WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Danisco A/S and Genencor International, Inc. v. Bong-Gyu Jeong
Case No. D2005-0973
1. The Parties
The Complainants are Danisco A/S, Copenhagen K, Denmark, and Genecor International, Inc., Palo Alto, California, United States of America. Both Complainants are represented by Kirkpatrick & Lockhart Nicholson Graham LLP, United States of America.
The Respondent is Bong-Gyu Jeong, Daegu, Republic of Korea.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <daniscogenencor.com> is registered with Cydentity, Inc. d/b/a Cypack.com.
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on September 13, 2005. On September 13, 2005, the Center transmitted by email to Cydentity, Inc. d/b/a Cypack.com a request for registrar verification in connection with the domain name at issue. On September 14, 2005, Cydentity, Inc. d/b/a Cypack.com transmitted by email to the Center its verification response confirming that the Respondent is listed as the registrant and providing the contact details for the administrative, billing, and technical contact. After receiving notice of the language of the proceedings, Complainants filed the Complaint in the Korean language on September 23, 2005. The Center 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, and the proceedings commenced on October 3, 2005. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was October 23, 2005. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the parties of the Respondent’s default on October 24, 2005.
The Center appointed Ik-Hyun Seo as the Sole Panelist in this matter on November 3, 2005. The Panel finds that it was properly constituted. The Panel has submitted the Statement of Acceptance and Declaration of Impartiality and Independence, as required by the Center to ensure compliance with the Rules, paragraph 7.
4. Factual Background
The Complainant Danisco A/S (“Danisco”) was founded in 1989 when its predecessor, Dansk Handels- og Industri-Compagni merged with Danish Sugar and Danish Distillers. Today, Danisco is one of the leading producers of food ingredients in the world, with more than 10,000 employees operating in more than 40 countries worldwide. Danisco uses the address “www.danisco.com” for its website.
The Complainant Genencor International, Inc. (“Genencor”) was founded in 1982 by its predecessors Genentech and Corning. Genencor operates a world-wide business, primarily in the biotechnology field, with over 1,300 employees. Genencor uses the address “www.genencor.com” for its website.
On January 27, 2005, the Complainants publicly announced that an agreement had been signed for Danisco to acquire all outstanding shares of Genecor, making Genencor a wholly-owned subsidiary of Danisco.
The Respondent appears to be an individual, and registered the subject domain name on January 29, 2005 – two days after the public announcement. The domain name is used presently to display minimal content (all of which is in English).
5. Parties’ Contentions
The disputed domain name is identical or confusing similar to marks in which the Complainants have rights. More specifically, the Complainants assert that they respectively hold trademark registrations throughout the world for both DANISCO and GENENCOR, and the disputed domain name is merely a combination of these two trademarks.
The Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the subject domain name.
The Complainants have not authorized or otherwise given permission to the Respondent to use the Complainants’ trademarks. The Complainants further note that the Respondent does not appear to be using the disputed domain name in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services.
The domain name was registered and is being used in bad faith.
The Complainants contend that the Respondent registered the disputed domain name based on the public announcement of the agreement between Danisco and Genencor, and in anticipation of selling it to the Complainants. The Complainants further assert that the Respondent must have known of the Complainants’ trademark rights, particularly since both DANISCO and GENENCOR are registered as trademarks even in the Republic of Korea, where the Respondent apparently resides.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainants’ contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
While the default language of the proceedings is Korean by virtue of the language of the relevant registration agreement and an absence of agreement otherwise between the parties, the Panel is of the opinion that it would be appropriate under the circumstances to render its decision in English, as explained in more detail below.
The Respondent used the subject domain name to display content (though minimal) only in English. Further, neither the Complainants nor their attorneys appear to be Korean speakers, and have already incurred the burden of translating the Complaint for the benefit of the Respondent, who incidentally has chosen to simply ignore these proceedings. If this decision is rendered in Korean, the only participants in these proceedings will be forced to again incur additional costs to translate it. Most importantly, the Panel notes that the Respondent has decided to not participate in the proceedings, despite being served with notices from the Center in the Korean language and having received a Korean translation of the Complaint. Under these circumstances, the Panel finds it fair and more appropriate to render its decision in the preferred language of the Complainants.
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The Complainants have submitted evidence demonstrating their rights to the marks DANISCO and GENECOR. Corresponding trademark registrations have been obtained throughout the world, including in Korea, long before the Respondent registered the disputed domain name.
The disputed domain name is merely a combination of the two asserted trademarks in their entireties. Further, given the public announcement of the agreement between Danisco and Genencor, the disputed domain name is very likely to cause confusion with respect to the Complainants. Konica Corporation, Minolta Kabushiki Kaisha aka Minolta Co., Ltd. v. IC, WIPO Case No. D2003-0112 (the domain name <konicaminolta.com>, a mere combination of two separate trademarks, confusingly similar to the asserted trademarks).
For the above reasons, the Panel finds that the first requirement has been met.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
The Complainants have made sufficient allegations to supports their contention that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the subject domain name. The Respondent has not responded to the Complaint or these allegations. Since the Complainants’ allegations appear well-founded and reasonable on the basis of the case record before the Panel, and are undisputed by the Respondent, this Panel accepts the Complainants’ assertions as true, and concludes that the second requirement has been met.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
The Panel finds that there is ample evidence of bad-faith as required under paragraph 4(a)(iii) of the Policy.
First, the asserted marks DANISCO and GENECOR are highly distinctive terms that have no particular meaning in English or in Korean. As such, it is inconceivable that the Respondent registered the domain name that wholly incorporates these two terms, without any knowledge of Complainants’ trademark rights in these terms.
Further, the Respondent registered the subject domain name just two days after the first public announcement of Danisco’s plans to acquire all of Genencor’s shares. Such an opportune coincidence is very difficult to explain, and perhaps the reason why the Respondent has not even attempted to offer one.
The Panel finds that this is another classic case of opportunistic cyber-squatting, similar to many cases before. See Konica Corporation, Minolta Kabushiki Kaisha aka Minolta Co., Ltd. v. IC, WIPO Case No. D2003-0112 (providing notes on several similar cases where a cyber-squatter obtained registration in response to the announcement of a merger or similar transaction).
For the reasons given above, the Panel finds that the third and final element has also been established.
For all the foregoing reasons, in accordance with paragraphs 4(i) of the Policy and 15 of the Rules, the Panel orders that the domain name <daniscogenencor.com> be transferred to the Complainant Danisco A/S, as requested by the Complainants.
>Date: November 17, 2005