World Intellectual Property Organization

WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center

ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION

Merck KGaA v. c/o whoisproxy.com Ltd / Galib Gahramanov, G Domains

Case No. D2011-1271

1. The Parties

The Complainant is Merck KGaA of Darmstadt, Germany, represented by Bettinger Schneider Schramm Patent- und Rechtsanwälte, Germany.

The Respondent is c/o whoisproxy.com Ltd of Auckland, New Zealand / Galib Gahramanov, G Domains of Baku, Azerbaijan.

2. The Domain Name and Registrar

The disputed domain name <merckde.com> (“the Disputed Domain Name”) is registered with Key-Systems GmbH dba domaindiscount24.com.

3. Procedural History

The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on July 25, 2011. On July 26, 2011, the Center transmitted by email to Key-Systems GmbH dba domaindiscount24.com a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On July 26, 2011, Key-Systems GmbH dba domaindiscount24.com 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 August 1, 2011 providing the registrant and contact information disclosed by Key-Systems GmbH dba domaindiscount24.com, and inviting the Complainant to submit an amendment to the Complaint. The Complainant filed an amended Complaint on August 3, 2011.

The Center verified that the Complaint together with the amended 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 August 10, 2011. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was August 30, 2011. On August 2, 2011, the Center received an email communication from the Respondent in which it stated it did “not want to violate any trademark rights and tried to return the disputed domain name which was not possible” because of the proceedings. It further stated: “please be informed that I wish to transfer this domain to your account even before UDRP case will be accomplished. Just write me how I can do it and we can proceed”.

On August 3, 2011, the Center forwarded the Respondent’s email communication to the Complainant, in order to seek for a possible settlement of the dispute. On August 8, 2011, the Complainant sent an email communication in which it stated it wanted to continue the proceedings. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on August 31 2011.

The Center appointed Jacques de Werra as the sole panelist in this matter on September 12, 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 is a German chemical and pharmaceutical global company which was founded in 1668. It is one of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies employing approximately 40.000 people in 67 countries around the world and has total revenues of over EUR 9 billion in 2010.

The Complainant is the owner of numerous trademarks for MERCK in over 170 countries, among which MERCK German Registration No. 694178 which was applied for on April 29, 1955 in Germany in classes 01, 02, 03, 05, 30 and 31.

The Complainant owns 120 domain names for MERCK and further 512 domain names containing the MERCK mark.

As a result of their extensive use, the Complainant’s trademarks and company name have acquired a significant goodwill and are well-known worldwide.

The Respondent registered the Disputed Domain Name on June 30, 2011 and is using it in connection with a parking website which provides links to various websites.

5. Parties’ Contentions

A. Complainant

The Complainant argues that the Disputed Domain Name is confusingly similar to the Complainant’s trademark, whereby the addition of the word “de” which refers to Germany and to the German country code extension for domain names. The Panel notes that Germany is the country where the Complainant is headquartered, and that the addition of “de” does not affect the finding of confusing similarity.

The Respondent does not have any rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Disputed Domain Name since the term “Merck” is neither a dictionary word nor a generic term. Further, there is not any license or other permission available. Moreover, there is no evidence that the Respondent has used the Disputed Domain Name in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services. The use for a parking webpage displaying sponsored links to third party websites does not constitute a bona fide use.

The Respondent has registered and is using the Disputed Domain Name in bad faith. Due to the character of the well-known Complainant’s trademark, the Panel finds it inconceivable that the Respondent registered the Disputed Domain Name without knowledge of the Complainant’s rights. The current use for a parking website is a further indication for bad faith in directing Internet users to a website providing links to third party websites.

B. Respondent

The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions except for its email of August 2, 2011 mentioned above.

6. Discussion and Findings

Pursuant to paragraph 10 of the Rules, the Panel has the discretion to conduct the proceeding in such a manner as it deems convenient. It is further admitted that panels have the authority to proceed immediately to make an order for transfer if a respondent has agreed on the transfer of the disputed domain name because such consent of the respondent provides a sufficient basis for an immediate order to transfer without consideration of the elements of paragraph 4(a) of the Policy. See e.g. Williams-Sonoma, Inc. v. EZ-Port, WIPO Case No. D2000-0207; Perfetti Van Melle SpA v. The Lamp Outlet Case., WIPO Case No. D2011-0565, Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León v. Flex Media Inc., WIPO Case No. DMX2010-0014, and other prior decisions to similar effect cited in paragraph 4.13 of the WIPO Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions, Second Edition “WIPO Overview, 2.0”).

On this basis, the Panel does not consider it necessary to review the facts and the conditions supporting the claim given that the Respondent has agreed on the transfer of the Disputed Domain Name by its email of August 2, 2011 (see para. 3 above). See Perfetti Van Melle SpA v. The Lamp Outlet Case., WIPO Case No. D2011-0565.

7. Decision

For the foregoing reasons, in accordance with paragraphs 4(i) of the Policy and 15 of the Rules, the Panel orders that the domain name <merckde.com> be transferred to the Complainant.

Jacques de Werra
Sole Panelist
Dated: September 21, 2011

 

Explore WIPO