G.D. Searle & Co. v. PNP Management

Claim Number: FA0208000117914



Complainant is G.D. Searle & Co., Skokie, IL (“Complainant”) represented by Paul D. McGrady, of Ladas & Parry.  Respondent is PNP Management, Pasadena, CA (“Respondent”).



The domain name at issue is <>, registered with BulkRegister.



The undersigned certifies that he or she has acted independently and impartially and to the best of his or her knowledge has no known conflict in serving as Panelist in this proceeding.


Tyrus R. Atkinson, Jr., as Panelist.



Complainant submitted a Complaint to the National Arbitration Forum (the “Forum”) electronically on August 8, 2002; the Forum received a hard copy of the Complaint on August 9, 2002.


On August 9, 2002, BulkRegister confirmed by e-mail to the Forum that the domain name <> is registered with BulkRegister and that Respondent is the current registrant of the name.  BulkRegister has verified that Respondent is bound by the BulkRegister registration agreement and has thereby agreed to resolve domain-name disputes brought by third parties in accordance with ICANN’s Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (the “Policy”).


On August 12, 2002, a Notification of Complaint and Commencement of Administrative Proceeding (the “Commencement Notification”), setting a deadline of September 3, 2002 by which Respondent could file a Response to the Complaint, was transmitted to Respondent via e-mail, post and fax, to all entities and persons listed on Respondent’s registration as technical, administrative and billing contacts, and to by e-mail.


Having received no Response from Respondent, using the same contact details and methods as were used for the Commencement Notification, the Forum transmitted to the parties a Notification of Respondent Default.


On September 20, 2002, pursuant to Complainant’s request to have the dispute decided by a single-member Panel, the Forum appointed Tyrus R. Atkinson, Jr., as Panelist.


Having reviewed the communications records, the Administrative Panel (the “Panel”) finds that the Forum has discharged its responsibility under Paragraph 2(a) of the Rules for Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (the “Rules”) “to employ reasonably available means calculated to achieve actual notice to Respondent.”  Therefore, the Panel may issue its decision based on the documents submitted and in accordance with the ICANN Policy, ICANN Rules, the Forum’s Supplemental Rules and any rules and principles of law that the Panel deems applicable, without the benefit of any Response from Respondent.



Complainant requests that the domain name be transferred from Respondent to Complainant.



A.     Complainant makes the following averments:

1.      Respondent’s <> domain name is confusingly similar to Complainant’s CELEBREX mark.


2.      Respondent does not have any rights or legitimate interests in the <> domain name.


3.      Respondent reigstered and used the <> domain name in bad faith.


B.     Respondent failed to submit a Response in this proceeding.



Complainant is the owner of numerous trademark registrations and applications that reflect the CELEBREX mark, including U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) Reg. No. 2,307,888  registered on January 11, 2000 and listed on the Principal Register. Complainant has filed applications and registrations in an attempt to protect its CELEBREX mark in more than 112 countries. In general, Complainant’s CELEBREX mark is used to market “pharmaceutical products in the nature of anti-inflammatory analgesics.[1]

Complainant’s CELEBREX mark identifies its internationally known pain-relieving drugs to the consuming public. Complainant began filing applications for registrations of the CELEBREX mark around February of 1998, and its celebrated drug began receiving media attention in December of 1998.


Complainant has made extensive use of its CELEBREX mark by using it in connection with the sale of its anti-arthritic medicine worldwide. Due to the extensive marketing and advertising expended on the promotion of the CELEBREX mark, CELEBREX has earned fame in the U.S. and abroad. For example, Complainant’s CELEBREX mark and corresponding pharmaceutical was referred to in a The New York Times article as a “blockbuster arthritis drug,” and has also received publicity from Forbes magazine.


Respondent registered the <> domain name on September 18, 2000. Complainant’s Submission indicates that Respondent’s domain name resolves to a website that advertises drugs and attempts to solicit orders from visiting Internet users. Respondent is not licensed nor is there any evidence supporting a finding that Respondent has any quality controls in place to distribute Complainant’s CELEBREX product.



Paragraph 15(a) of the Rules instructs this Panel to “decide a complaint on the basis of the statements and documents submitted in accordance with the Policy, these Rules and any rules and principles of law that it deems applicable.”


