WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center

ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION

Syngenta Participations AG v. Cyan Yo

Case No. D2021-3326

1. The Parties

The Complainant is Syngenta Participations AG, Switzerland, internally represented.

The Respondent is Cyan Yo, Hong Kong, China.

2. The Domain Name and Registrar

The Disputed Domain Name <syngenta.group> is registered with Dynadot, LLC (the “Registrar”).

3. Procedural History

The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on October 7, 2021. On October 7, 2021, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the Disputed Domain Name. On October 8, 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 October 13, 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 amendment to the Complaint on October 26, 2021.

The Center verified that the Complaint with the corresponding amendment to the 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 November 3, 2021. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was November 23, 2021. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on November 25, 2021.

The Center appointed Ada L. Redondo Aguilera as the sole panelist in this matter on December 1, 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 in this administrative proceeding is Syngenta Participations AG, a Swiss Corporation of Basel, Switzerland.

Syngenta is a global, science-based agtech company with 28,000 employees in 90 countries dedicated to increase crop productivity, protect the environment and improve health and quality of life. The Syngenta Group has seven products that includes agrochemicals for crop protection as well as vegetable and flower seeds.

The Complainant owns numerous trademark registrations for the SYNGENTA trademark, such as:

The International trademark registration for SYNGENTA, registration No. 732663 in classes 01, 02, 05, 07, 08, 09, 10, 16, 29, 30, 31, 32, 35, 36, 41, and 42, registered on March 8, 2000.

The United States of America trademark registration for SYNGENTA, registration No. 3036058, in classes 01, 02, 05, 07, 08, 09, 10, 16, 29, 30, 31, 32, 35, 36, 41, and 42, registered on December 27, 2005.

The Complainant owns the following official websites: “www.Syngenta.com”, “www.Syngentagroup.com”, “www.Syngenta-uk.group”, “www.Syngenta.co.uk”, “www.Syngenta.org”, “www.syngenta.co”, “www.Syngenta.cn”, “www.Syngenta-us.com”, “www.Syngenta.fr”, “www.Syngenta.de”, “www.Syngenta.ru”, and “www.Syngenta.vn”.

The Disputed Domain Name <syngenta.group> was registered in October 12, 2020, and resolves to a webpage where the Disputed Domain Name is being offered for USD 2,800.

5. Parties’ Contentions

A. Complainant

The Complainant’s submissions may be summarized as follows:

(i) The Disputed Domain Name is identical or confusingly similar to the trademark or service mark in which the Complainant has rights.

The Complainant argues that the Disputed Domain Name is confusingly similar to its SYNGENTA trademark. The Disputed Domain Name incorporates the SYNGENTA trademark in its entirety. The addition of the generic Top-Level Domain (“gTLD”) “. group” does not have any impact on the overall impression of the Disputed Domain Name in fact creates more confusion, due to the fact that SYNGENTA GROUP is well known as a corporation too.

(ii) The Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Disputed Domain Name.

The Complainant contends that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Disputed Domain Name. Also, the Complainant argues that there is no evidence that the Respondent (as an individual, business or organization) has been commonly known by the Disputed Domain Name. The Respondent has no connection or affiliation with the Complainant. The Complainant has not licensed or consented to the Respondent’s use of the SYNGENTA trademark.

The Complainant submits that the Respondent has not, before the original filling of the Complaint, use or made preparations to use the Disputed Domain Name in relation to a bona fide offering of goods or services. On the contrary, the Disputed Domain Name does not resolve to an active website.

Also, the Complainant submits that the burden shifts to the Respondent to establish the Respondent’s right or legitimate interests the Respondent may have or have had in the Disputed Domain Name.

(iii) The Disputed Domain Name was registered and is being used in bad faith.

The Complainant argues that their SYNGENTA trademark is well known.

The Complainant established that the Respondent had in mind the Complainant’s name and trademark in when registering the Disputed Domain Name. The Respondent choice of the Disputed Domain Name cannot have been accidental and must have been influenced by the fame of the Complainant and its earlier trademark.

The Respondent registered the Disputed Domain Name long after the Complainant registered the SYNGENTA trademarks and their own domain name(s).

B. Respondent

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

6. Discussion and Findings

A. Identical or Confusingly Similar

The Complainant established that is the owner of the trademark SYNGENTA.

The Disputed Domain Name includes the Complainant’s SYNGENTA trademark in its entirety, with the gTLD “. group”. The gTLD “.group” is disregarded from the assessment under the first element of the Policy. The Complainant’s SYNGENTA trademark is clearly recognizable in the Disputed Domain Name. The Disputed Domain Name is identical to the Complainant’s SYNGENTA trademark.

For the reasons above, the Panel finds that the Disputed Domain Name is identical to the Complainant’s trademark, and the condition of paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Policy has been fulfilled.

