WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center

ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION

Allianz SE v. Withheld for Privacy Purposes, Privacy Service Provided by Withheld for Privacy ehf / Trader Trader

Case No. D2021-3218

1. The Parties

The Complainant is Allianz SE, Germany, represented internally.

The Respondent is Withheld for Privacy Purposes, Privacy Service Provided by Withheld for Privacy ehf, Iceland/ Trader Trader, Nigeria.

2. The Domain Name and Registrar

The disputed domain name <allianzglobalinvest.com> 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 29, 2021. On September 29, 2021, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On September 29, 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 September 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 filed an amendment to the Complaint on September 30, 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 October 6, 2021. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was October 26, 2021. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on October 27, 2021.

The Center appointed Federica Togo as the sole panelist in this matter on November 4, 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 registered owner of trademarks in several jurisdictions for the term ALLIANZ, e.g. International registration no. 447004 ALLIANZ (word) registered on September 12, 1979 for “Insurance and finances” services in class 36; this mark has been duly renewed and is in force; European Union trademark registration No. 000013656 ALLIANZ (word) registered on July 22, 2002 for goods and services in classes 16, 35 and 36. This mark has been duly renewed and is in force.

It results from the information disclosed by the Registrar that the disputed domain name was registered on September 4, 2021.

Furthermore, the undisputed evidence provided by the Complainant proves that the disputed domain name resolves to a web page allegedly offering financial service by “Allianz Global Invest”, a high-tech cryptocurrency company, suggesting sponsorship or endorsement by the Complainant. Finally, it contains a link where the visitors can start investing and sign up for investing around the world, seemingly in order to retrieve sensible information.

5. Parties’ Contentions

A. Complainant

It results from the Complainant’s undisputed allegations that it is the ultimate parent company of one of the oldest and largest international insurance and financial services groups in the world. The first company of today's Allianz Group, Allianz Versicherungs-AG, was founded in 1890 in Berlin, Germany. In 1893, the first international branch, an office in London, was opened. Since its inception, Allianz has continuously operated under the ALLIANZ name, and has used the ALLIANZ mark in connection with its insurance, healthcare and financial services products. The Allianz Group is one of the leading integrated financial services providers worldwide. With approximately 147,000 employees worldwide, the Allianz Group serves to approximately 100 million customers in more than 70 countries. On the insurance side, Allianz is the market leader in the German market and has a strong international presence. Allianz is one of the world’s largest asset managers. Under the ALLIANZ mark, the Complainant offers a wide range of financial, insurance and assistance services. The Complainant uses the domain name <allianz.com> in order to promote its products and services.

The Complainant contends that its trademark ALLIANZ is distinctive and well-known.

The Complainant further contends that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to the Complainant’s earlier trademark, since it wholly incorporates the Complainant’s trademark and Internet users will recognize the Complainant’s famous corporate name and trademark ALLIANZ in the domain name.

The Complainant further contends that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. According to the Complainant, the Respondent has never received a license or any other form of authorization or consent from the Complainant to make use of the ALLIANZ mark. The Respondent is not commonly known by the disputed domain name. On the contrary, the Respondent is exploiting the fact that Internet users are hoping to access a website that or to communicate with someone who belongs to Complainant’s Group of companies. The Respondent is thus trading on the fame of the Complainant’s mark, which is connected in public perception with insurance and financial services. Moreover, the Respondent is exploiting with his website the good name of the Complainant. The Respondent is a “free-rider” and fraudster trying to take unfair advantage of the well-known trademark of the Complainant.

The Complainant further contends that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. According to the Complainant, it cannot be reasonably argued that the Respondent could have been unaware of the well-known trademark when registering the disputed domain name. This conclusion is supported by the fact that the disputed domain name wholly incorporates the Complainant’s trademark. The Respondent clearly sought to register the disputed domain name because of its association with the Complainant and hoped to capitalize on the Complainant’s reputation.

B. Respondent

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

6. Discussion and Findings

Paragraph 15(a) of the Rules instructs this Panel to “decide a 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”. Paragraph 4(a) of the Policy requires a complainant to prove each of the following three elements in order to obtain an order that the disputed domain name be transferred or cancelled:

(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.

The Panel will therefore proceed to analyze whether the three elements of paragraph 4(a) of the Policy are satisfied.

A. Identical or Confusingly Similar

Pursuant to paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Policy, the Complainant must establish rights in a trademark or service mark and secondly establish that the disputed domain name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark in which the Complainant has rights.

It results from the evidence provided that the Complainant is the registered owner of various trademark registrations for the mark ALLIANZ. Reference is made in particular to International registration no. 447004 ALLIANZ (word) registered on September 12, 1979 for “Insurance and finances” services in class 36; this mark has been duly renewed and is in force; European Union trademark registration no. 000013656 ALLIANZ (word) registered on July 22, 2002 for goods and services in classes 16, 35 and 36. This mark has been duly renewed and is in force.

