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WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center

ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION

Confйdйration Nationale du Crйdit Mutuel v. Mervyn Mould

Case No. D2007-0207

 

1. The Parties

The Complainant is Confйdйration Nationale du Crйdit Mutuel, Paris, France, represented by MEYER & Partenaires, France.

The Respondent is Mervyn Mould of Buxton, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

2. The Domain Name and Registrar

The disputed domain name <securite-credit-mutuel.com> is registered with Tucows.

3. Procedural History

The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on February 13, 2007. On February 16, 2007, the Center transmitted by email to Tucows a request for registrar verification in connection with the domain name at issue. On February 16, 2007, Tucows 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”), 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 21, 2007.

On March 13, 2007, the Center received an e-mail from the Complainant requesting the suspension of the above-referenced administrative proceeding.

On the same date the Center granted the extension of time and notified the Parties that the administrative proceeding was suspended until April 12, 2007.

On April 10, 2007, the Center received a request for an extension of the suspension from the Complainant. On April 11, 2007, the Center granted the extension of time to May 11, 2007, and notified the Parties accordingly.

On May 10, 2007, the Center received a further request for an extension of the suspension from the Complainant and on the same date the Center granted the further extension of time until June 11, 2007, and notified the Parties accordingly.

On June 8, 2007, the Center received a further request from the Complainant, requesting a further extension to the suspension of the above-referenced administrative proceeding. On June 14, 2007, the Center granted the further extension of the suspension until June 25, 2007.

In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was June 24, 2007. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on June 25, 2007. On June 19, 2007, per the request of the Complainant, the Center reinstituted the proceedings.

The Center appointed James Bridgeman as the sole panelist in this matter on July 2, 2007. 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 has provided banking and financial services for more than a century. While the Complainant is engaged in many areas of financial services, it has a particular focus on personal banking. The Complainant has 3100 offices in France managed through 18 regional banks and has 10 million clients. It provides retail services both through its branches and online and has continually operated a portal website at “www.creditmutuel.com” since 1997 providing information to the public in relation to its products and services and generally financial matters.

Over the years, the Complainant has developed a substantial goodwill and reputation in the provision of banking and insurance services.

The Complainant is the owner of the following trademarks:

French figurative trademark, CREDIT MUTUAL, number 1475940, registered on July 8, 1988, in classes 35 and 36 and renewed on May 15, 1998;

French figurative trademark, CREDIT MUTUEL, number 1646012, registered on November 20, 1990, in classes 16, 35, 36, 38 and 41 and renewed on November 20, 2000;

English semi-figurative trademark, CREDIT MUTUEL, number 1464456, registered on May 18, 1991 in class 36 and renewed on November 20, 2000.

The Complainant and its computing subsidiary EURO INFORMATION own numerous Internet domain names including <creditmutuel.com>, <credimutuel.eu> and <credimutuel.fr> that resolve to the Complainant’s web portal site maintained at “www.creditmutuel.com”.

The Respondent registered the domain name at issue <securite-credit-mutuel.com> on July 23, 2006. The only information available to the Panel about the Respondent is that provided in the Registrar’s Whois database and the information provided by the Complainant in the Complaint. The Complainant states that the Respondent appears to be in some way related to Marley Bryan, who was the respondent in Confйdйration Nationale du Crйdit Mutuel v. Marley Bryan, WIPO Case No. D2007-0072 as the registrant in both cases was apparently listed as having the same email address at [email address]@yahoo.com.

5. Parties’ Contentions

A. Complainant

The Complainant submits that the domain name <securite-credit-mutuel.com> is confusingly similar to the Complainant’s trademark CREDIT MUTUEL.

Firstly, the Complainant’s trademark CREDIT MUTUEL is entirely reproduced in the disputed domain name. The mere adjunction of a dash between the words “credit” and “mutual” in the domain name is of no consequence in terms of confusing similarity.

Secondly, the disputed domain name combines the Complainant’s trademark with the French generic word “securite” which means “safety” or “security” in translation. In the context of an Internet domain name, the word “securite” may also mean protective security measures to make Internet users more secure in using the Internet. Such tools are commonly used by banks and financial houses to avoid the risk of fraud.

The addition of the dashes and the word “securite” do not distinguish the domain name from the Complainant’s trademark. On the contrary, the addition of the word “securite” adds to the confusion because it could be taken to be a reference to banking security tools used by the Complainant in its provision of services over the Internet to provide security for clients by avoiding activities such as “phishing” attacks.

The Complainant submits that the mere addition of a generic word to a distinctive well-known trademark to form a domain name does not distinguish the domain name. In this regard, the Complainant cites as examples the decisions of panels in Confederation Nationale du Credit Mutuel v. Josh Self, WIPO Case No. D2005-1057 relating to <creditmutuelonline.com>.

The Complainant submits that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interest in the domain name at issue. The Respondent is not in any way related to the Complainant or its business, he is not an agent of the Complainant nor does he carry out any business activity for the Complainant. The Respondent is not currently, nor has he ever been, known as CREDIT MUTUEL. No licence or authorization has been granted to the Respondent by the Complainant to make any use, or apply for registration and/or use of the domain name <securite-credit-mutuel.com>.

The Complainant submits that in similar circumstances the panel in Confederation Nationale du Crйdit Mutuel v. Josh Self, WIPO Case No. D2005-1057 found that the respondent had no rights or legitimate interest in the domain name <creditmutuelonline.com>.

