WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Sanofi-Aventis v. Carmen Capone
Case No. D2006-0112
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Sanofi-Aventis, Gentilly Cedex, France, represented by Selarl Marchais De Candé, France.
The Respondent is Carmen Capone, Warminster, Pennsylvania, United States of America.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <aventisfinancehouse-uk.com> is registered with eNom.
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on January 25, 2006. On January 26, 2006, the Center transmitted by email to eNom a request for registrar verification in connection with the domain name at issue. On January 26, 2006, eNom 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. 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 February 1, 2006. In accordance with the Rules, Paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was February 21, 2006. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on February 22, 2006.
The Center appointed Zbyněk Loebl as the sole panelist in this matter on February 28, 2006. 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 is Sanofi-aventis which is the third largest pharmaceutical company in the world. Sanofi-aventis owns the international and Community trademark AVENTIS as well as national trademark AVENTIS registered in France and in U.S., all registrations for classes 1,5,10, and 31. Furthermore, the Complainant registered the trademark SANOFI-AVENTIS internationally for classes such as 1,3,5, and 10, including national registration for France. Evidence was duly provided supporting this fact.
In addition, Complainant has also registered the following domain names:
Domain name Date of registration
<aventis.net> November 23, 1998;
<aventis.org> November 25, 1998;
<aventis.biz> March 27, 2002;
<aventis.info> July 31, 2001;
<sanofi-aventis.us> April 26, 2004;
<sanofi-aventis.com> March 14, 2004;
<sanofi-aventis.net> April 26, 2004;
<sanofi-aventis.org> April 26, 2004.
Evidence was duly provided supporting this fact.
The contested domain name was registered by the Respondent on June 18, 2005.. The Respondent’s web site „www.aventisfinancehouse-uk.com” is inactive.
5. Parties’ Contentions
The Complainant contends the following:
The domain name <aventisfinancehouse-uk.com> is confusingly similar to the trademarks and domain names of the Complainant despite the addition of the term “financehouse-uk” placed at the end of the Respondent’s domain name. As the term “financehouse” is descriptive it does not prevent the Internet users from thinking that the words “financehouse” designate a Complainant’s subsidiary whose purpose could be to assure efficient management of invested assets. Furthermore, the incorporation of the term “uk” is only a geographic descriptor referring to United Kingdom which, as held by panels, is not a distinguishing feature. It is a common method for specifying the location of business services.
The Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the domain name in dispute. There is no relationship between the parties and in addition, the Respondent is not licensed or otherwise permitted to use the trademarks AVENTIS or to apply for any domain name incorporating the term AVENTIS.
The domain name in dispute has been registered and used in bad faith. The Respondent must have been aware of the domain names and trademarks AVENTIS. The trademarks AVENTIS are world famous and a large marketing campaign has been launched in 2000 in media and publications all over the world. Also the search engine "alta vista" reveals more than 4,710,000 web sites; hence the Respondent could assume the risk of deception and confusion upon registration of the contested domain name. Moreover, the absence of use of the domain name in dispute by the Respondent demonstrates her bad faith.
The Complainant requests the domain name < aventisfinancehouse-uk.com> to be transferred to it.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The Complainant’s trademark AVENTIS is known worldwide. The disputed domain name wholly incorporates the Complainants' trademarks and domain names, which is sufficient to establish confusing similarity (See, e.g., Oki Data Americas, Inc. v. ASD, Inc., WIPO Case No. D2001-0903), notwithstanding the addition of the term “financehouse”. The panels have held repeatedly that the addition of a generic term to a mark in a domain name does not distinguish the domain name from the mark (See, e.g., Abbott Laboratories v. United Worldwide Express Co., Ltd., WIPO Case No. D2004-0088). Internet users are likely to assume that the suffix “financehouse” refers to a subsidiary of Sanofi-aventis or a web site associated with the Complainant.
The geographic suffix “uk” does not alter a finding of confusing similarity to the trademark, especially where the trademark owner operates in the particular area (See, e.g., PepsiCo, Inc. v. Kieran McGarry, WIPO Case No. D2005-0629).
The Respondent’s domain name is confusingly similar to the Complainants' trademarks. The condition of the Paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Policy has been satisfied.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
The Complainant asserts that the Respondent did not obtain consent to use the trademark or apply for registration of any domain name incorporating the term AVENTIS and that there is no relationship whatsoever between the parties.
In addition, the Respondent’s web site " www.aventisfinancehouse-uk.com" is inactive, shows no content. There is no evidence that the Respondent makes non-commercial and fair use of the domain name in dispute without intention to divert consumers or uses the domain name in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services, as addressed under Paragraph 4(c) of the Policy.
In the absence of any submission by the Respondent, the Panel concludes that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect to the domain name, as set forth in the Paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
The Respondent has registered a domain name reflecting a registered renown trademark. The Panel is confident that the recognition of the trademark AVENTIS is high, especially after a wide marketing campaign in the United States of America, where the Respondent is located, as evidenced by the Complainant. Therefore, the Respondent most likely knew the Complainant and its trademarks when he registered the contested domain name.
Furthermore, the Respondent is making no use of the contested domain name. In accordance with WIPO UDRP decisions the absence of use of the domain name may indicate bad faith of the Respondent (See, e.g., Prada S.A. v. Roderick G. Arnold, WIPO Case No. D2002-0928)
Finally, the Respondent provided inaccurate contact details to the Registrar and has not participated to this proceeding, which the Panel finds, also suggest bad faith on the part of the Respondent.
For the above reasons, and in the absence of a rebuttal by the Respondent, the Panel finds that the disputed 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 domain name, <aventisfinancehouse-uk.com> be transferred to the Complainant.
Dated: March 13, 2006