In view of Respondent's failure to submit a Response, the Panel shall decide this administrative proceeding on the basis of the Complainant's undisputed representations pursuant to paragraphs 5(e), 14(a) and 15(a) of the Rules and draw such inferences it considers appropriate pursuant to paragraph 14(b) of the Rules.


Paragraph 4(a) of the Policy requires that the Complainant must prove each of the following three elements to obtain an order that a domain name should be cancelled or transferred:


(1)    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

(2)    the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the domain name; and

(3) the domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.


Identical and/or Confusingly Similar

Complainant has established rights in the CELEBREX mark by creating the fanciful term in connection with its pharmaceutical business, and seeking subsequent registration of the mark with the USPTO and 111 other international trademark authorities. Complainant has also subsequently extensively used the CELEBREX mark in commerce.


Respondent’s <> domain name is confusingly similar to Complainant’s CELEBREX mark. Although Respondent’s domain name includes various marks, which represent competitor’s products, it still incorporates Complainant’s CELEBREX mark in its entirety. Respondent’s inclusion of numerous other drug-related marks only increases the likelihood of confusion that will result from use of the domain name, especially since Respondent operates in a similar field as Complainant. See Arthur Guinness Son & Co. (Dublin) Ltd.  v. Healy/BOSTH, D2001-0026 (WIPO Mar. 23, 2001) (finding confusing similarity where the domain name in dispute contains the identical mark of Complainant combined with a generic word or term); see also Slep-Tone Entm't Corp. v. Sounds Choice Disc Jockeys, Inc., FA 93636 (Nat. Arb. Forum Mar. 13, 2000) (stating that “likelihood of confusion is further increased by the fact that the Respondent and [Complainant] operate within the same industry”); see also G.D. Searle & Co.  v. Christensen, FA 100647 (finding <> to be confusingly similar to Complainant's CELEBREX mark).


Accordingly, the Panel finds that Policy ¶ 4(a)(i) has been satisfied.


Rights or Legitimate Interests

The Panel has determined that Complainant’s Submission constitutes a prima facie case for the purpose of this proceeding. Because Complainant’s allegations and evidence are uncontested, it is proper for the Panel to accept all of Complainant’s reasonable assertions and inferences as true. See Talk City, Inc. v. Robertson, D2000-0009 (WIPO Feb. 29, 2000) (“In the absence of a response, it is appropriate to accept as true all allegations of the Complaint”).


Furthermore, Respondent did not submit a Response in this proceeding, thereby failing to propose any set of facts or circumstances that would indicate it has rights or legitimate interests in the <> domain name under Policy ¶ 4(a)(ii). See Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce v. D3M Virtual Reality Inc., AF-0336 (eResolution Sept. 23, 2000) (finding no rights or legitimate interests where no such right or interest was immediately apparent to the Panel and Respondent did not come forward to suggest any right or interest it may have possessed); see also Parfums Christian Dior v. QTR Corp., D2000-0023 (WIPO Mar. 9, 2000) (finding that by not submitting a Response, Respondent has failed to invoke any circumstance which could demonstrate any rights or legitimate interests in the domain name).


Complainant has made uncontested assertions that Respondent’s disputed domain name resolves to a website that is primarily used for soliciting pharmaceutical orders. Respondent utilizes Complainant’s CELEBREX mark in solicitations without the requisite license or quality controls in place. All the circumstances surrounding Respondent’s registration and use of Complainant’s CELEBREX mark in the infringing domain name indicate that Respondent opportunistically registered Complainant’s famous mark in order to capitalize from a perceived affiliation with Complainant. Respondent’s exploitation of Complainant’s CELEBREX mark does not constitute a bona fide offering of goods or services pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(c)(i). Furthermore, because Respondent presumably benefits from its pharmaceutical business and the diverted Internet interest derived from using Complainant’s mark, Respondent is not making  a legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the domain name under Policy ¶ 4(c)(iii). See North Coast Med., Inc. v. Allegro Med., FA 95541 (Nat. Arb. Forum Oct. 2, 2000) (finding no bona fide use where Respondent used the domain name to divert Internet users to its competing website); see also Household Int’l, Inc. v. Cyntom Enter., FA 95784 (Nat. Arb. Forum Nov. 7, 2000) (inferring that Respondent registered the domain name <>, which incorporates Complainants HOUSEHOLD BANK mark, with hopes of attracting Complainant’s customers and thus finding no rights or legitimate interests).