B. Rights or Legitimate Interests

Under paragraph 4(c) of the Policy:

“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.”

Paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy requires the complainant to establish that the respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the domain name. The consensus view among UDRP panels is that where a complainant makes out a prima facie case that the respondent lacks rights or legitimate interests, the burden of production on this element shifts to the respondent to come forward with relevant evidence, demonstrating rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. See section 2.1 of the WIPO Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions, Third Edition (“WIPO Overview 3.0”). In this case, the Respondent did not rebut the Complainant’s prima facie case regarding the lack of rights or legitimate interests.

In the present case, the Complainant declared that it is not affiliated or associated with the Respondent in any way. The Complainant also argued that it has not authorized or given any license to the Respondent in order to register, use or include the Complainant’s trademarks in a domain name. Furthermore, the Complainant established that the Respondent is not commonly known by the Disputed Domain Name or has a SYNGENTA trademark.

The Complainant stated that the Respondent is not a licensee of the Complainant, nor has it been otherwise allowed by the Complainant to make any use of the Complainant’s trademarks.

In the present case, the Disputed Domain Name is currently resolving to a website that shows a “For Sale” page and the Disputed Domain Name is being offered for USD 2,800 in the website.

In conclusion, the Panel finds that the Disputed Domain Name has not been used for a bona fide offering of goods or services nor a legitimate noncommercial or fair use, without intent for commercial gain. The offer for sale of a domain name which is identical to a worldwide renown trademark cannot be considered in itself a use of the domain name in connection with a bona fide offering of goods and services, and cannot give rise to rights or legitimate interests in the Disputed Domain Name.

For all the above-mentioned reasons and based on the available records and evidences, the Panel finds that the Complainant has fulfilled the second element of the Policy.

C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith.

Paragraph 4(a)(iii) of the Policy provides that “[a domain-name holder] is required to submit to a mandatory administrative proceeding in the event that [a complainant] asserts to the applicable [administrative-dispute-resolution service providers], in compliance with the Rules of Procedure, that […] (iii) [the respondent’s] domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.”

In this case, the Disputed Domain Name is resolving to a page offering the Disputed Domain Name for sale. The Respondent’s registration and offer of sale of the Disputed Domain Name is a conduct that is consider in this case as registration and use in bad faith. Another panel in TOROC & IOC v. Peter H. Hufschmid WIPO Case No. D2001-0604 founds: “in the case at hand, the following circumstances lead the Panel to conclude that the Respondent is acting in bad faith: a) The Respondent listed the domain name for sale with Greatdomains.com, a company that specializes in selling domain names for more than out-of-pocket expenses. Complainants Exhibit 17 reveals that no price is listed for the disputed domain name - instead the phrase “Make Offer” appears. Had the Respondent merely sought out-of-pocket expenses, these expenses would have been listed. The Panel finds that by seeking anoffer on Greatdomains.com, the Respondent is holding out for more than out-of-pocket expenses. This should come as no surprise given the likely value of this domain name to the Complainants. Further, it is not necessary that there be evidence of a specific offer to the Complainants (or their competitors). Although the Respondent has not directly contacted the Complainants to sell the domain name, use of the services of a third party vendor, Greatdomains.com, is sufficient. This is a clear example of bad faith within the meaning of paragraph 4(b)(i)”.

The Disputed Domain Name contains the trademark in whole, which may lead Internet users to believe that the website is an official Complainant’s website or endorsed by the Complainant. In the present case, the Panel considers that the registration of the Disputed Domain Name with the gTLD extension “.group” intensifies the confusion due to the fact that the term “group” is a synonym for a collective of companies, in this case as a reference to the “Syngenta Group” of companies.

The Panel finds that the use of the extension “. group” falsely enhances the perception that the Disputed Domain Name is owned by the Complainant or associated with it. The Disputed Domain name creates a likelihood of confusion into thinking the Disputed Domain Name is owned and operated by the Complainant, e.g. Syngenta Participations AG v. John Akoogun, WIPO case 2021-0865.

The Panel also finds that the present case is consistent with the paragraph 4(b)(i) of the Policy due to the fact that the Disputed Domain Name is comprised of a Complainant’s distinct trademark (which value is intrinsically connected to the Complainant and its trademark) and there is no apparent legitimate reason justifying the offer of its sale to third parties. In addition, the Disputed Domain Name is being offered for USD 2,800 a sum likely in excess of the Respondent’s out-of-pocket costs associated with the registration of the Disputed Domain Name. This Panel finds that the Respondent’s primary intention behind registering and using the Disputed Domain Name and is selling it (likely to the Complainant) for financial gain.

In light of the factors set out above, the Panel finds that the Respondent registered and is using the Disputed Domain Name in bad faith for purposes of 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 Disputed Domain Name <syngenta.group> be transferred to the Complainant.

Ada L. Redondo Aguilera
Sole Panelist
Date: December 15 2021