WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
SOLVAY Société Anonyme v. Name Redacted
Case No. D2021-4276
1. The Parties
Complainant is SOLVAY Société Anonyme, Belgium, represented by PETILLION, Belgium.
Respondent is Name Redacted.1
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <solvayinterox.shop> is registered with NameCheap, Inc. (the “Registrar”).
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on December 17, 2021. On December 20, 2021, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On December 20, 2021, the Registrar transmitted by email to the Center its verification response confirming that Respondent is listed as the registrant and providing the contact details.
The Center verified that 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 Respondent of the Complaint, and the proceedings commenced on December 21, 2021. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was January 10, 2022. Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Parties of Respondent’s default on January 13, 2022.
The Center appointed Ingrīda Kariņa-Bērziņa as the sole panelist in this matter on February 3, 2022. 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 company, headquartered in Belgium, producing high-performance polymers and composite technologies and chemicals.
Complainant is the proprietor of numerous registrations for its SOLVAY mark, including the following:
- European Union Trade Mark No. 000067801 for SOLVAY (word mark), registered on May 30, 2000 for goods in classes 1, 3, 4, 5 ,7, 9, 10, 12, 17, 19, 20, and 31;
- International registration No. 1171614 for SOLVAY (word mark), registered on February 28, 2013 for goods and services in classes 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 9, 10, 12, 17, 19, 22, 23, 24, 25, 30, 31, 34, 35, 36, 37, 39, 40, and 42;
Complainant produces hydrogen peroxide under the mark INTEROX and is the proprietor of registrations for this mark, including:
- Australian trade mark No. 251134 for INTEROX (word mark), registered on August 20, 1971 for goods in class 1;
- European Trade Mark No. 00067017 for INTEROX (word mark), registered on February 1, 1999 for goods in classes 1, 3, and 5.
The disputed domain name was registered on April 8, 2021. It resolves to a website featuring pay-per-click links. The record contains copies of Complainant’s cease-and-desist letters to Respondent dated April 20, 2021 and May 25, 2021. The record does not reflect Respondent’s replies thereto.
5. Parties’ Contentions
Complainant’s contentions may be summarized as follows:
Complainant states that it is a global science company specialized in high-performance polymers and composites technologies, and a leader in chemicals. Complainant’s group was founded 1863, has its registered offices in Brussels and employs more than 23,000 people in 64 countries. Its net sales were EUR 8.9 billion in 2020. Complainant is active in Australia through its wholly-owned subsidiary Solvay Interox Pty Limited. Complainant states that its SOLVAY mark is well-known all over the world. It is used extensively, including on social media, and has been ranked among the ten most valuable Belgian brands, with an estimated value of EUR 795 million.
Under the first element, Complainant states that its SOLVAY mark has been used at least since 2000 and its INTEROX mark since 1971. The disputed domain name is confusingly similar to marks in which Complainant has rights.
Under the second element, Complainant states that Respondent is not commonly known by the disputed domain name. The named Respondent was previously an employee of Complainant. However, when Complainant contacted him, he asserted that he had never heard of the disputed domain name. This indicates that Respondent is using false contact information to hide his/her identity. Respondent has not acquired trademark rights and Respondent’s use and registration of the disputed domain name was not authorized by Complainant. The disputed domain name incorporates two of Complainant’s marks in their entirety, carrying a high risk of implied affiliation.
Under the third element, Complainant states that the disputed domain name combines two distinct trademarks of Complainant. Complainant and its marks are well-known all over the world. Previous UDRP panels have acknowledged that the SOLVAY mark is distinctive. It is inconceivable that Respondent was unaware of Complainant and its rights in the SOLVAY and INTEROX marks at the time of registration of the disputed domain name. The disputed domain name redirects to a parking page featuring pay-per-click links, including for the sale of a chemical product similar to the products sold by Complainant. There is no plausible legitimate use of the disputed domain name. There is a risk of fraudulent activity related to the disputed domain name. Respondent provided false contact information by stating the name, address and telephone number of a former employee of Complainant’s subsidiary.
Respondent did not reply to Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
Paragraph 4(a) of the UDRP requires Complainant to make out all three of the following:
(i) the disputed 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 disputed domain name; and
(iii) Respondent has registered and is using the disputed domain name in bad faith.
Under paragraph 15(a) of the Rules, “[a] Panel shall decide a complaint on the basis of the statements and documents submitted and in accordance with the Policy, these Rules and any rules and principles of law that it deems applicable”.
