WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Medtronic, Inc. v. Registration Private, Domains By Proxy, LLC / Nancy Hopkins
Case No. D2021-2352
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Medtronic, Inc., United States of America (“United States”), represented by Snell & Wilmer, LLP, United States.
The Respondent is Registration Private, Domains By Proxy, LLC, United States / Nancy Hopkins, United States.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <medtroniccareer.com> (the “Disputed Domain Name”) is registered with Wild West Domains, LLC (the “Registrar”).
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on July 20, 2021. On July 21, 2021, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the Disputed Domain Name. On July 22, 2021, 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 July 29, 2021 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 August 17, 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 the Respondent of the Complaint, and the proceedings commenced on August 20, 2021. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was September 9, 2021. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on September 14, 2021.
The Center appointed Lynda M. Braun as the sole panelist in this matter on September 17, 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
The Complainant is a large medical device and technology company that has offered a wide variety of medical and health technology related goods and services under its MEDTRONIC trademarks since 1949. The Complainant’s goods and services are advertised and sold in over 150 countries worldwide, earning tens of billions of dollars in revenue annually. The Complainant owns over 75 manufacturing sites worldwide and has offices in the United States and other countries employing tens of thousands of people worldwide.
The Complainant owns dozens of trademark registrations for the MEDTRONIC trademark in the United States for medical devices and technology and related goods and services, including, but not limited to:
MEDTRONIC, United States Trademark Registration No. 1,038,755, registered on May 4, 1976 in international class 10;
MEDTRONIC, United States Trademark Registration No. 4,328,409, registered on April 30, 2013 in international class 10; and
MEDTRONIC, United States Trademark Registration No. 4,870,845, registered on December 15, 2015 in international class 10.
The Complainant also owns more than 100 trademark registrations in various jurisdictions worldwide. The aforementioned trademarks will hereinafter collectively be referred to as the “MEDTRONIC Mark”.
The Complainant has owned the domain name <medtronic.com> since 1990, which resolves to its official website at “www.medtronic.com” to offer and promote its goods and services.
The Disputed Domain Name <medtroniccareer.com> was registered on May 26, 2021 and resolves to a landing page with no content.
5. Parties’ Contentions
The following are the Complainant’s contentions:
- the Disputed Domain Name is confusingly similar to the Complainant’s trademark;
- the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Disputed Domain Name;
- the Disputed Domain Name was registered and is being used in bad faith; and
- the Complainant seeks the transfer of the Disputed Domain Name from the Respondent to the Complainant in accordance with paragraph 4(i) of the Policy.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
In order for the Complainant to prevail and have the Disputed Domain Name transferred to the Complainant, the Complainant must prove the following (Policy, paragraph 4(a)(i-iii)):
(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
This element consists of two parts: first, does the Complainant have rights in a relevant trademark and, second, is the Disputed Domain Name identical or confusingly similar to that trademark. The Panel concludes that the Disputed Domain Name is confusingly similar to the MEDTRONIC Mark.
It is uncontroverted that the Complainant has established rights in the MEDTRONIC Mark based on its decades of use as well as its numerous registered trademarks for the MEDTRONIC Mark in the United States and other jurisdictions worldwide. The general consensus is that “registration of a mark is prima facie evidence of validity, which creates a rebuttable presumption that the mark is inherently distinctive”. See CWI, Inc. v. Domain Administrator c/o Dynadot, WIPO Case No. D2015-1734. The Respondent has not rebutted this presumption, and therefore the Panel finds that the Complainant has rights in the MEDTRONIC Mark.
The Disputed Domain Name consists of the MEDTRONIC Mark in its entirety followed by the dictionary term “career”, and then followed by the generic Top-Level Domain (“gTLD”) “.com”. It is well established that a domain name that wholly incorporates a trademark may be deemed confusingly similar to that trademark for purposes of the Policy despite the addition of other terms. As stated in section 1.8 of the WIPO Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions, Third Edition (“WIPO Overview 3.0”), “where the relevant trademark is recognizable within the disputed domain name, the addition of other terms (whether descriptive, geographical, pejorative, meaningless, or otherwise) would not prevent a finding of confusing similarity under the first element”. For example, numerous UDRP decisions have reiterated that the addition of a dictionary term to a trademark does not prevent a finding of confusing similarity. See Allianz Global Investors of America, L.P. and Pacific Investment Management Company (PIMCO) v. Bingo-Bongo, WIPO Case No. D2011-0795; Hoffmann-La Roche Inc. v. Wei-Chun Hsia, WIPO Case No. D2008-0923.
