WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Confédération Nationale du Crédit Mutuel v. Eric Bilunov c/o Dynadot Privacy
Case No. DWS2014-0001
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Confédération Nationale du Crédit Mutuel of Paris, France, represented by MEYER & Partenaires, France.
The Respondent is Eric Bilunov c/o Dynadot Privacy of San Mateo, California, United States of America.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <credit-mutuel.ws> (the "Domain Name") is registered with Dynadot, LLC (the "Registrar").
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the "Center") on March 20, 2014. On March 20, 2014, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the Domain Name. On March 21, 2014, the Registrar transmitted by email to the Center its verification response confirming that the Respondent is listed as the registrant and providing the contact details.
The Center verified that 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(a) and 4(a), the Center formally notified the Respondent of the Complaint, and the proceedings commenced on March 25, 2014. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was April 14, 2014. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent's default on April 22, 2014.
The Center appointed Dawn Osborne as the sole panelist in this matter on May 7, 2014. 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 one of the members of a major Banking group is the owner of a Community Trade Mark for CREDIT MUTUEL, a well-known mark, dating back to 2011 and registered trademarks for the same mark and a logo in France, the earliest of which dates back to 1988. It has various domain names including <creditmutuel.eu> which points to its official web site.
The Domain Name was registered in August 2013 and has been used to host a page containing hyperlinks pointing to third party financial web sites competing with the Complainant.
5. Parties' Contentions
The Complainant's contentions can be summarised as follows:
The Complainant, a member of the main French Banking group, is the owner of a Community Trade Mark for CREDIT MUTUEL, a well-known mark, dating back to 2011 and registered trademarks for the same mark and a logo in France, the earliest of which dates back to 1988. It has various domain names including <creditmutuel.eu> which points to its official web site.
The Domain Name is identical to the Complainant's trade mark. The insertion of a dash between "credit" and "mutuel" does not alter the visual and phonetic identity with the Complainant's trade mark and does not differentiate the Domain Name from the same. The country code top level domain ("cctld") ".ws" should not be taken into account as it is a technical and necessary part of a domain name with no distinguishing feature.
The Respondent does not have rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Domain Name. It is not related in any way to the Complainant's business and does not have any business with the Complainant. It does not appear to be known by the Domain Name.
The Respondent has registered and is using the Domain Name in bad faith. In view of the reputation and well known nature of the Complainant's trade mark in the field of banking and financial services, it is difficult to imagine the Respondent not being aware of the Complainant when it registered the Domain Name on August 27, 2013, eighteen years after the Complainant's official web site was registered in 1995. The Complainant operates through a subsidiary in the United States where the Respondent is based.
The Domain Name is pointed to a parking web page bearing hyperlinks in the financial field some of which point to competitors of the Complainant. Promoting the services of a direct competitor infringes paragraph 4(b)(iv) of the Policy by creating a likelihood of confusion with the Complainant's mark as to source, sponsorship, affiliation or endorsement which establishes the Respondent's bad faith use of the Domain Name. By receiving pay-per-click revenues the Respondent has registered the Domain Name for commercial gain and to disrupt the business of the Complainant.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant's contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
According to paragraph 4(a) of the Policy, the Complainant must prove that:
- The Domain Name is identical or confusingly similar to a trade mark or service mark in which the Complainant has rights; and
- The Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the domain name; and
- The Domain Name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The Domain Name consists of the Complainant's CREDIT MUTUEL mark registered in the European Community with a dash "-" between the two words "credit" and "mutuel". The use of the geographical cctld ".ws" for Western Samoa sometimes used to mean "web site" and the use of the dash between the words "credit" and "mutual" does not serve to distinguish the Domain Name from the Complainant's CREDIT MUTUEL trade mark. As such the Domain Name is confusingly similar to a trade mark in which the Complainant has rights for the purpose of the Policy.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
The Respondent has not filed a Response and does not appear to have any trade marks associated with the name "Credit Mutual". There is no evidence that it is commonly known by this name and it does not have any consent from the Complainant to use this name. It does not appear to have used the Domain Name for any bona fide offering of services of its own. Accordingly, the Panel finds that the Respondent does not have any rights or legitimate interests in the Domain Name.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
Paragraph 4(b) of the Rules sets out non-exclusive criteria which shall be evidence of the registration and use of a domain name in bad faith including circumstances where, by using the domain name, the Respondent has intentionally attempted to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to its web site or other on-line location, by creating a likelihood of confusion with the Complainant's mark as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation, or endorsement of its web site or location or of a product or service on its web site or location. Reviewing the evidence of third party hyperlinks pointing to third party financial services web sites competing with the Complainant the Panel finds that the Respondent has attempted to attract and cause confusion amongst Internet users between the Complainants' marks and financial services and the financial services offered by third party businesses on the site attached to the Domain Name for commercial gain. As such the Panel finds that the Complainant has made out its case under paragraph 4(b)(iv) of the Policy.
Accordingly, the Panel finds that the Domain Name has been registered and used in bad faith.
For all the foregoing reasons, in accordance with paragraphs 4(i) of the Policy and 15 of the Rules, the Panel orders that the domain name <credit-mutuel.ws> be transferred to the Complainant.
Date: May 20, 2013