On-line ADR Center of the Czech Arbitration Court (CAC)

Panel Decision

§ 15 of the UDRP Rules (Rules), § 9 of the CAC’s Supplemental Rules (Supplemental Rules)

Case No. 103080
Time of Filing 2020-05-26 11:13:42
Disputed domain name LNTESASANPAOLO.COM
Case Administrator
Name Šárka Glasslová
Complainant
Organization Intesa Sanpaolo S.p.A.
Authorized Representative
Organization Perani Pozzi Associati
Respondent
Name james john
Other Legal Proceedings
The Panel is not aware of any other pending or decided legal proceedings relating to the disputed domain name.
Identification of rights
The Complainant is the owner of the following registrations for the trademarks "INTESA" and "INTESA SANPAOLO":

- the international trademark registration No. 793367 for "INTESA", registered since 4 September 2002 for the class 36;

- the international trademark registration No. 920896 for "INTESA SANPAOLO", registered since 7 March 2007 for the classes 9, 16, 35, 36, 41 and 42;

- the EU trademark registration No. 12247979 for "INTESA", applied on 23 October 2013 and granted on 5 March 2014, for the classes 9, 16, 35, 36, 38, 41 and 42;

- the EU trademark registration No. 5301999 for "INTESA SANPAOLO", applied on 8 September 2006, granted on 18 June 2007, for the classes 35, 36 and 38; and

Moreover, the Complainant is also the owner of several domain names comprising INTESA SANPAOLO or INTESA.
Factual Background
FACTS ASSERTED BY THE COMPLAINANT AND NOT CONTESTED BY THE RESPONDENT:

THE DOMAIN NAME IS IDENTICAL OR CONFUSINGLY SIMILAR TO A TRADEMARK OR SERVICE MARK IN WHICH THE COMPLAINANT HAS RIGHTS.

The Complainant is the leading Italian banking group and also one of the protagonists in the European financial arena. Intesa Sanpaolo is the company resulting from the merger (effective as of January 1, 2007) between Banca Intesa S.p.A. and Sanpaolo IMI S.p.A., two of the top Italian banking groups.

Intesa Sanpaolo is among the top banking groups in the euro zone, with a market capitalisation exceeding 24,9 billion euro, and the undisputed leader in Italy, in all business areas (retail, corporate and wealth management). Thanks to a network of approximately 3,700 branches capillary and well distributed throughout the Country, with market shares of more than 15% in most Italian regions, the Group offers its services to approximately 11,8 million customers. Intesa Sanpaolo has a strong presence in Central-Eastern Europe with a network of approximately 1.000 branches and over 7,2 million customers. Moreover, the international network specialised in supporting corporate customers is present in 25 countries, in particular in the Mediterranean area and those areas where Italian companies are most active, such as the United States, Russia, China and India.

The Complainant is the owner, among others, of the following registrations for the trademarks “INTESA” and “INTESA SANPAOLO”:

- International trademark registration n. 793367 “INTESA”, granted on September 04, 2002 and duly renewed, in class 36;
- International trademark registration n. 920896 “INTESA SANPAOLO”, granted on March 07, 2007 and duly renewed, in classes 9, 16, 35, 36, 41, 42;
- EU trademark registration n. 12247979 “INTESA”, applied on October 23, 2013 and granted on March 05, 2014, in classes 9, 16, 35, 36, 38, 41 and 42;
- EU trademark registration n. 5301999 “INTESA SANPAOLO”, applied on September 08, 2006, granted on June 18, 2007 and duly renewed, in classes 35, 36 and 38.

Moreover, the Complainant is also the owner, among the others, of the following domain names bearing the signs “INTESA SANPAOLO” and “INTESA”: INTESASANPAOLO.COM, .ORG, .EU, .INFO, .NET, .BIZ, INTESA-SANPAOLO.COM, .ORG, .EU, .INFO, .NET, .BIZ and INTESA.COM, INTESA.INFO, INTESA.BIZ, INTESA.ORG, INTESA.US, INTESA.EU, INTESA.CN, INTESA.IN, INTESA.CO.UK, INTESA.TEL, INTESA.NAME, INTESA.XXX, INTESA.ME. All of them are now connected to the official website www.intesasanpaolo.com.



On December 10, 2019, the Respondent registered the domain name LNTESASANPAOLO.COM.

It is more than obvious that the domain name at issue is identical, or – at least – confusingly similar, to the Complainant’s trademarks “INTESA SANPAOLO” and “INTESA”. As a matter of fact, LNTESASANPAOLO.COM exactly reproduces Complainant’s well-known trademark “INTESA SANPAOLO”, with the mere substitution of the letter “I” in the mark’s verbal portion “INTESA” with an “L”. Consequently, the domain name at issue is a clear example of typosquatting.

In support of the above, the Complainant wishes to draw the Panel’s attention to WIPO decision Deutsche Bank Aktiengesellschaft v New York TV Tickets Inc, Case n. D2001-1314 – regarding the domain names <duetschebank.com> and <duetsche-bank.com>”. The Panel considered such domain names as being confusingly similar and a clear example of “a case of ‘typosquatting’ where the domain name is a slight alphabetical variation from a famous mark. WIPO jurisprudence offers many examples of confusing similarity brought about through easily made typing errors by an Internet user – particularly when the mark is another language from that of the user’s mother tongue.” The same case lies before us in this matter.


