WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Pfizer Inc v. Michael Chucks / Whoisguard Protected, Whoisguard Inc
Case No. D2014-0887
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Pfizer Inc of New York, United States of America (“US”), represented by Kaye Scholer LLP of US.
The Respondent is Michael Chucks of Delhi, India; Whoisguard Protected, Whoisguard Inc of Panama City, Panama.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <pfizerglobal.com> is registered with eNom (the “Registrar”).
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on May 27, 2014. On May 27, 2014, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On May 28, 2014, the Registrar transmitted by email 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 email communication to the Complainant on June 2, 2014 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 amended Complaint on June 3, 2014.
The Center verified that the Complainant and the amended 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(1) and 4(a), the Center formally notified the Respondent of the Complaint, and the proceedings commenced on June 6, 2014. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was June 26, 2014. The Respondent did not submit any response.
Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on June 27, 2014. Due to a notification error, on June 30, the Center granted the Respondent an additional five days to indicate its intention to participate in this proceeding. The Respondent has not replied within the specific due date. The Center notified the parties that it would proceed to panel appointment on July 7, 2014.
The Center appointed Clive Duncan Thorne as the sole panellist in this matter on July 8, 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
In the absence of a Response or submissions from the Respondent, the Panel proceeds to determine the Complaint on the basis of the evidence contained in the amended Complaint.
The Complainant, Pfizer Inc, is one of the world’s largest pharmaceutical manufacturers and sells and maintains global operations in more than 150 countries.
The Complainant owns numerous trademark registrations for the mark PFIZER including US trademark registration number 626088 issued May 1, 1956 for PFIZER & Design, US trademark registration number 3125531 issued August 8, 2006 for PFIZER & Design, US trademark registration number 3932037 issued March 15, 2011 for PFIZER & Design and US trademark registration number 2951026 issued May 17, 2005 for PFIZER. The Complainant through its wholly owned subsidiary, Pfizer Products Inc, owns numerous trademark registrations for the mark PFIZER throughout the world. It uses its extremely well-known mark in connection with the sale of a wide variety of pharmaceutical products and consumer healthcare products. It also operates a website using the domain name <pfizer.com> which it uses to provide information about itself and its products, programmes and services.
The Complainant points out that as a result of the extensive sales and advertising throughout the world of products and services under the mark PFIZER, the mark has become and is extremely well-known and famous throughout the world.
Numerous UDRP decisions have recognised the Complainant’s well-established rights in its distinctive mark PFIZER. These are set out at paragraph 19 to the amended Complaint.
The evidence as to the activities of the Respondent is set out at paragraph 3 to the amended Complaint. It appears that the Respondent anonymously registered the disputed domain name <pfizerglobal.com> and used it in connection with a fraudulent “phishing” scam that uses the mark PFIZER and the <pfizerglobal.com> email address (e.g. “firstname.lastname@example.org”). This has apparently been used in connection with the solicitation of employment applications from the public for alleged employment opportunities with the Complainant thereby allowing the Respondent to collect personal and potentially sensitive non-public information from unsuspecting members of the public who are misled into believing that they are dealing with the Complainant itself.
At Annex 1 to the amended Complaint, is a sample email sent by the Respondent using the disputed domain name and a sample fraudulent job listing posted using the disputed domain name in an email address. The Respondent also has directed the disputed domain name itself to a blank page effectively “warehousing” the disputed domain name apart from the Respondent’s use of the disputed domain name for a fraudulent email address. Annex 2 to the amended Complaint consists of the holding page to which the disputed domain name resolves.
In the absence of evidence to the contrary from the Respondent, the Panel accepts the evidence adduced by the Complainant as true.
5. Parties' Contentions
1.1. The Complainant submits that the disputed domain name is identical and confusingly similar to the trademark PFIZER owned by the Complainant.
1.2. The Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. There is no evidence that it is affiliated in any way to the Respondent. Moreover, the Respondent is not using the domain name in dispute in connection with the bona fide offering of goods or services.
1.3. The Respondent has registered and used the disputed domain name in dispute in bad faith. The Complainant submits that the Respondent must have known of the Complainant’s rights and that its use of the disputed domain name which was anonymously registered was in an attempt to hide the source of the Respondent’s fraudulent activities.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
On the basis of the evidence adduced by the Complainant, the Panel finds that the Complainant has numerous trademark registrations for the mark PFIZER and that as a result of extensive promotional activity throughout the world of its products and services under the mark PFIZER, the mark has become and is extremely well-known and famous throughout the world. In the Panel’s view, the addition of the descriptive word global to the domain name does not create a different trademark in which the Respondent has rights and is insufficient to avoid confusion between the domain name in dispute and the Complainant's trademark PFIZER.
Accordingly, the Panel finds for the Complainant in respect of this element.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
There is no evidence that the Complainant is affiliated in any way with the Respondent. Moreover, it is not possible to identify the Respondent. The Complainant points out that it has never authorised the Respondent to register or use the disputed domain name nor the mark PFIZER.
The use of the disputed domain name in connection with the fraudulent emails and fraudulent job listing set out at Annex 1 to the Complaint demonstrates that the Respondent has no legitimate interest in the disputed domain name. There is no evidence that the Complainant has been able to establish of any legal entity called “Pfizer Global” or similar name.
Accordingly, the Panel finds that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name in dispute.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
The Complainant submits that the Respondent’s lack of rights or legitimate interest in the use of the disputed domain name as used in this case renders the issue of bad faith registration unnecessary to even be considered. It points out that there are numerous previous UDRP decisions which have held that the registration and the use of a domain name in connection with a fraudulent “phishing” scheme constitutes bad faith under the Policy. This Panel follows those decisions and finds that the registration and use of the disputed domain name in connection with what is undoubtedly fraudulent “phishing” constitutes bad faith.
Additionally, the Panel finds that as a result of the evidence that the mark PFIZER is extremely “strong and widely known”, the mere registration of the disputed domain name that is similar to the mark PFIZER is itself evidence of bad faith. Having considered the evidence of the Respondent’s anonymity and “phishing” activity, the Panel finds that the Respondent registered the disputed domain name to shield its actual identity and hide the source of its fraudulent activities. Accordingly, the Panel finds that the disputed domain name was registered and used in bad faith.
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 <pfizerglobal.com> be transferred to the Complainant.
Clive Duncan Thorne
Date: July 28, 2014