In August 2018, the insurance company filed a complaint with WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organization) and demanded that the domain allianz.travel be transferred. The domain was registered in Russia on January 23rd 2017 by a private individual.
Allianz SE, headquartered in Munich, was founded in 1890, is active in over 70 countries and has currently over 140,000 employees. This makes it one of the oldest and largest insurance companies and has over 88 million customers worldwide. It owns various German, European and international word and figurative marks "Allianz" and has registered various domains such as allianz.de, allianz.fr or allianz-jobs.com. It asserts its exclusive rights in the complaint and states that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to its trademarks. There is a clear impression that the domain name refers to the trade mark. In addition, the complainant states that the respondent has neither rights nor a legitimate interest in that domain name, but appears to wish to benefit from the reputation of the mark through that domain name. Above all, it underpins the malicious interest with the fact that its core insurance business is affected by the website for travel insurance under the disputed domain. The respondent has not made a statement to WIPO.
In its assessment, WIPO states that the disputed domain contains the complainant's distinctive trademark. It concludes that the domain name, even in combination with the top-level domain (TLD) .travel, is confusingly similar to the complainant's trademark and company name. It continues to believe that the respondent lacks rights to the domain name and has no legitimate interest. It is also highly unlikely, given the worldwide reputation of the mark, that such a domain could lawfully be used for any commercial purpose other than creating confusion, especially with a private individual. The disputed domain displays a website offering travel insurance, but no further information about the insurance provider or any connection with the complainant. The respondent has no rights whatsoever and, in the absence of an explanation, WIPO concludes in its decision that the domain is not being used with a bona fide offer of goods or services. In view of the fact that the trademark is known worldwide, current search engines are available and the global reach of the Internet, WIPO considers it almost impossible that the respondent did not know the trademark. Based on its examination, WIPO decides that the disputed domain should be transferred to the complainant. The complete decision is published on the WIPO website.
According to the current status (10/25/2018), the transfer has not yet taken place and the website with the offer can still be viewed.
It is always annoying for a company if there are domains outside its own portfolio that correspond to brand names, product names or company names. This makes it all the worse if they are freeloaders who want to profit from the awareness. Be it through mix-ups or phishing attempts. A strategy for such cases helps to take precautions (for example, to register certain domains defensively) and to define how to proceed in such cases. With a domain manager who knows all market restrictions and has experience in domain disputes like we do, a company-wide strategy can be developed or an existing one optimised. This allows image damage and sales losses to be limited.
Sources: WIPO, nic.travel