World Intellectual Property Organization

WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center

ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION

Roche Products Limited v. Sergey Unikovskiy

Case No. D2011-1597

1. The Parties

The Complainant is Roche Products Limited of Welwyn Garden City, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (“United Kingdom”), represented by Lathrop & Gage LLP, United States of America.

The Respondent is Sergey Unikovskiy of Ukraine.

2. The Domain Name and Registrar

The disputed domain name <accutanebuysale.com> is registered with OnlineNic, Inc. d/b/a China-Channel.com.

3. Procedural History

The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on September 21, 2011. On September 22, 2011, the Center transmitted by email to OnlineNic, Inc. d/b/a China-Channel.com a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On September 23, 2011, OnlineNic, Inc. d/b/a China-Channel.com 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 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 September 27, 2011. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was October 17, 2011. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on October 18, 2011.

The Center appointed Marie-Emmanuelle Haas as the sole panelist in this matter on November 15, 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 its affiliate companies (“Roche”), is one of the world’s leading research-focused healthcare groups in the fields of pharmaceuticals and diagnostics with operations in more than 100 countries.

The Complainant asserts that it owns a registered trademark in numerous countries. The first registration dates as early as 1979 and is still in use. As an example, the national registrations ROACCUTANE No. 1119969 in the United Kingdom, No. 96401 in Ireland and No T79/83324F in Singapore are registered respectively since September 3, 1979, October 27, 1982, and December 3, 1979 for products in International Class 5 (namely “[p]harmaceutical, veterinary and sanitary preparations and substances”). The Complainant does not justify the renewal of its ROACCUTANE Malaysian trademark in 2008. The Complainant uses its trademark ROACCUTANE to designate a drug, namely isotretinoin, indicated for the treatment of severe nodular and/or inflammatory acne conglobata or recalcitrant acne.

For many years, Roche’s trademark ACCUTANE, also an isotretinoin medication, was extensively promoted. It has been used since 1972 and has become famous. Evidence of such use since 1982 in the form of some articles published on the Internet is provided.

The disputed domain name <accutanebuysale.com> was registered on July 7, 2011.

5. Parties’ Contentions

A. Complainant

The Complainant contends the following.

The domain name <accutanebuysale.com> is confusingly similar to the trademark of the Complainant. The disputed domain name incorporates the Complainant’s trademark ACCUTANE in its entirety. ACCUTANE is an invented and coined trademark that has an extremely strong reputation in North America. The registered trademark ROACCUTANE adds only “Ro”, the first two letters of “Roche”, the owner of these names and trademarks comprising or containing ACCUTANE. In light of this, Respondent’s registration and use of the disputed domain name at issue creates a strong likelihood of confusion as to the source, sponsorship, association or endorsement of the Respondent’s website. The addition of words, letters or numbers to a trademark does not alter the fact that the domain name is similar to the trademark, especially when the additional words are generic.

The website hosted at the disputed domain name offers Accutane product and mentions “Generic Accutane” and, through the link website “http://shop.e-onlinecialis.com”, sells third-party generic isotrenoin in a 30, as well as 60 and 90 day supply, which is against United States Food and Drug Administration regulations (“FDA Regulations”), as well as multiple pharmaceutical products of Complainant’s competitors, without license or permission of any kind from the Complainant, the trademark owner. The Complainant finds support in the decision Hoffmann-La Roche Inc v. Onlinetamiflu.com, WIPO Case No. D2007-1806.

The Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name. “Roaccutane” and “Accutane” are not words and have no valid use other than in connection with Roche brands of isotretinoin acne medication. Neither Complainant nor any of its affiliate companies have authorized the Respondent to use its trademark ACCUTANE or to incorporate the ACCUTANE portion of its ROACCUTANE trademark into a domain name. Neither the Respondent nor its website hosted at the disputed domain name have been commonly known under the disputed domain name. The use of the disputed domain name is infringing and likely to confuse purchasers, all to the damage of Roche and the possible harm of the purchasing public. Furthermore, Respondent seeks to divert Internet users searching information on Accutane or Roaccutane products to its website. Such a use is a clear indication of bad faith on the part of the Respondent.

The Complainant relies upon the decision in Justerini & Books Limited v. “Colmenar”, WIPO Case No. D2000-1308 to argue the Respondent’s reason in registering and using the disputed domain name <accutanebuysale.com> is to benefit from consumer confusion. The Respondent has not used the disputed domain name in connection with a bona fide offering of goods and services. The Respondent is not making a legitimate non-commercial or fair use of the domain name without intent for commercial gain. The disputed domain name is being used to promote competitor’s generic form(s) of isotretinoin and other drugs of competitors of Roche, for profit without any permission or license by Complainant.