Furthermore, the Complainant submits that the Respondent has not engaged in any action that shows that he has rights or legitimate interest in the domain name.

Alleging bad faith registration and use of the domain name by the Respondent, the Complainant submits that it is difficult to imagine that the Respondent could have ignored the Complainant’s well-known CREDIT MUTUEL trademark when he registered the domain name in dispute.

In particular, the decision to incorporate the French words “mutuel” and “securite” indicate that the Respondent is a French speaker.

Furthermore, the addition of the French word “securite” to the Complainant’s trademark CREDIT MUTUEL, gives the Complainant particular reason for concern because the Complainant is eager to ensure the security of its consumers on its website. The Complainant has taken active steps to ensure the security of its customers by providing consumers with personal identifications and has notably created a rubric on its website entitled “Security Information” that provides information on matters of Internet security and advice to Internet users and in particular its customers.

In deciding to register the domain name at issue, there is no doubt that the Respondent intended to refer to the Complainant’s well-known trademark and to lead consumers into a confusing belief that the domain name is in some way connected with the Complainant’s banking business. In similar circumstances, the panel in Confederation Nationale du Credit Mutuel v. George Kershner, WIPO Case No. D2006-0248, inferred that the registrant had actual knowledge of the Complainant’s trademark when the domain name <creditmutuelweb.com> was registered.

While the domain name at issue is inactive to date, the Complainant fears that it may be activated at some future date for the purposes of phishing.

White there is presently no evidence of such intention, nonetheless, the non-use of the domain name amounts to passive holding. The Complainant cites Telstra Corporation v. Nuclear Marshmallows, WIPO Case No. D2000-0003, in support of this claim.

B. Respondent

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

 

6. Discussion and Findings

Paragraph 4(a) of the Policy requires the Complainant to prove each of the following three elements to obtain an order that a domain name should be cancelled or transferred:

(1) the domain name registered by the Respondent is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which the Complainant has rights; and

(2) the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the domain name; and

(3) the domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.

A. Identical or Confusingly Similar

The Complainant has established that it is the owner of the registered trademark CREDIT MUTUEL and has established a significant reputation and goodwill in the use of that mark in the field of banking and financial services in France and other jurisdictions.

This Panel accepts the Complainant’s submissions that the domain name <securite-credit-mutuel.com> is confusingly similar to the Complainant’s CREDIT MUTUEL trademark.

The mere addition of the elements consisting of two dashes and the descriptive word “securite” to the Complainant’s CREDIT MUTUAL trademark do not distinguish the domain name from the Complainant’s trademark.

This Panel also accepts the Complainant’s submission that the additional word-element “securite” only adds to the potential of confusion because it could be taken to be a reference to website security tools used typically used by banks providing online services to prevent activities such as “phishing” attacks.

The Complainant has established the first element of the test in paragraph 4(a) of the Policy.

B. Rights or Legitimate Interests

The Complainant has put forward a credible prima facie case that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the domain name. In such circumstances, the onus shifts to the Respondent to establish that it has such rights or legitimate interests. As the Respondent has not filed any Response, the Complainant is entitled to succeed on the second part of the test in paragraph 4(a) of the Policy.

The Respondent is apparently not in any way related to the Complainant or its business. According to the case file, he is not an agent of the Complainant nor does he carry out any business activity for the Complainant. It seems that the Respondent is not currently, nor has he ever been, known as CREDIT MUTUEL. The Complainant has not granted any licence or authorization to the Respondent to use the trademark in any way or apply for registration of the disputed domain name.

The Complainant’s trademark is well-known and long established and there is no evidence that the Respondent has ever used the trademark for any legitimate purpose. The evidence before this Panel is that the Respondent has never even put the domain name to an active use.

In light of the above and in the absence of any explanation from the Respondent, the Panel finds that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interest in the domain name at issue.

The Complainant has therefore established the second element of the test in paragraph 4(a) of the Policy.

C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith

This Panel is also satisfied that the domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.

The Complainant has a long established reputation in its CREDIT MUTUAL trademark. This Panel is satisfied that the Respondent had actual knowledge of the Complainant’s trademark. This Panel is satisfied on the balance of probabilities that the Respondent intended to refer to the Complainant’s well-known trademark when choosing to register the domain name in issue.

There is no evidence to indicate that the Respondent had any bona fide reason to register the domain that essentially consists of the addition of the French word “securite” to the Complainant’s trademark CREDIT MUTUEL. The domain name at issue has been inactive to date, and the Complainant reasonably fears that if it were to be activated at some future date, it may be used for the purposes of phishing. There is, however, no evidence as to any intended use of the domain name by the Respondent.

That being said, any active use of the domain name would inevitably lead consumers into a confusing belief that the domain name is in some way connected with the Complainant’s banking business.

Given the strength of the Complainant’s trademark, the fact that there is no evidence of any actual or contemplated good faith use of the domain name and the lack of any plausible good faith use of the domain name by the Respondent, this Panel takes the inference that the passive holding of the domain name is indicative of bad faith registration and use of the domain name by the Respondent.

The Complainant has therefore established the third and final element of the test in paragraph 4(a) of the Policy and is entitled to succeed in its application.

7. Decision

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


James Bridgeman
Sole Panelist

Dated: July 16, 2007

 

Источник информации: https://internet-law.ru/intlaw/udrp/2007/d2007-0207.html

 

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