WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center

ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION

Allianz SE v. Domain Administrator, See PrivacyGuardian.org / Crike David

Case No. D2021-4111

1. The Parties

The Complainant is Allianz SE, Germany, represented internally.

The Respondent is Domain Administrator, See PrivacyGuardian.org, United States of America / Crike David, United States of America.

2. The Domain Name And Registrar

The Disputed Domain Name <allianzex.com> is registered with NameSilo, 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 Disputed Domain Name. On December 8, 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 December 9, 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 amendment to the Complaint on December 13, 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 January 14, 2022. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was February 3, 2022. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on February 4, 2022.

The Center appointed Ada L. Redondo Aguilera as the sole panelist in this matter on February 17, 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 ultimate parent company of one of the oldest and largest international insurance and financial services groups in the world. The first company of today’s Allianz Group, Alianz Versicherungs- AG was founded in 1890 in Berlin, Germany. The Allianz Group counts over 147,000 employees and 100 million customers in more than 70 countries.

Allianz SE leads the German insurance market and has a strong international presence. For well over 100 years, the Complainant has continuously operated under the trademark ALLIANZ to identify financial, insurance, and assistance services.

The Complainant is the owner of the ALLIANZ series of trademarks including:

International trademark ALLIANZ, registration number 447004, registered since September 12, 1979;
International trademark ALLIANZ, registration number 714618, registered since May 4, 1999;
International trademark ALLIANZ and design, registration number 713841, registered since May 3, 1999;
Germany trademark ALLIANZ, registration number 987481, registered since July 11, 1979;
Germany trademark ALLIANZ, registration number 39927827, registered since July 16, 1999;
European Union trademark ALLIANZ, registration number 000013656, registered since July 22, 2002; and
European Union trademark ALLIANZ and design, registration number 002981298, registered since April 5, 2004.

The Allianz Group is also the owner of several domain names, including <allianz.de>, <allianz.com>, <allianz.us>, <allianz.fr>, <allianzgi.com>, and <allianz-jobs.com>.

The Disputed Domain Name <allianzex.com> was registered by the Respondent on December 6, 2021, many years after the registration of the Complainant’s trade names and trademarks above described.

The Disputed Domain Name resolves to a website displaying the Complainant’s trademark and design and show sites that apparently provide financial services online.

Additionally, the Respondent provides financial services that are apparent to be similar to the Complainant’s services through the website to which the Disputed Domain Name resolves.

5. Parties’ Contentions

A. Complainant

(i) The Disputed Domain Name is identical or confusingly similar to the trademark or service mark in which the Complainant has rights.

The Complainant argues that the Disputed Domain Name is confusingly similar to its ALLIANZ trademarks. The Disputed Domain Name incorporates the Complainant’s trademark in its entirety. The Allianz Group is one of the largest providers of financial services worldwide. With the use of the name Allianz in the Disputed Domain Name, the clear impression is made that the Disputed Domain Name refers to the Complainant’s ALLIANZ series marks. Through the Disputed Domain Name, customers expect to reach a website belonging to Allianz SE or one of its subsidiaries. The use of the Disputed Domain Name <allianzex.com> for financial services also implies that the Respondent belongs to the Allianz Group.

The Complainant submits that ALLIANZ is a distinctive trademark used by the group for over 100 years. In order to protect its trademark rights, Allianz SE has registered the mentioned sign worldwide, as well as trade names and domain names composed by the term ALLIANZ.

The Complainant argued that the Disputed Domain Name <allianzex.com> is confusingly similar to the Allianz SE’s trademarks, due to the fact that the Disputed Domain Name incorporates the trademark ALLIANZ in its entirety, as the predominant part and, therefore, will likely be associated with the Complainant’ business.

This way, the Complainant allege that Internet users would be easily led to think that the Disputed Domain Name <allianzex.com> is owned by the Allianz Group or some way linked to it, fulfilling paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Policy and paragraph 3(b)(viii), (b)(ix)(1) of the Rules.

(ii) The Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Disputed Domain Name.

