The Complainant is Natixis, France (hereinafter “Complainant”), represented by Inlex IP Expertise, France.
The Respondent is WhoisGuard Protected, WhoisGuard, Inc., Panama / Bruce Hansen, United Kingdom (hereinafter referred to jointly and severally as “Respondent”).
The disputed domain name <natixis-uk.com> is registered with NameCheap, Inc. (the “Registrar”).
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on November 15, 2019. On November 15, 2019, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On November 15, 2019, the Registrar transmitted by email to the Center its verification response registrant and contact information for the disputed domain name which differed from the named Respondent and contact information in the Complaint. The Center sent an email communication to Complainant on November 18, 2019, providing the registrant and contact information disclosed by the Registrar, and inviting Complainant to submit an amendment to the Complaint. Complainant filed an amended Complaint on November 20, 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 Respondent of the Complaint, and the proceedings commenced on November 21, 2019. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was December 11, 2019. Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified Respondent’s default on December 12, 2019.
The Center appointed M. Scott Donahey as the sole panelist in this matter on December 17, 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.
Complainant is a French corporate and financial services company which is the corporate, investment and financial services arm of the BPCE Group, Frances second-largest banking services provider. Complainant has more than 17,000 employees in 38 countries, and its banking and financial services have been recognized in and awarded by numerous financial publications for its services in real-estate finance loans, equity research, impact management, and employee savings services to name only a few. Complaint, Annex 10.
Complainant holds a French registered trademark registered on March 14, 2006, and a European Union Community trademark No. 005129176 registered on June 21, 2007 for the mark NATIXIS, and an International trademark No. 1071008 registered on April 21, 2010 for the trademark and logo NATIXIS. Complaint, Annex 4. Complainant has registered the domain names, <natixis.com>, registered on February 3, 2005, and <natixis.fr>, registered on October 20, 2006, both of which redirect a user to Complainant’s official website. Complaint, Annex 5.
Respondent registered the disputed domain name on October 10, 2019. Complaint, Annex 1. Respondent uses the disputed domain name to resolve to a website which is a parking page with links to banking and financing services, including a link to “Natixis”.
Complainant contends that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to Complainant’s NATIXIS trademark. Complainant assets that Complainant has no business or legal relationship with respondent, nor has Complainant ever authorized or licensed respondent to use its trademark in any way. Finally, Complainant argues that Respondent has registered and is using the disputed domain name in bad faith.
Respondent did not reply to Complainant’s contentions.
“A Panel shall 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 directs that the complainant must prove each of the following:
(i) that 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
(ii) that the respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the domain name; and
(iii) that the domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.
The disputed domain name consists of Complainant’s well-known trademark NATIXIS followed by a hyphen and the letters “uk,” a common reference to the United Kingdom, a nation in which Respondent purports to reside. The term “natixis” is entirely fanciful and has reference only to the business name of and trademark registered by Complainant. The trademark is clearly recognizable in the disputed domain name. Accordingly, the Panel finds that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to Complainant’s trademark.
While the overall burden of proof in UDRP proceedings is on the complainant, UDRP panels have recognized that proving a respondent lacks rights or legitimate interests in a domain name 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. As such, where a complainant makes out a prima facie case that the respondent lacks rights or legitimate interests, 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. WIPO Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions, Third Edition (“WIPO Overview 3.0”), section 2.1.
In the present case Complainant alleges that Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name and Respondent has failed to assert any such rights. Accordingly, the Panel finds that Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name.
Respondent is using the disputed domain name to resolve to a parking page with links to financial and banking services, which Complainant is known to provide, and even a link which purports to direct the user to Complainant, in that it consists solely of Complainant’s fanciful name and trademark NATIXIS. As the name and trademark are associated only with Complainant and its financial and banking services, the Panel finds that this use clearly constitutes bad faith registration and use, since it has not only never been authorized by Complainant, but also is designed to mislead users.
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, <natixis-uk.com>, be transferred to Complainant.
M. Scott Donahey
Date: December 20, 2019
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