The Complainant is Allianz SE, Germany, represented internally.
The Respondent is WhoisGuard Protected, WhoisGuard, Inc., Panama / Azir Malik, Philippines.
The disputed domain name <allianzzbank.com> (the “Domain Name”) is registered with NameCheap, Inc. (the “Registrar”)
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on October 14, 2019. On October 14, 2019, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the Domain Name. On October 14, 2019, the Registrar transmitted by email to the Center its verification response disclosing registrant and contact information for the Domain Name which differed from the named Respondent and contact information in the Complaint. The Center sent an email communication to the Complainant on October 18, 2019 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 amended Complaint on October 21, 2019.
The Center verified that the Complaint together with the amended 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 October 28, 2019. The due date for Response was November 17, 2019. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default.
The Center appointed Wolter Wefers Bettink as the sole panelist in this matter on November 27, 2019. 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. On December 18, 2019, due to an administrative oversight regarding the Response due date, the Panel issued Procedural Order No. 1 to the Parties granting the Respondent a period of 6 days in which it may submit a response. In the absence of a reply from the Respondent, the Panel rendered its decision on December 26, 2019.
The Complainant’s oldest company was founded in 1890 in Berlin, Germany. The Complainant has approximately 142,000 employees worldwide, and serves around 92 million customers in more than 70 countries. The Complainant is a market leader in the German insurance market and is one of the world's largest asset managers, with thirdparty assets of EUR 1,436 billion. under management at the end of year 2018.
The Complainant is the owner of, inter alia, the following trade marks (the “Trade Marks”):
ALLIANZ AND DESIGN
399 27 827
ALLIANZ AND DESIGN
In its Best Global Brands 2018 study, the international marketing agency Interbrand ranked the trade mark ALLIANZ as No. 49 with a value of USD 10,821 million.
The Domain Name was registered on October 5, 2019.
According to the Complainant, the Domain Name is confusingly similar to the Trade Marks in which the Complainant has rights, as Internet users will recognize the Trade Marks in the Domain Name. In addition, the Complainant submits, under the Domain Name customers expect to reach one of the websites belonging to the Complainant or one of its subsidiaries, since by the use of the name ALLIANZ, the clear impression is made that the Domain Name refers to the Trade Marks, leading customers to the wrong domain name and increasing the danger of confusion and exploitation. Furthermore, the Complainant contends, the use of the Domain Name for services such as banking and asset management implies that the Respondent belongs to the Complainant’s group of companies and deludes potential customers into thinking that the Respondent is part of that group.
The Complainant states that the Respondent has no right or legitimate interest in the Trade Marks, as it holds no trade mark registrations for a trade mark including the name “Allianz”, has not received a license or any other form of authorization or consent from the Complainant to use the Trade Marks. In addition, according to the Complainant, the Respondent's activities do not correspond to any of the circumstances set forth in the Policy, paragraph 4(c), that would evidence any rights to or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name, did not use the Domain Name in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services before having been notified of this dispute, is not commonly known by the Domain Name and is not making legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the Domain Name.
The Complainant submits that the Respondent intentionally attempted, by using the Domain Name, to convince Internet users to act as being instructed (i.e. to reveal private information and data) by creating a likelihood of confusion with the Complainant’s mark as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation or endorsement of the disputed domain name. Furthermore, the Complainant states, since the Trade Marks are well known in many countries, especially with regard to insurance and financial affairs, it cannot be reasonably argued that the Respondent would have been unaware of the Trade Marks when registering the Domain Name. The Complainant concludes that the Respondent acted in bad faith when registering the Domain Name and continues to do so by using the email address [...]@allianzzbank.com and a website connected to the Domain Name to phish private data from individuals interested in the faked banking services.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.
