ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Crédit Industriel et Commercial S.A., Banque Fédérative du
Crédit Mutuel v. Michel Dupont
Case No. D2009-1498
1. The Parties
The Complainants are Crédit Industriel et Commercial S.A., Paris, France and Banque Fédérative du Crédit Mutuel, Strasbourg, France, both represented by Meyer & Partenaires, France.
The Respondent is Michel Dupont, Paris, France.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name is registered with eNom.
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on November 4, 2009. On November 5, 2009, the Center transmitted by email to eNom a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On November 5, 2009, eNom 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 November 9, 2009. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was November 29, 2009. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on November 30, 2009.
The Center appointed Emmanuelle Ragot as the sole panelist in this matter on December 11, 2009. 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 first Complainant, Crédit Industriel et Commercial S.A., hereinafter referred to as the acronym “CIC”, a limited company registered under the laws of France n° 542 016 381 R.C.S Paris, is a French banking group.
The Complainant CIC has its origin back to 1859 and uses CIC as its acronym, trade name and trademark since its origin.
The Complainant provides services to millions of clients and consists of a network of 2,122 branches in France, managed through several regional groups.
Furthermore, the Complainant has more than 20 offices outside of France.
The domain name was registered in 2000.
In 1998, CIC and Credit Mutuel -the acronym of which is CM- have merged into the Credit Mutuel Group – CIC (“CMCIC”)which is the second French Banking and insurance service group providing services to thirteen million clients.
Credit Mutuel operates a web portal at “www.creditmutuel.com”.
The second Complainant, Banque Fédérative du Crédit Mutuel of France, hereinafter referred to as “BFCM” a limited company registered under the laws of France n° 355 801 929 R.C.S Strasbourg, is the holding company of CMCIC banking group and carries the group subsidiaries and coordinates their activities in the fields of finance, insurance, IT and payment. It also assumes the group’s financial relations with large corporate and local communities and has a significant market share in flow processing payment, credit activities and financial engineering.
The Complainants CIC and BFCM provide evidence of a number of trademark registrations consisting of or including both the trade name and the acronym of the first Complainant, “CIC” and “CM”, in France and abroad, for instance:
- CIC and Crédit Mutuel are the registered owners of a large number of trademarks consisting of the combination of both acronyms CIC and CM in France and abroad such as the following trademarks:
- CM-CIC, French nominative trademark n° 043267901 of January 15, 2004 in classes 9, 16, 35, 36, 38 (Internet services) 41 and 42;
- CM-CIC, French semi-figurative trademark n° 043268115 of January 16, 2004 in classes 9,16,35,36,38 (Internet services), 41 and 42;
- CM-CIC, Community nominative trademark n° 003646957 of September 5, 2005 in classes 9,16,35,36,38 (Internet services), 41 and 42;
- CM-CIC Community nominative trademark n° 003644366 of June 16, 2005 in classes 9,16,35,36, 38 Iinternet services), 41 and 42.
Furthermore, CIC is the registrant of the following generic and country code top level domain names:
- BFCM is for instance the registered owner of the following trademark:
- CM CIC, French nominative trademark n° 04326731 of January 13, 2004 in classes 9, 16, 35, 36, 38 (Internet services) and 42;
These rights have been continuously used in commerce since their registration.
The Complainants use their trademarks as domain names to promote their activities for example : , , , , .
Through different subsidiaries, CMCIC group has been the owner of the following domain names since April 26, 1999:
All these domains names are pointing to the official website of the CMCIC at “www.creditmutuel.fr”.
As a consequence, the Panel finds that the Complainants have trademark rights in the combination of their respective acronyms “CM” and “CIC”.
5. Parties’ Contentions
The Complainants’ arguments are the following:
(i) The domain name is confusingly similar to the trademarks CIC and CMCIC, in which the Complainants have rights.
The Complainants assert that they own numerous registered trademarks, and they have registered numerous domain names that include the acronyms “CIC” and “CMCIC”, in which the Complainants have rights.
The Respondent has registered and used the disputed domain name which, according to the Complainants, is confusingly similar to the Complainants’ group’s trademarks.
The domain name is confusingly similar to Crédit Industriel et Commercial’s trademarks CIC as the trademark CM-CIC is entirely reproduced in the disputed domain name.
Consequently, the disputed domain name suggests that it refers to the Crédit Mutuel – CIC French banking group.
It is well established from previous UDRP decisions that the mere adjunction of the top-level domain name in a disputed domain name is of no consequence on the existing infringement.
Therefore, the adjunction of “.mobi” is not of distinguishing effect and is of no consequence on the exiting infringement.
See for examples:
- Credit Industriel et Commercial S.A. v. XUBO, WIPO Case No. D2006-1268 “The mere addition of a generic indicator to the name “cicbanques” does not affect the domain name being recognized as identical with the trademark CICBANQUES”.
(ii) The Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name.
The Complainants contend that the Respondent does not hold any registration for the trademark CIC, CM, nor CMCIC or similar mark.
The Complainants also state that the Respondent does not hold any license or any other type of authorization given by the legitimate holders of said trademarks to use them.
(iii) The disputed domain name was registered and is being used in bad faith
The Respondent could hardly have ignored the trademark CIC and its combination with the Crédit Mutuel acronym “CM” in the trademark CMCIC at the time he applied for the registration of the disputed domain name, given the strong reputation and the well-known character of the marks CM and CMCIC for banking and financial services since 1954.
