WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Syngenta Participations AG v. Maksim Ivanov
Case No. D2016-0310
1. The Parties
Complainant is Syngenta Participations AG of Basel, Switzerland, internally represented.
Respondent is Maksim Ivanov of Moskva, Russian Federation.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <syngenta-usa.com> is registered with PDR Ltd. d/b/a PublicDomainRegistry.com (the “Registrar”).
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on February 16, 2016. On February 16, 2016, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On February 17, 2016, the Registrar transmitted by email to the Center its verification response confirming that 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 and 4, the Center formally notified Respondent of the Complaint, and the proceedings commenced on February 19, 2016. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was March 10, 2016. Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified Respondent’s default on March 14, 2016.
The Center appointed Stephanie G. Hartung as the sole panelist in this matter on March 17, 2016. 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 is an agricultural company headquartered in Basel, Switzerland that is engaged in the production of agrochemicals for crop protection as well as vegetable and flower seeds.
Complainant has provided evidence that it is the owner of numerous registered trademarks relating to the designation “Syngenta”, inter alia:
- Word mark SYNGENTA, World Intellectual Property Organization (“WIPO”), Registration No. 732663, Registration date: March 8, 2000; status: active;
- Word mark SYNGENTA, United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”), Registration No. 3,036,058, Registration date: December 27, 2005; status: active.
The disputed domain name <syngenta-usa.com> was created on December 15, 2015; at the time of rendering this decision, it resolves to a website at “www.syngenta-usa.com”, which appears to be a website of Complainant’s United States of America (“US”) subsidiary “Syngenta United States”, which has its official website at “www.syngenta-us.com”.
On January 14, 2016, Complainant sent a cease and desist notice to the email address provided for in the WhoIs of the disputed domain name, which remained unanswered.
Complainant requests that the disputed domain name be transferred to Complainant.
5. Parties’ Contentions
Complainant asserts to be a globally known company with more than 28,000 employees in some 90 countries throughout the world.
Complainant contends that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to Complainant’s SYNGENTA trademark as it contains an exact match thereof with the only difference being the geographical suffix “usa”.
Also, Complainant argues that Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests with respect to the disputed domain name since (1) Respondent neither has any affiliation with Complainant nor was he authorized to use Complainant’s SYNGENTA trademark and (2) the disputed domain name resolves to an active website which is designed to mimic Complainant’s official US website by simply copying its content.
Finally, Complainant states that Respondent registered and is using the disputed domain name in bad faith since the duplication of the copyrighted content from Complainant’s US website is clearly meant to confuse the public with the result of Complainant potentially losing business and sustaining damage to its reputation.
Respondent did not reply to Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
Under paragraph 4(a) of the Policy, Complainant carries the burden of proving:
(i) That the disputed domain name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which Complainant has rights; and
(ii) That Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name; and
(iii) That the disputed domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.
Respondent’s default in the case at hand does not automatically result in a decision in favor of Complainant. However, paragraph 5(f) of the Rules provides that if Respondent does not submit a Response, in the absence of special circumstances, the Panel is to decide the dispute solely based upon the Complaint.
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The Panel concludes that the disputed domain name <syngenta-usa.com> is confusingly similar to the SYNGENTA trademark in which Complainant has shown itself to have rights.
The disputed domain name incorporates the SYNGENTA trademark in its entirety. Numerous UDRP panels have recognized that incorporating a trademark in its entirety can be sufficient to establish that the disputed domain name is at least confusingly similar to a registered trademark (see e.g. PepsiCo, Inc. v. PEPSI, SRL (a/k/a P.E.P.S.I.) and EMS Computer Industry (a/k/a EMS), WIPO Case No. D2003-0696). Moreover, it has been held in numerous UDRP decisions and has become a consensus view among panelists (see WIPO Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions, Second Edition (“WIPO Overview 2.0”), paragraph 1.9) that the addition of a generic, descriptive or geographical term to a trademark in a domain name is normally insufficient in itself to avoid a finding of confusing similarity under the first element of the UDRP. Accordingly, the mere addition of the geographical term “usa” in the disputed domain name is not capable to dispel the confusing similarity arising from the incorporation of Complainant’s SYNGENTA trademark therein.
Therefore, the first element under the Policy set forth by paragraph 4(a)(i) in the case at hand is fulfilled.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
The Panel is further convinced that on the basis of Complainant’s undisputed contentions, Respondent apparently has neither made use of the disputed domain name in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services nor has Respondent been commonly known by the disputed domain name, nor can it be found that Respondent makes a legitimate, noncommercial or fair use thereof without intent for commercial gain.
Respondent has not been authorized to use Complainant’s SYNGENTA trademark, either as a domain name or in any other way. Also, there is no reason to believe that Respondent’s name somehow corresponds with the disputed domain name. Finally, using the disputed domain name to redirect to a website that obviously has been set up by copying the content from Complainant’s official US website neither qualifies as a bona fide offering of goods or services nor as a legitimate, noncommercial or fair use without intent for commercial gain.
Accordingly, Complainant has established a prima facie case that Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests with respect to the disputed domain name. Now, the burden of production shifts to Respondent to come forward with appropriate allegations or evidence demonstrating to the contrary (see WIPO Overview 2.0, paragraph 2.1). In the case at hand, Respondent did not reply to Complainant’s allegations as included in the Complaint duly notified to Respondent by the Center on February 19, 2016.
Therefore, the Panel finds that Complainant has also satisfied paragraph 4(a)(ii) and, thus, the second element of the Policy.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
The Panel finally holds that the disputed domain name was registered and is being used by Respondent in bad faith.
Copying the content of Complainant’s official US website to set up his own website under the disputed domain name <syngenta-usa.com>, which is confusingly similar to Complainant’s SYNGENTA trademark and domain name <syngenta-us.com>, without Complainant’s permission to do so, is a clear indication that Respondent intentionally attempted to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to his own website, by creating a likelihood of confusion with Complainant’s SYNGENTA trademark as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation or endorsement of Respondent’s website. Such circumstances shall be evidence of registration and use of the disputed domain name in bad faith within the meaning of paragraph 4(b)(iv) of the Policy.
Therefore, the Panel finds that also the third element under the Policy set forth by paragraph 4(a)(iii) is fulfilled and that, accordingly, Complainant has satisfied all of the three requirements of paragraph 4(a) of the Policy.
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 <syngenta-usa.com> be transferred to Complainant.
Stephanie G. Hartung
Date: March 30, 2016