WIPO

 

WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center

 

ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION

Becton, Dickinson and Company v. Garry Harper

Case No. D2001-1058

 

1. The Parties

The Complainant is Becton, Dickinson and Company, of 1 Becton Drive, City of Franklin Lakes, New Jersey 07417, United States of America, represented by Georges Nahitchevansky Esq., of Fross Zelnick Lehrman & Zissu, P.C., of New York, United States of America.

The Respondent is Mr. Garry Harper, of 83 Albert Road, Southsea, Portsmouth PO5 2SG, United Kingdom.

 

2. The Domain Name and Registrar

This dispute concerns the domain name <vacutainer.com>.

The Registrar is Computer Service Langenbach GmbH, dba Joker.com. of Germany.

 

3. Procedural History

This is an administrative proceeding pursuant to the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy ("the Policy") adopted by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers ("ICANN") on August 26, 1999, the Rules for Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy, approved by ICANN on October 24, 1999, ("the Rules") and the Supplemental Rules for Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy ("the Supplemental Rules") of the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center ("the Center").

The Complaint was received by the Center by email on August 23, 2001, and in hardcopy on August 24, 2001. The Complaint was acknowledged on August 24, 2001. That day, registration details were sought from the Registrar. On August 28, 2001, the Registrar confirmed that the disputed domain name is registered in the name of the Respondent.

On August 31, 2001, the Center satisfied itself that the Complainant had complied with all formal requirements (including payment of the prescribed fee) and formally dispatched a copy of the Complaint to the Respondent by post/courier (with enclosures) and by email (Complaint without attachments) together with a letter to notify the Respondent of the commencement of this administrative proceeding. The Center sent copies to the Complainant, the Registrar and ICANN.

In conformity with Rule 5(a), the last day specified by the Center for a Response was September 20, 2001. No Response was received. On September 24, 2001, the Center notified the Respondent of its default.

On October 1, 2001, the Center notified the parties of the appointment of Alan L. Limbury to serve as panelist, Mr. Limbury having submitted a Statement of Acceptance and Declaration of Impartiality and Independence. On that day, the Center transmitted the case file to the Panel and notified the parties of the projected decision date of October 15, 2001.

The language of the proceeding is English.

The Panel is satisfied that the Complaint was filed in accordance with the requirements of the Rules and Supplemental Rules; payment was properly made; the Panel agrees with the Centerís assessment concerning the Complaintís compliance with the formal requirements; the Center discharged its responsibility under paragraph 2(a) of the Rules to employ reasonably available means calculated to achieve actual notice to the Respondent of the Complaint; no Response was filed and the administrative panel was properly constituted.

 

4. Factual Background (Uncontested Facts)

The Complainant manufactures and sells, for use by healthcare professionals, medical research institutions, industry and the general public, products such as tubes, needles, needle holders, sharps collectors and safety devices for the collection of blood and urine samples.

Since 1944, it has used the mark VACUTAINER in connection with its products. It has registered that trademark in many jurisdictions, including in the United States, the United Kingdom and Germany and has heavily promoted the products it supplies under that mark.

From January 1991 to September 1993, the Respondent was employed by the Complainant as a staff scientist at the Complainantís Research Center. During his employment the Respondent worked with others in developing new innovations for the Complainantís VACUTAINER line of products. The Respondent at all times during his employment was fully aware of the Complainantís exclusive rights in its VACUTAINER mark.

On April 4, 2000, about six years after the Respondent ceased working for Complainant and without any authorization or permission, he registered the disputed domain name.

When the Complainant discovered this in about early March 2001, it wrote demanding that the Respondent transfer the disputed domain name to the Complainant. Instead, the Respondent posted on a web site placed at <vacutainer.com>the statement:

"About a year ago (April 2000) I found the Vacutainer name domain drifting FOR SALE in cyberspace, while the marketing guys were doing what exactly?? Ö.So I got Vacutainer.com registered, partly to secure BDís baby and mine, deciding on this experiment to see how long before they rumbled their strategic mistake. Well anyway the floor of lawyers in New Jersey are waking up about now and will come and ask me to give it back to them sometime soonÖÖ. (which has taken them about a year Ö. Cool experiment huh?)"

That website contained a number of links to other web sites owned and operated by the Respondent, including <wetascience.com>, <biomaterialscience.com>, <scienceuk.com>, <nanodirectory.net> and <microparticle.com>. Through those sites, the Respondent promoted his services as a "contract research scientist." Further, he posted links to <uk2.net>, a provider of domain name registration and hosting services, on the top of the home page of the <vacutainer.com> web site.

Between May and August 2001, during the course of correspondence between the Complainantís outside Counsel and the Respondent, the Respondent:

i posted a link on the <vacutainer.com> web site to outside counselís web site at <frosszelnick.com> along with a statement indicating that he would transfer the disputed domain name if the Complainant reimbursed his registration costs;

i pointed the disputed domain name to the Complainantís web site at <bd.com>;

i framed the <bd.com> web site with an advertisement for <uk2.net>, the domain name registration and hosting service;

i ceased pointing the disputed domain name to the Complainantís web site and

i again posted at the disputed domain name pages from his prior web site.