THE RESPONDENT HAS NO RIGHTS OR LEGITIMATE INTERESTS IN RESPECT OF THE DOMAIN NAME

The Respondent has no rights on the disputed domain name, and any use of the trademarks “INTESA SANPAOLO” and “INTESA” has to be authorized by the Complainant. Nobody has been authorized or licensed by the above-mentioned banking group to use the domain name at issue.

The domain name at stake does not correspond to the name of the Respondent and, to the best of our knowledge, the Respondent is not commonly known as “LNTESASANPAOLO”.

Lastly, we do not find any fair or non-commercial uses of the domain name at stake (see the contested domain name’s home - page).


THE DOMAIN NAME WAS REGISTERED AND IS USED IN BAD FAITH
The domain name LNTESASANPAOLO.COM was registered and is used in bad faith.

The Complainant’s trademarks “INTESA” and “INTESA SANPAOLO” are distinctive and well known all around the world. The fact that the Respondent has registered a domain name that is confusingly similar to them indicates that the Respondent had knowledge of the Complainant’s trademark at the time of registration of the disputed domain name. In addition, if the Respondent had carried even a basic Google search in respect of the wordings “INTESA” and “INTESA SANPAOLO”, the same would have yielded obvious references to the Complainant. This raises a clear inference of knowledge of the Complainant’s trademark on the part of the Respondent. Therefore, it is more than likely that the domain name at issue would not have been registered if it were not for Complainant’s trademark. This is a clear evidence of registration of the domain name in bad faith.

In addition, the contested domain name is not used for any bone fide offerings. More particularly, there are present circumstances indicating that the Respondent has registered or 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 Complainant, for valuable consideration in excess of the Respondent’s documented out-of-pocket costs directly related to the domain name (par. 4(b)(i) of the Policy).

The disputed domain name is not used for any bone fide offerings, even if it is not connected to any web site, by now. In fact, countless UDRP decisions confirmed that the passive holding of a domain name with knowledge that the domain name infringes another party’s trademark rights is evidence of bad faith registration and use (see, in this regard, Telstra Corporation Limited v. Nuclear Marshmallows, WIPO Case No. D2000-0003, and also the panels’ consensus view on this point, as reflected in the “WIPO Overview of WIPO Views on Selected UDRP Questions” at paragraph 3.2.).

In particular, the consensus view of WIPO UDRP panellists is that passive holding of a disputed domain name may, in appropriate circumstances, be consistent with a finding of bad faith. However, panels have tended to make such findings in circumstances in which, for example, a complainant’s mark is well-known, and there is no conceivable use that could be made of the domain name that would not amount to an infringement of the complainant’s trade mark rights.

As regards to the first aspect, the Complainant has already extensively proved the renowned of its trademarks. For what concern the second circumstance, it must be underlined that it is objectively not possible to understand what kind of use the Respondent could make with a domain name which does exactly correspond to the Complainant’s trademarks and that results so similar to the Complainant’s domain names currently used by the latter to provide online banking services for enterprises.

In the light of the above, the present case completely matches to the above requirements and the passive holding of the contested domain name has to be considered a use in bad faith: «The very act of having acquired [the domain name] raises the probability of Respondent using [it] in a manner that is contrary to Complainant’s legal rights and legitimate interests. [...] To argue that Complainant should have to wait for some future use of the disputed domain names to occur in order to demonstrate Respondent’s bad faith use is to render intellectual property law into an instrument of abuse by the Respondent. The result would be the likelihood of the accumulation and use of disputed domain names for the implicit, if not explicit, purpose of misappropriating or otherwise unlawfully undermining Complainant’s goodwill and business. The fact that this misappropriation may occur in any as yet undetermined manner at an uncertain future date does not negate Respondent’s bad faith. On the contrary, it raises the specter of continuing bad faith abuse by Respondent of Complainant’s Mark, name and related rights and legitimate business interests» (Decision No. D2004-0615, Comerica Inc. v. Horoshiy, Inc., concerning just the case of a bank).

The risk of a wrongful use of the domain name at issue is even higher in the present case, since the Complainant has already been targeted by some cases of phishing in the past few years. Such a practice consists of attracting the customers of a bank to a web page which imitates the real page of the bank, with a view to having customers disclose confidential information like a credit card or bank account number, for the purpose of unlawfully charging such bank accounts or withdrawing money out of them. It happened that some clients of the Complainant have received e-mail messages asking, by the means of web pages which were very similar to the Complainant’s ones, the sensitive data of the Clients, like user ID, password etc. Then, some of the Clients have been cheated of their savings.

Even excluding any “phishing” purposes or other illicit use of the domain name in the present case, anyway we could find no other possible legitimate use of LNTESASANPAOLO.COM. The sole further aim of the owner of the domain name under consideration might be to resell it to the Complainant, which represents, in any case, an evidence of the registration and use in bad faith, according to par. 4(b)(i) («circumstances indicating that you have registered or you have 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 that complainant, for valuable consideration in excess of your documented out-of-pocket costs directly related to the domain name»).

