WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center

ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION

Allianz SE v. Domain Administrator, See PrivacyGuardian.org / Cd Ab

Case No. D2021-3163

1. The Parties

The Complainant is Allianz SE, Germany, represented by Diana Milley, Germany.

The Respondent is Domain Administrator, See PrivacyGuardian.org, United States of America (“United States”) / Cd Ab, United States of America.

2. The Domain Name and Registrar

The disputed domain name <allianztb.com> is registered with NameSilo, LLC (the “Registrar”).

3. Procedural History

The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on September 24, 2021. On September 27, 2021, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On September 27, 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 the Complainant on October 1, 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 October 1, 2021.

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 November 5, 2021. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was November 25, 2021. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on November 30, 2021.

The Center appointed Rodrigo Azevedo as the sole panelist in this matter on January 20, 2022. 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 part of a traditional international financial group, offering products and solutions in insurance and asset management under the trademark ALLIANZ.

The Complainant owns several trademark applications and trademark registrations for the trademark ALLIANZ since at least 1979 (see International Trademark Registration No.447004, registered on September 12, 1979).

The term “allianz” is also the central part of the Complainant’s corporate name, as well as of many domain names owned by the Complainant (such as <allianz.com>).

The disputed domain name was registered on September 5, 2021.

The Panel accessed the disputed domain name on January 28, 2022, when the disputed domain name was not pointing to any active website.

5. Parties’ Contentions

A. Complainant

The Complainant make the following contentions:

- The disputed domain name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark in which the Complainant has rights. The Internet users will recognize the famous trademark and corporate name of the Complainant in the disputed domain name. Therefore, there is a likelihood of confusion between the Complainant’s ALLIANZ trademarks and the disputed domain name.

- The Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name. To the contrary, the Respondent holds no trademark registration for any ALLIANZ mark and has never received any license or any other consent from the Complainant to make use of the ALLIANZ mark. The Respondent is trading on the fame of the Complainant’s mark, not using the disputed domain name in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services. Furthermore, the Respondent is not known by the disputed domain name and is also not making any legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the disputed domain name.

- The disputed domain name was registered and is being used in bad faith. The disputed domain name contains the famous ALLIANZ trademark. By registering and using the disputed domain name, the Respondent is attempting to create confusion with the Complainant’s ALLIANZ mark. It cannot be reasonably argued that the Respondent could have been unaware of the Complainant’s trademark when registering the disputed domain name. The Respondent is trying to capitalize on the Complainant’s reputation.

B. Respondent

The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.

6. Discussion and Findings

Paragraph 4(a) of the Policy provides that in order to be entitled to a transfer of the disputed domain name, a complainant shall prove the following three elements:

(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

The Panel has no doubt that “Allianz” is a term directly connected with the Complainant’s insurance and asset management activities.

Annex D to the Complaint shows that the Complainant owns numerous trademark registrations in the term “Allianz” in many jurisdictions around the world since at least 1979.

The trademark ALLIANZ is wholly encompassed within the disputed domain name.

The disputed domain name differs from the Complainant’s trademark by the addition of the term “tb”, as well as the generic Top-Level Domain (“gTLD”) “.com”.

In the test of confusing similarity under the Policy, which is confined to a comparison of the disputed domain name and a complainant’s trademark, it is well established in prior decisions under the UDRP that the mere addition of a term to a trademark in which a complainant has rights does not avoid a finding of confusing similarity. It is also well established in decisions under the UDRP that generic Top-Level Domain indicators (e.g., “.com”, “.info”, “.net”, “.org”) may be considered irrelevant in assessing confusing similarity between a trademark and a disputed domain name.

As a result, the Panel finds that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to the Complainant’s trademark, and that the Complainant has satisfied the first element of the Policy.

