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WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Mutuelle Assurance des Commercants et Industriels de France et des Cadres et Salaries de L'industrie et du Commerce (MACIF) v. Mr. Pierre Gricourt
Case No. D2003-0083
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Mutuelle Assurance des Commercants et Industriels de France et des Cadres et Salaries de L'industrie et du Commerce (MACIF), 2 et 4 rue Pied de Fond, 79000 Niort, of France, represented by Mr. Heckel, Cabinet Lavoix, of France.
The Respondent is Mr. Pierre Gricourt, 18, avenue d'Uzès, 78310 Le Mesnil Saint Denis, of France.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <macif.info> is registered with Alldomains.com.
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the "Center") on February 6, 2003. On February 6, 2003, the Center transmitted by email to Alldomains.com a request for registrar verification in connection with the domain name at issue. On February 6, 2003, Alldomains.com transmitted by email to the Center its verification response confirming that the Respondent is listed as the registrant and providing the contact details for the administrative, billing, and technical contact. The Center verified that the Complaint satisfied the formal requirements of the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (the "Policy"), 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 February 12, 2003. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was March 4, 2003. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on March 5, 2003.
The Center appointed Isabelle Leroux as the Sole Panelist in this matter on March 14, 2003. 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 following facts have not been contested:
a) The Complainant has rights on several trademarks and namely on the following one:
- the French registration " MACIF" n° 1 446 306 dated November 4, 1974, in classes 36 and 41;
- the CTM registration "MACIF" n° 000 018 028 dated April 29, 1998, in classe 36;
- the international registration "MACIF" n° 529 934 dated November 24, 1988, in classe 36 covering Germany, Austria, Benelux, Italy, Protugal and Switzerland.
The main services covered by these registrations are the followings: Insurance, finance, saving banks, banking, portofolio management, apartment house management, housing assessments.
b) The Respondent registered on October 7, 2001, the domain name: <macif.info>.
5. Parties’ Contentions
Complainant states in its own words:
The mark MACIF is very well-known on the French territory and MACIF is the second company being mentioned spontaneously by the public behind AXA, another French well-known insurance company.
The disputed domain name is identical to the prior trademarks of the Complainant to the exception of the top level ending ".info."
The Respondent has received a cease and desist letter from the Complainant and has replied that the domain name was intended to be used in connection with an international business information site.
However the Respondent has provided any evidence of legitimate rights or interests regarding the intention to use the disputed domain name.
The Respondent failed to submit any proof of the fact that he has, as an individual, been commonly known by the domain name.
Since the registration date of the disputed domain name no corresponding active website has been created.
The Respondent does not own any trademark rights in France comprising the term MACIF and does not belong to a company or association whose company name includes the term MACIF.
The domain name has been registered in bad faith.
The Complainant’s trademark is well-known in France.
The Respondent is a French citizen. He therefore must have known by the time of registration of the domain name that MACIF is one of the largest insurance company in France.
The Respondent provided no evidence of any good faith use of the disputed domain name and failed to answer by providing detailed information.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
Paragraph 15(a) of the Rules instructs the Panel as to the principles the Panel is to use in determining the dispute:
"A Panel shall decide a Complaint on the basis of the statements and documents submitted in accordance with the Policy, these Rules and any rules and principles of law that it seems applicable."
Paragraph 4(a) of the Policy states that, for a Complaint to be granted, the Complainant must prove each of the following:
(i) that the domain names registered by the Respondent are identical or confusingly similar to the trademarks or service marks in which the Complainant has rights; and
(ii) that the Respondent has no rights or no legitimate interests in respect of the domain names; and
(iii) that the domain names have been registered and used in bad faith.
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The prior trademarks of the Complainant "MACIF" are identical to the domain name <macif.info>. The addition of the gTLD ".info" would not affect the attractive power of the word Macif. Indeed, it does not confer to the whole a new meaning involving the absence of risk of confusion with the trademarks of the Complainant.
The registration of the domain name at issue could be considered as an infringement of the trademarks belonging to the Complainant.
Thus, the domain name <macif.info>generates confusion with the trademarks of the Complainant.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
The Respondent has not been licensed, contracted or otherwise permitted by the Complainant in any way to use the "MACIF" mark or to apply for any domain name incorporating the "MACIF" mark, nor has the Complainant acquiesced in any way to such use or application of the "MACIF" mark by the Respondent.
There is no evidence that the Respondent’s use, or demonstrable preparations to use, the domain name <macif.info> is in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services.
Indeed, although the Respondent replied to the Complainant that the domain name was intended to be used in connection with an international business information site, he refused to give more information about this project.
Moreover, since the registration of the domain name on October 7, 2001, it seems that no website has been or is accessible by using the domain name <macif.info>, nor does the Respondent appear to have any other online location with respect to this domain name.
On the contrary, the home page of the disputed domain name is redirected to the home page of "comingsoon.alldomains.com."
Furthermore, there is no evidence to show the Respondent, as either an individual, business, or other organization, has been or is commonly known by the domain name <macif.info> or has acquired any trademark or service mark rights in the domain name.
Finally, by not submitting a Response, the Respondent has failed to demonstrate that he has rights or legitimate interest in the domain name.
Thus, the Panel concludes that the Respondent had no rights or legitimate interests, within the meaning of paragraph 4(a)(ii) and (c)(i-iii) of the Policy to register a domain name consisting of the trademark of a third party.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
The Policy (paragraph 4(b)), indicates that certain circumstances may, "in particular but without limitation," be evidence of bad faith.
The bad faith of the Respondent is established by the following elements:
- The Macif company and its trademarks are well-known in France thus the Respondent who is a French citizen could not ignore the existence of the Macif company and of its trademarks.
- The Respondent has never used the domain name concerned. The absence of development of any website using the domain name in dispute or the absence of any other good faith use of the domain name are elements of the bad faith of the Respondent. Indeed, according to previous decisions, the notion of "use in bad faith" must not be limited to positive actions and the passive holding in relation to a domain name can constitute also another ground of use of a domain name in bad faith (WIPO cases n° D2000-0055, D2000-0098)
- The Respondent refused to give more information to the Complainant concerning his project to use the domain name <macif.info>.
The Panel finds that the Respondent’ s silence and attitude constitute the use in bad faith of the said domain name.
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, <macif.info> be transferred to the Complainant.
Dated: March 26, 2003