Finally, the addition of a gTLD such as “.com” in a domain name is technically required. Thus, it is well established that such element may typically be disregarded when assessing whether a disputed domain name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark. See Proactiva Medio Ambiente, S.A. v. Proactiva, WIPO Case No. D2012-0182 and WIPO Overview 3.0, section 1.11. Thus, the Disputed Domain Name is confusingly similar to the Complainant’s MEDTRONIC Mark.
Accordingly, the Panel finds that the first element of paragraph 4(a) of the Policy has been met by the Complainant.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
Under the Policy, a complainant has to make out a prima facie case that the respondent lacks rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. Once such a prima facie case is made, the respondent carries the burden of production of evidence that demonstrates rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. If the respondent fails to do so, the complainant may be deemed to have satisfied paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy. See WIPO Overview 3.0, section 2.1.
There is no evidence in the record suggesting that the Respondent has rights or legitimate interests in the Disputed Domain Name. The Complainant has not authorized, licensed, or otherwise permitted the Respondent to use the Complainant’s MEDTRONIC Mark. The Complainant does not have any business relationship with the Respondent, nor is the Respondent making a legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the Disputed Domain Name. Based on the passive use made of the Disputed Domain Name to resolve to a landing page with no content, the Panel finds that the Respondent is not making a bona fide offering of goods or services nor making a legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the Disputed Domain Name. There is also no evidence that the Respondent is commonly known by the Disputed Domain Name or by any name similar to it, nor any evidence that the Respondent was making demonstrable preparations to use the Disputed Domain Name in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services. See Policy, paragraph 4 (c). Moreover, the Panel finds that the Disputed Domain Name carries a risk of implied affiliation. See WIPO Overview 3.0, section 2.5.1.
In this case, the Panel finds that the Complainant has made out a prima facie case that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the Disputed Domain Name. The Respondent has not submitted any substantive arguments or evidence to rebut the Complainant’s prima facie case. As such, the Panel determines that the Respondent does not have rights or legitimate interests in the Disputed Domain Name.
Accordingly, the Panel finds that the second element of paragraph 4(a) of the Policy has been met by the Complainant.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
The Panel finds that based on the record, the Complainant has demonstrated the existence of the Respondent’s bad faith pursuant to paragraph 4(b) of the Policy.
First, based on the circumstances here, the Panel concludes that the Respondent registered and is using the Disputed Domain Name in bad faith in an attempt to attract Internet users to the Respondent’s website by creating a likelihood of confusion with the Complainant’s MEDTRONIC Mark as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation or endorsement of the Disputed Domain Name’s resolving webpage. The Respondent’s registration and use of the Disputed Domain Name indicate that such registration and use has been done for the specific purpose of trading on the name and reputation of the Complainant and its MEDTRONIC Mark. See Madonna Ciccone, p/k/a Madonna v. Dan Parisi and Madonna.com, WIPO Case No. D2000-0847 (“[t]he only plausible explanation for Respondent’s actions appears to be an intentional effort to trade upon the fame of Complainant’s name and mark”).
Second, the registration of a domain name that reproduces a widely-known trademark in its entirety (being identical or confusingly similar to such trademark) by an individual or entity that has no relationship to that mark, without any reasonable explanation on the motives for the registration, may be suggestive of opportunistic bad faith. See Ebay Inc. v. Wangming, WIPO Case No. D2006-1107; Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin, Maison Fondée en 1772 v. The Polygenix Group Co., WIPO Case No. D2000-0163.
Finally, inactive or passive holding of the Disputed Domain Name by the Respondent may amount to bad faith use. See Advance Magazine Publishers Inc. and Les Publications Condé Nast S.A. v. ChinaVogue.com, WIPO Case No. D2005-0615; Société pour l’Oeuvre et la Mémoire d’Antoine de Saint Exupéry – Succession Saint Exupéry – D’Agay v. Perlegos Properties, WIPO Case No. D2005-1085. It has long been held in UDRP decisions that the passive holding of a domain name that incorporates a well-known trademark without a legitimate purpose may indicate that the disputed domain name is being used in bad faith under paragraph 4(a)(iii) of the Policy. See Telstra Corporation Limited v. Nuclear Marshmallows, WIPO Case No. D2000-0003; Jupiters Limited v. Aaron Hall, WIPO Case No. D2000-0574. Here, the Disputed Domain Name resolves to an inactive landing page, thus demonstrating bad faith.
Accordingly, the Panel finds that the third element of paragraph 4(a) of the Policy has been met by the Complainant.
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 <medtroniccareer.com> be transferred to the Complainant.
Lynda M. Braun
Date: September 29, 2021