WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Cigna Intellectual Property, Inc. v. Yun Sung Lee
Case No. D2003-1042
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Cigna Intellectual Property, Inc., a Delaware corporation, of the United States of America ("USA"). The Complainant is represented by Elke F. Suber, Esq. of Cigna, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.
The Respondent is registered as Yun Sung Lee of Seoul, Republic of Korea.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name is <cigna.net>. The registrar of the domain name is Stargate.com, Inc., of Oak Brook, Illinois, USA.
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the "Center") by email on December 26, 2003, and in hardcopy on December 30, 2003. On December 30, 2003, the Center transmitted by email to the registrar a request for the registrar's verification of details relating to the domain name.
On December 31, 2003, the registrar responded to the Center confirming that the Respondent is listed as the registrant of the disputed domain name, and providing the contact details for the administrative, billing, and technical contacts for the domain name. The Center then verified that the Complaint satisfied the formal requirements of the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (the "Policy"), the Rules for Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (the "Rules"), and the WIPO Supplemental Rules for Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (the "Supplemental Rules").
In accordance with the Rules, paragraphs 2(a) and 4(a), the Center formally notified the Respondent of the Complaint on January 6, 2004, by post and email to all available contact details for the Respondent. This proceeding commenced on that day. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for the Response was January 26, 2004. No response was filed by the Respondent. Accordingly the Center notified the Respondent's default on January 29, 2004.
The Center appointed James A. Barker as panelist on February 18, 2004. The Panel finds that it was properly constituted. The Panel has submitted a Statement of Acceptance and Declaration of Impartiality and Independence for compliance with the Rules, paragraph 7.
This Decision is due to be provided to the Center on March 3, 2004.
4. Factual Background
The Complainant, Cigna Intellectual Property, Inc., licenses the CIGNA mark to Cigna corporation and its subsidiaries. Cigna corporation and its subsidiaries are major providers of products and services offered through the workplace. Those products and services include health care, retirement products and service, insurance, and investment management. Those products and services are marketed widely under the CIGNA mark in the USA and internationally. The Complainant also maintains over 168 domain names to promote/protect its marks, including a website at <cigna.com>.
The Complainant is the owner of 67 trademark registrations in the USA which incorporate the CIGNA mark, summary evidence of which was attached to the Complaint. The Complainant is also the registered owner of numerous CIGNA marks in over 92 countries, including the Republic of Korea which is the registered location of the Respondent.
According to copies of Whois details attached to the Complaint, the Respondent registered the disputed domain name on June 6, 2001. At the date of the Complaint, the domain name was pointed to a website apparently advertising health-related products. The website contained the statements "We registered this domain name for our Internet business. Unfortunately, we can not go ahead with our business plan at this time. Are you interested in purchasing this domain name? contact us".
5. The Parties’ Summarized Contentions
The following is a summary of the Complaint.
The Complainant is the owner of various registered trademarks for CIGNA, a number of which were registered prior to the registration date of the Respondent's domain name.
The disputed domain name is confusingly similar to the Complainant's registered trademarks. The domain name contains the Complainant's exact mark, and so is identical to the mark's essential element.
The Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the domain name at issue. CIGNA has no legitimate use other than as the Complainant's mark. The Complainant has not licensed or otherwise authorized the Respondent to use its trademark.
The domain name was registered and is being used in bad faith. In accordance with paragraph 4(b) of the Policy, there is evidence of bad faith because the Respondent registered and used the domain name in order to sell it, and to capitalize on the reputation of the Complainant's mark by diverting Internet users to the Respondent's website.
The Complainant seeks the transfer of the domain name to it.
The Respondent did not file a Response.
Under paragraph 14(a) of the Rules, if a party does not comply with a time period established by the Rules, the Panel shall proceed to a decision on the Complaint. Under 14(b) of the Rules, in the absence of exceptional circumstances, a Panel shall draw such inferences as it considers appropriate from the failure of a party to comply with the Rules. There are no exceptional circumstances in this case. Accordingly, subject to the discussion and findings below, the Panel infers that the Respondent does not deny the facts asserted and contentions made by the Complainant.
6. Discussion and Findings
Under the Policy, paragraphs 4(a)(i)-(iii), for the Complainant to have the disputed domain name transferred to it, the Complainant must prove that:
- the domain name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which the Complainant has rights; and
- the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the domain name; and
- the domain name was registered and is being used in bad faith.
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The Complainant has demonstrated that it has rights in the trademark CIGNA. The Complainant has done this by providing extracts of the registration information, that indicates the Complainant's ownership of numerous trademark registrations. The Complainant also points to its use of the CIGNA mark as a licensor. Those contentions were unchallenged by the Respondent.
