Walgreen Co. v. MUHAMMAD SALEEM / WALGREENSGENERAL TRADING LLC
Claim Number: FA1806001790453
Complainant is Walgreen Co. (“Complainant”), represented by Tamara A. Miller, Illinois, USA. Respondent is MUHAMMAD SALEEM / WALGREENSGENERAL TRADING LLC (“Respondent”), United Arab Emirates.
REGISTRAR AND DISPUTED DOMAIN NAME
The domain name at issue is <walgreensshop.com>, registered with Network Solutions, LLC.
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.
Paul M. DeCicco, as Panelist.
Complainant submitted a Complaint to the Forum electronically on June 6, 2018; the Forum received payment on June 6, 2018.
On June 6, 2018, Network Solutions, LLC confirmed by e-mail to the Forum that the <walgreensshop.com> domain name is registered with Network Solutions, LLC and that Respondent is the current registrant of the name. Network Solutions, LLC has verified that Respondent is bound by the Network Solutions, LLC registration agreement and has thereby agreed to resolve domain disputes brought by third parties in accordance with ICANN’s Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (the “Policy”).
On June 7, 2018, the Forum served the Complaint and all Annexes, including a Written Notice of the Complaint, setting a deadline of June 27, 2018 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 7, 2018, 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 Forum transmitted to the parties a Notification of Respondent Default.
On June 29, 2018, pursuant to Complainant's request to have the dispute decided by a single-member Panel, the Forum appointed Paul M. DeCicco 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" through submission of Electronic and Written Notices, as defined in Rule 1 and Rule 2. 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.
Complainant contends as follows:
Complainant, Walgreen Co., is one of the United States’ largest drugstore chains, with over 8,100 stores spread across all 50 states, the U.S. Virgin Island and Puerto Rico. In connection with this business, Complainant offers pharmacy and retail services, as well as a variety of products under the WALGREENS name and trademark.
Complainant has rights in the WALGREENS mark based upon its registration of the mark with various trademark agencies, including the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”).
Respondent’s <walgreensshop.com> domain name is confusingly similar to Complainant’s WALGREENS mark, as the domain name contains the mark in its entirety and merely adds the generic or descriptive term “shop” and the “.com” generic top-level domain (“gTLD”).
Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the <walgreensshop.com> domain name. Respondent is not commonly known by the disputed domain name and has not acquired authorization from Complainant to use the WALGREENS mark in any manner. Respondent’s use of the disputed domain name does not amount to a bona fide offering of goods or services or a legitimate noncommercial or fair use. Rather, Respondent uses the name to purport to offer weight loss and sexual health supplements, goods which compete with those offered by Complainant.
Respondent registered and is using the <walgreensshop.com> domain name in bad faith. Respondent’s use of the domain name to trade off of Complainant’s goodwill in the WALGREENS mark to offer competitive goods indicates this bad faith. Further, it is clear Respondent had constructive and actual knowledge of Complainant and its rights in the mark at the time it registered and subsequently used the domain name.
Respondent failed to submit a Response in this proceeding.
Complainant has rights in the WALGREENS mark as demonstrated by its registration of such mark with the USPTO and otherwise.
Complainant’s rights in the WALGREENS mark existed prior to Respondent’s registration of the at-issue domain name.
Respondent uses <walgreensshop.com> to offer goods that compete with those goods offered by offered by Complainant such as weight loss and sexual health supplements.
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."
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
(3) 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(f), 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 (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.”).
The at-issue domain name is confusingly similar to a trademark in which Complainant has rights.
Complainant’s ownership of a USPTO trademark registration for the WALGREENS trademark evidences its rights in such mark for the purposes of Policy ¶4(a)(i). See Microsoft Corp. v. Burkes, FA 652743 (Forum Apr. 17, 2006) (“Complainant has established rights in the MICROSOFT mark through registration of the mark with the USPTO).
Additionally, the at-issue domain name contains Complainant’s entire WALGREENS trademark followed by the term “shop,” with the top-level domain name “.com” appended thereto. The differences between the at-issue <walgreensshop.com> domain name and Complainant’s WALGREENS trademark are insufficient to distinguish one from the other for the purposes of the Policy. In fact, the domain name’s inclusion of the term “shop” adds to any confusion between the domain name and Complainant’s trademark as “shop” suggests Complainant’s retail pharmaceutical business. Therefore, the Panel finds that under Policy ¶ 4(a)(i) Respondent’s <walgreensshop.com> domain name is confusingly similar to Complainant’s WALGREENS trademark. See eBay Inc. v. eBay Motors, FA 1731822 (Forum June 26, 2017) (holding that “words like ‘online,’ which pertain to a complainant’s trademark-related activities—fails to sufficiently distinguish domain names from registered marks.”); see also, G.D. Searle v. Martin Mktg., FA 118277 (Forum Oct. 1, 2002) (“Complainant has the right to protect its trademark whether standing alone, or included in a string of industry-related marks. Respondent’s inclusion of other drug-related marks [in the <viagra-xenical-celebrex-propecia-meridia-zyban.com> domain name] only increases the likelihood that confusion will result from use of the domain name.”); see also, Innomed Techs., Inc. v. DRP Servs., FA 221171 (Forum Feb. 18, 2004) (finding that top-level domains are irrelevant for purposes of the Policy).
