WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Solvay S.A. v. WhoisGuard Protected, WhoisGuard, Inc. / Jie Zhang, Jie Inc CEO
Case No. D2020-0059
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Solvay S.A., Belgium, represented by Petillion, Belgium.
The Respondent is WhoisGuard Protected, WhoisGuard, Inc. / Jie Zhang, Jie Inc CEO, United States of America.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <solvaymail.com> (“Disputed Domain Name”) is registered with NameCheap, Inc. (the “Registrar”).
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on January 13, 2020. On January 13, 2020, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the Disputed Domain Name. On January 13, 2020, 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 January 14, 2020 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 January 14, 2020.
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 January 23, 2020. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was February 12, 2020. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on February 14, 2020.
The Center appointed Pablo A. Palazzi as the sole panelist in this matter on February 26, 2020. 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 global leader in chemicals founded in 1863. The Complainant’s group has its offices in Brussels and employs around 24,500 people in 61 countries.
The Complainant owns numerous trademark registrations for the term SOLVAY. Among others, the Complainant is the owner of the following trademark Registrations:
- European Union trademark SOLVAY, Registration No. 000067801, registered on May 30, 2000;
- European Union trademark SOLVAY, Registration No.011664091, registered in August 13, 2013; and
- International trademark SOLVAY, Registration No. 1171614, registered on February 28, 2013.
The Disputed Domain Name <solvaymail.com> was registered on December 4, 2019.
The Disputed Domain Name resolves to a registrar parking page including pay-per-click (“PPC”) links.
5. Parties’ Contentions
The Complainant’s contentions can be summarized as follows:
Identical or confusingly similar
The Complainant contends that the Disputed Domain Name incorporates the Complainant’s SOLVAY trademark in its entirety and simply adds the descriptive term “mail”, which does not prevent a finding of confusing similarity.
Rights or legitimate interests
The Complainant alleges that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the Disputed Domain Name, since the Respondent is not commonly known by the Disputed Domain Name. In addition, the Respondent uses a privacy/proxy service at hiding his real identity and contact information.
The Complainant further states, that the Respondent has not acquired trademark or service mark rights. Moreover, the Respondent’s use and registration of the Disputed Domain Name was not authorized by the Complainant.
In addition, the Disputed Domain refers to a registrar parking page including PPC links, some of which relate to the location of the Complainant’s registered offices.
Finally, in view of the Complainant’s distinctive and well-known trademark, it is inconceivable that any good faith use would be made by the Respondent.
Registration and use in bad faith
The Complainant contends that the Respondent must have known the Complainant and its trademark, for the following reasons:
- The Complainant and its SOLVAY trademarks are well known all over the world, including in the United States of American, where the Respondent resides.
- A simple search on the Internet would have revealed the Complainant’s presence.
Thus, the Respondent could not reasonably have been unaware of the Complainant and its rights in the SOLVAY trademark at the time of the registration of the Disputed Domain Name.
In addition, the Disputed Domain Name refers to a registrar parking page including PPC links, which some of them refers to the Complainant.
Finally, the Complainant states that the Respondent uses the Disputed Domain Name in an intentional attempt to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users, by creating a likelihood of confusion with the Complainant’s trademark.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
Paragraph 4(a) of the Policy lists the three elements which the Complainant must satisfy with respect to the Disputed Domain Name in this case:
(i) the Disputed 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 Disputed Domain Name; and
(iii) the Disputed Domain Name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The Complainant has demonstrated that it has trademarks rights over the term SOLVAY.
Based on the evidence submitted, the Panel finds that the Disputed Domain Name <solvaymail.com> is confusingly similar to the Complainant’s SOLVAY trademark. The Complainant’s trademark is clearly recognizable within the Disputed Domain Name.
Furthermore, the Disputed Domain Name contains the Complainant’s SOLVAY trademark in its entirety. The addition of the term “mail” does not alter the assessment of confusing similarity. Moreover, the addition, of the gTLD “.com” does not change this finding, since the TLD is generally disregarded in such an assessment of confusingly similarity.
Therefore, the Panel finds that the Complainant has satisfied the first requirement of paragraph 4(a) of the Policy.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
Paragraph 4(c) of the Policy provides a list of circumstances any of which is sufficient to demonstrate that the Respondent has rights or legitimate interests in the Disputed Domain Name:
(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.
There is no evidence of the existence of any of those rights or legitimate interests. The Complainant has not authorized, licensed, or permitted the Respondent to register or use the Disputed Domain Name or to use the trademarks. The Complainant has prior rights in the trademarks which precede the Respondent’s registration of the Disputed Domain Name.
The Respondent has failed to show that it has acquired any trademark rights with respect of the Disputed Domain Name or that the Disputed Domain Name is used in connection with a bona fide offering of goods and services.
The Respondent had the opportunity to demonstrate its rights or legitimate interests, but he did not do so.
As such the Panel finds that the Complainant has satisfied the second requirement of paragraph 4(a) of the Policy.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
Paragraph 4(a)(iii) of the Policy provides that the Complainant must establish that the Respondent registered and subsequently used the Disputed Domain Name in bad faith.
The Disputed Domain Name was registered on December 4, 2019, while the Complainant’s SOLVAY European Union Trademark Registration No. 000067801, was granted on May 30, 2000.
The Complainant’s trademarks are well-known as it has been recognized by previous decisions under the Policy (See Solvay S.A. v. Registration Private, Domains By Proxi, LLC / Alix Deschamps, WIPO Case No. D2015-0689 and Solvay SA v. Domain Privacy Service Fbo Registrant / Mary Koehler, WIPO Case No. D2016-1357.)
In light of this, the Respondent had evidently knowledge of the Complainant’s trademarks when he registered the Disputed Domain Name. The addition to the Disputed Domain Name of the term “email” to the well-known trademark SOLVAY is further evidence of bad faith since the term increases the confusion for Internet users as they can reasonably believe that is an official email of the Complainant.
The Respondent has not denied these assertions because of its default. The Panel is of the view that the Respondent knew of the Complainant’s trademark and prior rights.
Paragraph 4(b) (iv) of the Policy states: “By using the domain name, you have intentionally attempted to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to your web site or other on-line location, by creating a likelihood of confusion with the complainant’s mark as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation, or endorsement of your web site or location or of a product or service on your web site or location”.
In the case at hand, in view of the Respondent’s registration of a domain name confusingly similar to the Complainant’s trademark, used for PPC links associated with the Complainant services, the absence of any documented rights or legitimate interests of the Respondent in the Disputed Domain Names and its failure to respond to the Complaint, constitutes bad faith.
Due to this pattern of conduct, it is obvious that the Respondent intentionally created likelihood confusion with Complainant’s trademark and websites in order to attract internets users for his own commercial gain, as required by paragraph 4(b) (iv) of the Policy.
The Panel infers that the Respondent is using the Disputed Domain Name to intentionally attempt to attract Internet users to its website creating a likelihood of confusion with the SOLVAY trademark as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation or endorsement of the Respondent’s website, and in doing so is disrupting the business of the Complainant.
Therefore, taking all circumstances into account and for all above reasons, the Panel concludes that there is bad faith in the use and registration of the Disputed Domain Name.
The third element of paragraph 4(a) of the Policy is, therefore, satisfied.
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 <solvaymail.com> be transferred to the Complainant.
Pablo A. Palazzi
Date: March 11, 2020.