G.D. Searle & Co v. Via Real
Claim Number: FA0210000127640
Complainant is G.D. Searle & Co., Skokie, IL (“Complainant”) represented by Paul D. McGrady, of Ladas & Parry. Respondent is Via Real, Las Vegas, NV (“Respondent”).
REGISTRAR AND DISPUTED DOMAIN NAME
The domain name at issue is <celebrexresources.com>, registered with Network Solutions.
The undersigned certifies that he has acted independently and impartially and to the best of his knowledge has no known conflict in serving as Panelist in this proceeding.
Hon. Ralph Yachnin as Panelist.
Complainant submitted a Complaint to the National Arbitration Forum (the “Forum”) electronically on October 4, 2002; the Forum received a hard copy of the Complaint on October 7, 2002.
On October 8, 2002, Network Solutions confirmed by e-mail to the Forum that the domain name <celebrexresources.com> is registered with Network Solutions and that Respondent is the current registrant of the name. Network Solutions has verified that Respondent is bound by the Network Solutions 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 October 19, 2002, pursuant to Complainant’s request to have the dispute decided by a single-member Panel, the Forum appointed Hon. Ralph Yachnin 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.
The <celebrexresources.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’s mark is registered on the Principal Register of the United States Patent and Trademark Office as Registration Number 2,321,622 on February 22, 2000. Complainant’s first use of the CELEBREX mark in commerce was in February 10, 1998. and it applied for registration of the CELEBREX mark on March 8, 1999. Complainant’s mark represents “pharmaceutical products in the nature of anti-inflammatory analgesics.” Complainant has registered its CELEBREX mark in 112 countries around the world, including the United States.
Complainant has promoted its CELEBREX mark on a global scale. Due to its extensive marketing and advertising promoting 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.”
Respondent registered the disputed domain name on September 9, 1999. Respondent is making no use of the domain name other than to display a single web page that states “Welcome to Celebrex Resources.” Respondent has no license or permission 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 that it has rights in the CELEBREX mark through its registration with the United States Patent and Trademark Office as well as its registration and use worldwide.
Respondent’s <celebrexresources.com> domain name is confusingly similar to Complainant’s mark because it incorporates Complainant’s entire CELEBREX mark and merely adds the descriptive term “resources” to the end. Because Complainant’s CELEBREX mark is fanciful the addition of a descriptive term does not overcome the fact that Complainant’s mark is still the most distinctive element of the disputed domain name. Therefore, Respondent’s <celebrexresources.com> domain name does not overcome a claim of confusing similarity pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(a)(i). See Perot Sys. Corp. v. Perot.net, FA 95312 (Nat. Arb. Forum Aug. 29, 2000) (finding that, given the similarity of Complainant’s marks with the domain name, consumers will presume the domain name is affiliated with Complainant; Respondent is attracting Internet users to a website, for commercial gain, by creating a likelihood of confusion with Complainant’s mark as to the source, sponsorship, or endorsement of Respondent’s website); see also Pfizer, Inc. v. Papol Suger, D2002-0187 (WIPO Apr. 24, 2002) (finding that because the subject domain name incorporates the VIAGRA mark in its entirety, and deviates only by the addition of the word “bomb,” the domain name is rendered confusingly similar to Complainant’s mark).
The Panel finds that Policy ¶ 4(a)(i) has been satisfied.
Rights or Legitimate Interests
Respondent has failed to come forward with a Response. Therefore, the Panel is permitted to make reasonable inferences in favor of Complainant and accept Complainant’s allegations as true. See Desotec N.V. v. Jacobi Carbons AB, D2000-1398 (WIPO Dec. 21, 2000) (finding that failing to respond allows a presumption that Complainant’s allegations are true unless clearly contradicted by the evidence); see also 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, based on Respondent’s failure to respond, it is presumed that Respondent lacks rights and legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. 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 Geocities v. Geociites.com, D2000-0326 (WIPO June 19, 2000) (finding that Respondent has no rights or legitimate interest in the domain name because Respondent never submitted a Response nor provided the Panel with evidence to suggest otherwise).
