The Complainant is MIROVA, France, represented by Inlex IP Expertise, France.
The Respondent is Redacted for Privacy / Tod Francis, Francis Trucking Inc, United States of America (“United States”)
The disputed domain name <mriova.com> is registered with Tucows Inc. (the “Registrar”).
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on August 14, 2020. On August 14, 2020, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On August 14, 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 21, 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 25, 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 27, 2020. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was September 16, 2020. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on September 17, 2020.
The Center appointed Edoardo Fano as the sole panelist in this matter on September 25, 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.
Having reviewed the communication records in the case file provided by the Center, the Panel finds that the Center has discharged its responsibility under the Rules, paragraph 2(a), “to employ reasonably available means calculated to achieve actual notice to Respondent”. Therefore, the Panel shall issue its Decision based upon the Complaint, the Policy, the Rules and the Supplemental Rules and without the benefit of a response from the Respondent.
The language of the proceeding is English, being the language of the Registration Agreement, as per paragraph 11(a) of the Rules.
The Complainant is Mirova, a French company operating in the field of financial services and owning several trademark registrations for MIROVA, among which the following ones:
- European Union Trademark Registration No. 010787307 for MIROVA, registered on September 10, 2012;
- International Trademark Registration No. 1146522 for MIROVA, registered on August 14, 2012.
The Complainant also operates on the Internet, owning the domain names <mirova.com> and <mirova.fr>.
The Complainant provided evidence in support of the above.
The disputed domain name <mriova.com> was registered on July 2, 2020, according to the WhoIs records, and when the Complaint was filed the website at the disputed domain name was inactive.
The Complainant states that the disputed domain name <mriova.com> is confusingly similar to its trademark MIROVA, as the inversion between the letter “i” and the letter “r” of the Complainant’s trademark represents a clear case of misspelling and therefore “typo-squatting”.
Moreover, the Complainant asserts that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name since it has not been authorized by the Complainant to register the disputed domain name or to use its trademark within the disputed domain name, nor is the Respondent commonly known by the disputed domain name.
The Complainant submits that the Respondent has registered the disputed domain name in bad faith, since the Complainant’s trademark MIROVA is distinctive and internationally known. Therefore, the Respondent targeted the Complainant’s trademark at the time of registration of the disputed domain name and the Complainant contends that the bad faith use consists in the passive holding of the disputed domain name by the Respondent. Furthermore, the Complainant suspects that the Respondent is intentionally attempting to generate profits by using the disputed domain name for phishing activities, since the MX records attached to the disputed domain name have been activated.
The Respondent has made no reply to the Complainant’s contentions and is in default. In reference to paragraphs 5(e) and 14 of the Rules, no exceptional circumstances explaining the default have been put forward or are apparent from the record.
A respondent is not obliged to participate in a proceeding under the Policy, but if it fails to do so, reasonable facts asserted by a complainant may be taken as true, and appropriate inferences, in accordance with paragraph 14(b) of the Rules, may be drawn (see, e.g., Reuters Limited v. Global Net 2000, Inc., WIPO Case No. D2000-0441; Microsoft Corporation v. Freak Films Oy, WIPO Case No. D2003-0109; SSL International PLC v. Mark Freeman, WIPO Case No. D2000-1080; Altavista Company v. Grandtotal Finances Limited et. al., WIPO Case No. D2000-0848; Confédération Nationale du Crédit Mutuel, Caisse Fédérale du Crédit Mutuel Nord Europe v. Marketing Total S.A., WIPO Case No. D2007-0288).
Paragraph 4(a) of the Policy lists three elements, which the Complainant must satisfy in order to succeed:
(i) the disputed domain name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which the Complainant has rights; and
(ii) the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name; and
(iii) the disputed domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.
The Panel finds that the Complainant is the owner of the trademark MIROVA both by registration and acquired reputation and that the disputed domain name <mriova.com> is confusingly similar to the trademark MIROVA.
