WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Mirova v. Contact Privacy Inc. Customer 0162716733 / Tabora Dee, mlrova
Case No. D2021-3713
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Mirova, France, represented by Inlex IP Expertise, France.
The Respondent is Contact Privacy Inc. Customer 0162716733, Canada / Tabora Dee, mlrova, United States of America (“United States”).
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <mlrova.com> (the “Domain Name”) is registered with Tucows Inc. (the “Registrar”).
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on November 5, 2021. On November 5, 2021, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the Domain Name. On November 5, 2021, the Registrar transmitted by email to the Center its verification response disclosing registrant and contact information for the Domain Name which differed from the named Respondent and contact information in the Complaint. The Center sent an email communication to the Complainant on November 8, 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 November 9, 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 November 16, 2021. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was December 6, 2021. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on December 7, 2021.
The Center appointed Jeremy Speres as the sole panelist in this matter on December 15, 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 an asset manager dedicated to sustainable investing and provides its clients with investment solutions that aim to reconcile financial performance with positive environmental and social impact. The Complainant has over 100 employees in four countries: United States, France, United Kingdom and Luxembourg.
The Complainant owns the domain name <mirova.com>, registered on October 14, 2009, at which it hosts its primary website. The Complainant owns trade mark registrations for its MIROVA mark in numerous territories, most relevant for this matter being International Trade Mark Registration number 1146522 designating, amongst others, the Respondent’s territory of the United States, in classes 35 and 36 and bearing a registration date of August 14, 2012.
The Domain Name was registered on October 1, 2021 and, as at the lodgement of the Complaint and the drafting of this Decision, did not resolve to any website. However, the Complainant has provided evidence of the use of the Domain Name as part of a Business Email Compromise (BEC) scam in terms of which employees of the Complainant were impersonated to fraudulently divert payments.
5. Parties’ Contentions
The Complainant contends that the Domain Name is confusingly similar to its MIROVA mark, that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the Domain Name, and the Domain Name was registered and used in bad faith given that the Domain Name, a typosquatting variant of the Complainant’s well-known mark, has been used to impersonate employees of the Complainant for purposes of payment fraud.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
It is well established that where a domain name consists of a misspelling of a trade mark such that the mark is recognisable, as in this case, the domain name is confusingly similar. See the WIPO Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions, Third Edition (“WIPO Overview 3.0”) at section 1.9. The substitution of the letter “l” for the letter “i”, which are very similar in appearance, does not serve to differentiate the overall impression of the Domain Name, which remains visually nearly identical to the mark. Past Panels have found that substitution of the letter “l” for the letter “i” alone does not prevent a finding of confusing similarity (LinkedIn Corporation v. Daphne Reynolds, WIPO Case No. D2015-1679).
The Complainant has satisfied the requirements of paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Policy.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
The Complainant has adduced sufficient evidence to establish that its MIROVA mark was well-known, at least in the financial sector, long prior to registration of the Domain Name. This has been confirmed in previous cases decided under the Policy (e.g. MIROVA v. Redacted for Privacy / Tod Francis, Francis Trucking Inc, WIPO Case No. D2020-2148).
The Domain Name, being a typographical variant of the Complainant’s mark, is confusingly similar to the Complainant’s well-known, registered mark and the Complainant has certified that the Domain Name is unauthorised by it. There is no evidence that any of the circumstances set out in paragraph 4(c) of the Policy pertain.
The Complainant has presented credible, uncontroverted evidence that the Domain Name has been used to impersonate its employees for the purpose of fraudulently diverting payments. UDRP panels have categorically held that use of a domain name for illegal activity (e.g., phishing, impersonation, or other types of fraud) can never confer rights or legitimate interests (WIPO Overview 3.0 at section 2.13.1).
The Complainant has satisfied paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
It is well accepted that use of a domain name to perpetuate fraud constitutes bad faith (WIPO Overview 3.0 at section 3.4). That fraud was the intention of the Respondent upon registration of the Domain Name, and that the Respondent was aware of and targeted the Complainant’s mark, is clear from the evidence presented by the Complainant showing that the Domain Name has been used to impersonate the Complainant’s employees to fraudulently redirect payments. Particularly revealing is the fact that the registrant name, per the WhoIs, is the name of an employee of the Complainant who was also impersonated in the aforementioned scheme. That employee’s name is somewhat uncommon and this is quite unlikely to be a coincidence in the circumstances. That clearly shows awareness and targeting of the Complainant.
In the circumstances of this case the Panel draws adverse inferences from the Respondent’s use of a privacy service (WIPO Overview 3.0 at section 3.6), the provision of a false physical address in the WhoIs (WIPO Overview 3.0 at section 3.2.1), as well as the Respondent’s failure to take part in the present proceeding where an explanation is certainly called for (WIPO Overview 3.0 at section 4.3).
The Complainant has satisfied 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, <mlrova.com>, be transferred to the Complainant.
Date: December 29, 2021