World Intellectual Property Organization

WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center

ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION

bioMérieux, bioMérieux, Inc. v. dasilva, Radius

Case No. D2011-2295

1. The Parties

The Complainants are bioMérieux of Marcy L’Etoile, France, and bioMérieux, Inc. of Durham, North Carolina, United States of America (“United States”), represented by Cabinet Lavoix, France.

The Respondent is dasilva, Radius of Jakarta, Texas, United States.

2. The Domain Name and Registrar

The disputed domain name <biomerieux-vitek.com> (the “domain name”) is registered with Network Solutions, LLC (the “Registrar”).

3. Procedural History

The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on December 28, 2011. On December 28, 2011 and January 3, 2012, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On January 3, 2012, the Registrar 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” 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 January 4, 2012. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was January 24, 2012. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on January 25, 2012.

The Center appointed Christophe Imhoos as the sole panelist in this matter on February 6, 2012. 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

These administrative proceedings involve two Complainants: the French company bioMérieux and the American Company bioMérieux, Inc., a subsidiary of the French company bioMérieux.

bioMérieux is a worldwide group specialized in the field of in vitro diagnostics for medical and industrial applications. The group designs, develops, manufactures and markets systems used in various clinical applications. bioMérieux has more than 6,000 employees and it is present in more than 150 countries through 39 subsidiaries and a large network of distributors.

bioMérieux is the owner of many trademarks BIOMERIEUX around the world whilst the American company bioMérieux, Inc. is the owner of many trademarks VITEK around the world (Annex 4 to the Complaint).

In particular, bioMérieux, Inc. holds the following trademarks BIOMERIEUX (Annex 5 to the Complaint):

- International trademark BIOMERIEUX N° 933598 of June 12, 2007, for the following goods “Chemical products for use in industry and science, reagents and media for monitoring and detecting contaminants in industrial, agri-food, cosmetic and pharmaceutical products” in class 1; “Reagents and media for medical and veterinary diagnostic purposes” in class 5; “Scientific apparatus and instruments for monitoring and detecting contaminants in industrial, agri-food, cosmetic and pharmaceutical products; diagnostic apparatus and instruments not for medical use” in class 9; “Apparatus and instruments for medical and veterinary diagnostic purposes” in class 10.

- International trademark BIOMERIEUX and device N° 912430 of January 3, 2007, for the following goods “Chemical products for use in industry and science, reagents and media for monitoring and detecting contaminants in industrial, agri-food, cosmetic and pharmaceutical products” in class 1; “Reagents and media for medical and veterinary diagnostic purposes” in class 5; “Scientific apparatus and instruments for monitoring and detecting contaminants in industrial, agrifood, cosmetic and pharmaceutical products; diagnostic apparatus and instruments not for medical use” in class 9; “Medical and veterinary diagnostic apparatus and instruments” in class 10.

- International trademark BIOMERIEUX and device N° 588284 of May 7, 1992, for the following goods “Chemicals used in industry and science, laboratory reagents, reactive and mediums for in vitro analyzes at ends of medical and veterinary diagnosis, reagents and media for checking and detecting contaminants in industrial, agri-food, cosmetic and pharmaceutical products” in class 1; “Scientific, electric and of control for analysis laboratories at ends of medical and veterinary diagnosis or for the control and the detection of the contaminants in the industrial products, agri-food, cosmetic and pharmaceutical products” in class 9.

bioMérieux holds the following trademarks VITEK (Annex 6 to the Complaint):

- International trademark VITEK n° 977757 of August 25, 2008, for the following goods “Chemicals for use in industry and science; reagents and media to control and detect contaminating substances in industrial, agricultural, cosmetic, and pharmaceutical products” in class 1; “Reagents and media for medical and veterinary diagnosis” in class 5; “Scientific apparatus and instruments for controlling and detecting contaminating substances in industrial, agro-foodstuff, cosmetic, and pharmaceutical products; diagnosis apparatus and instruments, not for medical use” in class 9; “Apparatus and instruments for medical and veterinary diagnosis”, in class 10.