The Complainants also allege that the Respondent does not use the disputed domain name for a legitimate non-commercial fair use.
Rather, the Complainants contend that the Respondent registered the disputed domain name within the framework of a phishing attack.
Accordingly, the Complainants request the Panel to issue a decision to transfer the disputed domain name to the first Complainant.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
Paragraph 15(a) of the Rules instructs the Panel to:
“decide a complaint on the basis of the statements and documents submitted and in accordance with the policy, these rules and any rules and principles of law that it deems applicable”.
Paragraph 4(a) of the Policy states that a complainant must prove that each of the three following element are present:
(i) That the disputed domain name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which the complainant has rights; and
(ii) That the respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respects of the disputed domain name; and
(iii) That the disputed domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.
A complainant must prove in the administrative proceeding that each of the aforesaid three elements is present so as to warrant relief, according to paragraph 4(a) of the Policy.
The Panel has to decide the Complaint on the basis of the statements and documents submitted and in accordance with the Policy, the Rules and any rules and principles of law that it deems applicable, pursuant to paragraph 15(a) of said Rules.
In accordance with paragraph 14(b) of the Rules, if the respondent does not submit a Response, in the absence of exceptional circumstances, the Panel shall decide the dispute based upon the Complaint.
The Panel finds that the Complainants have established trademark and common law rights in CM CIC and CIC CM with various registrations for CIC and CM CIC.
The combination “CM CIC” is the essential part of the numerous trademarks of the Complainants which are registered in several countries.
The disputed domain name is consequently confusingly similar to prior rights of the Complainants and is in any circumstances confusingly similar to the Complainant’s above mentioned trademarks. The Panel finds that the first element of the Policy has been established.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
Paragraph 4(c) of the Policy states that 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 the respondent’s rights or legitimate interests to the domain name for purpose 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 non-commercial or fair use of the domain name, without intent for commercial gain to misleading divert consumers or to tarnish the trademark or service mark at issue”.
It is well-established from previous UDRP decisions (See Croatia Airlines d.d. v. Modern Empire Internet Ltd., WIPO Case No. D2003 0455) that the burden of proof shifts to the respondent where the complainant established a prima facie case showing the lack of rights and legitimate interests of the respondent to the disputed domain name. If the respondent fails to rebut the complainant’s case, a complainant is deemed to have satisfied paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy.
In the present case, the Complainants state that they have not licensed or otherwise authorized the Respondent to use their trademarks. Furthermore, there is no evidence in the file showing any of the three circumstances under paragraph 4(c) of the Policy, or any other circumstance that would establish any rights or legitimate interests of the Respondent.
The Respondent has not submitted any Response and thus failed to demonstrate that it has rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name pursuant to paragraphs 4 (c)(i), 4(c)(ii), and 4(c)(iii) of the Policy.
Under these circumstances and absent evidence to the contrary, this Panel is unable to find any evidence that would tend to establish that the Respondent has rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name, and finds that the Complainants have made a prima facie case that the Respondent lacks such rights or legitimate interests. This has not been rebutted by the Respondent.
The Panel finds that the second element of the Policy has been established.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
Paragraph 4(b) of the Policy states that the following circumstances, in particular but without limitation, if found by the Panel to be present, shall be evidence of the registration and use of a domain name in bad faith:
“(i) circumstances indicating that you have registered or you have acquired the domain name primarily for the purposes of selling, renting or otherwise transferring the domain name registration to the Complainant who is the owner of the trademark or service mark or to a competitor of that complainant, for valuable consideration in excess of your documented out-of pocket costs directly related to the domain name; or
(ii) you have registered the domain name in order to prevent the owner of the trademark or service mark from reflecting the mark in a corresponding domain name, provided that you have engaged in a pattern of such conduct; or
(iii) you have registered the domain name primarily for the purpose of disrupting the business of a competitor; or
(iv) by using the domain name, you have intentionally attempted to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to your 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 your web site or location or of a product or service on your web site or location”.
As previously indicated, the Respondent did not file any response to the Complaint, failing thereby to invoke any circumstance which could demonstrate its good faith in the registration or use of the disputed domain name.
In the present case, despite the reputation of the Complainants’ trademarks used in connection with financial services, the domain name has been registered by the Respondent.
Furthermore, the Respondent is apparently using inaccurate information in the WHOIS details. As already stated in previous UDRP decisions, “the use of false contact information in Respondent’s initial registration is evidence that the Respondent registered in bad faith”. (Chanel v. 1, WIPO Case No. D2003 0218).
The Respondent thus most likely knew that the combination of the CM and CIC trademarks would have value for a banking institution such as the Complainants.
Furthermore, it may not be excluded that the main purpose of the website is to use it for phishing attacks.
The Complainants have already faced phishing attempts and have to protect their clients from phishing purposes.
Phishing is the criminally fraudulent process of attempting to acquire sensitive information such as usernames, passwords and credit card details by masquerading as a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication.
Phishing is typically carried out by email or instant messaging, and it often directs users to enter personal or sensitive details on a “fake” website whose look and feel is almost identical to the legitimate website of a company with which the potential “target” users may wish to do business.
Recent phishing attempts have targeted the customers of banks and online payment services.
The Panel concludes that pursuant to the facts as outlined above, the bad faith of the Respondent in the registration and use of the disputed domain name has been established by the Complainant.
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, be transferred to the first Complainant Crédit Industriel et Commercial S.A..
Dated: December 18, 2009