The Complainant has shown that it has registered rights in the Trade Marks. The Domain Name is confusingly similar to the Trade Marks as it incorporates ALLIANZ, of which the Trade Marks consist, in its entirety, be it with a misspelling consisting of an additional “z” to ALLIANZ. As the Domain Name consists of a common, obvious, or intentional misspelling of the Trade Marks, it is considered to be confusingly similar to the relevant mark for purposes of the first element, since the Domain Name contains sufficiently recognizable aspects of the relevant mark ALLIANZ (see WIPO Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions, Third Edition (“WIPO Overview 3.0”), section 1.9). The addition of the descriptive term “bank” does not avoid a finding of confusing similarity between the Domain Name and the Trade Marks (WIPO Overview 3.0, section 1.8; see also, inter alia, TPI Holdings, Inc. v. Carmen Armengol, WIPO Case No. D2009-0361, and F. Hoffmann-La Roche AG v. John Mercier, WIPO Case No. D2018-0980). The generic Top Level Domain “gTLD” “.website” is typically disregarded under the confusing similarity test, since it is a technical registration requirement (see WIPO Overview 3.0, section 1.11). Therefore, the Panel finds that the Domain Name is confusingly similar to the Trade Marks in which the Complainant has rights.
Under paragraph 4(c) of the Policy, the second element a complainant has to prove is that a respondent lacks rights or legitimate interests in a domain name. This may result in the often impossible task of proving a negative, requiring information that is often primarily within the knowledge or control of the respondent. In order to satisfy the second element, the Complainant has to make out a prima facie case that the Respondent does not have rights or legitimate interests in the Domain Name. If the Complainant succeeds in doing so, the burden of production on this element shifts to the Respondent to come forward with relevant evidence demonstrating rights or legitimate interests in the Domain Name. If the Respondent fails to come forward with such relevant evidence, the Complainant is deemed to have satisfied the second element (See WIPO Overview 3.0, section 2.1).
Based on the evidence and the undisputed submissions of the Complainant, the Panel concludes that the Respondent has not received the Complainant’s consent to use the Trade Marks as part of the Domain Name, is not commonly known by the Domain Name and has not acquired trade mark rights in the Domain Name. Furthermore, the Complainant has submitted as evidence two screen shots of the website to which the website resolves, where the name “Allianzz Bank” is used in connection with the offering of financial services, inter alia offering the option to open a bank account. In addition, on the website the email address [...]@allianzzbank.com is displayed which users may contact for support. As there is no evidence that the Respondent is actually offering banking or other financial services, the website and the email address are apparently used to obtain personal data from Internet users, who are misled into believing that the website is supported by or connected to the Complainant. Therefore, it is evident that the Domain Name is not used for a bona fide offering of goods or services, nor does its use constitute a legitimate noncommercial or fair use.
In view of the above, the Panel concludes that the Complainant has established that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the Domain Name.
Based on the information and the evidence provided by the Complainant, the Panel finds that at the time of registration of the Domain Name the Respondent was or should have been aware of the Trade Marks, since:
- the Respondent’s registration of the Domain Name occurred forty years after the registration of the earliest of the Trade Marks;
- the trade mark ALLIANZ is a well-known trade mark in relation to insurance and other financial services;
- the addition of “bank” to “Allianzz” in the Domain Name indicates that the Respondent was aware of the business of the Complainant;
- a simple trade mark register search, or even an Internet search, prior to registration of the Domain Name in its name would have informed the Respondent of the existence of the Trade Marks.
The Panel finds bad faith use in the use of the Domain Name for a website which, as set out under 6B above, apparently aims to obtain personal data from Internet users, who are misled into believing that the website is supported by or connected to the Complainant. In addition, the following circumstances taken together warrant a finding of bad faith use of the Domain Name:
- the probability that the Respondent was aware or should have been aware of the Complainant’s rights in the Trade Marks;
- the use of a privacy shield upon the initial registration of the Domain Name;
- the lack of a formal Response of the Respondent.
Therefore, the Panel concludes that the Domain Name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.
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, <allianzzbank.com> be transferred to the Complainant.
Wolter Wefers Bettink
Date: December 26, 2019
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