G.D. Searle & Co. v. !!!#1 Celebres Xenical Online
Claim Number: FA0210000126837
Complainant is G.D. Searle & Co., Peapack, NJ (“Complainant”) represented by Paul D. McGrady, Jr., of Ladas & Parry. Respondent is !!!#1 Celebrex Xenical Online, Beverly Hills, CA (“Respondent”).
REGISTRAR AND DISPUTED DOMAIN NAME
The domain name at issue is <1-celebrex-xenical-online.com>, registered with AllDomains.com, Inc.
The undersigned certifies that she has acted independently and impartially and to the best of her knowledge has no known conflict in serving as Panelist in this proceeding.
Sandra Franklin as Panelist.
Complainant submitted a Complaint to the National Arbitration Forum (the “Forum”) electronically on October 3, 2002; the Forum received a hard copy of the Complaint on .
On October 3, 2002, AllDomains.com, Inc. confirmed by e-mail to the Forum that the domain name <1-celebrex-xenical-online.com> is registered with AllDomains.com, Inc. and that Respondent is the current registrant of the name. AllDomains.com, Inc. has verified that Respondent is bound by the AllDomains.com, Inc. 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 October 8, 2002, a Notification of Complaint and Commencement of Administrative Proceeding (the “Commencement Notification”), setting a deadline of October 28, 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 November 18, 2002, pursuant to Complainant’s request to have the dispute decided by a single-member Panel, the Forum appointed Sandra Franklin 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.
PROCEDURAL ISSUE – MARKS OF MULTIPLE PARTIES
Respondent’s <1-celebrex-xenical-online.com> domain name incorporates numerous parties’ marks and interests. More specifically, the following drug companies are implicated by way of Respondent’s domain name: G.D. Searle (Complainant) (CELEBREX), and Roche Laboratories, Inc. (XENICAL). Due to practical difficulties inherent in the UDRP, cooperative complaint initiation is unlikely and unfeasible. Because Complainant initiated this dispute prior to any other interested party, it has the opportunity to acquire the domain name, while seeking to protect its CELEBREX mark from an infringing use. However, due to the procedural complexities presented by the current dispute the following issue must be addressed: that Complainant seeks acquisition of the subject domain name in good faith, and will forfeit its interest in the contested domain name if the other represented marks are infringed upon following a transfer of the domain name registration to Complainant. See G.D. Searle v. Martin Mktg., FA 118277 (Nat. Arb. Forum Oct. 1, 2002) (Complainant’s continuing control of the <viagra-xenical-celebrex-propecia-meridia-zyban.com> domain name is contingent upon good faith possession, and Complainant will forfeit its interest in the domain name if it infringes on the other represented marks).
Complainant requests that the domain name be transferred from Respondent to Complainant.
The <1-celebrex-xenical-online.com> domain name is confusingly similar to Complainant's CELEBREX mark.
Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name.
Respondent registered and used the disputed domain name in bad faith.
Respondent failed to submit a Response.
Complainant has promoted its CELEBREX mark on a global scale. Due to its extensive marketing and advertising campaigns that promote the CELEBREX mark, the mark has earned worldwide notoriety. The New York Times referred to Complainant’s CELEBREX product as a “blockbuster arthritis drug,” and Forbes referred to CELEBREX as the “sales crown jewel in [Complainant’s] new portfolio.”
Complainant has registered its CELEBREX mark in 112 countries around the world, including the United States. Complainant’s mark is registered on the Principal Register of the United States Patent and Trademark Office as Registration Number 2,321,622. Complainant’s mark represents “pharmaceutical products in the nature of anti-inflammatory analgesics.”
Respondent registered the disputed domain name on March 9, 2001. Respondent is using the disputed domain name in order to solicit drug orders from Internet users. Respondent does not have a license from Complainant to use the CELEBREX mark.
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 Respondent is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which Complainant has rights; and
(2) 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, through its registration with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, that it has rights in the CELEBREX mark. Furthermore, Complainant’s wide-spread and international use of the mark has created significant goodwill and fame for Complainant’s CELEBREX mark.
Respondent’s <1-celebrex-xenical-online.com> domain name is confusingly similar to Complainant’s mark because it merely incorporates the brand name of another popular drug, the numeral “1,” and the descriptive term “online.” Complainant’s CELEBREX mark is still one of the more distinctive characteristics of the domain name despite these additions. The addition of the XENICAL mark merely contributes to the Internet user confusion as to the source, sponsorship and affiliation of the disputed domain name. See G.D. Searle & Co. v. Fred Pelham, FA 117911 (Nat. Arb. Forum Sept. 19, 2002) (finding that the addition of other drug names does not create a distinct mark capable of overcoming a claim of confusing similarity, “it merely creates a domain name with severe potential to confuse Internet users as to the source, sponsorship and affiliation of the domain”). Moreover, the addition of a single number such as “1” does not create a distinct mark capable of overcoming a claim of confusing similarity. See Reuters Ltd. v. Global Net 2000, Inc., D2000-0441 (WIPO July 13, 2000) (finding that a domain name which differs by only one letter from a trademark has a greater tendency to be confusingly similar to the trademark where the trademark is highly distinctive). Finally, the addition of a generic term such as “online” does nothing other than designate that the marks included in the domain name may be found on the Internet. The addition of a term such as “online” does not add any distinctive qualities to the disputed domain name capable of overcoming a Policy ¶ 4(a)(i) confusingly similar analysis. See Broadcom Corp. v. Domain Depot, FA 96854 (Nat. Arb. Forum Apr. 23, 2001) (finding the <broadcomonline.com> domain name is confusingly similar to Complainant’s BROADCOM mark).
