WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
BPCE v. Registration Private, Domains By Proxy, LLC/ Carolina Rodrigues, Fundacion Comercio Electronico
Case No. D2021-4106
1. The Parties
The Complainant is BPCE, France, represented by Inlex IP Expertise, France.
The Respondent is Registration Private, Domains By Proxy, LLC, United States of America/ Carolina Rodrigues, Fundacion Comercio Electronico, Panama.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <smoneyt.com> (the “Domain Name”) is registered with GoDaddy.com, LLC (the “Registrar”).
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on December 8, 2021. On December 8, 2021, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the Domain Name. On December 9, 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 December 10, 2021, providing the registrant and contact information disclosed by the Registrar, and inviting the Complainant to submit an amended Complaint. The Complainant filed an amended Complaint on December 13, 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 December 15, 2021. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was January 4, 2022. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on January 5, 2022.
The Center appointed Mathias Lilleengen as the sole panelist in this matter on January 14, 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 large French financial and banking services company. It serves 36 million customers, with some 100’000 employees.
The Complainant owns French and European Union trademarks for SMONEY and S-MONEY, such as French trademark registration No. 3828686 filed on May 4, 2011, European Union trademark registration No. 010413871 filed on November 14, 2011 and registered on April 23, 2012, and French trademark registration No. 3442839 filed on July 26, 2006. SMONEY is used for digital payment solutions. It is also a payment platform that collects funds and transfer cash to third party accounts. The Complainant also holds domain names such as <s-money.fr> and <smoney.fr>, both registered on May 19, 2011.
The Domain Name was registered on November 10, 2021. At the time of the Complaint and at the time of drafting the Decision, the Domain Name resolved to a webpage with pay-per-click (“PPC”) links.
5. Parties’ Contentions
The Complainant provides evidence of trademark registration, and argues that the Domain Name is confusingly similar to the Complainant’s trademark. The Domain Name is an intentional misspelling of the Complainant’s trademark, as the only difference is the additional letter “t”. The Complainant argues that it is a case of classic typosquatting.
The Complainant asserts that it has no association with the Respondent and has never authorized or licensed the Respondent to use its trademark. The Respondent cannot establish rights in the Domain Name, as it has not made any use of, or demonstrable preparations to use, the Domain Name in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services. On the contrary, the Respondent uses the Domain Name in connection with a parking page displaying PPC links. This is not a bona fide offering. The Complainant further argues that there is no evidence indicating that the Respondent has been commonly known by the Domain Name.
The Complainant submits that the Respondent registered the Domain Name with the aim of taking advantage of the reputation of the Complainant’s well-known trademark. Prior UDRP decisions, such as the previous panel decision in BPCE v. Luis Carlos Veloso, WIPO Case No. D2019-2945, have already recognized the notoriety of the Complainant’s trademark. The Complainant documents that the Respondent has been engaged in a series of domain name registrations that infringes trademarks of third parties, e.g. SportPursuit Limited v. Registration Private, Domains By Proxy, LLC / Carolina Rodrigues, Fundacion Comercio Electronico, WIPO Case No. D2021-2315. This evidences a pattern of bad faith by the Respondent. The Respondent takes advantage of the Complainant’s well-known trademark to earn money through PPC links. Finally, as email servers connected to the Domain Name are activated, the Complainant points out that the Respondent may use the Domain Name in phishing schemes.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The Complainant has established that it has rights in the trademark SMONEY and S-MONEY. The test for confusing similarity involves a comparison between the trademark and the Domain Name. The Domain Name incorporates the Complainant’s trademark in its entirety and is different to the trademark by only the additional letter “t”. This minor misspelling does not prevent a finding of confusing similarity between the Domain Name and the trademark, see WIPO Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions, Third Edition (“WIPO Overview 3.0”), section 1.9.
For the purpose of assessing under paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Policy, the Panel may ignore the generic Top-Level Domain, see WIPO Overview 3.0, section 1.11.
The Panel finds that the Domain Name is confusingly similar to a trademark in which the Complainant has rights in accordance with paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Policy.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
The Complainant has made unrebutted assertions that it has not granted any authorization to the Respondent to register a domain name containing the Complainant’s trademark or otherwise make use of the Complainant’s mark. There is no evidence that the Respondent has registered the Domain Name as a trademark or acquired unregistered trademark rights and the Panel finds no indication that the Respondent is commonly known by the Domain Name. The Respondent has not offered any explanation as to the registration of the Domain Name, and therefore not provided any evidence of good-faith use. The Respondent use of the Domain Name to redirect to PPC links is not bona fide, but rather evidence of bad faith; see WIPO Overview 3.0 section 2.9.
Accordingly, the Panel finds that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Domain Name in accordance with paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
The Panel finds it probable that the Respondent was aware of the Complainant when the Respondent registered the Domain Name. The Complainant’s trademarks and domain names predate the registration of the Domain Name. The Domain Name is nearly identical to the Complainant’s trademark.
The Domain Name appears to be a misspelling of said trademark and the Respondent has not provided any evidence of actual or contemplated good-faith use. The Respondent has used the Domain Name to redirect to PPC links. Based on the case file, the Panel notes that the Respondent has tried to create a false association between the Domain Name and the trademark SMONEY. The Respondent has tried to attract Internets users to its website for commercial gain by creating a likelihood of confusion with the Complainant’s mark.
Since email servers connected to the Domain Name have been activated, the Panel agrees that there is a risk that the Respondent may use the Domain Name in phishing schemes. Furthermore, the Respondent has initially concealed its identity. The Respondent has also been engaged in a series of domain name registrations that infringes trademarks of third parties, and been ordered to transfer domain names to its legitimate owners, see e.g. Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. v. Registration Private, Domains By Proxy, LLC / Carolina Rodrigues, Fundacion Comercio Electronico, WIPO Case No. D2021-1023 and SportPursuit Limited v. Registration Private, Domains By Proxy, LLC / Carolina Rodrigues, Fundacion Comercio Electronico, supra. The Panel cannot see any possible good faith use to which the Domain Name may be put by the Respondent.
For the reasons set out above, the Panel concludes that the Domain Name was registered and is being used in bad faith, within the meaning of 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 <smoneyt.com> be transferred to the Complainant.
Date: January 18, 2022