WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Novartis AG v. Domain Administrator, Domain is for sale at www.dan.com ----
Case No. D2021-0400
1. The Parties
Complainant is Novartis AG, Switzerland, represented by Dreyfus & associés, France.
Respondent is Domain Administrator, Domain is for sale at www.dan.com ----, Cayman Islands, United Kingdom.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <lowerlongerleqvio.com> (the “Domain Name”) is registered with Dynadot, LLC (the “Registrar”).
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on February 9, 2021. On February 10, 2021, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the Domain Name. On February 11, 2021, 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 Complainant on February 16, 2021 providing the registrant and contact information disclosed by the Registrar, and inviting Complainant to submit an amendment to the Complaint. Complainant filed an amended Complaint on February 18, 2021.
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 Respondent of the Complaint, and the proceedings commenced on February 22, 2021. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was March 14, 2021. Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified Respondent’s default on March 15, 2021.
The Center appointed Marina Perraki as the sole panelist in this matter on March 25, 2021. 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
Complainant is a global healthcare company based in Switzerland. It was created in 1996 through a merger of Ciba-Geigy and Sandoz. Complainant and its predecessor companies trace roots back more than 250 years. Complainant’s products are available in about 155 countries and they reached nearly 1 billion people globally in 2017. About 126,000 people of 145 nationalities work at Complainant around the world. LEQVIO is one of the pharmaceutical products manufactured by Complainant. Complainant has won approval from the European Commission for LEQVIO (inclisiran), a cholesterol drug for treating adults with hypercholesterolemia or mixed dyslipidemia.
Complainant owns the following trademark registrations:
- International trademark registration No. 1229713 LEQVIO (word), registered on November 11, 2014 for goods in international class 5,
- International trademark registration No. 79238111 LEQVIO (word), registered on January 1, 2019, for goods in international class 5.
In addition, Complainant owns the domain name <leqvio.com> registered on May 22, 2014.
The Domain Name was registered on January 12, 2021 and redirects to the marketplace Dan’s website where it is being offered for sale for the amount of USD 990.
5. Parties’ Contentions
Complainant asserts that it has established all three elements required under paragraph 4(a) of the Policy for a transfer of the Domain Name.
Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
Paragraph 4(a) of the Policy lists the three elements, which Complainant must satisfy with respect to the Domain Name:
(i) the Domain Name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which Complainant has rights; and
(ii) 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
Complainant has demonstrated rights through registration and use on the LEQVIO mark.
The Panel finds that the Domain Name is confusingly similar to the LEQVIO trademark of Complainant.
The Domain Name incorporates the said trademark of Complainant in its entirety. This is sufficient to establish confusing similarity (Magnum Piering, Inc. v. The Mudjackers Garwood S.Wilson, Sr., WIPO Case No. D2000-1525).
The words “lower” and “longer”, which are added to the Domain Name are dictionary terms and do not prevent a finding of confusing similarity, as the LEQVIO mark remains clearly recognizable (Nintendo of America Inc. v. Fernando Sascha Gutierrez, WIPO Case No. D2009-0434, WIPO Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions, Third Edition (“WIPO Overview 3.0”), section 1.8).
The generic Top-Level Domain (“gTLD”) “.com” is disregarded, as gTLDs typically do not form part of the comparison on the grounds that they are required for technical reasons (Rexel Developpements SAS v. Zhan Yequn, WIPO Case No. D2017-0275; Hay & Robertson International Licensing AG v. C. J. Lovik, WIPO Case No. D2002-0122).
The Panel finds that the Domain Name is confusingly similar to the LEQVIO trademark of Complainant.
Complainant has established Policy, paragraph 4(a)(i).
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
Pursuant to paragraph 4(c) of the Policy, Respondent may establish its rights or legitimate interests in the Domain Name, among other circumstances, by showing any of the following elements:
(i) before any notice to you [Respondent] 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 [Respondent] (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 [Respondent] 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 Panel concludes that Respondent lacks rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Domain Name.