UDRP panels have found that a disputed domain name is confusingly similar to a complainant’s trademark where the disputed domain name incorporates the complainant’s trademark in its entirety (e.g. Accenture Global Services Limited v. WhoisGuard Protected, WhoisGuard, Inc. / William Douglas, WIPO Case No. D2021-0774; Compagnie Générale des Etablissements Michelin v. Milen Radumilo, WIPO Case No. DCO2020-0090; LEGO Juris A/S v. ken Teo, WIPO Case No. D2020-2380; Sanofi v. WhoisGuard Protected, WhoisGuard, Inc. / Todd Peter, WIPO Case No. D2020-2060; Virgin Enterprises Limited v. Domains By Proxy LLC, Domainsbyproxy.com / Carolina Rodrigues, Fundacion Comercio Electronico, WIPO Case No. D2020-1923; F. Hoffmann-La Roche AG v. Jason Barnes, ecnopt, WIPO Case No. D2015-1305; Compagnie Générale des Etablissements Michelin v. Christian Viola, WIPO Case No. D2012-2102; Volkswagen AG v. Nowack Auto und Sport - Oliver Nowack, WIPO Case No. D2015-0070; The Chancellor, Masters and Scholars of the University of Oxford v. Oxford College for PhD Studies, WIPO Case No. D2015-0812; Rhino Entertainment Company v. DomainSource.com, Inc., WIPO Case No. D2006-0968; SurePayroll, Inc. v. Texas International Property Associates, WIPO Case No. D2007-0464; and Patagonia, Inc. v. Registration Private, Domains By Proxy, LLC / Carolina Rodrigues, Fundacion Comercio Electronico, WIPO Case No. D2019-1409). This Panel shares this view and notes that the Complainant’s registered trademark ALLIANZ is fully included in the disputed domain name, followed by the descriptive terms “global” and “invest”.

Furthermore, it is the view of this Panel that the addition of the terms “global” and “invest” in the disputed domain name cannot prevent a finding of confusing similarity between the disputed domain name and the Complainant’s trademark since the Complainant’s trademark is clearly recognizable in the disputed domain name.

Finally, the generic Top-Level Domain (“gTLD”) “.com” of the disputed domain name may be disregarded under the first element confusing similarity test (see WIPO Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions, Third Edition (“WIPO Overview 3.0”) at section 1.11.1).

In the light of the above, the Panel finds that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to a trademark in which the Complainant has rights.

B. Rights or Legitimate Interests

Pursuant to paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy, the Complainant must secondly establish that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name.

Paragraph 4(c) of the Policy contains a non-exhaustive list of circumstances which, if found by the Panel to be proved, shall demonstrate the Respondent’s rights or legitimate interests to the disputed domain name. In the Panel’s view, based on the undisputed allegations stated above, the Complainant has made a prima facie case that none of these circumstances are found in the case at hand and, therefore, that the Respondent lacks rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name.

According to the Complaint, which has remained unchallenged, the Complainant has no relationship in any way with the Respondent and did not authorize the Respondent’s use of its trademark or the registration of the disputed domain name.

Furthermore, the Panel notes that there is no evidence showing that the Respondent might be commonly known by the disputed domain name in the sense of paragraph 4(c)(ii) of the Policy.

In addition, UDRP panels have categorically held that the use of a domain name for illegal activity can never confer rights or legitimate interests on a respondent, e.g. impersonation/passing off, or other types of fraud (see WIPO Overview 3.0 at section 2.13.1 with further references). It results from the undisputed evidence before the Panel that the disputed domain name resolved to a web page allegedly offering financial services by “Allianz Global Invest”, a high-tech cryptocurrency company, suggesting sponsorship or endorsement by the Complainant. Furthermore, it contains a link where the visitors can start investing and sign up for investing around the world, seemingly in order to retrieve sensible information. Finally, the Respondent has masked its identity to avoid being contactable.

The Panel considers this evidence as sufficient to support the Complainant’s credible claim of illegal activity by the Respondent.

It is acknowledged that once the Panel finds a prima facie case is made by a complainant, the burden of production under the second element shifts to the respondent to come forward with relevant evidence demonstrating rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. Since the Respondent in the case at hand failed to come forward with any allegations or evidence, this Panel finds, in the circumstances of this case, that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name.

The Complainant has therefore satisfied paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy.

C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith

According to paragraph 4(a)(iii) of the Policy, the Complainant must thirdly establish that the disputed domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith. The Policy indicates that certain circumstances specified in paragraph 4(b) of the Policy may, “in particular but without limitation”, be evidence of the disputed domain name’s registration and use in bad faith.

Based on the evidence submitted by the Complainant, the Panel shares the view of other UDRP panels and finds that the Complainant’s trademark ALLIANZ is widely known. Therefore, this Panel has no doubt that the Respondent positively knew or should have known that the disputed domain name consisted of the Complainant’s trademark when registered the disputed domain name. Registration of the disputed domain name in awareness of the reputed ALLIANZ mark and in the absence of rights or legitimate interests in this case amounts to registration in bad faith (see, e.g.,Banca Mediolanum S.p.A. v. Domains By Proxy, LLC / Marzia Chiarello, WIPO Case No. D2020-1955).

Finally, the further circumstances surrounding the disputed domain name’s registration and use confirm the findings that the Respondent has registered and is using the disputed domain name in bad faith, including (1) the Complainant’s trademark ALLIANZ is widely known; (2) a clear absence of rights or legitimate interests coupled with no credible explanation for the Respondent’s choice of the domain name, (3) other indicia generally suggesting that the Respondent had somehow targeted the Complainant, (4) the Respondent registered the disputed domain name through a privacy shield service to hide its identity and contact details, (5) the Respondent did not provide any response with conceivable explanation of its behavior.

In the light of the above, the Panel finds that the disputed domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith pursuant to paragraph 4(a)(iii) 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 <allianzglobalinvest.com> be transferred to the Complainant.

Federica Togo
Sole Panelist
Date: November 18, 2021