National Association of Boards of Pharmacy v. Tarien Kunkleman c/o YourNameMonkey.com / Private WHOIS
Claim Number: FA1206001448633
Complainant is National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (“Complainant”), represented by Marsha K. Hoover of Marshall, Gerstein & Borun, Illinois, USA. Respondent is Tarien Kunkleman c/o YourNameMonkey.com / Private WHOIS (“Respondent”), Philippines.
REGISTRAR AND DISPUTED DOMAIN NAME
The domain name at issue is <nabpvipps.com>, registered with ABSystems 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.
Debrett G. Lyons as Panelist.
Complainant submitted a Complaint to the National Arbitration Forum electronically on June 13, 2012; the National Arbitration Forum received payment on June 13, 2012.
After numerous requests, the Registrar, ABSystems Inc., has not confirmed to the National Arbitration that the <nabpvipps.com> domain name is registered with ABSystems Inc. or that the Respondent is the current registrant of the name. Registrar’s non-compliance has been reported to ICANN. The FORUM’s standing instructions are to proceed with this dispute.
On June 28, 2012, the Forum served the Complaint and all Annexes, including a Written Notice of the Complaint, setting a deadline of July 18, 2012 by which Respondent could file a Response to the Complaint, via e-mail to all entities and persons listed on Respondent’s registration as technical, administrative, and billing contacts, and to firstname.lastname@example.org. Also on June 28, 2012, the Written Notice of the Complaint, notifying Respondent of the e-mail addresses served and the deadline for a Response, was transmitted to Respondent via post and fax, to all entities and persons listed on Respondent’s registration as technical, administrative and billing contacts.
Having received no response from Respondent, the National Arbitration Forum transmitted to the parties a Notification of Respondent Default.
On July 26, 2012, pursuant to Complainant's request to have the dispute decided by a single-member Panel, the National Arbitration Forum appointed Debrett G. Lyons as Panelist.
Having reviewed the communications records, the Administrative Panel (the "Panel") finds that the National Arbitration 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" through submission of Electronic and Written Notices, as defined in Rule 1 and Rule 2. The Panel has issued its decision based on the documents submitted and in accordance with the ICANN Policy, ICANN Rules, the National Arbitration 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.
Complainant asserts trademark rights in the terms NABP and VIPPS and alleges that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to its trademark(s).
Complainant alleges that Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name.
Complainant alleges that Respondent registered and used the disputed domain name in bad faith.
Respondent failed to submit a Response in this proceeding.
The factual findings pertinent to the decision in this case are that:
1. Complainant is a not-for-profit organisation which uses the trademarks NABP and VIPPS in connection with association services, including pharmacy licensure, preparation and administration of pharmacy licensure examinations, the dissemination of related literature, and the certification of pharmacies.
2. Complainant owns United States Federal Trademark Reg. No. 1,160,482 registered July 7, 1981 for NABP and Reg. No. 2,632,214 registered October 8, 2002 for VIPPS;
3. The disputed domain name was registered on January 15, 2012;
4. The domain name resolves to a website that sells medication;
5. There is no commercial agreement between the parties and Complainant has not authorized Respondent to use its trademark(s) or to register any domain name incorporating its trademark(s).
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."
The preamble to the Complaint reads:
“The Disputed Domain Name is being used for a website for the online sale of prescription medications in a manner that is not in compliance with state and federal laws or consistent with public safety. The Complainant is a nonprofit association of the state boards of pharmacy in the United States and abroad, and the disputed domain is a combination of two of the Complainant’s registered marks that function as symbols of origin for the association’s services and its certification of safe Internet pharmacies. Complainant seeks transfer of the Disputed Domain Name not only to protect its valuable intellectual property rights, but to protect the health and safety of the public.”
A preliminary procedural question arises as to whether the Complaint is properly within the scope of the Policy which is focused on the protection of trademark rights against abusive domain name registrations. The Policy is not concerned with broader questions of public interest such as health and safety or with the breach of national laws associated therewith.
Nevertheless, Complainant alleges that these Administrative Proceedings are brought to protect its intellectual property rights and there seems to Panel to be a respectable case that the UDRP applies. Accordingly, Panel regards itself as having a proper mandate to decide the matter under the Policy.
Paragraph 4(a) of the Policy requires that 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
(1) the domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.
In view of Respondent's failure to submit a response, the Panel shall decide this administrative proceeding on the basis of 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. The Panel is entitled to accept all reasonable allegations and inferences set forth in the Complaint as true unless the evidence is clearly contradictory. See Vertical Solutions Mgmt., Inc. v. webnet-marketing, inc., FA 95095 (Nat. Arb. Forum July 31, 2000) (holding that the respondent’s failure to respond allows all reasonable inferences of fact in the allegations of the complaint to be deemed true); 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.”).
Paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Policy requires a two-fold enquiry – a threshold investigation into whether a complainant has rights in a trade mark, followed by an assessment of whether the disputed domain name is identical or confusingly similar to that trade mark.
Paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Policy does not distinguish between registered and unregistered trademark rights. It is well established by former decisions under this Policy that a trademark registered with a national authority is evidence of trademark rights. Since Complainant provides evidence of its United States Patent and Trademark Office trademark registrations, the Panel is satisfied that it has rights, separately, in the trademarks NABP and VIPSS (see State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co. v. Periasami Malain, FA 705262 (Nat. Arb. Forum June 19, 2006) (“Complainant’s registrations with the United States Patent and Trademark Office of the trademark, STATE FARM, establishes its rights in the STATE FARM mark pursuant to Policy, paragraph 4(a)(i).”); see also Mothers Against Drunk Driving v. phix, FA 174052 (Nat. Arb. Forum Sept. 25, 2003) finding that the complainant’s registration of the MADD mark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office establishes the complainant’s rights in the mark for purposes of Policy paragraph 4(a)(i)).
