WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Crédit Industriel et CommerciaL S.A. v. Privacy service provided by Withheld for Privacy ehf / Sauriol Experan, Sauriol Company.
Case No. D2021-3807
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Crédit Industriel et CommerciaL S.A., France, represented by MEYER & Partenaires, France.
The Respondent is Privacy service provided by Withheld for Privacy ehf, Iceland / Sauriol Experan, Sauriol Company., Benin.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <invest-cic.com> is registered with NameCheap, Inc. (the “Registrar”).
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed in French with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on November 15, 2021. On November 16, 2021, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On November 16, 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. On November 19, 2021, the Center sent an email regarding the language of the proceeding to the parties as the language of the Registration Agreement was confirmed to be in English. The Center sent an email communication to the Complainant on November 24, 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 25, 2021, and requesting that the language of proceedings be in French. The Center made a preliminary determination that the case could continue in French and English as dual languages.
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 in both French and English, and the proceedings commenced on November 26, 2021. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was December 16, 2021. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on December 17, 2021.
The Center appointed Andrea Mondini as the sole panelist in this matter on January 11, 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 a major French bank with more than 4,7 million clients and more than 2000 offices in France and 38 offices abroad.
The Complainant owns numerous trademarks with the element CIC, inter alia, the European Trademark CIC (registration No. 005891411 registered on March 5, 2008).
The Complainant also offers online banking services on its official website posted under its domain name <cic.fr>.
The disputed domain name was registered on October 27, 2021.
The disputed domain name resolves to a website offering financial services.
5. Parties’ Contentions
The Complainant contends as follows:
The disputed domain name is confusingly similar to the CIC trademark in which the Complainant has rights, because it incorporates this trademark in its entirety, and the addition of the word “invest” is not sufficient to avoid confusing similarity.
The Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name. The mark CIC is associated with the Complainant, since the trademark CIC has been extensively used to identify the Complainant and its financial services. The Respondent has not been authorized by the Complainant to use this trademark and there is no evidence of the Respondent’s use, or demonstrable preparation to use, the disputed domain name in connection with a bona fide offering of goods and services.
The disputed domain name was registered and is being used in bad faith because it is obvious that the Respondent had knowledge of both the Complainant and its well-known trademark CIC at the time it registered the disputed domain name, considering that the Respondent used it to offer identical financial services in the French language. Moreover, the website posted by the Respondent under the disputed domain name does not contain the required legal notices, but requests the Internet users to enter their personal data so there is a risk that it may be used for phishing or other fraudulent activities which constitute use in bad faith.
The Respondent did not reply to Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
6.1. Language of the Proceeding
In the present case, English is the language of the registration agreement. Pursuant to paragraph 11 of the Rules, unless otherwise agreed by the parties, the default language of the proceeding is the language of the registration agreement, subject to the authority of the panel to determine otherwise.
Paragraph 10 of the Rules vests a panel with authority to conduct the proceedings in a manner it considers appropriate while also ensuring both that the parties are treated with equality, and that each party is given a fair opportunity to present its case.
The Complainant filed the Complaint in French. On November 25, 2021, the Complainant filed an amended Complaint requesting French to be the language of the proceeding mainly because the disputed domain name resolves to a website offerings financial services in French and providing a contact address in Paris, France. The Respondent did not comment on this request.
In the present case, the Panel considers that paragraph 11 of the Rules, according to which the language of the proceeding is the language of the registration agreement, shall apply. The Panel therefore determines that the language of the proceeding is English.
6.2 Substantive Issues
According to paragraph 4(a) of the Policy, in order to succeed, a complainant must establish each of the following elements:
(i) the disputed domain name is identical or confusingly similar to the trademark or service mark in which the complainant has rights;
(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 is satisfied that the Complainant owns trademark registrations for its CIC trademark.
The Panel notes that the disputed domain name incorporates the CIC trademark in its entirety. The addition of the word “invest” does not prevent a finding of confusing similarity under Policy, paragraph 4(a)(i). See WIPO Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions, Third Edition (“WIPO Overview 3.0”), section 1.8.
For these reasons, the Panel concludes that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to the Complainant’s mark CIC.
The first element of paragraph 4(a) of the Policy has been met.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
The Complainant states it has not authorized the Respondent to use the trademark CIC and that before notice of the dispute, there is no evidence of the Respondent’s use, or demonstrable preparation to use, the disputed domain name. The Panel does not see any contrary evidence from the record.
In the view of the Panel, the Complainant has succeeded in raising a prima facie case that the Respondent lacks rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. For its part, the Respondent failed to provide any explanations as to any rights or legitimate interests. Therefore, the Panel finds that the Respondent does not have any rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name.
Furthermore, the nature of the disputed domain name, comprising the Complainant’s trademark and the term “invest”, carries a risk of implied affiliation. See WIPO Overview 3.0, section 2.5.1.
The second element of paragraph 4(a) of the Policy has been met.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
The Complainant has shown to the satisfaction of the Panel that its CIC trademark is well-known in France for financial services.
In the view of the Panel, it is inconceivable that the Respondent could have registered the disputed domain name and post a website offering financial services thereunder without knowledge of the Complainant’s well‑known trademark. In the circumstances of this case, this is evidence of registration in bad faith.
Moreover, the website posted by the Respondent under the disputed domain name offers financial services, does not contain the required legal notices, but requests the Internet users to enter their personal data. Such use for the same type of services offered by the Complainant constitutes use in bad faith and moreover creates a risk that the disputed domain name may be used for phishing or other fraudulent activities.
The Panel thus finds that the disputed domain name was registered and is being used in bad faith.
The third element of paragraph 4(a) of the Policy has been met.
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 <invest-cic.com> be transferred to the Complainant.
Date: January 25, 2022