WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
CMA CGM SA v. Privacy Service Provided by Withheld for Privacy ehf / Georgina Copeland
Case No. D2021-3578
1. The Parties
The Complainant is CMA CGM SA, France, represented internally.
The Respondent is Privacy Service Provided by Withheld for Privacy ehf, Iceland / Georgina Copeland, Brazil.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <cma-cgm.cam> (the “Disputed 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 October 27, 2021. On October 27, 2021, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the Disputed Domain Name. On October 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 29, 2021, providing the registrant and contact information disclosed by the Registrar, and inviting the Complainant to submit an amendment to the Complaint. The Complainant did not file an amendment to the Complaint.
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 November 25, 2021. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was December 15, 2021. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on December 16, 2021.
The Center appointed Lynda M. Braun as the sole panelist in this matter on December 29, 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
Founded in 1978, the Complainant is the fourth-largest container shipping and transport company in the world. From its headquarters in Marseille, France, the Complainant operates in more than 160 countries through its network of over 755 agencies, with more than 110,000 employees worldwide. The Complainant serves over 420 of the world’s 521 commercial ports and provides freight, shipping, intermodal, and logistics services.
The Complainant is the owner of dozens of trademarks worldwide, including, but not limited to: CMA CGM, Brazilian Trademark Reg. No. 909765065, registered on November 21, 2017 in international class 12 (where the Respondent allegedly resides); and CMA CGM, International Trademark Reg. No. 1191384, registered on October 2, 2013 in international classes 12, 37, and 39 (hereinafter collectively referred to as the “CMA CGM Mark”).
The Complainant owns the domain names <cma-cgm.com>, and <cmacgm-group.com>, which resolve to the Complainant’s official websites at “www.cmacgm.com”, ‘”www.cma-cgm.com”, and “cmacgm-group.com”, respectively, and where information about the Complainant is located.
The Disputed Domain Name was registered on June 16, 2021, previously resolving to a non-configured site showing an Index of downloadable files, and now resolving to a landing page with no substantive content, stating only that the IP address could not be found. The Respondent has activated mail exchanger (“MX”) records, which could be used as part of a phishing scheme to impersonate the Complainant.
5. Parties’ Contentions
The following are the Complainant’s contentions:
- the Disputed Domain Name is confusingly similar to the Complainant’s CMA CGM Mark;
- the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Disputed Domain Name; and
- the Disputed Domain Name was registered and is being used in bad faith.
The Complainant seeks the transfer of the Disputed Domain Name from the Respondent to the Complainant in accordance with paragraph 4(i) of the Policy.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
In order for the Complainant to prevail and have the Disputed Domain Name transferred to the Complainant, the Complainant must prove the following (Policy, paragraph 4(a)):
(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 a two-fold inquiry: a threshold investigation into whether a complainant has rights in a trademark, followed by an assessment of whether the domain name is identical or confusingly similar to that trademark. The Panel concludes that in the present case, the Disputed Domain Name is confusingly similar to the CMA CGM Mark as explained below.
It is uncontroverted that the Complainant has established rights in the CMA CGM Mark based on its years of use as well as its numerous registered trademarks for the CMA CGM Mark in dozens of jurisdictions worldwide. The general consensus is that “registration of a mark is prima facie evidence of validity, which creates a rebuttable presumption that the mark is inherently distinctive”. See CWI, Inc. v. Domain Administrator c/o Dynadot, WIPO Case No. D2015-1734. The Respondent has not rebutted this presumption, and therefore the Panel finds that the Complainant has rights in the CMA CGM Mark.
The Disputed Domain Name consists of the CMA CGM Mark in its entirety with a hyphen connecting the “cma” and “cgm”, followed by the generic Top-Level Domain (“gTLD”) “.cam”. It is well established that a disputed domain name that wholly incorporates a trademark may be confusingly similar to that trademark for purposes of the Policy despite the addition of a hyphen. The presence or absence of punctuation marks such as hyphens cannot on their own avoid a finding of confusing similarity. See Six Continents Hotels, Inc. v. Helen Siew, WIPO Case No. D2004-0656.
Moreover, the addition of a gTLD such as “.cam” in a domain name is technically required. Thus, it is well established that such element may typically be disregarded when assessing whether a domain name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark. See Proactiva Medio Ambiente, S.A. v. Proactiva, WIPO Case No. D2012-0182 and WIPO Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions, Third Edition (“WIPO Overview 3.0”), section 1.11. Thus, the Panel concludes that the Disputed Domain Name is confusingly similar to the Complainant’s CMA CGM Mark.
