WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center

ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION

Confédération Nationale du Crédit Mutuel v. Domain Admin, Privacy Protect, LLC (PrivacyProtect.org) / Mailys Lepitre

Case No. D2021-4010

1. The Parties

The Complainant is Confédération Nationale du Crédit Mutuel, France, represented by MEYER & Partenaires, France.

The Respondent is Domain Admin, Privacy Protect, LLC (PrivacyProtect.org), United States of America / Mailys Lepitre, France.

2. The Domain Name and Registrar

The disputed domain name <securite-credit-mutuel-pass.com> is registered with Launchpad.com Inc. (the “Registrar”).

3. Procedural History

The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on December 1, 2021. On the same day, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. Also on the same day, the Registrar transmitted by email to the Center its verification response disclosing registrant and contact information for the disputed domain name that differed from the named Respondent and contact information in the Complaint. The Center sent an email communication to the Complainant on December 3, 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 the amendment to the Complaint on December 7, 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 December 9, 2021. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was December 29, 2021. Aside from an informal communication on December 12, 2021, the Respondent did not submit any formal response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Commencement of Panel Appointment Process on January 4, 2022.

The Center appointed Isabelle Leroux as the sole panelist in this matter on January 12, 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 the political and central body for the banking group Crédit Mutuel. Crédit Mutuel is a French banking and insurance services group, which provides its services to 12 million clients for more than a century. Crédit Mutuel is a network of 3,178 offices in France, congregated in 18 regional federations. Present in all fields of finance, the group is a major actor on the market of banking services for both individuals and businesses.

The Complainant is the owner of numerous CREDIT MUTUEL trademarks (thereafter the “CREDIT MUTUEL Trademarks”) such as:

- French semi-figurative trademark CREDIT MUTUEL, registered under no. 1475940, filed on July 8, 1988, in classes 35 and 36;

- French semi-figurative trademark CREDIT MUTUEL, registered under no. 1646012, filed on November 20, 1990 in classes 16, 35, 36, 38, and 41;

- European Union word trademark CREDIT MUTUEL, no. 9943135, registered and filed on October 20, 2011 in classes 9, 16, 35, 36, 38, 41, 42, and 45;

- International semi-figurative trademark CREDIT MUTUEL, no. 570182, registered on May 17, 1991 in classes 16, 35, 36, 38, and 41.

The Complainant also owns several domain names containing the trademark CREDIT MUTUEL, in particular, <creditmutuel.com> and <creditmutuel.fr> associated with its official websites.

In addition, the trademark CREDIT MUTUEL has been recognized as well-known in prior UDRP cases.

The disputed domain name was registered on November 10, 2021 through a proxy service.

The disputed domain name is not active and resolves to an error “suspended” page.

5. Parties’ Contentions

A. Complainant

The Complainant mainly claims that:

a) the disputed domain name is identical or at least confusingly similar to the Complainant’s trademark since it incorporates the company name and the trademark of the Complainant in its entirety; in addition, the only difference between the trademark CREDIT MUTUEL and the disputed domain name is the addition in the domain name of two generic words: “securite” and “pass”. These words do not help to distinguish this domain name from the trademark; on the contrary, these words are dictionary words from the common language, that are usually used in connection with online secured activities such as banking services. As such words inspire confidence to Internet users, they only strengthen the confusion between the trademark and the disputed domain name;

b) the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name since the Complainant has never authorized nor given its consent to the Respondent for registering and using the disputed domain name; further, there is no evidence of any use or demonstrable preparations to use the disputed domain name by the Respondent in connection to a bona fide offering goods or services, as the Respondent is not making any use and is only passively holding the disputed domain name;

c) the Respondent has registered and is using the disputed domain name in bad faith given the following factors: 1) as the term “credit mutuel” is not a common term and is a well-known trademark of the Complainant, at least in France, the registration of the disputed domain name containing such term can’t be filed nor used in good faith; furthermore, the Respondent used a WhoIs proxy service with the purpose of avoiding to be identified and contacted. Taking into account the banking activities of the Complainant, this clearly highlights the bad faith registration of the disputed domain name by the Respondent; 2) The possible content of the website associated to the disputed domain name is unreachable, temporarily or definitively. As a result, the disputed domain name appears as being unused. This visible non-use of the domain name constitutes bad faith use, as “passive holding”.

