WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Cosmo Pharmaceuticals N.V. v. Sem Levi
Case No. D2020-2584
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Cosmo Pharmaceuticals N.V., Ireland, represented by Pinsent Masons LLP, United Kingdom.
The Respondent is Sem Levi, Pakistan.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <cosmopharmaceuticalsnv.com> is registered with GoDaddy.com, LLC (the “Registrar”).
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on October 5, 2020. On October 5, 2020, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On October 6, 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 October 9, 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 October 12, 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 October 13, 2020. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was November 2, 2020. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on November 4, 2020.
The Center appointed Edoardo Fano as the sole panelist in this matter on November 10, 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.
Having reviewed the communication records in the case file provided by the Center, the Panel finds that the Center has discharged its responsibility under the Rules, paragraph 2(a), “to employ reasonably available means calculated to achieve actual notice to Respondent”. Therefore, the Panel shall issue its Decision based upon the Complaint, the Policy, the Rules and the Supplemental Rules and without the benefit of a response from the Respondent.
The language of the proceeding is English, being the language of the Registration Agreement, as per paragraph 11(a) of the Rules.
4. Factual Background
The Complainant is Cosmo Pharmaceuticals N.V., an Irish company operating in the pharmaceutical field and owning the following trademark registration for COSMO:
- European Union Trademark Registration No. 010649119 for COSMO and device, registered on July 3, 2012.
The Complainant also operates on the Internet, its official website being “www.cosmopharma.com”.
The Complainant provided evidence in support of the above.
The disputed domain name <cosmopharmaceuticalsnv.com> was registered on May 28, 2020, according to the WhoIs records, and the website at the disputed domain name is advertising and trading medical devices, drinks, confectionary products and fabrics, reproducing the Complainant’s business name Cosmo Pharmaceuticals N.V. and contact details.
5. Parties’ Contentions
The Complainant states that the disputed domain name <cosmopharmaceuticalsnv.com> is confusingly similar to its trademark COSMO, as the disputed domain name wholly contains the Complainant’s trademark with the addition of the wording “pharmaceuticalsnv”, corresponding to the Complainant’s business name.
Moreover, the Complainant asserts that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name since it is using it to fraudulently pass itself off as the Complainant.
The Complainant submits that the Respondent has registered the disputed domain name in bad faith, since the Complainant’s trademark COSMO is distinctive and internationally known. Therefore, the Respondent targeted the Complainant’s trademark at the time of registration of the disputed domain name. Additionally, the Complainant contends that the use of the disputed domain name, redirecting to a website where goods are advertised and sold deceiving the public into believing that there is a connection to the Complainant, qualifies as bad faith registration and use. Furthermore, the Complainant suspects that the Respondent is intentionally attempting to generate profits by using the disputed domain name for fraudulent activities, since emails incorporating the disputed domain name have been sent to the Complainant’s customers.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions and is therefore in default. In reference to paragraphs 5(f) and 14 of the Rules, no exceptional circumstances explaining the default have been put forward or are apparent from the record.
A respondent is not obliged to participate in a proceeding under the Policy, but if it fails to do so, reasonable facts asserted by a complainant may be taken as true, and appropriate inferences, in accordance with paragraph 14(b) of the Rules, may be drawn (see, e.g., Reuters Limited v. Global Net 2000, Inc., WIPO Case No. D2000-0441; Microsoft Corporation v. Freak Films Oy, WIPO Case No. D2003-0109; SSL INTERNATIONAL PLC v. MARK FREEMAN, WIPO Case No. D2000-1080; ALTAVISTA COMPANY v. GRANDTOTAL FINANCES LIMITED et. al., WIPO Case No. D2000-0848; Confédération Nationale du Crédit Mutuel, Caisse Fédérale du Crédit Mutuel Nord Europe v. Marketing Total S.A., WIPO Case No. D2007-0288).
6. Discussion and Findings
Paragraph 4(a) of the Policy lists three elements, which the Complainant must satisfy in order to succeed:
(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 Panel finds that the Complainant is the owner of the trademark COSMO both by registration and acquired reputation and that the disputed domain name <cosmopharmaceuticalsnv.com> is confusingly similar to the trademark COSMO.
Regarding the addition of the wording “pharmaceuticalsnv”, the Panel notes that it is now well established that the addition of descriptive terms or letters to a domain name does not prevent a finding of confusing similarity between the domain name and the trademark (seeWIPO Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions, Third Edition (“WIPO Overview 3.0”), section 1.8). The addition of the wording “pharmaceuticalsnv” does not therefore prevent the disputed domain name from being confusingly similar to the Complainant’s trademark.
