WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Syngenta Participations AG v. Who Is Agent / Rogerio Biasotto 1
Case No. D2015-0253
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Syngenta Participations AG of Basel, Switzerland, internally represented.
The Respondent is Who Is Agent of Kirkland, Washington United States of America / Rogerio Biasotto of Los Angeles, California, United States of America.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <us-syngenta.com> is registered with eNom (the “Registrar”).
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the ”Center”) on February 17, 2015. On February 17, 2015, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On the same date 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 February 18, 2015 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 February 19, 2015.
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(a) and 4(a), the Center formally notified the Respondent of the Complaint, and the proceedings commenced on February 23, 2015. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was March 15, 2015. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on March 16, 2015.
The Center appointed Marilena Comanescu as the sole panelist in this matter on March 20, 2015. 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.
The language of the proceeding is English.
4. Factual Background
The Complainant is a globally known company, whose products include agrochemicals for crop protection and also vegetable and flower seeds. The Complainant has more than 28,000 employees in 90 countries.
The Complainant registered the word trademark SYNGENTA in 2000 as an International Trade Mark designating many countries worldwide. The Complainant has also registered its trademark in numerous countries as a national trademark, including in the United States of America under the registration number 3036058 registered on December 27, 2005 for goods and services in classes 01, 02, 05, 07, 08, 09, 10, 16, 29, 30, 31, 32, 35, 36, 41 and 42.
The Complainant is also the owner of many domain names which include the trademark SYNGENTA, such as <syngenta.com> and <syngenta-us.com>.
The disputed domain name was registered on January 18, 2015. At the time the Complaint was filed, the disputed domain name did not resolve to an active website.
The Complainant has submitted unrebutted evidence that the disputed domain name has been used to send fraudulent emails impersonating an employee of the Complainant.
5. Parties’ Contentions
The Complainant contends that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to its trademark SYNGENTA, the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name and the Respondent registered and is using the disputed domain name in bad faith.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.
6. Discussion and Findings
In view of the default and the absence of any reply to the Complaint by the Respondent, the discussion and findings will be based upon the contentions in the Complaint and any reasonable position that can be attributable to the Respondent. Under paragraph 4(a) of the Policy, a complainant can only succeed in an administrative proceeding under the Policy if the following circumstances are met:
(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 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
The Complainant has rights in the SYNGENTA trademark, holding registrations worldwide, including in the United States of America, where the Respondent appears to be located, since 2005.
The dominant part of the disputed domain name <us-syngenta.com> incorporates the Complainant’s trademark SYNGENTA in its entirety. In addition to this, the disputed domain name contains the generic geographical term “us”, a commonly used abbreviation for the United States of America, whereas the Complainant has an active presence and trademark registrations in this country.
Numerous UDRP panels have considered that the addition of geographical or generic wording to trademarks in a domain name is not sufficient to escape a finding of confusing similarity and does not change the overall impression of the domain name as being connected to a complainant’s trademark. See, paragraph 1.9 of the WIPO Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions, Second Edition (“WIPO Overview 2.0”).
Further, it is well established in decisions under the UDRP that the presence or absence of characters (e.g., hyphens, dots) in a domain name and indicators for generic Top Level Domains (e.g., “.com”, “.info”, “.net”, “.org”) are typically irrelevant to the consideration of confusing similarity between a trademark and a domain name.
Given the above, the Panel finds that the disputed domain name <us-syngenta.com> is confusingly similar to the Complainant’s trademark SYNGENTA, pursuant to the Policy, paragraph 4(a)(i).
B. Rights or Legitimate Interests
The Complainant asserts that it has given no authorization to the Respondent to use or register its trademark, the Respondent is not an affiliate of the Complainant, the disputed domain name does not resolve to an active website but it is used to send fraudulent emails. In line with previous UDRP decisions made in similar circumstances, the Panel accepts that the Complainant has provided a prima facie case of the Respondent’s lack of rights or legitimate interests in relation to the disputed domain name, and the burden of production shifts to the Respondent.
The Respondent chose not to challenge the Complainant’s allegations. There is no evidence before the Panel to support the contrary, and therefore the Panel accepts these arguments as facts.
Consequently, the Panel finds that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name <us-syngenta.com>, pursuant to the Policy, paragraph 4(a)(ii).
C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith
The trademark SYNGENTA has been registered and used worldwide since 2000.
The disputed domain name was registered in 2015 and incorporates the SYNGENTA trademark and the geographical indicator “us”.
The Complainant provided evidence in Annex 4 to the Complaint showing that the Respondent has used the disputed domain name to send fraudulent emails impersonating an employee of the Complainant in an attempt to book airline tickets. The Panel finds this convincing evidence of bad faith.
The Respondent did not respond to the Complaint. Given the other circumstances of the case, such behavior may be considered as further evidence of bad faith in registering and using the disputed domain name.
Further, the disputed domain name resolves to an inactive website. The passive holding of the disputed domain name does not prevent a finding of bad faith. See paragraph 3.2 of the WIPO Overview 2.0.
For all the above reasons, the Panel finds that the Respondent registered and is using the disputed domain name <us-syngenta.com> in bad faith, pursuant to the Policy, paragraph 4(a)(iii).
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 <us-syngenta.com> be transferred to the Complainant.
Date: March 15, 2015
1 While “Rogerio Biasotto” has been confirmed by the Registrar as the registrant of the disputed domain name, the Panel wishes to stress that it does not consider the Rogerio Biasotto employed by the Complainant as the Respondent in this proceeding, and that given the use made of the disputed domain name, this name is likely an alias.