CIGNA is the distinctive element of the Complainant's trademark, which is reproduced identically in the Respondent's domain name. It has been well established previous panel decisions that the domain name extension - such as .com and, in this case, .net - does not prevent two marks from being considered to be identical (for a recent example, see The Little Gym International, Inc. v. Domainstuff.com, WIPO Case No. D2003-0466).
For these reasons, the Panel finds that the domain name is identical and, at the very least, confusingly similar, to a trademark in which the Complainant has rights.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
The Complainant points to a number of matters which indicate that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the domain name, including that:
- the Complainant has not authorized the Respondent to use its trademark in the domain name;
- CIGNA is not a generic or commonly used word;
- the Respondent is not commonly known by the CIGNA name and mark;
- the Respondent's use of the domain name, including its offer to sell the domain name, mean that the Respondent could not provide evidence of the matters listed at paragraphs 4(c)(i)-(iii) of the Policy.
In the absence of a Response, the only evidence of the Respondent's claim to the domain name are the few statements on its website, as reproduced in an attachment to the Complaint. Those statements suggest that the Respondent registered the domain name "for our Internet business", but "can not go ahead with our business plan at this time."
None of these statements provide any evidence that would go to show the matters listed at paragraphs 4(c)(i)-(iii) of the Policy, under which a Respondent might demonstrate their rights or legitimate interests. The Respondent gives no details as to what "our Internet business" is or was. Nor are any details given as to why the Respondent "can not go ahead with our business plan". Also, and importantly, the Respondent has been given the opportunity to challenge the Complainant's contentions and demonstrate rights or legitimate interests in the domain name. The Respondent has not done so.
CIGNA, as stated by the Complainant, is an invented word. It is therefore not a word the Respondent would ordinarily choose unless the Respondent (or its associated products or services) were known by that name, or unless the Respondent was seeking to create a likelihood of confusion with the Complainant's mark. The evidence of the Respondent's website indicates that the Respondent is not known by, and has no association with the mark CIGNA. The evidence does indicate that the Respondent has sought to create a likelihood of confusion with the Complainant's mark to attract Internet users - which goes towards a finding of bad faith (see below).
Accordingly, the Panel finds that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
Paragraphs 4(b)(i) and (iv) of the Policy provide (in part) that there is evidence of a respondent's bad faith in circumstances where either:
- the respondent has registered the domain name for the purpose of selling it to the complainant who is the owner of the trademark or to a competitor of the complainant. (Paragraph 4(b)(i))
- by using the domain name, the respondent has intentionally attempted to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to its website, by creating a likelihood of confusion with the complainant's mark as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation, or endorsement of its website. (Paragraph 4(b)(iv))
In this case, there is evidence supporting both of those paragraphs of the Policy.
The Respondent's website offers the disputed domain name for sale. The issue, under paragraph 4(b)(i), is whether this offer is for the purpose of selling the domain name to the Complainant or to a competitor of the Complainant. Given the invented nature of the word CIGNA and its distinctive association with the Complainant, it is reasonable to assume that the Respondent would be aware that those most interested in buying the domain name would be either the Complainant or competitors of the Complainant. As such, it is also reasonable to assume that the Respondent registered the disputed domain name for the purpose of selling it to the Complainant or competitors of the Complainant.
In relation to paragraph 4(b)(ii) of the Policy, it is relevant that the Respondent's website advertises links to various health-related products. The Complainant's business is licensing its marks to providers of health-related products and services. This suggests that the Respondent was aware of the Complainant's marks at the time the domain name was registered. By advertising products which might be generally associated with the Complainant's mark, it appears that the Respondent is attempting for commercial gain to attract Internet users by creating a likelihood of confusion with the Complainant's mark.
The circumstances set out in paragraph 4(b) of the Policy are not exhaustive of the circumstances in which bad faith may be found. There is additional evidence of bad faith in this case, being that:
- there is no evidence that the Respondent has any legitimate association with the CIGNA mark;
- after the commencement of these proceedings, according to communications between the Center and the Registrar (copied to the Panel), it appears that the Respondent sought (ultimately unsuccessfully) to transfer the registration of the domain name to another registrar, in contravention of paragraph 8(b) of the Policy.
Accordingly, the Panel finds that the domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.
For all the foregoing reasons, in accordance with paragraphs 4(i) of the Policy and 15 of the Rules, the Panel orders that the disputed domain name, <cigna.net>, be transferred to the Complainant, Cigna Intellectual Property, Inc.
James A. Barker
Dated: March 3, 2004