WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center

ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION

CuraLife LTD v. Domain Protection Services, Inc. / Robert Anderson

Case No. D2019-1048

1. The Parties

The Complainant is CuraLife LTD, Israel, represented by Ariel Dubinsky Law Office, Israel.

The Respondent is Domain Protection Services, Inc., United States of America (“United States”) / Robert Anderson, United States of America.

2. The Domain Name and Registrar

The disputed domain name <curalin.net> (the “Domain Name”) is registered with Name.com, Inc. (Name.com LLC) (the “Registrar”).

3. Procedural History

The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on May 7, 2019. On May 8, 2019, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the Domain Name. On May 8, 2019, the Registrar transmitted by email to the Center its verification response disclosing registrant and contact information for the Domain Name which differed from the named Respondent and contact information in the Complaint. The Center sent an email communication to the Complainant on May 10, 2019, 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 May 11, 2019.

The Center verified that the Complaint together with 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 and 4, the Center formally notified the Respondent of the Complaint, and the proceedings commenced on May 14, 2019. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was June 3, 2019. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on June 4, 2019.

The Center appointed Nicholas Smith as the sole panelist in this matter on June 13, 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 an Israeli company, founded in 2013 that develops and markets dietary supplements, including a product sold under the word mark “curalin” (the “CURALIN Mark”). The Complainant’s Curalin product has been sold since 2013 and is sold in over 40 countries around the world.

The Complainant is the owner of a trademark registration for the CURALIN Mark in the United States of America applied for on October 3, 2017 and registered on May 22, 2018 (registration number 5474507) for dietary supplements in class 5 with a first use in commerce of November 1, 2013.

The Domain Name <curalin.net> was registered on July 18, 2017. The Domain Name is presently inactive but prior to the commencement of the proceeding resolved to a website (“the Respondent’s Website”) that purported to offer a dietary supplements sold under the CURALIN Mark.

5. Parties’ Contentions

A. Complainant

The Complainant makes the following contentions:

(i) that the Domain Name is identical or confusingly similar to the Complainant’s CURALIN Mark;

(ii) that the Respondent has no rights nor any legitimate interests in respect of the Domain Name; and

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

The Complainant is the owner of the CURALIN Mark, having registered the CURALIN Mark in the United States. The Domain Name is identical to the CURALIN Mark.

There are no rights or legitimate interests held by the Respondent in respect of the Domain Name. The Respondent is not commonly known by the Domain Name nor does the Respondent have any authorization from the Complainant to register the Domain Name. The Respondent is not making a legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the Domain Name. Rather the Respondent is using the Domain Name to resolve to a website that sells a good competing with the Complainant under the same mark as the Complainant.

The Domain Name was registered and is being used in bad faith. By using the Domain Name to resolve to a website that offers competing goods, the Respondent is using the Domain Name to divert Internet users searching for the Complainant to their own website for commercial gain. Such conduct amounts to registration and use of the Domain Name in bad faith.

B. Respondent

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

6. Discussion and Findings

A. Identical or Confusingly Similar

To prove this element the Complainant must have trade or service mark rights and the Domain Name must be identical or confusingly similar to the Complainant’s trade or service mark.

The Complainant is the owner of the CURALIN Mark, having a registration for the CURALIN Mark as a trademark in the United States. Disregarding the “.net” generica Top-Level Domain as an essential element of any domain name, the Domain Name is identical to the CURALIN Mark. Consequently, the requirement of paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Policy is satisfied.

B. Rights or Legitimate Interests

To succeed on this element, a complainant must make out a prima facie case that the respondent lacks rights or legitimate interests in the domain name. If such a prima facie case is made out, then the burden of production shifts to the respondent to demonstrate rights or legitimate interests in the domain name.

Paragraph 4(c) of the Policy enumerates several ways in which a respondent may demonstrate rights or legitimate interests in a domain name:

“Any of the following circumstances, in particular but without limitation, if found by the panel to be proved based on its evaluation of all evidence presented, shall demonstrate your rights or legitimate interests to the domain name for purposes of paragraph 4(a)(ii):

(i) before any notice to you of the dispute, your use of, or demonstrable preparations to use, the domain name or a name corresponding to the domain name in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services; or

(ii) you (as an individual, business, or other organization) have been commonly known by the domain name, even if you have acquired no trademark or service mark rights; or

(iii) you are making a legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the domain name, without intent for commercial gain to misleadingly divert consumers or to tarnish the trademark or service mark at issue.”

The Respondent is not affiliated with the Complainant in any way. It has not been authorized by the Complainant to register or use the Domain Name or to seek the registration of any domain name incorporating the CURALIN Mark or a mark similar to the CURALIN Mark. There is no evidence that the Respondent is commonly known by the Domain Name or any similar name. There is no evidence that the Respondent has used or made demonstrable preparations to use the Domain Name in connection with a legitimate noncommercial or fair use.

