WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica GmbH v. 孙言虎 (Sun Yan Hu)
Case No. D2021-3714
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica GmbH, Germany, represented by Nameshield, France.
The Respondent is 孙言虎 (Sun Yan Hu), China.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <metacam.site> is registered with DNSPod, Inc. (the “Registrar”).
3. Procedural History
The Complaint in English was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on November 5, 2021. On November 8, 2021, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On November 10, 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 November 10, 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 in English on November 10, 2021.
On November 10, 2021, the Center sent an email in English and Chinese to the Parties regarding the language of the proceeding. The Complainant confirmed its request that English be the language of the proceeding on November 10, 2021. The Respondent did not comment on the language of the proceeding.
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 in English and Chinese of the Complaint, and the proceeding commenced on November 16, 2021. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was December 6, 2021. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default in English and Chinese on December 7, 2021.
The Center appointed Sebastian M.W. Hughes as the sole panelist in this matter on December 13, 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 pharmaceutical company incorporated in Germany and founded by Albert Boehringer in Ingelheim am Rhein, Germany, in 1885. The three business areas of the Complainant are human pharmaceuticals, animal health, and biopharmaceuticals. In 2020, net sales of the Complainant’s group of companies amounted to about EUR 19.6 billion.
The Complainant has for many years used its trade mark METACAM (the “Trade Mark”) in respect of a medicine used for cats and dog to reduce post-operative pain and inflammation following surgery; and also for lactating cows and calves.
The Complainant is the owner of registrations for the Trade Mark in jurisdictions worldwide, including International registration No. 547717 (designating China), with a registration date of January 8, 1990.
The Complainant has also owned and used the domain name <metacam.com> comprising the Trade Mark (the “Complainant’s Relevant Domain Name”) since June 25, 2003.
The Respondent is apparently an individual resident in China.
C. The Disputed Domain Name
The disputed domain name was registered on November 10, 2021.
D. Use of the Disputed Domain Name
The disputed domain name is not resolved to any active website.
5. Parties’ Contentions
The Complainant contends that the disputed domain name is identical or confusingly similar to the Trade Mark; the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name; and the disputed domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
6.1. Language of the Proceeding
The language of the Registration Agreement for the disputed domain name is Chinese. Pursuant to the Rules, paragraph 11, in the absence of an agreement between the Parties, or unless specified otherwise in the Registration Agreement, the language of the administrative proceeding shall be the language of the Registration Agreement.
Paragraph 11(a) of the Rules allows the Panel to determine the language of the proceeding having regard to all the circumstances. In particular, it is established practice to take paragraphs 10(b) and (c) of the Rules into consideration for the purpose of determining the language of the proceeding, in order to ensure fairness to the Parties and the maintenance of an inexpensive and expeditious avenue for resolving domain name disputes. Language requirements should not lead to undue burdens being placed on the Parties and undue delay to the proceeding.
The Complainant has requested that the language of the proceeding be English based on the following: (i) English language is the language most widely used in international relations; (ii) the disputed domain name is formed by words in Roman characters (ASCII) and not in Chinese script; and (iii) the Complainant would have had to retain specialized translation services at a cost very likely to be higher than the overall cost of these proceedings.
The Respondent did not file a formal response and did not file any submissions with respect to the language of the proceeding.
In exercising its discretion to use a language other than that of the Registration Agreement, the Panel has to exercise such discretion judicially in the spirit of fairness and justice to both Parties, taking into account all relevant circumstances of the case, including matters such as the Parties’ ability to understand and use the proposed language, time, and costs.
Although there is insufficient evidence before the Panel to support a conclusion that the Respondent is conversant in English, the Panel notes that the Respondent has not taken any part in this proceeding; and the relevant case related communications were sent in both English and Chinese. The Panel is also mindful of the need to ensure the proceeding is conducted in a timely and cost effective manner.
In all the circumstances, the Panel therefore finds it is not foreseeable that the Respondent would be prejudiced, should English be adopted as the language of the proceeding.
Having considered all the matters above, the Panel determines under paragraph 11(a) of the Rules that the language of the proceeding shall be English.
6.2. Substantive Elements of the Policy
The Complainant must prove each of the three elements in paragraph 4(a) of the Policy in order to prevail.
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
The Panel finds that the Complainant has rights in the Trade Mark acquired through use and registration. Disregarding the generic Top-Level Domain (“gTLD”) “.site”, the disputed domain name is identical to the Trade Mark (and for that matter to the Complainant’s Relevant Domain Name).
The Panel therefore finds that the disputed domain name is identical to the Trade Mark.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
Paragraph 4(c) of the Policy provides a list of non-exhaustive circumstances any of which is sufficient to demonstrate that a respondent has rights or legitimate interests in a disputed domain name:
(i) before any notice to the respondent of the dispute, the respondent’s use of, or demonstrable preparations to use, the disputed domain name or a name corresponding to the disputed domain name in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services; or
(ii) the respondent (as an individual, business, or other organization) has been commonly known by the disputed domain name even if the respondent has acquired no trade mark or service mark rights; or
(iii) the respondent is making a legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the disputed domain name, without intent for commercial gain to misleadingly divert consumers or to tarnish the trade mark or service mark at issue.
The Complainant has not authorised, licensed, or permitted the Respondent to register or use the disputed domain name or to use the Trade Mark. The Panel finds on the record that there is therefore a prima facie case that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name, and the burden is thus on the Respondent to produce evidence to rebut this presumption (see WIPO Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions, Third Edition (“WIPO Jurisprudential Overview 3.0”), section 2.1).
The Respondent has failed to show that he has acquired any trade mark rights in respect of the disputed domain name or that the disputed domain name has been used in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services. To the contrary, the disputed domain has not been used for an active website.
There has been no evidence adduced to show that the Respondent has been commonly known by the disputed domain name; and there has been no evidence adduced to show that the Respondent is making a legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the disputed domain name.
In addition, the Panel notes the nature of the disputed domain name, which carries a high risk of implied association (see WIPO Overview 3.0, section 2.5.1).
The Panel finds that the Respondent has failed to produce any evidence to rebut the Complainant’s prima facie case that the Respondent lacks rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. The Panel therefore finds that the Respondent lacks rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
Given (i) the reputation of the Complainant and of its Trade Mark in the veterinary medicines field (including in China, where the Respondent is based); (ii) the distinctiveness of the Trade Mark; (iii) the fact the Trade Mark has no meaning in the Chinese language; (iv) the fact the disputed domain name is identical to the Trade Mark; and (v) the lack of any substantiated credible explanation from the Respondent, the Panel finds, in all the circumstances, that the requisite element of bad faith has been made out. The Panel considers the Respondent was most likely aware of the Complainant’s Trade Mark at the time he registered the disputed domain name. Furthermore, the Respondent’s present non-use or passive holding of the disputed domain name would not prevent a finding of bad faith under the Policy (see WIPO Overview 3.0, section 3.3).
For all the foregoing reasons, the Panel concludes that the disputed domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith, and that the Complainant has satisfied paragraph 4(a)(iii) of the Policy.
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 <metacam.site> be transferred to the Complainant.
Sebastian M.W. Hughes
Dated: December 27, 2021