Accordingly, the Panel finds that the first element of paragraph 4(a) of the Policy has been met by the Complainant.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
Under the Policy, a complainant has to make out a prima facie case that the respondent lacks rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. Once such a prima facie case is made, the respondent carries the burden of production of evidence that demonstrates rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. If the respondent fails to do so, the complainant may be deemed to have satisfied paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy. See WIPO Overview 3.0, section 2.1.
In this case, given the facts as set out above, the Panel finds that the Complainant has made out a prima facie case. The Respondent has not submitted any arguments or evidence to rebut the Complainant’s prima facie case. Furthermore, the Complainant has not authorized, licensed or otherwise permitted the Respondent to use its CMA CGM Mark. Nor does the Complainant have any type of business relationship with the Respondent. There is also no evidence that the Respondent is commonly known by the Disputed Domain Name or by any name similar to it, nor any evidence that the Respondent was using or making demonstrable preparations to use the Disputed Domain Name in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services. See Policy, paragraph 4(c).
Based on the use made of the Disputed Domain Name to potentially configure emails using MX records and to pass off as the Complainant and perpetuate a phishing scheme does not confer rights or legitimate interests on the Respondent. See WIPO Overview 3.0, section 2.13.1 (“Panels have categorically held that the use of a domain name for illegal activity (e.g., the sale of counterfeit goods or illegal pharmaceuticals, phishing, distributing malware, unauthorized account access/hacking, impersonation/passing off, or other types of fraud) can never confer rights or legitimate interests on a respondent.”). Thus, the Panel concludes that nothing on the record before it would support a finding that the Respondent is making a legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the Disputed Domain Name.
Finally, the composition of the Disputed Domain Name, comprising the entirety of the CMA CGM Mark which (especially in the absence of an explanation from the Respondent) does not seem to be a mere coincidence, carries a high risk of implied affiliation and cannot constitute fair use here, as it may effectively suggest sponsorship or endorsement by the Complainant. See WIPO Overview 3.0, section 2.5.1.
Accordingly, the Panel finds that the second element of paragraph 4(a) of the Policy has been met by the Complainant.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
The Panel finds that based on the record, the Complainant has demonstrated the existence of the Respondent’s bad faith pursuant to paragraph 4(b) of the Policy.
The Respondent has presented a situation whereby it may be in a position to use the Disputed Domain Name to impersonate the Complainant and perpetrate a phishing scheme directed at the Complainant’s unknowing customers, employees and/or suppliers, which would be clear evidence of bad faith by creating an unauthorized association between the Respondent and the Complainant’s CMA CGM Mark – moreover given the composition of the Disputed Domain Name which does not strike the Panel as random or coincidental. See Banco Bradesco S.A. v. Fernando Camacho Bohm, WIPO Case No. D2010-1552. Previous UDRP panels have found that email-based phishing schemes that use a complainant’s trademark in the domain name are evidence of bad faith. See WIPO Overview 3.0, section 3.4 (“Panels have held that the use of a domain name for purposes other than to host a website may constitute bad faith. Such purposes include sending email, phishing, identity theft, or malware distribution. […] Many such cases involve the respondent’s use of the domain name to send deceptive emails, e.g., to obtain sensitive or confidential personal information from prospective job applicants, or to solicit payment of fraudulent invoices by the complainant’s actual or prospective customers.”).
The Respondent’s registration of the Disputed Domain Name that is confusingly similar to the Complainant’s registered trademark is suggestive of bad faith. Based on the circumstances, the Respondent registered and used the Disputed Domain Name in bad faith in an attempt to create a likelihood of confusion with the Complainant’s CMA CGM Mark. Moreover, the registration of a domain name that reproduces a trademark in its entirety (being identical or confusingly similar to such trademark) by an individual or entity that has no relationship to that mark, without any reasonable explanation on the motives for the registration, may be suggestive of opportunistic bad faith. See Ebay Inc. v. Wangming, WIPO Case No. D2006-1107; and Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin, Maison Fondée en 1772 v. The Polygenix Group Co., WIPO Case No. D2000-0163.
Accordingly, the Panel finds that the third element of paragraph 4(a) of the Policy has been met by the Complainant.
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 <cma-cgm.cam> be transferred to the Complainant.
Lynda M. Braun
Date: January 12, 2022