Lastly, it shall be noted that on February 20, 2020 the Complainant’s attorneys sent to the Respondent a cease and desist letter, asking for the voluntary transfer of the domain name at issue. Despite such communication, the Respondent did not comply with the above request.

In the light of the above, the third and final element necessary for finding that the Respondent has engaged in abusive domain name registration and use has been established.
 
NO ADMINISTRATIVELY COMPLIANT RESPONSE HAS BEEN FILED.

PARTIES' CONTENTIONS:

COMPLAINANT:

RESPONDENT:
Rights
The Complainant has, to the satisfaction of the Panel, shown the disputed domain name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which the Complainant has rights (within the meaning of paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Policy).
No rights or legitimate interests
The Complainant has, to the satisfaction of the Panel, shown the Respondent to have no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name (within the meaning of paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy).
Bad faith
The Complainant has, to the satisfaction of the Panel, shown the disputed domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith (within the meaning of paragraph 4(a)(iii) of the Policy).
Procedural Factors
The Panel is satisfied that all procedural requirements under UDRP were met and there is no other reason why it would be inappropriate to provide a decision.
Principal Reasons for the Decision
This is a mandatory administrative proceeding pursuant to Paragraph 4 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 CAC Supplemental Rules.

Paragraph 15 of the Rules provides that the Panel shall 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.

According to Paragraph 4(a) of the Policy, a complainant must prove each of the following: (i) the 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 domain name; (iii) the domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.

A. Identical or confusingly similar domain name

The Complainant demonstrated that it owns the asserted trademark registrations for the word marks "INTESA SANPAOLO" and "INTESA", all of which were registered long before the registration of the disputed domain name by the Respondent. The Panel finds that the Complainant has established such rights also in the Jurisdiction of the Respondent.

It is also well established that the generic top-level suffix .com may be disregarded when considering whether a disputed domain name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark in which the Complainant has rights, as it is a necessary technical requirement of a domain name.

The Panel, therefore, finds that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to the trademark in which the Complainant has rights, in fact the disputed domain name is a clear example of typosquatting in which the only first letter I was replaced by the capital L.

B. Lack of rights or legitimate interests

The Respondent has not filed a Response and has neither provided any other information that would oppose the Complainant's allegations. Therefore, the Panel holds that the Complainant successfully presented its prima facie case that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name.

In particular, the Respondent is not in any way connected with the Complainant nor is it authorized to use the Complainant’s trademark for its commercial activities. In addition, the Respondent is not commonly known by the disputed domain name pursuant to Paragraph 4(c)(ii) of the Policy. Furthermore, it was demonstrated by evidence submitted by the Complainant that the disputed domain name has not been used for a bona fide offering of goods or services or a legitimate non-commercial or fair use.

The Panel, therefore, finds that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interest in the disputed domain name.

C. Registration and use of the disputed domain name in bad faith

With respect to the bad faith argument, the Complainant states, in summary: (a) that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to its well-known trademarks; (b) that the Respondent had actual knowledge of the Complainant's rights in its trademarks; (c) that the disputed domain name is not used for any bona fide offerings; and (d) that the Respondent has registered or acquired the disputed domain name primarily for the purpose of selling, renting, or otherwise transferring the disputed domain name to the Complainant or to a competitor of the Complainant.

The disputed domain name is an intentional misprint because it would be a nonsense to register LNTESA a word that has no meaning and hardly can be pronounced. Of course, L is very similar to I when they both are written in capital and therefore this is the reason why the Respondent registered the domain name in re. Its bad faith is in re ipsa.

In addition, the Panel believes that the Complainant submitted evidence that sufficiently demonstrates the Respondent must have (or should have) been aware of the existence of the Complainant, its trademarks and its numerous domain names, and the Complainant is a prominent undertaking especially in the banking and financial sector on the national (Italian) as well as global basis. It is really difficult to conceive that a Respondent can chose a domain like that one in re without knowing very well the real Complainant’s name, trademarks and domain names.

With respect to the fact that the disputed domain name has not been put to any use, the Panel notes that the so-called passive holding of a domain name cannot prevent a finding of bad faith. In this present case, the Complainant's trademarks are distinctive, the Respondent failed to respond to the Complaint and there seems no plausible good faith use for the disputed domain name.

The Panel is satisfied that the Respondent has registered the contested domain name to attract visitors and maybe to carry out a phishing activity or other kinds of misconducts in which the contested domain name could have been used to mislead consumers.
Therefore, the Panel finds that the disputed domain name has been registered and has been used by the Respondent in bad faith.

In conclusion, the Panel finds that all three elements required by Paragraph 4(a) of the Policy were met and makes the following decision.
Decision
For all the reasons stated above, the Complaint is Accepted
and the disputed domain name(s) is (are) to be
LNTESASANPAOLO.COM Transferred to the Complainant
Panellists
Name Massimo Cimoli
Date of Panel Decision 2020-06-23
Publication of the Decision
Publish the Decision