B. Rights or Legitimate Interests

Paragraph 4(c) of the Policy provides some examples, without limitation, of how a respondent can demonstrate a right or legitimate interest in a domain name:

(i) before receiving any notice of the dispute, the respondent used or made demonstrable preparations to use the disputed domain name in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services; or

(ii) the respondent has been commonly known by the disputed domain name; 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 at issue.

Based on the unrebutted prima facie evidence in the Complaint, the Panel finds that the above circumstances are not present in this particular case and that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name.

The Complainant has not licensed nor authorized the use of their trademark to the Respondent, and the Panel finds no indication that the Respondent is commonly known by the disputed domain name.

Furthermore, the present record provides no evidence to demonstrate the Respondent’s intent use of or demonstrable preparations to use the disputed domain name in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services. The non-use of the confusingly similar disputed domain name does not confer rights or legitimate interests upon the Respondent. Moreover, evidence presented in the Complaint illustrates that the disputed domain name previously resolved to a website replicating without modification the Complainant’s ALLIANZ trademark and logo, as well as offering cryptocurrency services under the name, “Allianz token”. Such commercial use, deriving commercial gain via the misdirection caused by the replication of the Complainant’s trademark not only in the disputed domain name, but also in the content itself, does not amount to a bona fide offering of services and does not confer rights or legitimate interests upon the Respondent.

Consequently, the Panel is satisfied that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name, and the Complainant has proven the second element of the Policy.

C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith

Paragraph 4(b) of the Policy states that the following circumstances in particular, but without limitation, shall be evidence of registration and use of a domain name in bad faith:

(i) circumstances indicating that the respondent has registered or acquired the domain name primarily for the purpose of selling, renting, or otherwise transferring the domain name registration to the complainant who is the owner of the trademark or service mark or to a competitor of that complainant, for valuable consideration in excess of documented out-of-pocket costs directly related to the domain name; or

(ii) the respondent registered the 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 the respondent has engaged in a pattern of such conduct; or

(iii) the respondent has registered the domain name primarily for the purpose of disrupting the business of a competitor; or

(iv) by using the domain name, the respondent has intentionally attempted to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to its website or other online location, by creating a likelihood of confusion with the complainant’s mark as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation, or endorsement of its website or location or of a product or service on its website or location.

When the disputed domain name was registered by the Respondent (in 2021) the trademark ALLIANZ was already internationally known and directly connected to the Complainant’s insurance and asset management activities.

Therefore, the Panel concludes that it would not be plausible to consider that the Respondent – at the time of the registration of the disputed domain name – was not aware of the Complainant’s trademark, or that the adoption of the term “allianztb” within the disputed domain name was a mere coincidence.

It is true that presently the disputed domain name does not resolve to any active website. The prior use clearly demonstrated an awareness of the Complainant and intent to target for the Respondent’s own commercial gain.

As regards the non-use, however, UDRP panels have frequently found that the apparent lack of so-called active use of a domain name (passive holding) does not, in appropriate circumstances, prevent a finding of bad faith. See WIPO Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions, Third Edition, section 3.3; Telstra Corporation Limited v. Nuclear Marshmallows, WIPO Case No. D2000-0003; and Polaroid Corporation v. Jay Strommen, WIPO Case No. D2005-1005.

The non-collaborative posture of the Respondent, (a) not presently using the disputed domain name, (b) masking its identity through the use of a privacy service, and (c) not at least providing justifications for the use of a third party internationally recognized trademark and of the corporate name of the Complainant, certainly cannot be used in benefit of the Respondent in this Panel’s opinion.

Such circumstances, including (d) the lack of any plausible good faith reason for the adoption of the term “allianztb” by the Respondent, are enough in this Panel’s view to characterize bad faith registration and use in the present case.

Accordingly, the Panel finds that the disputed domain name was registered and is being used in bad faith, and the Complainant has also satisfied the third element of the Policy.

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, <allianztb.com> be transferred to the Complainant.

Rodrigo Azevedo
Sole Panelist
Date: February 3, 2022