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WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center


Sanofi v. Hka c/o Dynadot Privacy

Case No. D2014-0829

1. The Parties

The Complainant is Sanofi of Paris, France, represented by Selarl Marchais & Associés, France.

The Respondent is Hka c/o Dynadot Privacy of the United States of America.

2. The Domain Name and Registrar

The disputed domain name <sanofi.buzz> is registered with Dynadot, LLC (the “Registrar”).

3. Procedural History

The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on May 20, 2014. On May 20, 2014, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On May 21, 2014, 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 May 22, 2014. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was June 11, 2014. The Respondent did not submit any response, and the Center notified the Respondent’s default on June 16, 2014.

The Center appointed Wolter Wefers Bettink as the sole panelist in this matter on June 24, 2014. 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 French multinational pharmaceutical company ranking among the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world by prescription sales. It has establishments in more than 100 countries and employs over 110,000 people. The Complainant owns various national and Community trademarks to the word SANOFI, the earliest of which were registered in 1992 (France) and 1999 (EU) respectively (the “Trademarks”). In addition, it holds a wide variety of domain names under various generic Top-Level Domains (“gTLDs”) (including <sanofi.com> registered in 1995) and country-code Top_Level Domains (“ccTLDs”) (including <sanofi.us> registered in 2002).

The Respondent registered the domain name <sanofi.buzz> on 16 April 2014 (the “Domain Name”).

5. Parties’ Contentions

A. Complainant

The Complainant contends that the Domain Name is identical or confusingly similar to the Trademarks as the dominant part of the Domain Name is “Sanofi”, while the extension “.buzz” is generic. It submits that the Trademarks are highly distinctive because “Sanofi” does not have any particular meaning. Furthermore, the Complainant submits that the Trademarks have become well known in many jurisdictions.

According to the Complainant the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Domain Name, since it is not known by a name that resembles “Sanofi”, nor has it been licensed or otherwise authorized by the Complainant to use that name or any of the Trademarks. As the Domain Name is used for a website which contains sponsored links which generate income for the Respondent, the Complainant submits that the Respondent is not making a legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the Domain Name, nor using it in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services.

B. Respondent

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

6. Discussion and Findings

A. Identical or Confusingly Similar

The Complainant has shown that it has rights in the Trademarks. The element “Sanofi” which is identical to (the word element in) the Trademarks is to be considered the dominant part of the Domain Name. As furthermore the suffix “.buzz” can be disregarded, the Panel concludes that the Domain Name is confusingly similar to the Trademarks.

B. Rights or Legitimate Interests

The Panel accepts that there is no connection or affiliation between the Respondent and the Complainant. The name of the Respondent (Hka c/o Dynadot Privacy) has no similarity to “Sanofi”, while there is no evidence of any license agreement or other authorization from the Complainant to the Respondent to use the name “Sanofi”.

The Complainant has also provided sufficient prima facie evidence that the Respondent is not making a legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the Domain Name and is not using the Domain Name in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services. Although use of a domain name for a parking website, containing sponsored links to third party goods and services, is not always in itself sufficient evidence of the absence of a right or legitimate interest, under the circumstances of this case such use of the Domain Name does constitute such evidence. Given the fact that the element “Sanofi” in the Trademarks and the Domain Name is a made-up word, while the Trademarks are well-known, the Respondent apparently has chosen the Domain Name in order to take advantage of the reputation of the Trademarks by attracting customers to its website under the Domain Name who assume that this website is either provided by or has been approved of by the Complainant.

Therefore, the circumstances of this case lead the Panel to conclude that the Domain Name is used to trade on the goodwill of the Trademarks and not in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services.

In view of the above the Panel concludes that the Respondent has not right or legitimate interest in the Domain Name.

C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith

Based on the information and documents provided by the Complainant, the Panel deems it likely that at the time of registration of the Domain Name the Respondent was or should have been aware of the Trademarks and that the registration of the Domain Name was done in bad faith.

The registration dates of the oldest of the Trademarks and of the Domain Names of the Complainant predate the registration date of the Domain Name by some 20 years. In view of this, and the reputation of the Trademarks and the Complainant as one of the world's largest pharmaceutical companies, the Panel deems it very likely that the Respondent has seen or was aware of the Trademarks. Moreover, as “Sanofi” is a made-up name that a person wishing to register a Domain Name is highly unlikely to accidentally think of, the Panel concludes that the Respondent apparently deliberately included the element “Sanofi” in the Domain Name, to take advantage of the reputation of the Trademarks.

Furthermore, it is likely that the Respondent, by using the Domain Name for a commercial website, is attempting to attract Internet users to its websites by creating a likelihood of confusion with the Trademarks as to the source, affiliation or endorsement of Respondent's website. This constitutes bad faith use.

Therefore the Panel concludes that the Domain Name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.

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 disputed domain name <sanofi.buzz> be transferred to the Complainant.

Wolter Wefers Bettink
Sole Panelist
Date: July 8, 2014