Therefore, according to the Complainant, the Respondent had knowledge of the Complainant’s trademark when registering the disputed domain name, and the Respondent is unfairly and intentionally taking advantage of the reputation and distinctiveness of the Complainant’s earlier rights in order to mislead Internet users.

Finally, the Complainant requests that the disputed domain name be transferred to the Complainant.

B. Respondent

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

6. Discussion and Findings

A. Identical or Confusingly Similar

First of all, the Panel finds that the Complainant has provided evidence that it has rights in the CREDIT MUTUEL Trademarks.

Then, the Panel notices that the disputed domain name is composed of the identical reproduction of the CREDIT MUTUEL Trademarks, to which has been added (i) the terms “securite” and “pass”, (ii) as well as the generic Top-Level Domain (gTLD) “.com”.

The addition of the terms “securite” and “pass” does not prevent a finding of confusing similarity.

Furthermore, the gTLD “.com” does not affect the confusing similarity between the disputed domain name and the Complainant’s earlier trademarks.

Consequently, the Panel finds that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to the Complainant’s trademarks. The first element of the paragraph 4(a) of the Policy is thus fulfilled.

B. Rights or Legitimate Interests

Numerous UDRP panels have found that, even though the Complainant bears the general burden of proof under paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the UDRP, the burden of production shifts to the Respondent once the Complainant makes a prima facie showing that the Respondent lacks rights or legitimate interests. See Croatia Airlines d.d. v. Modern Empire Internet Ltd., WIPO Case No. D2003-0455.

Hence, after the Complainant has made a prima facie showing that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name, it will be deemed to have satisfied paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the UDRP when the Respondent fails to submit a response.

In this case, the Complainant brings forward the following elements:

- no license or authorization has been granted by the Complainant to the Respondent;

- the Respondent is not known under the disputed domain name, nor does it have any trademark rights on such name; and

- the Complainant has no relationship whatsoever with the Respondent.

In addition, there is no indication of any potential rights or legitimate interests that the Respondent may have in the disputed domain name.

Therefore, the Panel finds that the Complainant has made a prima facie case that the Respondent lacks rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name.

The Respondent has not responded to the Complainant’s contentions and therefore not provided any evidence otherwise.

Given these circumstances, the Panel finds that the second element of the paragraph 4(a) of the Policy is satisfied.

C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith

The Complainant’s trademarks have been recognized as well-known by previous UDRP panels.

Accordingly, the Panel considers that the Respondent could not plausibly ignore the existence of the Complainant’s trademarks at the time the disputed domain name was registered, all the more since according to the information disclosed by the Registrar, the Respondent is an individual residing in France. The Panel finds that the registration was therefore made in bad faith. See in particular: Confederation Nationale du Credit Mutuel v. Philippe Marie, WIPO Case No. D2010-1513, Confédération Nationale du Crédit Mutuel v. Mariano Jackline and Alex Leparox, WIPO Case No. D2013-2134, Confédération Nationale du Crédit Mutuel v. Fernand Macia / Registration Private / Domains By Proxy, LLC / DomainsByProxy.com, WIPO Case No. D2015-1699, Confédération Nationale du Crédit Mutuel v. Simo Madridoxi, WIPO Case No. D2012-0813.

As to the use of the disputed domain name in bad faith, the Complainant has evidenced that the disputed domain name resolves to an error “suspended” page. This use constitutes a passive holding that can clearly be regarded as an indication of bad faith use in this case. The lack of use of the disputed domain name in a working corresponding website, the reputation of the CREDIT MUTUEL Trademarks, the Respondent’s use of a proxy service, and the Respondent’s failure to reply to the Complainant’s contentions give no other basis to the Panel to believe that the disputed domain name might conceivably be put to good faith use.

Taking into account all of the above, it is not possible to conceive of any plausible actual or contemplated active use of the disputed domain name by the Respondent that would not be illegitimate.

Consequently, the Panel finds that the disputed domain name was registered and used in bad faith, so that the third and final element of the Policy is met.

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 <securite-credit-mutuel-pass.com> be transferred to the Complainant.

Isabelle Leroux
Sole Panelist
Date: January 26, 2022