The Respondent has used the Domain Name to operate a website purporting to sell the CURALIN product, though it is unclear whether the products purported to be sold on the Respondent’s Website are the Complainant’s products or counterfeit products. If the CURALIN products sold on the Respondent’s Website are not genuine products produced by the Complainant, the Respondent’s use of the Domain Name does not grant it rights or legitimate interests since it is using the Complainant’s CURALIN Mark for a site selling counterfeit or at the minimum unauthorized products.

Even if the Respondent was offering CURALIN products from the Respondent’s Website, such use does not automatically grant it rights and legitimate interests. The principles that govern whether a reseller of genuine goods has rights or legitimate interests have been set out in a variety of UDRP decisions, starting with the case of Oki Data Americas, Inc. v. ASD, Inc., WIPO Case No. D2001-0903.

The WIPO Overview 3.0, section 2.8 summarizes the consensus views of UDRP panels in assessing claims of nominative (fair) use by resellers or distributors in the following manner:

“… Panels have recognized that resellers, distributors, or service providers using a domain name containing the complainant’s trademark to undertake sales or repairs related to the complainant’s goods or services may be making a bona fide offering of goods and services and thus have a legitimate interest in such domain name. Outlined in the “Oki Data test”, the following cumulative requirements will be applied in the specific conditions of a UDRP case:

(i) the respondent must actually be offering the goods or services at issue;

(ii) the respondent must use the site to sell only the trademarked goods or services;

(iii) the site must accurately and prominently disclose the registrant’s relationship with the trademark holder; and

(iv) the respondent must not try to “corner the market” in domain names that reflect the trademark.

The Oki Data test does not apply where any prior agreement, express or otherwise, between the parties expressly prohibits (or allows) the registration or use of domain names incorporating the complainant’s trademark.”

In this case, the Respondent’s Website does not accurately or prominently disclose the Respondent’s relationship with the Complainant, in particular that it is not an authorized dealer or has any particular connection with the Complainant. Rather, its prominent display of the CURALIN Mark, its reproduction of the Complainant’s logo and the absence of a disclaimer or any explanation as to the identity of the operator of the Respondent’s Website results in the impression that the Respondent’s Website is an official website of the Complainant. Even in the event that the Respondent is reselling genuine CURALIN products, its use of the Domain Name for the Respondent’s Website in the circumstances described above does not grant it rights or legitimate interests in the Domain Name.

The Complainant has established a prima facie case that the Respondent lacks rights or legitimate interests in the Domain Name. The Respondent has had the opportunity to put on evidence of its rights or legitimate interests, including submissions as to why its conduct amounts to a right or legitimate interest in the Domain Name under the Policy. In the absence of such a Response, the Panel finds that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Domain Name under paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy.

C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith

For the purposes of paragraph 4(a)(iii), the following circumstances, in particular but without limitation, if found by the Panel to be present, shall be evidence of the registration and use of a domain name in bad faith:

(i) circumstances indicating that the respondent has registered or has acquired the domain name primarily for the purpose of selling, renting, or otherwise transferring the domain name registration to the complainant who is the owner of the trade mark or service mark or to a competitor of the complainant, for valuable consideration in excess of its documented out-of-pocket costs directly related to the domain name; or

(ii) the respondent has registered the domain name in order to prevent the owner of the trade mark or service mark from reflecting the mark in a corresponding domain name, provided that the respondent has engaged in a pattern of such conduct; or

(iii) the respondent has registered the domain name primarily for the purpose of disrupting the business of a competitor; or

(iv) by using the domain name, the respondent has intentionally attempted to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to its website or other online location, by creating a likelihood of confusion with the complainant’s mark as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation, or endorsement of the respondent’s website or location or of a product or service on the respondent’s website or location (Policy, paragraph 4(b)).
The Panel finds that the Respondent was aware of the Complainant and its reputation in the CURALIN Mark at the time the Domain Name was registered. The Respondent’s Website contains numerous references to the Complainant, including purporting to offer the Complainant’s products for sale and reproducing the Complainant’s logo. The registration of the Domain Name in awareness of the CURALIN Mark and in the absence of rights or legitimate interests amounts under these circumstances to registration in bad faith.

The Panel notes that the Domain Name registration of 2017 predates the US trademark registration. However, the trademark registration indicates a first use in commerce as of November 2013 which predates the Domain Name registration.

The Respondent registered the Domain Name for the purposes of operating a website specifically to sell either the Complainant’s products or counterfeit products that compete with the Complainant’s. The Respondent is using the Domain Name, being identical to the CURALIN Mark, to sell products, be they genuine or otherwise, in competition with the Complainant and without the Complainant’s approval and without meeting the Oki Data test. Consequently the Panel finds that the Respondent has intentionally attempted to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to its website by creating a likelihood of confusion with the Complainant and the Complainant’s CURALIN Mark as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation, or endorsement of the Respondent’s Website.

Accordingly, the Panel finds that the Respondent has registered and used the Domain Name in bad faith under paragraph 4(a)(iii) of the Policy.

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 <curalin.net> be transferred to the Complainant.

Nicholas Smith
Sole Panelist
Date: June 18, 2019