The disputed domain name has been registered and used in bad faith.

Respondent’s purpose in registering the disputed domain name which incorporates the trademark ACCUTANE, so similar to the ROACCUTANE of Roche, is to capitalize on the reputation of the trademark by diverting Internet users seeking Roche group websites or Roche group medications to Respondent’s own website hosted at the disputed domain name.

Respondent’s use of the disputed domain name to solicit pharmaceutical orders without a license or authorization from Complainant does not constitute bona fide offering of goods and services.

Respondent clearly had the Complainant’s trademarks in mind when he registered the disputed domain name for use in selling directly competitive products via the website at the disputed domain name.

The disputed domain name is used in bad faith since the true purpose in registering the disputed domain name is to capitalize on the reputation of the ACCUTANE trademark. Respondent has intentionally attempted to attract Internet users for financial gain to Respondent’s website by creating a likelihood of confusion with the ACCUTANE trademark, so similar to the ROACCUTANE trademark, as to the source, affiliation and endorsement of the Respondent’s website or the products or services posted on or linked to the Respondent’s website.

The Complainant requests the domain name <accutanebuysale.com> to be transferred to the Complainant.

B. Respondent

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

6. Discussion and Findings

Paragraph 15(a) of the Rules instructs the Panel to “decide a complaint on the basis of the statements and documents submitted in accordance with the Policy, these Rules and any rules and principles of law that it deems applicable”.

In view of the Respondent’s failure to submit a Response, the Panel shall decide this administrative proceeding on the basis of the Complainant’s undisputed representations pursuant to paragraphs 5(e), 14(a) and 15(a) of the Rules and draw such inferences as it considers appropriate pursuant to paragraph 14(b) of the Rules.

Paragraph 4(a) of the Policy requires that the Complainant proves each of the following three elements to obtain an order that a domain name should be cancelled or transferred:

(1) the domain name registered by the Respondent is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which the Complainant has rights; and

(2) the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the domain name; and

(3) the domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.

A. Identical or Confusingly Similar

The Complainant has clearly established prior rights in the registered trademark ROACCUTANE by appending evidence of three national registrations protected in three different countries. The trademark ROACCUTANE is registered for products in International Class 5 (namely “[p]harmaceutical, veterinary and sanitary preparations and substances”) and is used to designate a product for treating acne.

The Complainant also asserts rights to the ACCUTANE trademark, which it alleges has been used in the United States since 1979. It provides a few articles published on the Internet demonstrating that the ACCUTANE trademark has been used in the United States by the different Roche companies since at least 1982. The Complainant does not provide any evidence, however, that it, Roche Products Limited, is the owner of the trademark rights to ACCUTANE in the United States.

Under these circumstances, the Panel shall not take the ACCUTANE trademark into account and will only examine whether the Complainant’s ROACCUTANE trademark is similar to the domain name <accutanebuysale.com>.

The disputed domain name incorporates the distinctive part ACCUTANE of the Complainant’s trademark ROACCUTANE and merely adds the descriptive terms “buysale”. The use of such descriptive words generally does not affect confusing similarity (see e.g. F. Hoffmann-La Roche AG v. Alexandr Ulyanov, Private Person, WIPO Case No. D2009-1590; F. Hoffman-La Roche AG v. Whois Protected, WIPO Case No. D2009-1569; F.Hoffman-La Roche AG v. PrivacyProtect.org, Domain Admin and Mark Sergijenko, WIPO Case No. D2007-1854; Aventis, Aventis Pharma SA v. VASHA Dukes, WIPO Case No. D2004-0276 holding that a domain name is confusingly similar to a trademark where a common descriptive term has been added to the trademark as part of the domain name).

In general sense, the Panel notes additionally that the risk of confusion should be considered with even greater care since the products designated by the Complainant’s trademark are pharmaceuticals. Therefore, the confusing similarity could eventually lead to the sale of harmful or inappropriate products.

The generic tld “.com” may not be taken into consideration when judging identity or confusing similarity (see e.g. Hay & Robertson International Licensing AG v. C.J. Lovik, WIPO Case No. D2002-0122).

The Panel finds that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to the Complainant’s trademark. The condition of the paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Policy has been satisfied.

B. Rights or Legitimate Interests

As set forth by paragraph 4(c) of the Policy, any of the following circumstances, in particular but without limitation, if found by the Panel to be proved based on its evaluation of all evidence presented, shall demonstrate the Respondent’s rights or legitimate interests to the domain name for purposes of paragraph 4(a)(ii):

(i) before any notice to the Respondent of the dispute, the Respondent’s use of, or demonstrable preparations to use, the domain name or a name corresponding to the domain name in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services; or

(ii) the Respondent (as an individual, business, or other organization) has been commonly known by the domain name, even if the Respondent has acquired no trademark or service mark rights; or

(iii) the Respondent is making a legitimate non-commercial or fair use of the domain name, without intent for commercial gain to misleadingly divert consumers or to tarnish the trademark or service mark at issue.