Respondent has held the disputed domain name since September of 1999. Complainant applied for registration of the CELEBREX mark in March of 1999 and first used the mark in February of that same year. It may be inferred that Respondent registered the disputed domain name intending to profit off of the potential fame of Complainant’s new mark. Respondent has failed to use the disputed domain name for any purpose since 1999, and therefore it may be inferred that Respondent registered the disputed domain name in order to sell its registration rights. Registration of a domain name with the intent to sell the registration rights is not considered to be 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 J. Paul Getty Trust v. Domain 4 Sale & Co., FA 95262 (Nat. Arb. Forum Sept. 7, 2000) (finding rights or legitimate interests do not exist when one has made no use of the websites that are located at the domain names at issue, other than to sell the domain names for profit); see also Hewlett-Packard Co. v. High Performance Networks, Inc., FA 95083 (Nat. Arb. Forum July 31, 2000) (finding no rights or legitimate interests where Respondent registered the domain name with the intention of selling its rights).
Furthermore, Respondent has held the disputed domain name for over two years and has failed to make any use of it other than to display a welcome sign at the domain. This type of behavior is considered to be passive holding and does not give rise to rights or legitimate interests in a domain name pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(a)(ii). See Pharmacia & Upjohn AB v. Romero, D2000-1273 (WIPO Nov. 13, 2000) (finding no rights or legitimate interests where Respondent failed to submit a Response to the Complaint and had made no use of the domain name in question); see also Nike, Inc. v. Crystal Int’l, D2001-0102 (WIPO Mar. 19, 2001) (finding no rights or legitimate interests where Respondent made no use of the infringing domain names); see also Flor-Jon Films, Inc. v. Larson, FA 94974 (Nat. Arb. Forum July 25, 2000) (finding that Respondent’s failure to develop the site demonstrates a lack of legitimate interest in the domain name).
There is no evidence on record, and Respondent has failed to come forward with any evidence that is commonly known as CELEBREX RESOURCES or <celebrexresources.com>. Therefore, Respondent has failed to establish 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
The circumstances listed in the Policy that are evidence of bad faith are not exclusive. Many other situations could arise that would amount to bad faith behavior on the part of Respondent. See Educ. Testing Serv. v. TOEFL, D2000-0044 (WIPO Mar. 16, 2000) (finding that the Policy “[I]ndicates that its listing of bad faith factors is without limitation”); see also Cellular One Group v. Brien, D2000-0028 (WIPO Mar. 10, 2000) (finding that the criteria specified in 4(b) of the Policy is not an exhaustive list of bad faith evidence).
Based on the totality of the circumstance in this case it can be inferred that the disputed domain name was registered with the intent to sell the domain name registration to Complainant or some other interested party. Respondent registered the domain name a few months after Complainant applied for registration of the CELEBREX mark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, therefore it is very likely that Respondent registered the domain name expecting to be able to sell its rights for a price higher than its out-of-pocket expenses. This inference is further supported by the fact that Respondent has made no use of the domain name, even though it has held it for over two years. Registration of a domain name with the intent to sell the registration is evidence of bad faith registration and use pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(b)(i). See Cruzeiro Licenciamentos Ltda v. Sallen, D2000-0715 (WIPO Sept. 6, 2000) (finding that mere passive holding of a domain name can qualify as bad faith if the domain name owner’s conduct creates the impression that the name is for sale).
Respondent has held the disputed domain name for over two years and has failed to use it for any purpose. This type of behavior is considered to be passive holding and gives rise to an inference of bad faith use pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(a)(iii). See DCI S.A. v. Link Commercial Corp., D2000-1232 (WIPO Dec. 7, 2000) (concluding that the Respondent’s passive holding of the domain name satisfies the requirement of ¶ 4(a)(iii) of the Policy); see also Telstra Corp. v. Nuclear Marshmallows, D2000-0003 (WIPO Feb. 18, 2000) (finding that “it is possible, in certain circumstances, for inactivity by the Respondent to amount to the domain name being used in bad faith”).
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 <celebrexresources.com> be transferred from Respondent to Complainant.
Hon. Ralph Yachnin
Justice, Supreme Court, N.Y. (Ret.)
Dated: November 21, 2002
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