Respondent’s asserted WHOIS name, PNP Management, has no apparent affiliation or connection with Complainant’s CELEBREX mark or the <> domain name. There is no evidence before the Panel that would suggest Respondent is commonly known by the domain name, or the confusing second-level domain; thus, Respondent fails to establish rights in the domain name under Policy ¶ 4(c)(ii). See Gallup Inc. v. Amish Country Store, FA 96209 (Nat. Arb. Forum Jan. 23, 2001) (finding that Respondent does not have rights in a domain name when Respondent is not known by the mark); see also Compagnie de Saint Gobain v. Com-Union Corp., D2000-0020 (WIPO Mar. 14, 2000) (finding no rights or legitimate interest where Respondent was not commonly known by the mark and never applied for a license or permission from Complainant to use the trademarked name).


Accordingly, the Panel finds that Policy ¶ 4(a)(ii) has been satisfied.


Registration and Use in Bad Faith

The circumstances surrounding Respondent’s registration of the <> domain name suggest that Respondent had knowledge of Complainant’s mark prior to seeking registration of the infringing domain name. Complainant’s CELEBREX mark represents a fanicful mark, and Complainant has exclusive control of the licensing and authorized use of its mark. Furthermore, Complainant’s CELEBREX mark is listed on the Principal Register of the USPTO, which precendent and policy has determined constitutes constructive notice of the registrant’s rights in the mark. Respondent’s place of domicile is listed as California, thereby subjecting Respondent to the USPTO’s jurisdiction. Respondent’s intentional registration of Complainant’s mark, despite knowledge of the infringing nature of its domain name, constitues bad faith registration under Policy ¶ 4(a)(iii). See Victoria’s Cyber Secret Ltd. P’ship v. V Secret Catalogue, Inc., 161 F.Supp.2d 1339, 1349 (S.D.Fla. 2001) (noting that “a Principal Register registration [of a trademark or service mark] is constructive notice of a claim of ownership so as to eliminate any defense of good faith adoption” pursuant to 15 U.S.C. § 1072); see also  Samsonite Corp. v. Colony Holding, FA 94313 (Nat. Arb. Forum Apr. 17, 2000) (finding that evidence of bad faith includes actual or constructive knowledge of a commonly known mark at the time of registration); see also Entrepreneur Media, Inc. v. Smith, 279 F.3d 1135, 1148 (9th Cir. Feb. 11, 2002) (finding that "[w]here an alleged infringer chooses a mark he knows to be similar to another, one can infer an intent to confuse").


As stated, Respondent’s infringing domain name resolves to a website that solicits pharmaceutical orders for various drugs. Respondent opportunistically registered Complainant’s CELEBREX mark, as well as other famous marks, in its domain name in order to benefit from the false perception that its Internet services were somehow related to Complainant, or Roche, Bayer, or Pfizer. By using the infringing domain name, Complainant has intentionally attempted to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to its website by creating a likelihood of confusion; thus, Respondent’s domain name has been registered and used in bad faith pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(b)(iv). See Drs. Foster & Smith, Inc. v. Lalli, FA 95284 (Nat. Arb. Forum Aug. 21, 2000) (finding bad faith where Respondent directed Internet users seeking Complainant’s site to its own website for commercial gain); see also Am. Online, Inc. v. Tencent Comm. Corp., FA 93668 (Nat. Arb. Forum Mar. 21, 2000) (finding bad faith where Respondent registered and used an infringing domain name to attract users to a website sponsored by Respondent).


The Panel finds that Policy ¶ 4(a)(iii) has been satisfied.



Having established all three elements required under ICANN Policy, the Panel concludes that relief shall be hereby GRANTED.


Accordingly, it is Ordered that the <> domain name by TRANSFERRED from Respondent to Complainant.





Tyrus R. Atkinson, Jr., Panelist

Dated: October 4, 2002.





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[1] Agents that relieve pain without causing loss of consciousness.