The Complainant contends that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Disputed Domain Name. The Respondent holds no trademark registrations for any Allianz mark and has not received a license, authorization or any consent of any form from the Complainant to use the ALLIANZ trademarks.

The Complainant argues that the Respondent is using the fact that Internet users are hoping to access a website that belongs to the Complainant’s group of companies and is using the website to which the Disputed Domain Name resolves to exploit the good name of the Complainant for the Respondent’s own commercial gain. According to the Complainant, the Respondent is exploiting the fact that Internet users are hoping to access a website that in some way can communicate with someone who belongs or is directly related to the Complainant´s Group of companies. The Respondent is thus trading on the fame of the Complainant’s trademark which is connected in the public perception with insurance and financial services. Moreover, the Respondent is exploiting the good name of the Complainant. It is apparent that it is a “free-rider” and impostor trying to take unfair advantage of the well-known trademark of the Complainant.

Furthermore, the Complainant affirms that the Respondent does not have any rights or legitimate interests in respect of the trademark ALLIANZ nor any permission to register such trademark as a domain name under the circumstances, stated in paragraph 4(c) of the Policy. Considering this scenario, the Complainant affirms that the Respondent’s sole intention is to take unfair advantage of the well-known trademark ALLIANZ, also fulfilling paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy and paragraph 3(b)(ix)(2) of the Rules.

(iii) The Disputed Domain Name was registered and is being used in bad faith.

The Complainant’s Allianz trademarks are very well-known in many countries around the world, especially with regard to insurance products and financial services. It cannot be reasonably argued that the Respondent was unaware of the trademark when registering the Disputed Domain Name. The Respondent’s name refers to the German term “Allianz” without any other reference to Germany or the German language at all. The Respondent clearly pursued to register the Disputed Domain Name for its association with the Complainant.

The Complainant concludes that it is inevitable that the Respondent acted in bad faith when registering the Disputed Domain Name and continues to do so by using the website for financial services.

The Complainant state that the Disputed Domain Name <allianzex.com> was registered and is being used in bad faith.

In this regard, the Complainant notes that the Disputed Domain Name resolves to a website illustrated by the well-known ALLIANZ trademark and logo, and using the website in order to obtain private data from individuals interested in the allegedly fake financial services.

This way, the Complainant alleges that the Respondent is clearly seeking to divert Internet users – which were searching for the Complainant’ official website and services – to its own website for the purpose of commercial gain, which is evidence of bad faith.

B. Respondent

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

6. Discussion And Findings

In accordance with paragraph 4(a) of the Policy, in order to succeed in this administrative proceeding and obtain the requested remedy (in this case, transfer of the Disputed Domain Name), the Complainant must prove that each of the three following elements are present:

(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

The Panel finds that the Complainant has proven their ownership of the ALLIANZ trademarks, both through registration and widespread use. The Panel also finds that the Disputed Domain Name incorporates the ALLIANZ trademark in its entirety, with the only variation of the “ex” which does not prevent to recognize the trademark.

Also, for this Panel the generic Top-Level Domain (“gTLD”) “.com”” does not have any impact on the overall impression of the Disputed Domain Name and therefore is irrelevant to determine the confusing similarity between the trademark and the Disputed Domain Name.

Accordingly, the Panel finds that the Disputed Domain Name is identical to a trademark in which The Complainant has rights according with paragraph 4(a) (i) of the Policy and therefore the Panel finds that the Complainant has satisfied the first element of the Policy.

B. Rights or Legitimate Interest

Under paragraph 4(c) of the Policy:

“Any of the following circumstances, in particular but without limitation, if found by the Panel to be proved based on its evaluation of all evidence presented, shall demonstrate your rights or legitimate interests to the domain name for purposes of paragraph 4(a)(ii):

(i) before any notice to you of the dispute, your use of, or demonstrable preparations to use, the domain name or a name corresponding to the domain name in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services; or

(ii) you (as an individual, business, or other organization) have been commonly known by the domain name, even if you have acquired no trademark or service mark rights; or

(iii) you are making a legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the domain name, without intent for commercial gain to misleadingly divert consumers or to tarnish the trademark or service mark at issue.”

Paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy requires a complainant to establish that a respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the domain name. The consensus view among UDRP panels is that where a complainant makes out a prima facie case that the respondent lacks rights or legitimate interests, the burden of production on this element shifts to the respondent to come forward with relevant evidence, demonstrating rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. See section 2.1 of the WIPO Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions, Third Edition (“WIPO Overview 3.0”). In this case, the Respondent did not rebut the Complainant’s prima facie case regarding the lack of rights or legitimate interests.

In the present case, the Complainant declared that it is not affiliated or associated with the Respondent in any way. The Complainant also argued that it has not authorized or given any license to the Respondent in order to register, use or include the Complainant’s trademarks in the Disputed Domain Name. Furthermore, the Complainant established that the Respondent is not commonly known by the Disputed Domain Name or the Complainant’s trademark.

The Complainant stated that the Respondent is not a licensee of the Complainant, nor has it been otherwise allowed by the Complainant to make any use of the Complainant’s trademarks.

In these proceedings the Respondent is in default. Therefore, the Respondent did not present any evidence, which suggests that it is making a legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the Disputed Domain Name or is commonly known by the Disputed Domain Name or the Complainant’s trademark ALLIANZ.

At the time of this Decision, the Disputed Domain Name resolves to a website that displays the Complainant’s trademark and logo, and seemingly provides financial services. Therefore, the Panel finds that the Respondent is not making a legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the Disputed Domain Name.

The Respondent had the opportunity to demonstrate its rights or legitimate interests but did not do so. In the absence of a Response from the Respondent, the prima facie case established by the Complainant has not been refuted by the Respondent.

Therefore, the Panel finds that the Complainant has established that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the Disputed Domain Name.

For all the above-mentioned reasons, the Panel finds that the Complainant has fulfilled the second element of the Policy.

C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith

Paragraph 4(b) of the Policy lists a number of circumstances that, without limitation, are deemed evidence of the registration and use of a domain name in bad faith.

The Panel finds that it is unlikely that the Respondent had no knowledge of the Complainant’s rights in the trademark ALLIANZ at the time of registration of the Disputed Domain Name, taking into consideration the following facts (i) the trademark ALLIANZ is a well-known brand worldwide; (ii) the Disputed Domain Name was registered by the Respondent on December 6, 2021 – many years after the registration of the Complainant’s trademarks listed in section 4 of this decision; and (iii) the Disputed Domain Name resolves to a website containing images of the well-known ALLIANZ trademark.

The evidence shows that the Respondent was likely aware of the Complainant’ business and registered the Disputed Domain Name to take advantage of its reputation.

The Panel finds that the Disputed Domain Name has been used by the Respondent to offer what appear to be financial services. The website displayed on the Disputed Domain Name includes the Complainant’s trademark and logo, therefore for the Panel, this shows the Respondent’s intention of deceiving consumers into believing that it is an official website originating from the Complainant.

Moreover, the Panel finds that the Respondent’s intention of passing as the Complainant becomes evident when considering that the website hosted by the Disputed Domain Name could create the confusion to Internet users that they are visiting an official website of the Allianz Group.

The Disputed Domain Name resolves to a website copying the Complainant’s trademark. Such website even purports to provide what is apparent to be financial services similar as those provided by the Complainant. The Panel finds that the Respondent’s use of the Disputed Domain Name attempts to attract Internet users to the Respondent’s fraudulent website for the Respondent’s commercial gain. The Panel concludes that such use of the Disputed Domain Name is use in bad faith.

Having considered the above, the Panel finds that the Disputed Domain Name has been registered and is being used in bad faith, and the Complainant has fulfilled the condition provided in paragraph 4(a)(iii) of the Policy.

The Panel finds that the Complainant has satisfied the third element of the Policy.

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 <allianzex.com> be transferred to the Complainant.

Ada L. Redondo Aguilera
Sole Panelist
Date: March 3, 2022