WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Sanofi v. Private Registrant, Digital Privacy Corporation / Charalampia Lazari
Case No. D2017-1609
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Sanofi of Paris, France, represented by Selarl Marchais & Associés, France.
The Respondent is Private Registrant, Digital Privacy Corporation of Vista, California, United States of America ("USA") / Charalampia Lazari of New York, New York, USA.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <sanofil.com> is registered with 101domain, Inc. (the "Registrar").
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the "Center") on August 18, 2017. On August 18, 2017, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On August 25, 2017, 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 August 28, 2017, 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 the same day.
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 and 4, the Center formally notified the Respondent of the Complaint, and the proceedings commenced on August 30, 2017. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was September 19, 2017. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent's default on September 20, 2017.
The Center appointed Jonas Gulliksson as the sole panelist in this matter on September 26, 2017. 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 pharmaceutical company and holder of, inter alia, the French trademark registration for SANOFI (registration number 1482708) and the European Union trademark registration for SANOFI (registration number 004182325), hereafter referred to as "the Complainant's trademarks". The Complainant's trademarks were registered on August 11, 1988, and February 9, 2006, respectively.
The disputed domain name was registered on August 2, 2017, and does not resolve to any active website.
5. Parties' Contentions
The Complainant is a multinational pharmaceutical company, ranked as the fourth largest multinational pharmaceutical company by prescription sales. The Complainant is settled in more than 100 countries and has 110,000 employees.
The Complainant is the holder of numerous trademarks and domain names containing the term "sanofi". "Sanofi" has no particular meaning and is therefore highly distinctive.
The disputed domain name reproduces – or at least imitates – the Complainant's trademarks. The only difference between the Complainant's trademarks and the disputed domain name is the purposeful misspelling, namely the addition of the ending letter "l" to the term "sanofi". The Respondent's registration of the disputed domain name appears to be indicative of the practice known as typosquatting.
The Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name. The Respondent has neither prior rights nor legitimate interests to justify the use of the Complainant's well-known trademarks. The Complainant has never licensed or otherwise authorized the Respondent to use the Complainant's trademarks or to register any domain name including said trademarks. There is no relationship whatsoever between the Complainant and the Respondent.
The Respondent is not making a legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the disputed domain name, nor is the Respondent using the disputed domain name in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services. The disputed domain name simply refers to an inactive web page.
The disputed domain name was registered and is being used in bad faith. Given the famous and distinctive nature of the Complainant's trademarks, the Respondent is likely to have had constructive – if not actual – notice as to the existence of the Complainant's trademarks at the time of registration of the disputed domain name. The disputed domain name has been registered for the purpose of attracting Internet users to the Respondent's website by creating a likelihood of confusion – or at least an impression of association – between the Complainant's trademarks and the disputed domain name.
Furthermore, it has been established in many UDRP decisions that passive holding of a domain name under the appropriate circumstances falls within the concept of the domain name being used in bad faith.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant's contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
Paragraph 4(a) of the Policy requires the Complainant to prove all three of the following elements to be entitled to the relief sought: (i) that the disputed domain name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which the Complainant has rights; (ii) that the 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.
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The Complainant is the holder of trademark registrations for SANOFI. The disputed domain name incorporates the Complainant's trademarks in their entirety, with the addition of the letter "l" and the generic Top‑Level Domain ("gTLD") ".com". As noted by previous UDRP panels, the gTLD may be disregarded for the purposes of establishing identity or confusing similarity.
The Panel finds that the differences between the disputed domain name and the Complainant's trademarks are insufficient to avoid a finding of confusing similarity under the first element of the Policy.
In accordance with the findings above, the Panel concludes that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to the Complainant's trademarks within the meaning of the Policy, paragraph 4(a)(i), and the first element of the Policy is thus fulfilled.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
In cases when a respondent fails to present a response, the complainant is still required to make at least a prima facie case that the respondent lacks rights or legitimate interests in the domain name. See WIPO Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions, Third Edition ("WIPO Overview 3.0"), section 2.1. Further, paragraph 14(b) of the Rules provides that, in the absence of exceptional circumstances, a panel shall draw such inferences as it considers appropriate from a failure of a party to comply with a provision or requirement of the Rules.
The Complainant has stated that the Respondent has no rights of its own or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name, which incorporates – with the above-mentioned minor difference - the Complainant's trademark.
Having considered the submissions of the Complainant, and the absence of a Response from the Respondent, the Panel finds that the Respondent is not connected with the Complainant nor authorized to use the Complainant's trademarks in the disputed domain name. Neither does the Panel find any other indications that the Respondent is making a legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the disputed domain name, or that the Respondent is using the disputed domain name for a bona fide offering of goods or services.
In the light of what is stated above, the Panel finds that the Complainant has made a prima facie case that the Respondent lacks rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. The Respondent has not rebutted this case with appropriate allegations or evidence demonstrating rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. Therefore, the Panel finds that the second element of the Policy is fulfilled.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
The disputed domain name was registered on August 2, 2017. This is, for example, almost 29 years after the Complainant's French trademark registration for SANOFI, and more than 11 years after the Complainant's European Union trademark registration for the same mark, both referred to under section 4 above. The Complainant has furthermore submitted evidence showing its worldwide activities and wide range of trademark and domain name registrations. In the light thereof, and considering that the disputed domain name incorporates the Complainant's trademark in its entirety, it is in the Panel's view apparent that the disputed domain name was registered with knowledge of the Complainant's trademark rights and business.
The Complainant has also submitted evidence showing that the disputed domain name resolves to an inactive page. The Panel cannot foresee any plausible circumstances in which the Respondent could make active use of the disputed domain that would not interfere with the trademark rights of the Complainant. This is in the Panel's view a further indication of bad faith under the circumstances. See Telstra Corporation Limited v. Nuclear Marshmallows, WIPO Case No. D2000-0003.
All in all, the Panel finds that the disputed domain name was registered and is being used in bad faith. The third element of the Policy is thus fulfilled.
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 <sanofil.com> be transferred to the Complainant.
Date: October 9, 2017