Regarding the inversion between the letter “i” and the letter “r” of the Complainant’s trademark, the Panel notes that this is a typical case of a deliberate misspelling of a mark (so-called “typo-squatting”), by adding, deleting, substituting or reversing the order of letters in a mark, where numerous UDRP panels in the past have found similarity to be present, (see, inter alia, Yurtici Kargo Servisi A.S. v. Yurticicargo Yurticikargo, WIPO Case No. D2003-0707; CareerBuilder, LLC v. Azra Khan, WIPO Case No. D2003-0493; The Sportsman’s Guide, Inc. v. Vipercom, WIPO Case No. D2003-0145; Neuberger Berman Inc. v. Alfred Jacobsen, WIPO Case No. D2000-0323). The inversion between the letter “i” and the letter “r” does not therefore prevent the disputed domain name from being confusingly similar to the Complainant’s trademark and can be considered as a case of “typo-squatting”.
It is also well accepted that a generic Top-Level Domain (“gTLD”), in this case “.com”, is generally ignored when assessing the similarity between a trademark and a domain name (see, e.g., VAT Holding AG v. Vat.com, WIPO Case No. D2000-0607).
The Panel finds that the Complainant has therefore met its burden of proving that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to the Complainant’s trademark, pursuant to the Policy, paragraph 4(a)(i).
The Respondent has failed to file a Response in accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5.
The Complainant in its Complaint and as set out above has established a prima facie case that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name, by asserting that the Respondent is not currently associated with the Complainant in any way and is not commonly known by the disputed domain name.
The prima facie case presented by the Complainant is enough to shift the burden of production to the Respondent to demonstrate that it has rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. However, the Respondent has not presented any evidence of any rights or legitimate interests it may have in the disputed domain name, and the Panel is unable to establish any such rights or legitimate interests on the basis of the evidence in front of it.
The Panel therefore finds that paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy has been satisfied.
Paragraph 4(b) of the Policy provides that “for the purposes of paragraph 4(a)(iii) of the Policy, 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 [the respondent has] registered or has acquired the domain name primarily for the purpose 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 the complainant, for valuable consideration in excess of its documented out-of-pocket costs directly related to the domain name; or
(ii) that [the respondent has] 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 [the respondent has] engaged in a pattern of such conduct; or
(iii) that [the respondent has] registered the domain name primarily for the purpose of disrupting the business of a competitor; or
(iv) that by using the domain name, [the respondent has] intentionally attempted to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to [the respondent’s] website or other online location, by creating a likelihood of confusion with the complainant’s mark as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation, or endorsement of [the respondent’s] website or location or of a product or service on [the respondent’s] website or location”.
Regarding the registration in bad faith of the disputed domain name, the reputation of the Complainant’s trademark MIROVA in the field of financial services is clearly established and the Panel finds that the Respondent likely knew of the Complainant and deliberately registered the disputed domain name, <mriova.com>.
As regards the use in bad faith of the disputed domain name, pointing to an inactive website, the Panel considers that bad faith may exist even in cases of so-called “passive holding”, as found in the landmark UDRP decision Telstra Corporation Limited v. Nuclear Marshmallows, WIPO Case No. D2000-0003. In the circumstances of this case, the Panel finds that such passive holding amounts to bad faith. Moreover, since the MX records attached to the disputed domain name have been activated, along with the nature of the disputed domain name (being a typo-squatting version of the mark), the Panel deems that there is a high risk that the disputed domain name is likely to be used for phishing activities, especially considering the Complainant’s financial business.
The Panel finds that the Complainant has presented evidence to satisfy its burden of proof with respect to the issue of whether the Respondent has registered and is using the disputed domain name in bad faith.
The Panel therefore finds that paragraph 4(a)(iii) of the Policy has been satisfied.
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 <mriova.com> be transferred to the Complainant.
Date: September 27, 2020
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