The Complainant is Belfius Bank S.A. / Belfius Bank N.V. of Brussels,, Belgium, represented internally.
The Respondent is WhoisGuard Protected, WhoisGuard, Inc., Panama / Pablo El Chapo, Russian Federation.
The disputed domain name <belfius-activeren.info> is registered with NameCheap, Inc. (the “Registrar”).
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on July 31, 2020. On July 31, 2020, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On July 31, 2020, the Registrar transmitted by email to the Center its verification response disclosing 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 the Complainant on August 10, 2020, 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 August 13, 2020.
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 August 17, 2020. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was September 6, 2020. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on September 7, 2020.
The Center appointed William F. Hamilton as the sole panelist in this matter on September 11, 2020. 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.
The Complainant provides banking and financial services. The Complainant primarily operates in Belgium with more than 5,000 employees and 650 offices. The Complainant is the owner of the service mark BELFIUS (the “Mark”) and has obtained several trademark registrations for the Mark including:
- The Community registration No. 010581205 for the mark “BELFIUS”, filed on January 23, 2012, and registered on May 24, 2012;
- The Benelux registration No. 0914650 for the mark “BELFIUS”, filed on January 23, 2012 and registered on May 10, 2012;
- The Benelux registrations No. 0915963 and 0915962 for the mark “BELFIUS (fig.)”, filed on March 2, 2012, and registered on June 11, 2012.
The Mark is a highly distinctive invented word composed of “Bel” as in Belgium, “Fi” as in finance, and the English pronoun “us”.
The Complainant promotes, advertises and offers its financial services at the websites “www.belfius.be” and “www.belfius.com”.
The disputed domain name was registered on May 27, 2020. The disputed domain name does not resolve to an active website.
The Complainant asserts the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to the Complainant’s Mark because the disputed domain name wholly incorporates the Mark in combination with a dictionary term. The Complainant asserts that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interest in the disputed domain name because the Respondent has never been known by the Mark and there is no evidence of any bona fide business by the Respondent using the Mark or the disputed domain name. Finally, the Complainant asserts the passive holding of the disputed domain name demonstrates the disputed domain name was registered and used in bad faith.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.
Under paragraph 4(a) of the Policy, to succeed the Complainant must satisfy the Panel that:
(i) the disputed domain name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which the Complainant has rights;
(ii) the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name; and
(iii) the disputed domain name was registered and is being used in bad faith.
The Panel finds that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to the Complainant’s Mark.
The disputed domain name is composed by adding the Dutch dictionary term “activeren” (“activating” in English) and the generic Top‑Level Domain (“gTLD”) “info” to the Mark.
The disputed domain name wholly incorporates the Complainant's registered mark. This fact is sufficient in this case to establish confusing similarity for the purposes of the Policy. Yellow Corporation v. MIC,WIPO Case No. D2003-0748; Playboy Enterprises International, Inc. v. John Taxiarchos,WIPO Case No. D2006-0561; Dr. Ing. h.c. F. Porsche AG v. Vasiliy Terkin, WIPO Case No. D2003-0888. “While each case is judged on its own merits, in cases where a domain name incorporates the entirety of a trademark, or where at least a dominant feature of the relevant mark is recognizable in the domain name, the domain name will normally be considered confusingly similar to that mark for purposes of UDRP standing.” WIPO Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions, Third Edition (“WIPO Overview 3.0”), section 1.7.
Moreover, a gTLD suffix does not dispel confusing similarity. “The applicable Top‑Level Domain in a domain name (e.g., ‘.com’, ‘.club’, ‘.nyc’) is viewed as a standard registration requirement and as such is disregarded under the first element confusing similarity test.” See WIPO Overview 3.0, section 1.11. See also Research In Motion Limited v. One Star Global LLC, WIPO Case No. D2008-1752 (addition of gTLD does not dispel confusion).
The Complainant has met its burden under paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Policy.
The Panel finds that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name.
The Complainant has specifically disavowed providing the Respondent with permission to use the disputed domain name or the Mark. There is no evidence that the Respondent has conducted any bona fide business under the disputed domain name. The Respondent did not respond to the Complaint and has failed to come forth with any evidence showing any rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. The passive holding or non-use of the disputed domain name under these circumstances evidences a lack of rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. American Home Products Corporation v. Ben Malgioglio, WIPO Case No. D2000-1602; Vestel Elektronik Sanayi ve Ticaret AS v. Mehmet Kahveci, WIPO Case No. D2000-1244; Red Bull GmbH v. Credit du Léman SA, Jean-Denis Deletraz, WIPO Case No. D2011-2209.
The Complainant has met its burden under paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy.
The Panel finds the disputed domain name was registered and used in bad faith.
The passive holding of the disputed domain name under the circumstances of this case also evidences bad faith as shown by the following factors: (i) the Mark is distinctive and well-known, (ii) an Internet search would have immediately disclosed the Complainant’s distinctive and coined Mark, (iii) the Respondent utilized a privacy service to conceal Respondent’s identity when registering the disputed domain name, (iv) the Respondent has failed to submit a response or to provide any evidence of actual or contemplated good faith, and (v) there is no plausible good faith use to which the disputed domain may be put. Telstra Corporation Ltd. v. Nuclear Marshmallows, WIPO Case No. D2000-0003; Inter-IKEA v. Polanski, WIPO Case No. D2000-1614; Inter-IKEA Systems B.V. v. Hoon Huh, WIPO Case No.D2000-0438. See generally WIPO Overview 3.0, section 3.3.
The Complainant has met its burden under paragraph 4(a)(iii) of the Policy.
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 <belfius-activeren.info> be transferred to the Complainant
William F. Hamilton
Date: September 19, 2020
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