The disputed domain name is a simple combination of both trademarks, together with the non-distinctive gTLD, “.com” which can be ignored for the purposes of the relevant comparison (see Rollerblade, Inc. v. McCrady, D2000-0429 (WIPO June 25, 2000) finding that the top level of the domain name such as “.net” or “.com” does not affect the domain name for the purpose of determining whether it is identical or confusingly similar).
Complainant contends that the term, “nabpvipps”, is confusingly similar to the NABP and VIPPS trademarks. Panel observes that it is not in every case that a complainant’s rights in separately registered trademarks is enough, of itself, to create rights in portmanteau combinations of those trademarks, but in the present matter Panel finds that the combination of the two trademarks serves to increase, rather than eliminate, confusing similarity (see, for example, Nintendo of Am. Inc. v. Pokemon, D2000-1230 (WIPO Nov. 23, 2000) finding confusing similarity where respondent combined the complainant’s POKEMON and PIKACHU marks to form the <pokemonpikachu.com> domain name).
Panel is satisfied that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to one or other of Complainant’s trademarks and so finds that Complainant has satisfied the requirements of paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Policy.
Paragraph 4(c) of the Policy states that any of the following circumstances, in particular but without limitation, if found by the Panel to be proved based on its evaluation of all evidence presented, shall demonstrate rights or legitimate interests to a domain name for purposes of paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy:
(i) before any notice to you of the dispute, your use of, or demonstrable preparations to use, the domain name or a name corresponding to the domain name in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services; or
(iii) you are making a legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the domain name, without intent for commercial gain to misleadingly divert consumers or to tarnish the trade mark or service mark at issue.
Complainant need only make out a prima facie case that Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name, after which the onus shifts to Respondent to rebut that case by demonstrating those rights or interests (see Do The Hustle, LLC v. Tropic Web, D2000‑0624 (WIPO Aug. 21, 2000); see also Hanna‑Barbera Prods., Inc. v. Entm’t Commentaries, FA 741828 (Nat. Arb. Forum Aug. 18, 2006); see also AOL LLC v. Gerberg, FA 780200 (Nat. Arb. Forum Sept. 25, 2006).
The publicly available WHOIS information identifies Respondent as “Tarien Kunkleman c/o YourNameMonkey.com / Private WHOIS” and so there is no prima facie evidence that Respondent might be commonly known by the disputed domain name. There is no evidence that Respondent has any trademark rights. There is no evidence that Complainant has authorized Respondent to use the trademark and Complainant denies any such authorization.
There is no evidence that the disputed domain name has been used in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services prior to notice of the dispute. Complainant provides evidence that the domain name resolves to a website that offers prescription medication without requiring a prescription. For the purposes of this aspect of the Policy, the fact that the medications offered for sale at the resolving website may be restricted to sale by prescription only under national legislation is irrelevant. What is relevant is that Respondent has chosen to offer those goods for sale by reference to Complainant’s trademarks and without Complainant’s permission. Panel finds that Respondent’s use of the disputed domain name is neither a Policy ¶ 4(c)(i) bona fide offering of goods or services nor a Policy ¶ 4(c)(iii) legitimate noncommercial or fair use.
Panel finds that Complainant has established a prima facie case and so the onus shifts to Respondent to establish a legitimate interest in the domain name. In the absence of a Response, that onus is not rebutted and so Panel finds that Respondent has no rights or interests and so finds that Complainant has satisfied the second limb of the Policy.
Complainant must prove on the balance of probabilities both that the disputed domain name was registered in bad faith and that it is being used in bad faith.
Further guidance on that requirement is found in paragraph 4(b) of the Policy, which sets out four circumstances, any one of which is taken to be evidence of the registration and use of a domain name in bad faith if established.
The four specified circumstances are:
‘(i) circumstances indicating that the respondent has registered or acquired the domain name primarily for the purpose of selling, renting, or otherwise transferring the domain name registration to the complainant who is the owner of the trademark or service mark or to a competitor of that complainant, for valuable consideration in excess of the respondent’s documented out-of-pocket costs directly related to the domain name; or
(ii) the respondent has registered the domain name in order to prevent the owner of the trademark or service mark from reflecting the mark in a corresponding domain name, provided that Respondent has engaged in a pattern of such conduct; or
(iii) the respondent has registered the domain name primarily for the purpose of disrupting the business of a competitor; or
(iv) by using the domain name, respondent has intentionally attempted to attract, for commercial gain, internet users to respondent’s website or other on-line location, by creating a likelihood of confusion with the complainant’s mark as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation, or endorsement of the respondent’s website or location or of a product or service on the site or location.’
Panel finds that Respondent’s actions fall under paragraph 4(b)(iv) above. Panel has already found the disputed domain name to be confusingly similar to Complainant’s trademarks. In terms of paragraph 4(b)(iv) of the Policy, the very purpose of the website corresponding with the disputed domain name is commercial and intended for gain. In short, Panel finds that it is more likely than not that Respondent is using the domain name to attract, for commercial gain, internet users to that website by creating a likelihood of confusion as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation, or endorsement of that website.
Accordingly, Panel finds both registration and use in bad faith.
Having established all three elements required under the ICANN Policy, the Panel concludes that relief shall be GRANTED.
Accordingly, it is Ordered that the < nabpvipps.com> domain name be TRANSFERRED from Respondent to Complainant.
Debrett G. Lyons, Panelist
Dated: July 28, 2012
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