- Community trademark VITEK n° 000562488 of June 23, 1997, for the following goods “Laboratory reagents for medical diagnostic and analytical use” in class 5; “Instrument system for diagnostic and analytical uses” in class 10.

- American trademark VITEK n° 74072625 of June 25, 1990, for the following goods “Automatic microbio analysis system for human fluids comprising primarily a reader card containing test wells, an automatic microbio analysis, and a computer for providing the reader card data output from the biochemically tested wells, all employed for invitro diagnostic use” in class 9.

bioMérieux is the owner of the domain names <biomerieux.com> and <biomerieux.fr>.

The domain name was registered on January 17, 1996.

5. Parties’ Contentions

A. Complainant

The Complainants rely in their Complaint on the following grounds:

(i) The domain name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark in which the Complainants have rights.

bioMérieux holds numerous trademarks BIOMERIEUX around the world (see above) whilst the American company bioMérieux, Inc. holds numerous trademarks VITEK around the world (see above); these trademarks have been in use for many years.

The domain name <biomerieux-vitek.com> reproduces the trademark BIOMERIEUX in the name of the French company bioMérieux and reproduces the trademark VITEK in the name of the American company bioMérieux, Inc. It is identically similar to the trademarks BIOMERIEUX and VITEK.

(ii) The Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the domain name.

The Respondent is the owner and is currently using the domain name <biomerieux-vitek.com> for a website corresponding to a collection of articles and information in the field of health, medicines and biotechnology, without the authorization of the Complainants (Annex 7 to the Complaint).

Furthermore, the Respondent is not a licensee of the Complainants, nor it is authorized to use the Complainants’ marks.

In addition, the Respondent is making an unfair commercial use of the domain name. There is no plausible explanation for the Respondent’s registration of the domain name. The Respondent did not have any personal attachment to the name.

The Complainants fail to see any rights or legitimate interests the Respondent may have in the use of the domain name.

(iii) The domain name was registered and is being used in bad faith.

The domain name contains a collection of articles and information in the field of health, medicines and biotechnology, without the authorization of the Complainants, that are identical or similar to the goods for which the Complainants' trademark are registered. It also reproduces the device element in the trademark BIOMERIEUX, in particular the trademark No. 912430, showing thereby the Respondent's bad faith (Annex 7 to the Complaint).

On May 17, 2010, the Complainants already filed a complaint against the domain name <biomerieux-vitek.com> but which was registered by another company (bioMérieux and bioMérieux, Inc. v. Holdings, Ozweb, WIPO Case No. D2010-0779, Annex 9 to the Complaint) and for which the panel ordered the transfer to the first Complainant bioMérieux.

By registering a domain name composed of the two distinctive and famous Complainants’ trademarks BIOMERIEUX and VITEK, the Respondent intentionally attempted to take unfair advantage of the reputation of the Complainants’ trademarks. Moreover, by using the domain name, the Respondent intentionally attempted to attract for commercial gain, Internet users to the Respondent’s web site or other online location, by creating a likelihood of confusion with the Complainants’ mark as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation, or endorsement of the Respondent’s web site or location or of a product or service on the Respondent’s web site or location.

Based on the afore-mentioned grounds, the Complainants request the Panel that the domain name be transferred to the Complainants.

B. Respondent

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

6. Discussion and Findings

Paragraph 4(a) of the Policy sets forth three requirements, which have to be met for the Panel to order the transfer of the domain name to the Complainants. Those requirements are that:

(i) the Respondent’s domain name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which the Complainants have rights; and

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

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

The Complainant must prove in the administrative proceeding that each of the aforesaid three elements is present so as to warrant relief, according to paragraph 4(a) of the Policy.

The Panel has to decide the Complaint on the basis of the statements and documents submitted and in accordance with the Policy, the Rules and any rules and principles of law that it deems applicable, pursuant to paragraph 15(a) of said Rules.

In accordance with paragraph 14(b) of the Rules, if the Respondent does not submit a Response, in the absence of exceptional circumstances, the Panel shall decide the dispute based upon the Complaint.

A. Identical or Confusingly Similar

The Complainants have established rights in the trademarks BIOMERIEUX and VITEK (Annexes 4, 5 and 6 to the Complaint).

