WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center


Sanofi-Aventis v. Above.com Domain Privacy / Transure Enterprise Ltd

Case No. D2010-0426

1. The Parties

The Complainant is Sanofi-Aventis of Paris, France, represented by Marchais de Cande, France.

The Respondent is Above.com Domain Privacy / Transure Enterprise Ltd of Tortola, British Virgin Islands, Overseas Territory of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

2. The Domain Name and Registrar

The disputed domain name <sonafi-aventis.com> is registered with Above.com, Inc.

3. Procedural History

The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on March 19, 2010. On March 19, 2010, the Center transmitted by email to Above.com, Inc. a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On March 22, 2010, Above.com, Inc. transmitted by email to the Center its verification response, disclosing registrant and contact information for the disputed domain name which differed from the named Respondent and contact information in the Complaint. The Center sent an email communication to the Complainant on March 29, 2010, providing the registrant and contact information disclosed by the Registrar and inviting the Complainant to submit an amendment to the Complaint. The Complainant filed an amendment to the Complaint on March 30, 2010. The Center verified that the Complaint together with the amendment to the Complaint satisfied the formal requirements of the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (the “Policy” or “UDRP”), 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 March 31, 2010. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was April 20, 2010. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent's default on April 22, 2010.

The Center appointed Felipe Claro as the sole panelist in this matter on May 5, 2010. 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 the owner of many trademark registrations. These registrations include the SANOFI AVENTIS name which is registered in many countries, since 2004. The Complainant is well-known in the healthcare market and operates online through the web ”www.sanofi-aventis.com”, among other similar web sites.

5. Parties' Contentions

A. Complainant

Sanofi-aventis has been formed during the year 2004 as a result of merger between the two French companies, Aventis SA and Sanofi-Synthelabo.

Sanofi-aventis is a multinational company settled in more than 100 countries around 5 continents.

Employing 100, 000 people worldwide, Sanofi-aventis has a sales force of 33, 507 people, as well as 18, 976 research staff with 65 projects under development, 27 of which are at advanced stage.

Sanofi-aventis offers a wide range of patented prescription drugs to treat patients with serious diseases and has leading positions in 7 major therapeutic areas, namely cardiovascular, thrombosis, metabolic disorders, oncology, central nervous system, internal medicine and vaccines.

Sanofi-aventis is a major player on the worldwide pharmaceutical market.

The contends that the disputed domain name is identical or confusingly similar to its SANOFI AVENTIS mark, that the Respondent lacks rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name and that the Respondent has registered and is using the domain name in bad faith.

B. Respondent

The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant's contentions.

6. Discussion and Findings

In view of the lack of a response filed by the Respondent as required under paragraph 5 of the Rules, this proceeding has proceeded by way of default. Hence, under paragraphs 5(e), 14(a) and 15(a) of the Rules, the Panel is directed to decide this administrative proceeding on the basis of the Complainant's undisputed representations. In that regard and noting that default of the Respondent, the Panel makes the following specific findings.

A. Identical or Confusingly Similar

The combination of the highly distinctive words “sanofi aventis” is prior to the registration of the disputed domain name <sonafi-aventis.com> on September 14, 2009.

The disputed domain name reproduces the SANOFI-AVENTIS trademark.

Several panel decisions have recognized the notoriety of the SANOFI AVENTIS trademarks: Sanofi-Avenits v. Naby Diaw, WIPO Case No. D2007-1619 and Sanofi-aventis Inc. v. Hostmaster; Domain Park Limited, WIPO Case No. D2007-1641.

The only difference between the Complainant trademarks and the disputed domain name is the purposeful misspelling, namely the inversion of the letters “a” and “o” of the word “sanofi”.

This is a clear case of typosquatting affecting a well-known trademark, by altering the order of the letters: In this connection, see these previous UDRP WIPO decisions: Yahoo! Inc. and GeoCities v. Data Art Corp., DataArt Enterprises, Inc., Stonybrook Investments, Global Net 2000, Inc., Powerclick, Inc., and Yahoo Search, Inc., WIPO Case No. D2000-0587 <ayhoo.com>; Disney Enterprises, Inc. v. John Zuccarini, Cupcake City and Cupcake Patrol, WIPO Case No. D2001-0489 <disneywolrd.com>; Wachovia Corporation v. Peter Carrington, WIPO Case No. D2002-0775 <wachovai.com>, and Volvo Trademark Holding AB v. Unasi, Inc., WIPO Case No. D2005-0556 <vlovo.com>.

The inversion of the letters “a” and “o” of “sanofi” is not sufficient to avoid confusing similarity between the well-known trademark SANOFI AVENTIS and the disputed domain name.

B. Rights or Legitimate Interests

The Complainant has established a prima facie case that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. The Respondent has not shown any legitimate interest in the respect of the disputed domain name.

The Panel finds that paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy has been satisfied.

C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith

The Respondent registered the disputed domain name in bad faith which corresponds to a misspelling of the well-known trademark SANOFI AVENTIS owned by the Complainant.

The domain name has been registered for the purpose of attracting Internet users to the Respondent's website and making unfair benefit of the Complainant's reputation, by creating a likelihood of confusion between the SANOFI AVENTIS trademarks and the disputed domain name <sonafi-aventis.com>.

The Respondent must have undoubtedly been aware of the risk of deception and confusion that would inevitably follow when registering the disputed domain name since it could lead Internet users searching for official SANOFI AVENTIS websites to the website at the disputed domain name <sonafi-aventis.com>.

The disputed domain name is used as a referral portal which contains a number of hyperlinks offering various kinds of services concerning the pharmaceutical field. Such use of a third party's trademark does not correspond to a bona fide commercial or non-commercial use. The Respondent's use of the disputed domain name is deliberately trying to gain unfair benefit from the Complainant's great reputation.

As far as parking websites are concerned, the Panel finds bad faith under paragraph 4(b)(iv) of the Policy considering that: “Such parking website typically offers domain name holders to earn click through fees for redirecting Internet users to competing websites and thus capitalizing on the goodwill of the third party's trademarks” (Parrot S.A. v. Whois Service, Belize Domain WHOIS Service, WIPO Case No. D2007-0779.

7. Decision

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 <sonafi-aventis.com> be cancelled.

Felipe Claro
Sole Panelist

Dated: May 18, 2010