It is also well accepted that a generic Top-Level Domain (“gTLD”), in this case “.com”, may be ignored when assessing the similarity between a trademark and a domain name (see, e.g., VAT Holding AG v. Vat.com, WIPO Case No. D2000-0607).
The Panel finds that the Complainant has therefore met its burden of proving that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to the Complainant’s trademark, pursuant to the Policy, paragraph 4(a)(i).
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
The Respondent did not file a Response in accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5.
The Complainant asserts that the Respondent is not using the disputed domain name for a legitimate noncommercial or fair use or in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services. The Complainant states that the Respondent, on the website at the disputed domain name, is fraudulently passing itself off as the Complainant to encourage consumers to purchase products by making them mistakenly believe that they are purchasing those products from the Complainant.
The Complainant provides several email correspondences in which consumers are reporting the Respondent’s suspected fraud to the Complainant.
“2.13.1 Panels have categorically held that the use of a domain name for illegal activity (e.g., the sale of counterfeit goods or illegal pharmaceuticals, phishing, distributing malware, unauthorized account access/hacking, impersonation/passing off, or other types of fraud) can never confer rights or legitimate interests on a respondent. Particularly in the case of counterfeits and pharmaceuticals, this is true irrespective of any disclosure on the related website that such infringing goods are “replicas” or “reproductions” or indeed the use of such term in the domain name itself.
2.13.2 Panels are generally not prepared however to accept to accept merely conclusory or wholly unsupported allegations of illegal activity, including counterfeiting, even when the respondent is in default. (…)”
In the circumstances, should the products sold on the website to which the disputed domain name is redirecting Internet users be genuine products, legitimately acquired by the Respondent, the question that would arise is whether the Respondent would therefore have a legitimate interest in using the disputed domain name that is confusingly similar to the Complainant’s trademark in circumstances that are likely to give rise to confusion.
“(...) 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.”
This summary is based on the UDRP decision in Oki Data Americas, Inc. v. ASD, Inc., WIPO Case No. D2001-0903.
The Panel notes that the website at the disputed domain name is selling not only medical devices but also products that are not related to the Complainant’s pharmaceutical business field, like drinks, confectionary products and fabrics. Furthermore, on the website at the disputed domain name the Complainant’s business name and contact details are displayed, without any reference whatsoever to a relationship, or the lack of a relationship, between the Respondent and the Complainant. The Panel is of the opinion that this is sufficient to support the Complainant’s allegation in order to establish a prima facie case that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name, but is instead trying to pass itself off as related to the Complainant on the website at the disputed domain name.
The prima facie case presented by the Complainant is enough to shift the burden of production to the Respondent to demonstrate that it has rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. However, the Respondent has not presented any evidence of any rights or legitimate interests it may have in the disputed domain name, and the Panel is unable to establish any such rights or legitimate interests on the basis of the evidence in front of it.
Based on the facts of this case, the Panel finds that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name.
The Panel therefore finds that paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy has been satisfied.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
Paragraph 4(b) of the Policy provides that “for the purposes of paragraph 4(a)(iii) of the Policy, 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 trademark 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) that [the respondent has] registered the domain name in order to prevent the owner of the trademark 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) that [the respondent has] registered the domain name primarily for the purpose of disrupting the business of a competitor; or
(iv) that by using the domain name, [the respondent has] intentionally attempted to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to [the respondent’s] 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”.
Regarding the registration in bad faith of the disputed domain name, the reputation of the Complainant’s trademark COSMO in the pharmaceutical field is clearly established and the Panel finds that the Respondent likely knew of the Complainant and deliberately registered the disputed domain name, <cosmopharmaceuticalsnv.com>, especially because it corresponds to the Complainant’s business name.
The Panel further notes that the disputed domain name is also used in bad faith since on the relevant website the Complainant’s business name and contact details are displayed, with the purpose of intentionally attempting to create a likelihood of confusion with the Complainant’s trademark as to the disputed domain name’s source, sponsorship, affiliation or endorsement.
The above suggests to the Panel that the Respondent intentionally registered and is using the disputed domain name in order to create confusion with the Complainant’s trademark and attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to its website in accordance with paragraph 4(b)(iv) of the Policy.
The Panel finds that the Complainant has presented evidence to satisfy its burden of proof with respect to the issue of whether the Respondent has registered and is using the disputed domain name in bad faith.
The Panel therefore finds that paragraph 4(a)(iii) of the Policy has been 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 <cosmopharmaceuticalsnv.com> be transferred to the Complainant.
Date: November 24, 2020