This Panel finds that the domain name <biomerieux-vitek.com> is obviously confusingly similar to Complainants’ trademarks BIOMERIEUX and VITEK. The suffix ".com" is not relevant for the purpose of this examination and may be therefore disregarded.

As a result, the Panel finds that the domain name is confusingly similar to the Complainant’s trademark.

B. Rights or Legitimate Interests

Paragraph 4(c) of the Policy provides a non-exclusive list of circumstances, if found by the Panel to be proved based on its evaluation of all evidence submitted, shall demonstrate rights to or legitimate interests in the domain name. Those circumstances are described as follows:

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

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

(iii) you are making a legitimate noncommercial 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, in not responding to the Complaint, has failed to invoke any of the circumstances, which could demonstrate, pursuant to paragraph 4(c) of the Policy, any rights to and/or legitimate interests in the domain name. This entitles the Panel to draw any such inferences from such default as it considers appropriate pursuant to paragraph 14(b) of the Rules (see e.g., Talk City, Inc. v. Michael Robertson, WIPO Case No. D2000-0009; Isabelle Adjani v. Second Orbit Communications, Inc., WIPO Case No. D2000-0867).

The Complainants should nevertheless make out a prima facie case that the Respondent lacks rights or legitimate interests (see Croatia Airlines d.d. v. Modern Empire Internet Ltd., WIPO Case No. D2003-0455; Belupo d.d. v. WACHEM d.o.o., WIPO Case No. D2004-0110).

The Panel shares the view expressed by another panel in the previous case bioMérieux and bioMérieux, Inc. v. Holdings, Ozweb, WIPO Case No. D2010-0779, that found MERIEUX and VITEK marks to be distinctive and well known.

In addition, the Complainants do not seem to have granted any license or to have otherwise permitted the Respondent to use the Complainants’ trademark or to apply for any domain name incorporating the Complainants’ trademark. Moreover, the Respondent does not appear to be known by the domain name.

The Panel considers that Complainants have established a prima facie case whereby the Respondent is not using the domain name in connection with a bona fide offer of goods or services: when using the domain name based on registered trademarks (Annex 7 to the Complaint) the Respondent misleadingly diverts consumers for its own commercial gain.

Under these circumstances and absent evidence to the contrary, the Panel is unable to find any evidence that would tend to establish that the Respondent has rights or legitimate interests in respect of the domain name.

As a result, the Panel finds that the Respondent does not have rights or legitimate interests with respect to the domain name.

C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith

Paragraph 4(b) of the Policy provides a non-exclusive list of circumstances that evidence registration and use of a domain name in bad faith. Any one of the following behaviors is sufficient to support a finding of bad faith:

(i) circumstances indicating that you have registered or you have 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 the Complainant, for valuable consideration in excess of your documented out-of-pocket costs directly related to the domain name; or

(ii) you have 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 you have engaged in a pattern of such conduct; or

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

(iv) by using the domain name, you have intentionally attempted to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to your website 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 your website or location or of a product or service on your website or location.

As already mentioned, the Respondent did not file any response to the Complaint, failing thereby to invoke any circumstance which could demonstrate its good faith in the registration and use of the domain name.

Nevertheless, the Panel still has the responsibility of determining which of the Complainants’ assertions are established as facts, and whether the conclusions asserted by the Complainants can be drawn from the established facts (see Harvey Norman Retailing Pty Ltd v. Oxford-University, WIPO Case No. D2000-0944).

Based on the evidence submitted (see Annex 7 to the Complaint), the Respondent, by using the domain name <biomerieux-vitek.com> in the manner described above, intentionally attempts to attract for commercial gain, Internet users to the Respondent’s 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 web site or location or of a product or service on the Respondent’s web site or location.

As pointed out in the previous case mentioned above, absent any evidence indicating registration for a permissible purpose – the Respondent having not filed a response to the Complainants’ Complaint - this Panel finds that the Respondent has registered and is using the domain name in bad faith pursuant to paragraph 4(b)(iv) of the Policy.

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 <biomerieux-vitek.com> be transferred to the Complainant bioMérieux.

Christophe Imhoos
Sole Panelist
Dated: February 20, 2012

 

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