 

5. Partiesí Contentions

A. Complainant

Identical or Confusingly Similar Domain Name

The disputed domain name is identical to the Complainant's mark.

Respondentís Rights or Legitimate Interests in the Domain Name

The Respondent cannot demonstrate or establish any legitimate interest in the disputed domain name. There exists no relationship between the parties that would give rise to any license, permission or other right by which the Respondent could own or use any domain name incorporating the Complainant's VACUTAINER mark. Certainly, the disputed domain name is not, nor could it be contended to be, a nickname of the Respondent or in any other way identified with or related to a legitimate interest of the Respondent.

Domain Name Registered and Used in Bad Faith

The Respondent has registered and is using the disputed domain name in bad faith under Paragraph 4(b)(i) and 4(b)(ii) of the Policy. He has either registered it primarily for the purpose of selling, renting or otherwise transferring it or has done so in order to prevent the Complainant from reflecting its VACUTAINER mark in a corresponding domain name and/or to divert web users to his web site for his own personal gain.

That the Respondent is acting in bad faith is confirmed through his own conduct.

Although the Respondent claimed that his web site was simply a free links web site for Vacuum Science Biotechnology, it was meant to promote and benefit Respondent.

Given the Respondentís awareness of the Complainantís rights in its VACUTAINER mark, and that the VACUTAINER mark is well known to healthcare professionals, medical researchers and scientists, there can be no dispute that the disputed domain name is intended to and does refer to Complainantís VACUTAINER mark and that the Respondent has acted in bad faith [1].

Clearly, the Respondent could only have registered the disputed domain name confusingly similar to the Complainant's mark in order to capitalize in some way on the Complainant's hard-earned goodwill.

B. Respondent

No Response was filed.

 

6. Discussion and Findings

The Panel draws two inferences where a Respondent has failed to submit a Response:

(a) the Respondent does not deny the facts which the Complainant asserts; and (b) the Respondent does not deny the conclusions which the Complainant asserts can be drawn from those facts [2].

To qualify for cancellation or transfer, a Complainant must prove each element of paragraph 4(a) of the Policy, namely:

(i) the disputed domain name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which the Complainant has rights; and

(ii) the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the domain name; and

(iii) the disputed domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.

Identity or Confusing Similarity

It has been decided in many cases under the Policy that "essential" or "virtual" identity is sufficient for the purposes of the Policy [3].

The disputed domain name is clearly identical to the Complainantís trademark VACUTAINER.

The Complainant has established this element.

Illegitimacy

The Complainant has not authorized the Respondent to use its trademark nor to register the disputed domain name. The name of the Respondent is not and does not include any part of the disputed domain name. The Respondent has known of the Complainant and of its VACUTAINER mark for 10 years. His stated purpose in registering the disputed domain name was to see how long it would take before the Complainant discovered that he had done so.

Under these circumstances the panel is satisfied that the Complainant has established that the Respondent has no right to or interest in the disputed domain name.

Bad Faith Registration and Use

Findings of bad faith have been made where a Respondent "knew or should have known" of the registration and use of the trademark prior to registering the domain name [4].

Having been employed by the Complainant and having worked on its VACUTAINER products, the Respondent knew of the Complainantís trademark when he registered the disputed domain name and he knew he had no authority to do so. The disputed domain name was clearly registered in bad faith.

The Respondentís conduct since the Complainant discovered his registration of the disputed domain name is inconsistent with any bona fides on the part of the Respondent. The disputed domain name is being used in bad faith.

The Panel finds that the Complainant has established that the disputed domain name was registered and is being used in bad faith.

 

7. Decision

Pursuant to Paragraphs 4(i) of the Policy and 15 of the Rules, the Panel directs that the domain name <vacutainer.com> be transferred to the Complainant.

 


 

Alan L. Limbury
Sole Panelist

Dated: October 10, 2001

 


Footnotes:

1. See, e.g. , Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin, Maison Fondee en 1772 v. The Polygenix Group Co., (WIPO Case No. D2000-0163) at p. 5 (<veuveclicquot.org> is so obviously connected with such a well-known product that its very use by someone with no connection with the product suggests opportunistic bad faith"); accord Harrods Limited v. Robert Boyd, (WIPO Case No. D2000-0060).

2. See Rule 14(b) and Reuters Limited v. Global Net 2000, Inc. (WIPO Case No. D2000-0441).

3. See The Stanley Works and Stanley Logistics, Inc v. Camp Creek. Co., Inc, (WIPO Case No. D2000-0113) and Nokia Corporation v. Nokiagirls.com (WIPO Case No. D2000-0102).

4. SportSoft Golf, Inc. v. Hale Irwinís Golfersí Passport (NAF case FA94956); Marriott International, Inc. v. John Marriot (NAF case FA94737); Canada Inc. v. Sandro Ursino (eResolution case AF-0211) and Centeon L.L.C./Aventis Behring L.L.C. v. Ebiotech.com (NAF case FA95037).