Respondent has not submitted any response and has not claimed any such rights or legitimate interests with respect to the Domain Name. As per Complainant, Respondent was not authorized to register the Domain Name.
Respondent did not demonstrate any prior to the notice of the dispute use of the Domain Name or a trademark corresponding to the Domain Name in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services.
On the contrary, as Complainant demonstrates, the Domain Name redirects to a website of the marketplace Dan that offers the Domain Name for sale in the amount of USD 990.
In addition, the Domain Name incorporates entirely Complainant’s mark, with the added terms “lower” and “longer” (which could be seen as a reference to the properties of Complainant’s products), and thus carries a risk of implied affiliation (WIPO Overview 3.0, section 2.5.1).
The Panel finds that these circumstances do not confer upon Respondent any rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Domain Name.
Complainant has established Policy, paragraph 4(a)(ii).
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
Paragraph 4(b) of the Policy provides that the following circumstances, in particular but without limitation, are evidence of the registration and use of the Domain Name in bad faith:
(i) circumstances indicating that Respondent has registered or has acquired the Domain Name primarily for the purpose of selling, renting, or otherwise transferring the Domain Name registration to Complainant who is the owner of the trademark or service mark or to a competitor of that Complainant, for valuable consideration in excess of its documented out of pocket costs directly related to the Domain Name; or
(ii) that 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 Respondent has engaged in a pattern of such conduct; or
(iii) that 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, Respondent has intentionally attempted to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to Respondent’s website or other online location, by creating a likelihood of confusion with Complainant’s mark as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation, or endorsement of Respondent’s website or location or of a product or service on Respondent’s website or location.
The Panel concludes that Respondent has registered and used the Domain Name in bad faith. LEQVIO is a highly distinctive made up word and is entirely incorporated in the Domain Name. Because the LEQVIO trademark has been used and registered at the time of the Domain Name registration by Respondent, and noting the composition of the Domain Name, the Panel finds it more likely than not that Respondent had Complainant’s mark in mind when registering the Domain Name (see Tudor Games, Inc. v. Domain Hostmaster, Customer ID No. 09382953107339 dba Whois Privacy Services Pty Ltd / Domain Administrator, Vertical Axis Inc., WIPO Case No. D2014-1754; Parfums Christian Dior v. Javier Garcia Quintas and Christiandior.net, WIPO Case No. D2000-0226).
Respondent should have known about Complainant’s rights, as such knowledge is readily obtainable through a simple Internet search due to Complainant’s use of the LEQVIO mark (Caesars World, Inc. v. Forum LLC., WIPO Case No. D2005-0517; Compart AG v. Compart.com / Vertical Axis Inc., WIPO Case No. D2009-0462).
Furthermore, Respondent could have conducted a trademark search and would have found Complainant’s prior registrations in respect of the LEQVIO mark (Citrix Online LLC v. Ramalinga Reddy Sanikommu Venkata, WIPO Case No. D2012-1338).
The addition of the words “lower” and “longer” in the Domain Name, which describe characteristics of the pharmaceutical product LEQVIO, namely a drug that lowers cholesterol and has an effect that lasts longer, clearly suggests that Respondent had knowledge of Complainant’s trademark and its business. This further indicates that Respondent knew of Complainant and chose the Domain Name with knowledge of Complainant and its industry.
As regards bad faith use, Complainant has demonstrated that the Domain Name redirects to the marketplace Dan’s website where it is being offered for sale for the amount of USD 990. This, in view of the finding that Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the Domain Name, constitutes evidence of bad faith use (Aygaz Anonim Sirketi v. Arthur Cain, WIPO Case No. D2014-1206; WIPO Overview 3.0, section 3.1). The distinctiveness of the LEQVIO trademark and the fact that the Domain Name entirely reproduces it, is clear evidence that an offer to sell the Domain Name constitutes bad faith.
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 <lowerlongerleqvio.com> be transferred to Complainant.
Date: April 7, 2021