WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
3M Company v. This domain is for sale
Case No. D2004-0875
1. The Parties
The Complainant is 3M Company, 3M Innovative Properties Company, St. Paul, Minnesota, United States of America, represented by Ann K. Burns, Fulbright & Jaworski, LLP, United States of America.
The Respondent is This domain is for sale, Chennai, Tamil Nadu , India, represented by Sarathy.s.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <3mworldwide.com> is registered with eNom, Inc.
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on October 21, 2004. On October 22, 2004, the Center transmitted by email to eNom a request for registrar verification in connection with the domain name at issue. On October 25, 2004, eNom Inc. transmitted by email to the Center its verification response confirming that the Respondent is listed as the registrant and providing the contact details for the administrative, billing, and technical contact. 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 October 26, 2004. In accordance with the Rules, Paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was November 15, 2004. The Response was appropriately filed with the Center on November 3, 2004.
The Center appointed Gunnar Karnell as the Sole Panelist in this matter on December 1, 2004. 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
Complainant has demanded that the domain name <3mworldwide.com> be transferred to Complainant.
5. Parties’ Contentions
3M owns the trademark and trade name 3M. Presently 3M is in use for offering more than 50,000 products and services in a wide variety of fields under the 3M mark. Complainant markets products and services under the 3M mark and name through its website (a website for over 60 countries and regions) at “www.3m.com”, which has a prominent banner of “3M Worldwide” (or its local language equivalent). Today, 3M has subsidiaries in more than 60 countries, with over 60,000 employees. Its products are sold in almost 200 countries. It owns plants in over 100 locations worldwide, operating sales offices in almost 200 locations. Its sales for the 2003 fiscal year exceeded 18 billion United States dollars, with over 10 billion in sales outside USA.
In India, where Respondent lists its address, 3M Ltd., Complainant’s subsidiary, opened in 1988 and, now sells over 2,000 different products there; annual sales amount to over 43 million United States dollars. In just India, there are over 20 registrations for the 3M mark. Worldwide there are about 2,000.
The domain name <3mworldwide.com>, registered August 28, 2004, is confusingly similar to the 3M trademark and name. In light of the international renown of Complainant’s mark and activities as well as its ownership of numerous foreign trademark registrations, there is a great likelihood that any Internet user who encounters the domain name assumes a connection with Complainant. Respondent’s incorporation of Complainant’s trademark in its entirety renders the domain name confusingly similar to the Complainant’s trademark. The generic term “worldwide” does not differentiate the domain name from the distinctive and well known trademark 3M. In light of the global activities and recognition of Complainant and its internationally numerous trademark registrations, the added “worldwide” only adds to the potential confusion in the minds of Internet users as to whether the domain name is associated with Complainant.
Respondent does not have any rights or legitimate interest in the domain name, having made no demonstrable preparations to use it in connection with any bona fide offering of goods or services. At the time of preparation of the Complaint, Respondent had a generic directory site at the domain name <3mworldwide.com> without any use of “3M Worldwide” or a bona fide business name. Respondent is not commonly known by the name 3M, nor does it operate any business or organization under that name or make a legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the domain name.
Respondent has registered and is using the domain name <3mworldwide.com> in bad faith, doing so primarily for the purpose of selling the domain name to Complainant or to any other willing buyer for valuable consideration in excess of the out-of-pocket costs directly related to the registration and use of the domain name. Already the Respondent’s registration of its organization name as “This domain is for sale” indicates this. Already on August 30, 2004, Respondent, in an unsolicited e-mail, offered to sell the domain name to Complainant for 300 United States dollars (about ten times the price for a one-year “.com” registration with eNom. Inc.). This offer, just two days after the registration of the domain name, shows that Respondent has no plans to develop any legitimate content for its website. The purpose of the registration was to prevent Complainant from use of its mark in a corresponding domain name, so as to force Complainant into transfer-for-price negotiations.
Respondent’s reply to the contentions of the Complainant is here summarized only to the extent relevant to the case at hand.
Respondent did not register the domain name in bad faith and had no intention of selling it when registered. At that time, Respondent was unaware of any company called “3M”. The number and character “3” and “M” are generic common terms, free for use. “worldwide” is a common marketing term and the domain name is not used to promote any products competing with 3M Company. The site connected to the domain was not developed because of financial problems, which Respondent is waiting to be solved. The registration of the domain name was not aimed at selling it to 3M Company. Plans for the use of the domain name as short for “Earn three millions worldwide” in promotion of on-line activities were not carried out because of financial drain and lack of time under the further strain of severe physical injury. With the aim of contacting possible buyers of Respondent’s domain names, Respondent searched contacts to potential interested parties “that I may come across and I was very happy to know that a company “3M” was operating and thought this domain may best suit their online activities”.
6. Discussion and Findings
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The website “www.3m.com/int/in/” for 3M India as well as a considerable number of other 3M websites all over the world and adduced in evidence by Complainant carry the locution “3M Worldwide”, thus encompassing the word “worldwide” with the well known trademark 3M. The generic term “worldwide” adds to its distinctivity rather than to diminish it. “3M Worldwide”, is used on many 3M sites, can even be seen as a per se trademark. Be that as it may, Respondent’s use of the term in connection with the trademark 3M (in the form of 3m) renders the domain name confusingly similar to a trademark in which Complainant has rights.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
On evaluation of all evidence presented, the Panel finds asserted that Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of its domain name. Complainant has alleged that Respondent has never been licensed by or had any other relations with Complainant. Respondent is not using the domain name in a bona fide manner currently and has made no demonstrative preparations for use.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
The Panel finds it inconceivable that Respondent registered and uses the domain name in issue as it describes in its response, ignorant of the existence of 3M as a Complainant’s trademark until it offered the domain name for sale to the Complainant. The Panel does not find that the explanation given concerning a plan for Respondent’s use of the domain name (“Earn three millions worldwide”) corresponds to reason under the circumstances otherwise indicated by Respondent, nor that other elements of its response render support to its explanations and contentions.
The Panel is convinced that the domain name <3mworldwide.com> was registered and consequently in use by Respondent in bad faith, knowing of Complainant’s trademark, primarily with the intention of selling the registration of the domain name to the Complainant for valuable consideration in excess of documented out-of-pocket costs directly related to the domain name.
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 <3mworldwide.com> be transferred to the Complainant.
Dated: December 10, 2004