The Respondent did not either respond to the cease and desist letter or submit a Response to the Panel in this proceeding and has not provided any evidence or circumstances required to establish that he has rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name, according to Parapraph 4(c) of the Policy.

The Complainant’s use of the trademark ROACCUTANE predates the Respondent’s registration of the domain name <accutanebuysale.com>.

There is no evidence that the Respondent makes non-commercial and fair use of the domain name in dispute without intention to divert consumers, as addressed under paragraph 4(c) of the Policy. On the opposite, the Respondent makes a commercial gain since the disputed domain name resolves to a website that offers Accutane product and mentions “Generic Accutane” and, through the link site http://shop.e-onlinecialis.com, sells third party generic isotrenoin in a 30, as well as 60 and 90 day supply, which is against FDA Regulations, as well as multiple pharmaceutical products of Complainant’s competitors.

Furthermore, the Respondent has no connection of affiliation with the Complainant, and the latter asserts it has not consented to the Respondent’s use of the trademark in the disputed domain name.

The evidences submitted by the Complainant adequately support its assertions.

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

C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith

Paragraph 4(b) of the Policy sets out examples of circumstances that will be considered by the Panel to be evidence of the bad faith registration and use of a domain name. It provides that:

For the purposes of paragraph 4(a)(iii), the following circumstances, in particular but without limitation, if found by the Panel to be present, shall be evidence of the registration and use of a domain name in bad faith:

(i) circumstances indicating that the Respondent has registered or the Respondent has acquired the domain name primarily for the purpose of selling, renting, or otherwise transferring the domain name registration to the complainant who is the owner of the trademark or service mark or to a competitor of that complainant, for valuable consideration in excess of your documented out-of-pocket costs directly related to the domain name; or

(ii) the Respondent has registered the domain name in order to prevent the owner of the trademark or service mark from reflecting the mark in a corresponding domain name, provided that the Respondent has engaged in a pattern of such conduct; or

(iii) the Respondent has registered the domain name primarily for the purpose of disrupting the business of a competitor; or

(iv) by using the domain name, the Respondent has intentionally attempted to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to your web site or other on-line location, by creating a likelihood of confusion with the complainant's mark as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation, or endorsement of the Respondent’s website or location or of a product or service on your web site or location.

In the Panel’s view, the Respondent must have been aware of the rights on the prior trademark ROACCUTANE when registering the disputed domain name.

The Panel finds that the disputed domain name was registered intentionally to misdirect customers looking for the Complainant’s websites relating to ROACCUTANE. This constitutes bad faith registration.

The Complainant’s evidence shows that the disputed domain name resolves to a website offering to purchase online without any prescription ACCUTANE product and mentions “Generic Accutane” and sells third party generic isotrenoin in a 30, as well as 60 and 90 day supply.

It clearly shows that the Respondent is intentionally using the disputed domain name to misleadingly divert customers for commercial gain. Thus it also creates confusion for consumers as to the Complainant’s trademark as to the source, affiliation, or endorsement as addressed within the meaning of paragraph 4(b)(iv) of the Policy (see Sanofi-Aventis, Aventis Pharma S.A., Merrell Pharmaceuticals Inc. v. George Breboeuf, WIPO Case No. D2005-1345.

The Panel finds support in decisions Pfizer Inc. v. jg a/k/a Josh Green, WIPO Case No. D2004-0784, in which it was held that bad faith is established when “[r]espondent is using the domain names as a forwarding address to a for-profit on-line pharmacy”, and Aventis, Aventis Pharma SA v. VASHA Dukes, WIPO Case No. D2004-0276 (<buy-aventis.com>), in which it is held that “to a certain extent, Respondent is encouraging consumers to enter into an irresponsible pattern of conduct in the purchase of drugs and even to self-medication in respect to those that need prescription” and thus finding that the Respondent’s sale of the Complainant’s pharmaceuticals without prescription using the Complainant’s trademark as its domain name may “lessen the reputation associated with the Complainant’s trademarks”.

This constitutes bad faith use within the meaning of paragraph 4(b)(iv) of the Policy.

For the foregoing reasons, the Panel finds that the Complainant has also established the finding of bad faith registration and use within the meaning of paragraph 4(a)(iii) of the Policy.

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 <accutanebuysale.com> be transferred to the Complainant.

Marie-Emmanuelle Haas
Sole Panelist
Dated: November 29, 2011

 

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