The addition of hyphens in-between the words of the disputed domain name also does not create any distinctive characteristic capable of overcoming a claim on confusing similarity. See Chernow Communications Inc. v. Kimball, D2000-0119 (WIPO May 18, 2000) (holding “that the use or absence of punctuation marks, such as hyphens, does not alter the fact that a name is identical to a mark"); see also Dollar Fin. Group, Inc. v. Advanced Legal Sys., Inc., FA 95102 (Nat. Arb. Forum Aug. 14, 2000) (finding that the domain name <loan-mart.com> is confusingly similar to the Complainant’s mark).
The Panel finds that Policy ¶ 4(a)(i) has been satisfied.
Rights or Legitimate Interests
Respondent has failed to respond, therefore it is assumed that Respondent lacks rights and legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. When Complainant asserts a prima facie case against Respondent, the burden of proof shifts to Respondent to show that it has rights or legitimate interests pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(a)(ii). See Do The Hustle, LLC v. Tropic Web, D2000-0624 (WIPO Aug. 21, 2000) (finding that once Complainant asserts that Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the domain, the burden shifts to Respondent to provide credible evidence that substantiates its claim of rights and legitimate interests in the domain name); see also Parfums Christian Dior v. QTR Corp., D2000-0023 (WIPO Mar. 9, 2000) (finding that by not submitting a Response, the Respondent has failed to invoke any circumstance which could demonstrate any rights or legitimate interests in the domain name).
Furthermore, because Respondent has not submitted a Response, it is appropriate for the Panel to accept all reasonable allegations and inferences in the Complaint as true. See Vertical Solutions Mgmt., Inc. v. webnet-marketing, inc., FA 95095 (Nat. Arb. Forum July 31, 2000) (failure to respond allows all reasonable inferences of fact in the allegations of Complainant to be deemed true); see also Charles Jourdan Holding AG v. AAIM, D2000-0403 (WIPO June 27, 2000) (finding it appropriate for the Panel to draw adverse inferences from Respondent’s failure to reply to the Complaint).
Respondent is using a confusingly similar domain name in order to attract Internet users looking for Complainant’s CELEBREX product to Respondent’s website. The use of Complainant’s mark to attract Internet users to Respondent’s website is not considered to be a use in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(c)(i), or a legitimate, noncommercial or fair use pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(c)(iii). See Big Dog Holdings, Inc. v. Day, FA 93554 (Nat. Arb. Forum Mar. 9, 2000) (finding no legitimate use when Respondent was diverting consumers to its own website by using Complainant’s trademarks); see also Toronto-Dominion Bank v. Karpachev, 188 F.Supp.2d 110, 114 (D. Mass. 2002) (finding that, because Respondent's sole purpose in selecting the domain names was to cause confusion with Complainant's website and marks, it's use of the names was not in connection with the offering of goods or services or any other fair use).
Based on the fame of Complainant’s mark, as well as the well-known nature of the XENICAL mark it would be very difficult for Respondent to establish that it is commonly known by the disputed domain name. Respondent has failed to come forward with any evidence in this dispute, therefore there is no proof on record that Respondent is commonly known by 1-CELEBREX-XENICAL-ONLINE or <1-celebrex-xenical-online.com>. Therefore, Respondent has not established that it has rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name pursuant to 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).
The Panel finds that Policy ¶ 4(a)(ii) has been satisfied.
Registration and Use in Bad Faith
Respondent’s website is confusingly similar to Complainant’s CELEBREX mark and therefore, it can be inferred that Respondent registered the disputed domain name in order to attract Internet users interested in Complainant to Respondent’s website. This behavior is evidence of bad faith use pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(b)(iv) because Respondent has created a likelihood of confusion for its own commercial gain. See 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); see also 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).
Based on the fact that Respondent is using Complainant’s CELEBREX mark in order to attract Internet users to its website it can be inferred that Respondent had knowledge of Complainant’s rights in the CELEBREX mark when it registered the disputed domain name. Registration of a domain name, despite knowledge of Complainant’s rights is evidence of bad faith pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(a)(iii). See 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"); 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).
The Panel finds that Policy ¶ 4(a)(iii) has been satisfied.
Having established all three elements required under the ICANN Policy, the Panel concludes that the requested relief shall be hereby granted.
Accordingly, it is Ordered that the domain name <1-celebrex-xenical-online.com> be transferred from Respondent to Complainant.
Sandra Franklin, Panelist
Dated: December 2, 2002
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