World Intellectual Property Organization

WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center

ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION

Hoffmann-La Roche Inc. v. Domains By Proxy, LLC / Kevin Wall

Case No. 2012-2412

1. The Parties

The Complainant is Hoffmann-La Roche Inc. of Nutley, New Jersey, United States of America (“United States”), represented internally.

The Respondent is Domains By Proxy, LLC / Kevin Wall of Scottsdale, Arizona, United States and Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands, Overseas Territory of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

2. The Domain Name and Registrar

The disputed domain name <accutaneandme.com> is registered with GoDaddy.com, LLC (the “Registrar”).

3. Procedural History

The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on December 10, 2012. On the same date, the Center transmitted by e-mail to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On December 11, 2012, the Registrar transmitted by e-mail 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 e-mail communication to the Complainant on December 13, 2012, 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 December 14, 2012.

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 December 18, 2012. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was January 7, 2013. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on January 9, 2013.

The Center appointed Teruo Doi as the sole panelist in this matter on January 17, 2013. 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, with its affiliated companies, engaged in the research and development of pharmaceutical and diagnostic products. It is a member of the Roche Group, one of the worlds’s leading research-focused healthcare groups and having global operations in more than 100 countries.

The Complainant’s mark ACCUTANE is registered on behalf of the Complainant in the United States Patent and Trademark Office as of August 28, 1973, under Registration No. 966,924 (Annex 3 to the Complaint), with the first use in 1982. Same as the Complainant F. Hoffman-La Roche AG, Basel, Switzerland, is owned and controlled by Roche Holding AG, a company organized and doing business under the laws of Switzerland. Aforesaid F. Hoffmann-La Roche AG owns and uses the domain name <accutane.com>.

ACCUTANE is an alternative Trademark (US version) for the trademark ROACCUTAN. The ROACCUTAN trademark is protected in a multitude of countries worldwide. As an example, reference is made to the International Registration No. R450.092, certificate of which is submitted in a copy as Annex 4 to the Complaint with priority date for the mark ROACCUTAN August 21, 1979.

The mark ACCUTANE designates a dermatological preparation in the form of a product indicated for the treatment and prevention of acne. This mark was extensively promoted for many years in printed advertisements in medical journals, promotional materials, packagings, medical informational materials, television advertising and direct mailings. The sales of the ACCUTANE products in the United States have exceeded hundreds of millions of dollars.

Furthermore, the Complainant’s use and registration of the mark ACCUTANE do predate the Respondent’s registration of the disputed domain name, that is, November 30, 2012.

5. Parties’ Contentions

A. The Complainant

The Complainant contends that the disputed domain name <accutaneandme.com> incorporates the Complainant’s mark ACCUTANE in its entirety, and the Complainant’s use and registration of its trademark ACCUTANE predates the registration of the disputed domain name. Hence, the disputed domain name <accutaneandme.com> is confusingly similar to the Complainant’s mark ACCUTANE.

The Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name. The Complainant has not granted the Respondent any permission to use the Complainant’s mark in the disputed domain name, which is used for a generic parking page.

The Respondent’s use of the disputed domain name is for commercial gain by misappropriating the goodwill associated with the Complainant’s mark ACCUTANE.

The Respondent, by using the disputed domain name, is intentionally misleading the consumers and confusing them by making them believe that the websites behind those links are associated or recommended by the Complainant.

Accordingly, the Complainant requests the Administrative Panel appointed in this administrative proceeding issue a decision that the disputed domain name be transferred to the Complainant.

B. The Respondent

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

6. Discussion and Findings

Under paragraph 4 (a) of the Policy, the Complainant is required to prove that each of the following elements exist in seeking the transfer of the disputed domain name:

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

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

(iii) The disputed domain name has been registered and being used in bad faith.

A. Identical or Confusingly Similar

The disputed domain name <accutaneandme.com> incorporates the Complainant’s mark ACCUTANE in its entirety and, according to Hoffmann-La Roche Inc. v. Hightech Industries, Andrew Browne, WIPO Case No. D2010-0240, “the incorporation of a trademark in its entirety may be sufficient to establish that a domain name is identical or confusingly similar to the Complainant’s registered mark.

And, according to Lilly ICOS LLC v.JohnHopking / Neo net Ltd., WIPO Case No. D2005-0694, “generally, a user of a mark may not avoid likely confusion in appropriating another’s entire mark and adding descriptive or non-distinctive matter to it.”

In view of the distinctive quality of the word “accutane”, the addition of the descriptive or non-distinctive words, “and” and “me”, after the word “accutane” does not affect the finding that the disputed domain name is identical or confusingly similar to the Complainant’s registered mark ACCUTANE.

B. Rights or Legitimate Interests

The Complainant has made a prima facie case that the Respondent lacks rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name, which the Respondent has not rebutted.

In the absence of any evidence entitling the Respondent to use the mark ACCUTANE and the fact that the Complainant has exclusive rights to use the mark ACCUTANE, the Panel finds the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name.

C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith

In view of the distinctive quality possessed by the mark ACCUTANE which is the Complainant’s well-known mark, the Respondent’s registration of a domain name consisting of this word combined with a set of descriptive words is a clear indication of the Respondent’ bad faith. The disputed domain name is misleading consumers who access the Respondent’s website by confusing them that the websites behind the links may be associated or recommended by the Complainant for commercial gain. The Panel thus finds the Respondent registered and is using the disputed domain name in bad faith.

The Panel notes that the Respondent has failed to respond to the Complainant, and, as such, does not contest the facts asserted by the Complainant in the Complaint.

7. Decision

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

Teruo Doi
Sole Panelist
Date: February 8, 2013

 

Explore WIPO