G.D. Searle & Co. v. Celebrex Drugstore
Claim Number: FA0208000123933
Complainant is G.D. Searle & Co., Skokie, IL, USA (“Complainant”) represented by Paul D. McGrady, of Ladas & Parry. Respondent is Celebrex Drugstore, Sydney, AUSTRALIA (“Respondent”).
REGISTRAR AND DISPUTED DOMAIN NAME
The domain name at issue is <celebrex-drugstore.com>, registered with Dotster, Inc.
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.
James A. Crary as Panelist.
Complainant submitted a Complaint to the National Arbitration Forum (the “Forum”) electronically on August 30, 2002; the Forum received a hard copy of the Complaint on September 3, 2002.
On September 24, 2002, Dotster, Inc. confirmed by e-mail to the Forum that the domain name <celebrex-drugstore.com> is registered with Dotster, Inc. and that Respondent is the current registrant of the name. Dotster, Inc. has verified that Respondent is bound by the Dotster, 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 September 24, 2002, a Notification of Complaint and Commencement of Administrative Proceeding (the “Commencement Notification”), setting a deadline of October 14, 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 1 2002, pursuant to Complainant’s request to have the dispute decided by a single-member Panel, the Forum appointed James A. Crary 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 <celebrex-drugstore.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 in this proceeding.
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.” 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 February 20, 2002. Respondent is using the disputed domain name in order solicit orders for Complainant’s CELEBREX drug 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 that it has rights in the CELEBREX mark through registration with the United States Patent and Trademark Office as well as its continuous and substantial use of the CELEBREX mark.
Respondent’s <celebrex-drugstore.com> domain name is confusingly similar to Complainant’s mark because it incorporates Complainant’s entire mark and merely adds the generic term “drugstore” to the end of it. Respondent also uses a hyphen to separate the two words. The addition of a hyphen to separate words in a domain name does not create any distinctive qualities capable of overcoming a claim of confusing similarity. See CBS Broad., Inc. v. LA-Twilight-Zone, D2000-0397 (WIPO June 19, 2000) (finding that putting a hyphen between words of Complainant’s mark is identical to and confusingly similar to Complainant’s mark). The addition of the generic term “drugstore” after Complainant’s famous CELEBREX mark in the disputed domain name is not capable of overcoming a claim of confusing similarity because it is merely descriptive and therefore Complainant’s mark is still the most prominent part of the disputed domain name. 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 Sony Kabushiki Kaisha v. Inja, Kil, D2000-1409 (WIPO Dec. 9, 2000) (finding that “[n]either the addition of an ordinary descriptive word…nor the suffix ‘.com’ detract from the overall impression of the dominant part of the name in each case, namely the trademark SONY” and thus Policy ¶ 4(a)(i) is satisfied).
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 all 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 is using a domain name confusingly similar to Complainant’s CELEBREX mark in order to solicit drug orders from Internet users. Respondent does not have a license to use Complainant’s mark in connection with its Internet business. The use of a domain name confusingly similar to Complainant’s mark to attract Internet users to Respondent’s website for Respondent’s commercial gain 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 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 MSNBC Cable, LLC v. Tysys.com, D2000-1204 (WIPO Dec. 8, 2000) (finding no rights or legitimate interests in the famous MSNBC mark where Respondent attempted to profit using Complainant’s mark by redirecting Internet traffic to its own website).
Respondent has not come forward with any evidence, therefore there is nothing on record that establishes that Respondent is commonly known by CELEBREX DRUGSTORE or <celebrex-drugstore.com>. Therefore, Respondent has failed to prove that it has any 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
It can be inferred, based on the fact that Respondent is exclusively selling CELEBREX from its domain name, that Respondent had actual knowledge of Complainant’s CELEBREX mark when it registered the disputed domain name. Registration of an infringing domain name, despite actual knowledge of Complainant’s rights, is evidence of bad faith registration 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 G.D. Searle & Co. v. Fred Pelham, FA 117911 (Nat. Arb. Forum Sept. 19, 2002) (“It can be inferred that Respondent had knowledge of Complainant’s rights in the CELEBREX mark because Respondent is using the CELEBREX mark as a means to sell prescription drugs, including Complainant’s CELEBREX drug”).
Respondent is currently using the disputed domain name in order to attract Internet users interested in Complainant’s CELBREX product to Respondent’s website. Respondent is therefore using a confusingly similar domain name in order to attract Internet users to its website for its own commercial benefit. This type of behavior is evidence of bad faith use pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(b)(iv). See State Fair of Texas v. Granbury.com, FA 95288 (Nat. Arb. Forum Sept. 12, 2000) (finding bad faith where Respondent registered the domain name <bigtex.net> to infringe on Complainant’s goodwill and attract Internet users to Respondent’s website); 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 the ICANN Policy, the Panel concludes that the requested relief shall be hereby granted.
Accordingly, it is Ordered that the domain name <celebrex-drugstore.com> be transferred from Respondent to Complainant.
James A. Crary, Panelist
Dated: November 21, 2002
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