WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Molmed S.p.A. v. Prof. Asif Ahmed
Case No. D2001-0177
1. The Parties
Complainant in this proceeding is Molmed S.p.A., via Olgettina 58, 20132 Milan, Italy.
Respondent is Professor Asif Ahmed, 74 Lordswood Road, Harbone - Birmingham, West Midlands, B17 9BY, United Kingdom.
2. Domain Name and Registrar
This dispute concerns the domain name:
The Registrar with which the domain name is registered is:
3. Procedural History
The WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the Center) received the Complaint on February 20, 2002 (electronic version), and February 25, 2002 (hardcopy). On March 4, 2002, the Center sent a request for registrar verification in connection with this case to CSL GMBH. The registrar verification response was received on March 5, 2002. The Center verified that the Complaint satisfies the formal requirements on March 11, 2002. The notification of Complaint was transmitted on March 11, 2002, and the notification of the Respondent’s default on April 8, 2002. The file was transmitted to the Sole Panelist on April 22, 2002.
4. Factual Background and The Parties’ Contentions
A. The Trademark
The Complaint is based on the trademark "molmed". Complainant is the owner of the following registered trademarks:
- Italian trademark reg. N° MI99C 011994 of November 26, 1999,
- Community trademark reg. N° 1.425.883 of December 1, 1999,
- US trademark and service mark reg. N° 75/883.545 of December 30, 1999.
Complainant also owns the domain name <molmed.it>.
B. The Complaint
Complainant alleges that Respondent has no right or legitimate interests in the domain name as:
- Respondent does not conduct any legitimate commercial or non commercial business under the name "molmed" and the domain name has no web content and has not been used for any active website;
- Respondent is not linked to Complainant by any licence or distribution agreement.
Complainant alleges that Respondent has registered and used the domain name in bad faith as:
- Complainant’s use of the trademark "molmed" predates the registration of the domain name at issue;
- Respondent registered the domain name in an attempt to attract Internet users for commercial or personal gain by creating a likelihood of confusion with Complainant’s trademark;
- Respondent is preventing Complainant from using its mark.
C. The Response
The Respondent has not forwarded any Response.
5. Discussion and Findings
a) Identical or Confusing Domain Name
The domain name <molmed.com> registered by Respondent is identical with Complainant’s trademark "molmed". According to the prevailing principles top level domain such as ".com" being merely device that every Internet site provider must use as a part of its address, they are not a distinctive feature of Respondent's domain name.
b) Respondents Rights or Legitimate Interests in the Domain Name
The Respondent defaulting in the present proceedings has not suggested nor adduced evidence for any circumstance giving rise to a right or legitimate interest in the domain name. On the contrary, the circumstances of warehousing a web site name without using it give a strong indication that Respondent has no right on or legitimate interest in the domain name.
c) Domain Name Registered and Used in Bad Faith
Complainant is a company specialized in biotechnology and biomedical business. Respondent is Professor at the School of Medicine of the Birmingham University and head of the Department of Reproductive and Vascular Biology at the same University. Both parties therefore operate in the same field of activity. Due to the close connection between the academic research and the biotechnology business, and the fact that Complainant made extensive use of its trademark or name in advertisements, symposium, conferences or exhibits, it is hardly conceivable that Respondent was unaware of the existence of Complainant and of its trademarks.
Respondent is not making any active use of the domain name at issue. Besides offering advertising space the web site redirects to two other sites. Said sites are the web site of the School of Medicine of Birmingham University and the web page of its Department of Reproductive and Vascular Biology. Respondent is not using the domain name for any other purpose than redirecting it to Respondent's pages of the Birmingham University web site. Those pages contain information on Respondent and its activity. As the activity of Respondent is similar to the Complainant’s, the Panel finds it an indication of bad faith. Indeed, by redirecting Internet users looking for the web site of Molmed S.p.A. to its own pages, Respondent is attempting to attract them for commercial gain, while creating a likelihood of confusion with Complainant’s trademark.
Further, the failure to make a bona fide use of the domain name for a long time following the registration of said domain name, the so-called parking of a domain name, constitutes a sign of bad faith.
Finally, by registering and using the domain name at issue to redirect Internet users to another site, Respondent is preventing Complainant from adequately reflecting its trademark on the Internet.
In the light of the foregoing, the Panel decides that the domain name registered by Respondent is identical to the corresponding trademarks of Complainant, that Respondent has no rights to or legitimate interests in respect of this domain name and that the domain name in issue has been registered and is being used in bad faith by Respondent.
Accordingly the Panel requires that the registration of the domain name <molmed.com> be transferred to Complainant.
Dated: May 6, 2002