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WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center


Boehringer Ingelheim Pharma GmbH & Co. Kg v. Mark Gonza

Case No. D2019-0876

1. The Parties

The Complainant is Boehringer Ingelheim Pharma GmbH & Co. Kg, Germany, represented by Nameshield, France.

The Respondent is Mark Gonza, United States of America (“United States”).

2. The Domain Name and Registrar

The disputed domain name <boeihringer-ingelheim.com> (the “Domain Name”) is registered with Hostinger, UAB (the “Registrar”).

3. Procedural History

The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on April 17, 2019. On April 17, 2019, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the Domain Name. On April 18, 2019, 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 and 4, the Center formally notified the Respondent of the Complaint, and the proceedings commenced on May 1, 2019. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was May 21, 2019. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on May 22, 2019.

The Center appointed Ian Lowe as the sole panelist in this matter on June 5, 2019. 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 part of the family-owned pharmaceutical group of companies founded by Albert Boehringer in Ingelheim am Rhein, Germany in 1885. It is a research-driven pharmaceutical enterprise and has today about 140 affiliated companies’ world-wide with roughly 50,000 employees. The three main business areas of Boehringer Ingelheim are: human pharmaceuticals, animal health and biopharmaceuticals. In 2017, Boehringer Ingelheim achieved net sales of around EUR 18.1 billion.

The Complainant owns a large portfolio of trademarks comprising “BOEHRINGER INGELHEIM” in several countries, including United States trademark number 0641166 for BOEHRINGER-INGELHEIM registered on February 5, 1957, and International trademark number 221544 for BOEHRINGER-INGELHEIM registered on July 2, 1959, designating a number of territories including Germany and Switzerland.

The Complainant also has a portfolio of domain names, including <boehringer-ingelheim.com> registered and used since September 1995.

The Domain Name was registered on April 15, 2019, and resolves to an inactive page indicating “This site can’t be reached”.

5. Parties’ Contentions

A. Complainant

The Complainant contends that the Domain Name is confusingly similar to its BOEHRINGER INGELHEIM trademark, that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Domain Name, and that the Respondent registered and is using the Domain Name in bad faith.

B. Respondent

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

6. Discussion and Findings

According to paragraph 4(a) of the Policy, for this Complaint to succeed in relation to the Domain Name the Complainant must prove that:

(i) the Domain Name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which the Complainant has rights; and

(ii) the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Domain Name; and

(iii) the Domain Name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.

A. Identical or Confusingly Similar

The Complainant has uncontested rights in the trademark BOEHRINGER-INGELHEIM, both by virtue of its trademark registrations and as a result of the goodwill and reputation acquired through its use of the BOEHRINGER-INGELHEIM mark over very many years. Ignoring the generic Top-Level Domain (“gTLD”) “.com”, the Domain Name comprises the entirety of the Complainant’s mark with the insertion of the letter “i”. In the Panel’s view, the additional letter does not detract from the confusing similarity with the BOEHRINGER–INGELHEIM mark. Accordingly, the Panel finds that the Domain Name is confusingly similar to a mark in which the Complainant has rights.

B. Rights or Legitimate Interests

The Complainant has submitted strong prima facie evidence that the Respondent can have no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Domain Name. In the Panel’s view, the Domain Name is a typical example of typosquatting, whereby a domain name is registered with a minor variation of a well-known brand name with a view to taking advantage of typographical errors by Internet users. Such a registration cannot possibly, on the face of it, give rise to rights or legitimate interests on the part of the registrant of the domain name. Furthermore, the Respondent has not made any use of the Domain Name that might give rise to such rights or legitimate interests.

The Respondent has chosen not to respond to the Complaint and has accordingly failed to counter the prima facie case established by the Complainant. In the circumstances, the Panel finds that the Respondent does not have any rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Domain Name.

C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith

The Panel considers that there is no doubt that the Respondent had the Complainant in mind when it registered the Domain Name and that it did so with the intention of using the Domain Name to deceive Internet users into believing that it was registered by or associated with the Complainant. The Panel cannot conceive of a legitimate use to which the Respondent could put the Domain Name. Although the Respondent has made no active use of the Domain Name, section 3.3 of the WIPO Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions, Third Edition notes that, from the inception of the UDRP, panelists have found that the non-use of a domain name does not prevent a finding of bad faith under the doctrine of passive holding. It depends on the facts of the case, and the failure of the Respondent to provide any evidence of actual or contemplated good faith use is a relevant factor. Typosquatting amounts to paradigm bad faith registration and use for the purposes of paragraph 4(a) of the Policy. In the circumstances, the Panel finds that the Domain Name was 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 Domain Name <boeihringer-ingelheim.com> be transferred to the Complainant.

Ian Lowe
Sole Panelist
Date: June 19, 2019