A. Identical or Confusingly Similar
Complainant has provided evidence establishing that it has trademark rights in the SOLVAY and INTEROX marks through registrations in numerous jurisdictions. Complainant thereby satisfies the threshold requirement of having trademark rights for purposes of standing to file a UDRP case. See WIPO Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions, Third Edition (“WIPO Overview 3.0”), section 1.2.
In comparing Complainant’s SOLVAY and INTEROX marks with the disputed domain name, the Panel finds that the disputed domain name is identical to the marks. It is the consensus view of UDRP panels that, where a domain name incorporates the entirety of a trademark, the domain name will normally be considered confusingly similar to that mark. See WIPO Overview 3.0, section 1.7.
It is the well-established view of UDRP panels that the addition of the generic Top-Level Domain (“gTLD”), in this case “.shop”, to a disputed domain name does not prevent the disputed domain name from being confusingly similar to Complainant’s trademark (see WIPO Overview 3.0, section 1.11.1, and cases cited thereunder).
Accordingly, the Panel finds that Complainant has established the first element under paragraph 4(a) of the Policy.
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
The circumstances stated in the Complaint and evidence in support set forth in the annexes indicate that Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name.
The Panel finds that the evidence submitted by Complainant establishes a prima facie case that Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. There is no evidence that Respondent is is making use of the disputed domain name in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services, or that Respondent has been commonly known by the disputed domain name. There is no evidence that Respondent is making a legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the disputed domain name. Rather, the disputed domain name was used to redirect to a pay-per-click website with no evidence of any effort to mitigate an inference of targeting Complainant. It is well-established that such use does not establish rights or legitimate interests. See, e.g., Harpo, Inc. and Oprah’s Farm, LLC v. Robert McDaniel, WIPO Case No. D2013-0585, and The Knot, Inc. v. In Knot We Trust Ltd, WIPO Case No. D2006-0350, Get Away Today.com., Inc. v. Warren Gilbert, WIPO Case No. DCO2010-0021. See also WIPO Overview 3.0, section 2.9, and cases cited thereunder.
Pursuant to WIPO Overview 3.0, section 2.1, and cases thereunder, where, as here, Complainant makes out a prima facie case that Respondent lacks rights or legitimate interests, the burden of production on this element shifts to Respondent to come forward with relevant evidence demonstrating rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name.
Respondent, in failing to file a Response, has not provided evidence of any rights or legitimate interests. The circumstances of the case, in particular, the redirection to a website featuring pay-per-click links including to products competing with those of Complainant, prevent the inference of rights or legitimate interests on the part of Respondent.
Accordingly, the Panel finds that Complainant has established the second element under paragraph 4(a) of the Policy.
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
The Panel finds that Complainant has demonstrated Respondent’s bad faith registration and use of the disputed domain name. Complainant has provided evidence of registered trademark rights in the SOLVAY and INTEROX marks that significantly predate the registration of the disputed domain name. The disputed domain name is identical Complainant’s marks, indicating that Respondent has intentionally attempted to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to its website by creating a likelihood of confusion with Complainant’s marks. See WIPO Overview 3.0, section 3.1.4.
The evidence provided by Complainant indicates that of the disputed domain name to redirect to a pay-per-click website with keywords related to Complainant and its industry. The Panel finds this is further evidence of bad faith. Respondent has provided no evidence of actual or contemplated good-faith use of the disputed domain name and the Panel does not find any such use plausible. Under similar circumstances, previous UDRP panels have found bad faith. See, for instance, Shangri-La International Hotel Management Limited v. NetIncome Ventures Inc., WIPO Case No. D2006-1315; Villeroy & Boch AG v. Mario Pingerna, WIPO Case No. D2007-1912.
Finally, Complainant has provided sufficient evidence to establish that Respondent has impersonated a former employee of Complainant. It is the consensus view of UDRP panels that that providing false contact information is an indication of bad faith. See WIPO Overview 3.0, section 3.2.1.
The Panel therefore finds that Complainant has established the third element under paragraph 4(a) 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 <solvayinterox.shop> be transferred to Complainant.
Date: February 18, 2022
1 Respondent appears to have used the name of a third party when registering the disputed domain name. In light of the potential identity theft, the Panel has redacted Respondent’s name from this decision. However, the Panel has attached as Annex 1 to this decision an instruction to the Registrar regarding transfer of the disputed domain name, which includes the name of named Respondent. The Panel has authorized the Center to transmit Annex 1 to the Registrar as part of the order in this proceeding, and has indicated Annex 1 to this decision shall not be published due to the exceptional circumstances of this case. See Banco Bradesco S.A. v. FAST-12785241 Attn. Bradescourgente.net / Name Redacted, WIPO Case No. D2009-1788.