WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
NEHS Developpement v. Withheld for Privacy Purposes, Privacy service provided by Withheld for Privacy ehf / reese brent, wedbest
Case No. D2021-3052
1. The Parties
The Complainant is NEHS Developpement, France, represented by ICOSA, France.
The Respondent is Withheld for Privacy Purposes, Privacy service provided by Withheld for Privacy ehf, Iceland / reese brent, wedbest, United States of America (“Unites States”).
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <group-nehs.com> (the “Domain Name”) is registered with NameCheap, Inc. (the “Registrar”).
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on September 16, 2021. On September 16, 2021, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the Domain Name. On September 16, 2021, the Registrar transmitted by email to the Center its verification response disclosing registrant and contact information for the Domain Name that differed from the named Respondent and contact information in the Complaint. The Center sent an email communication to the Complainant on September 17, 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 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 the Respondent of the Complaint, and the proceedings commenced on September 29, 2021. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was October 19, 2021. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on October 25, 2021.
The Center appointed Mathias Lilleengen as the sole panelist in this matter on November 9, 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 French health insurance company. In the framework of its activity, the Complainant owns numerous intellectual property rights revolving around NEHS and GROUPE NEHS.
The Complainant owns trademark registrations for NEHS, for example, French trademark no. 4446808 registered on April 17, 2018, and French trademark no. 4517437 registered on January 21, 2019.
The Complainant has registered domain names including the trademark NEHS, such as <nehs.com> and <groupe-nehs.com>.
According to the Registrar, the Respondent registered the Domain Name on July 21, 2021. At the time of drafting the Decision, the Domain Name resolved to an error website. According to Annex 7 to the Complaint, the Domain Name resolved at some point in time to a pay-per-click ("PPC") site.
5. Parties’ Contentions
The Complainant provides evidence of trademark registrations. The Complainant argues that the Domain Name is almost identical to the Complainant’s domain name <groupe-nehs.com>, and confusingly similar to the Complainant’s trademark.
The Complainant asserts that the Respondent is not authorized to use the Complainant’s trademark. The Respondent cannot establish rights in the Domain Name, as it has not made any use of, or demonstrable preparations to use, the Domain Name in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services. The Domain Name does not resolve to an active webpage.
The Complainant indicates that the Respondent has registered and used the Domain Name to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to a website by creating a likelihood of confusion with the Complainant’s mark as to source, sponsorship, affiliation, or endorsement. This is in the view of the Complainant evidenced by the lack of use of the Domain Name. As Mail eXchanger (MX) servers are configured for the Domain Name, the Complainant argues that the Respondent could set up email accounts and send fraudulent emails to the Complainant’s clients, members, employees, subcontractors or partners.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The Complainant has established that it has rights in the trademark NEHS. The test for confusing similarity involves a comparison between the trademark and the Domain Name. In this case, the Domain Name is almost identical to the Complainant’s domain name, and also confusingly similar to the Complainant’s trademark as it incorporates the Complainant’s trademark with the prefix “group-”. The addition of the term “group” and the hyphen does not prevent a finding of confusing similarity. See WIPO Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions, Third Edition (“WIPO Overview 3.0”), section 1.8. For the purpose of assessing under paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Policy, the Panel may ignore the generic Top-Level Domain (“gTLD”) “.com”; see WIPO Overview 3.0, section 1.11.
The Panel finds that the Domain Name is confusingly similar to a trademark in which the Complainant has rights in accordance with paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Policy.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
The Complainant has asserted that it has not granted any authorization to the Respondent to register the Domain Name containing the Complainant’s trademark or otherwise make use of its trademarks. There is no evidence that the Respondent has registered the Domain Name as a trademark or acquired unregistered trademark rights. There is no evidence of rights in the Domain Name on the hand of the Respondent based on use of, or demonstrable preparations to use, the Domain Name in connection with a bona fide use. The Domain Name does not resolve to an active webpage.
The Panel finds that the Complainant has made out an unrebutted case. Accordingly, the Panel finds that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Domain Name in accordance with paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
Based on the Complainant’s trademark right and domain names, the Respondent was likely to be aware of the Complainant when the Respondent registered the Domain Name. It is likely that the Respondent has registered the Domain Name to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to a website by creating a likelihood of confusion with the Complainant’s mark as to source, sponsorship, affiliation, or endorsement. Indeed, given the composition of the Domain Name coupled with the Respondent not having documented any rights or legitimate interest in the Domain Name, a good faith purpose is implausible. The Respondent’s lack of use of the Domain Name (or the previous use of PPC links by the Respondent), the fact that the Respondent has set up email accounts, and the Respondent’s use of a privacy service to hide its identity, is in this context further evidence of bad faith.
For the reasons set out above, the Panel concludes that the Domain Name was registered and is being used in bad faith, within the meaning of 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 Domain Name <group-nehs.com> be transferred to the Complainant.
Date: November 19, 2021