WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
BASF SE v. Jim Welsh
Case No. D2010-2000
1. The Parties
The Complainant is BASF SE of Ludwigshafen, Germany, represented by Hogan Lovells International LLP, Germany.
The Respondent is Jim Welsh of Saint Helena, California, United States of America.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <basfgroup.com> (“the Domain Name”) is registered with GoDaddy.com, Inc.
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on November 22, 2010. On November 22, 2010, the Center transmitted by email to GoDaddy.com, Inc. a request for registrar verification in connection with the Domain Name. On November 22, 2010, GoDaddy.com, Inc. transmitted by email to the Center its verification response, confirming that the Respondent is listed as the registrant and providing the contact details.
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 December 3, 2010. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was December 23, 2010. The Respondent did not submit any formal response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on December 29, 2010.
The Center appointed Alan L. Limbury, as the sole panelist in this matter on January 10, 2011. 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, together with numerous subsidiaries, is the largest chemical company in the world. It has registered the trademark BASF throughout the world including, on August 20, 1987 in Germany, under No. IR00521841. The Domain Name was registered on October 30, 2010 in the name of Respondent, without his knowledge or consent. Next day the Complainant received an email purporting to be from “Jim, BasfGroup.com” offering to sell the Domain Name to the Complainant. As of at least November 18, 2010 the Domain Name both resolved to a website showing sponsored links, with a statement that it may be for sale, and was offered for sale on the “www.sedo.co.uk” website.
The Respondent agrees that he has no interest in the Domain Name and has consented to its transfer to the Complainant but, since the Domain Name was not in fact registered by him, he has no access to the account to enable the transfer. Accordingly this matter has been referred to the Panel for decision.
Following the commencement of this Administrative Proceeding, the Center received email communications from “Bai”, claiming to be the owner of the Domain Name and to have registered it on October 30, 2010 for a games project, and that “BASF” is the abbreviation of “BaShiFen”, an Asian poker.
5. Parties’ Contentions
The Complainant says the Domain Name is confusingly similar to its BASF trademark, that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interest in the Domain Name, which was registered and is being used in bad faith.
As mentioned, the Respondent, in his informal communications, agrees that he has no interest in the Domain Name, which was not registered by him or with his consent, and he agrees to the transfer of the Domain Name to the Complainant.
6. Discussion and Findings
This appears to be a case of a person registering the Domain Name in the name of the Respondent in order to hide his or her identity and for the purpose of cashing in on a famous trademark. The Panel disregards the communications from “Bai” having found that said person is not the registrant of the Domain Name. The Respondent is an innocent party who has, very properly, consented to the transfer of the Domain Name to the Complainant. In the circumstances of this case, an order for transfer should be made and, as in Jeffrey Gorman (Jeff Gorman) v. Cocktails For a Cause, WIPO Case No. D2007-1029, the Panel concludes that it is inappropriate to make findings under paragraph 4(a) of the Policy.
For all the foregoing reasons, the Panel orders that the domain name, <basfgroup.com> be transferred to the Complainant.
Alan L. Limbury
Dated: January 11, 2011