faith

Complainants state that it is implausible that Respondent was unaware of Complainants when it registered the disputed domain name. The composition of the disputed domain name, which entirely reproduces Complainants’ trademark THALES and imitates the trademark THALES ALENIA SPACE and Complainants’ company names, confirms that Respondent was aware of Complainants and their trademarks and that it registered the disputed domain name based on the attractiveness of Complainants’ trademarks. They add that given the reputation of Complainants’ THALES trademark, registration in bad faith can be inferred.

Complainants argue that Respondent is engaged in a phishing scheme using the disputed domain name via an email address “info@thalesaleniaspacfrance.com”. Respondent uses the disputed domain name to create revenue through fraudulent behavior and illicit practices by impersonating Complainants and retrieve classified information, as well as to deceive the providers that received those emails. According to Complainants, Respondent is engaged in phishing activities aiming to collect sensitive information in order to create a false partnership, and presumably, to order products in the name of Complainants. Respondent has sent fraudulent emails under the name of a Mr. B., alleged purchase manager at Thales Alenia Space. Such use of the disputed domain name demonstrates Respondent’s intention to abusively benefit from Complainants’ reputation and to obtain commercial gains. This cannot be considered use in good faith.

Thus, Complainants claim that the disputed domain name is registered and used in bad faith.

B. Respondent

Respondent did not reply to Complainants’ contentions.

6. Discussion and Findings

Consolidation request

Concerning the consolidation of Complainants requested under paragraph 10(e) of the Rules, the Panel considers that this consolidation is justified because Complainants share a common legal interest in the trademarks that are being reproduced in the disputed domain name, which violates their rights and affects them equally. In light of this, the Panel finds that the consolidation is procedurally efficient. Policy

To succeed, the Complainant must demonstrate that all of the elements enumerated in paragraph 4(a) of the Policy have been satisfied, namely:

(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.

A. Identical or Confusingly Similar

Paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Policy requires Complainants to show that the disputed domain name is identical or confusingly similar to trademarks registered by Complainants.

Complainants are the owners of several trademarks THALES and THALES ALENIA SPACE.

The disputed domain name reproduces Complainants’ trademarks THALES and imitates the trademark THALES ALENIA SPACE, associated with the geographical term “France”. The adjunction of the term “France” and the deletion of the letter “e” from the term “space” do not prevent confusing similarity between the disputed domain name and Complainants’ trademarks.

The addition of the generic Top-Level Domain “.com” in the disputed domain name is not relevant to avoid the confusing similarity.

The Panel therefore finds that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to the registered trademarks in which Complainants have rights.

Thus, the requirement of paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Policy is satisfied.

B. Rights or Legitimate Interests

Paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy provides that Complainants must establish that Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name.

This Panel is satisfied that Respondent does not appear to have been commonly known by the disputed domain name, it is not a licensee or an agent of Complainants, nor in any way is authorized to use Complainants’ trademarks.

Furthermore, the expression “thalesaleniaspacfrance” has no meaning, except referring to THALES and THALES ALENIA SPACE located in France. This constitutes evidence that Respondent wishes to give an overall impression that the disputed domain name is somehow related to Complainants, their corporate group and their activities. Respondent cannot assert that it was using, or had made demonstrable preparations to use, the disputed domain name in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services.

Hence, the Panel finds that Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name and that the requirement of paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy is also satisfied.

C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith

Paragraph 4(a)(iii) of the Policy provides that Complainants must establish that Respondent has registered and is using the disputed domain name in bad faith.

Regarding the reputation of THALES trademarks, Respondent could not have ignored them at the time of the registration.

Moreover, the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to the trademark THALES ALENIA SPACE. The deletion of the letter “e” from the term “space” can be considered as a form of typosquatting which is evidence of registration in bad faith.

Respondent also committed identity theft by using the false identity of Thales Alenia Space to register the disputed domain name.

The Panel therefore considers that the disputed domain name has been registered in bad faith.

The Panel notes that the disputed domain was used for fraud in a phishing scheme. It appears that numerous emails were sent via email address: “info@thalesaleniaspacfrance.com”. Such use of the disputed domain name demonstrates Respondent’s intention to abusively benefit from Complainants’ reputation and to obtain commercial gains. This cannot be considered as use in good faith.

For all these reasons, it appears to this Panel that the disputed domain name was registered and used in bad faith.

The Panel therefore finds that paragraph 4(a)(iii) of the Policy is made out.

7. Decision

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 <thalesaleniaspacfrance.com> be transferred to Complainants.

Christophe Caron
Sole Panelist
Date: November 9, 2021