Under Policy ¶ 4(a)(ii), Complainant must first make out a prima facie case showing that Respondent lacks rights and legitimate interests in respect of an at-issue domain name and then the burden, in effect, shifts to Respondent to come forward with evidence of its rights or legitimate interests. See Hanna-Barbera Prods., Inc. v. Entm’t Commentaries, FA 741828 (Forum Aug. 18, 2006). Since Respondent failed to respond, Complainant’s prima facie showing acts conclusively.
Respondent lacks both rights and legitimate interests in respect of the at-issue domain name. Respondent is not authorized to use Complainant’s trademark in any capacity and, as discussed below, there are no Policy ¶4(c) circumstances from which the Panel might find that Respondent has rights or interests in respect of the at‑issue domain name.
WHOIS information for the at-issue domain name identifies the domain name’s registrant as “MUHAMMAD SALEEM / WALGREENGENERAL TRADING LLC” and the Panel is aware of no evidence that otherwise tends to prove that Respondent is commonly known by the <walgreensshop.com> domain name. The Panel therefore concludes that Respondent is not commonly known by the <walgreensshop.com> domain name for the purposes of Policy ¶ 4(c)(ii). See Philip Morris USA Inc. v. Usama Ramzan, FA 1737750 (Forum July 26, 2017) (“We begin by noting that Complainant contends, and Respondent does not deny, that Respondent has not been commonly known by the <marlborocoupon.us> domain name, and that Complainant has not authorized Respondent to use the MARLBORO mark in any way. Moreover, the pertinent WHOIS information identifies the registrant of the domain name only as “Usama Ramzan,” which does not resemble the domain name. On this record, we conclude that Respondent has not been commonly known by the challenged domain name so as to have acquired rights to or legitimate interests in it within the purview of Policy ¶ 4(c)(ii).”); see also Moneytree, Inc. v. Matt Sims / MoneyTreeNow, FA1501001602721 (Forum Mar. 3, 2015) (finding that even though the respondent had listed “Matt Sims” of “MoneyTreeNow” as registrant of the <moneytreenow.com> domain name, the respondent was not commonly known by the disputed domain name pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(c)(ii), because he had failed to list any additional affirmative evidence beyond the WHOIS information).
Furthermore, Respondent uses the <walgreensshop.com> domain name to address a competing website. The website offers weight loss and sexual health supplements products which compete directly with those offered by Complainant. Using the domain name in this manner is neither a bona fide offering of goods or services under Policy ¶4(c)(i), nor a non-commercial or fair use under Policy ¶4(c)(iii). See General Motors LLC v. MIKE LEE, FA 1659965 (Forum Mar. 10, 2016) (finding that “use of a domain to sell products and/or services that compete directly with a complainant’s business does not constitute 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).
Given the forgoing, Complainant satisfies its initial burden and conclusively demonstrates Respondent’s lack of rights and lack of interests in respect of the at-issue domain name pursuant to Policy ¶4(a)(ii).
The at-issue domain name was registered and used in bad faith. As discussed below, Policy ¶ 4(b) specific bad faith circumstances as well as other circumstances lead the Panel to conclude that Respondent acted in bad faith pursuant to paragraph 4 (a)(iii) of the Policy.
Respondent, through use of the confusingly similar <walgreensshop.com> domain name and its associated website, creates a false impression that both the domain name and its website, which offers links to competing goods, are sponsored by Complainant when they are not. Respondent’s registration and use of the confusingly similar <walgreensshop.com> domain name in furtherance of trading competitively on Complainant’s WALGREENS trademark demonstrates Respondent’s bad faith pursuant to Policy ¶¶ 4(b)(iii) and (iv). See Fitness International, LLC v. ALISTAIR SWODECK / VICTOR AND MURRAY, FA1506001623644 (Forum July 9, 2015) (“Respondent uses the at-issue domain name to operate a website that purports to offer health club related services such as fitness experts, fitness models, fitness venues, exercise programs, and personal training, all of which are the exact services offered by Complainant. Doing so causes customer confusion, disrupts Complainant’s business, and demonstrates Respondent’s bad faith registration and use of the domain name pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(b)(iii).”); see also, Citadel LLC and its related entity, KCG IP Holdings, LLC v. Joel Lespinasse / Radius Group, FA1409001579141 (Forum Oct. 15, 2014) (“Here, the Panel finds evidence of Policy ¶ 4(b)(iv) bad faith as Respondent has used the confusingly similar domain name to promote its own financial management and consulting services in competition with Complainant.”).
Additionally, Respondent registered the <walgreensshop.com> domain name knowing that Complainant had trademark rights in WALGREENS. Respondent’s prior knowledge is evident from Respondent’s use of the <walgreensshop.com> domain name as discussed above, as well as from the notoriety of Complainant’s WALGREENS trademark. It is therefore clear that Respondent intentionally registered the at-issue domain name to improperly exploit its trademark value, rather than for some benign reason. Respondent’s prior knowledge of Complainant's trademark further indicates that Respondent registered and used the <walgreensshop.com> domain name in bad faith pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(a)(iii). See Minicards Vennootschap Onder FIrma Amsterdam v. Moscow Studios, FA 1031703 (Forum Sept. 5, 2007) (holding that respondent registered a domain name in bad faith under Policy ¶ 4(a)(iii) after concluding that respondent had "actual knowledge of Complainant's mark when registering the disputed domain name").
Having established all three elements required under the ICANN Policy, the Panel concludes that relief shall be GRANTED.
Accordingly, it is Ordered that the <walgreensshop.com> domain name be TRANSFERRED from Respondent to Complainant.
Paul M. DeCicco, Panelist
Dated: July 1, 2018
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