The Complainant is Pfizer Inc. of New York, New York, United States of America (“United States”), represented by Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer LLP, United States.
The Respondent is on behalf of pfizerrxpathway.com OWNER of Alexandria, Virginia, United States / Tulip Trading Company, Tulip Trading Company of Charlestown, Nevis, Saint Kitts and Nevis.
The disputed domain name <pfizerrxpathway.com> is registered with Key-Systems GmbH dba domaindiscount24.com (the “Registrar”).
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on June 19, 2018. On June 20, 2018, the Center transmitted by email to the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On June 21, 2018, 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 June 22, 2018, 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 June 26, 2018.
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 June 28, 2018. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was July 18, 2018. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, the Center notified the Respondent’s default on July 19, 2018.
The Center appointed Debrett G. Lyons as the sole panelist in this matter on July 27, 2018. 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 facts relevant to the decision in this case are that:
(1) the Complainant manufactures and sells pharmaceuticals by reference to the trade mark PFIZER and provides patient assistance in relation thereto using the trade mark PFIZER RXPATHWAYS (the “Trade Mark”) via a website resolving from the domain name <pfizerrxpathways.com>;
(2) the Trade Mark is the subject, inter alia, of United States Patent & Trademark Office (“USPTO”) Reg. No. 4,593,658 registered on August 26, 2014;
(3) the disputed domain name was registered on October 10, 2016 and resolves to a website with links relating to prescriptions and medical assistance, showing at least once instance of the trade mark PFIZER; and
(4) there is no commercial or other relationship between the Parties and the Complainant has not authorized the Respondent to use the Trade Mark or to register any domain name incorporating the Trade Mark.
The Complainant asserts trade mark rights in PFIZER RXPATHWAYS and submits that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to the Trade Mark.
The Complainant alleges that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name.
The Complainant alleges that the Respondent registered and is using the disputed domain name in bad faith.
The Complainant accordingly requests the Panel to order transfer of the disputed domain name.
The Respondent did not submit a Response.
According to paragraph 4(a) of the Policy, the Complainant must prove that:
(i) the disputed domain name is identical or confusingly similar to a trade mark 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.
It is the responsibility of the Panel to consider whether the requirements of the Policy have been met, regardless of the fact that the Respondent failed to submit a response. Having considered the Complaint and the available evidence, the Panel finds the following:
Paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Policy requires a two-fold enquiry – a threshold investigation into whether a complainant has rights in a trade mark, followed by an assessment of whether the disputed domain name is identical or confusingly similar to the trade mark.
Paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Policy does not distinguish between registered and unregistered trade mark rights. It is accepted that a trade mark registered with a national authority is evidence of trade mark rights for the purposes of the Policy.1 The Complainant provides evidence of its USPTO registration of the Trade Mark and so the Panel finds that the Complainant has trade mark rights.
The generic Top-Level Domain (“gTLD”) “.com” can be disregarded for the purposes of comparing the disputed domain name with the Trade Mark.2 Thereafter, the disputed domain name makes a trivial alteration to the Trade Mark by way of deletion of the letter “s” from the word “pathways”. The Panel finds that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to the Trade Mark and so finds that the Complainant has satisfied paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Policy.
The Complainant has the burden to establish that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name. Nevertheless, it is well settled that the Complainant need only make out a prima facie case, after which the onus shifts to the Respondent to rebut such prima facie case by providing evidence demonstrating rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name.3
Notwithstanding the lack of a response to the Complaint, paragraph 4(c) of the Policy states that 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 rights or legitimate interests to a domain name for purposes of paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy:
“(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.”
There is no evidence that the Respondent has trade mark rights in the disputed domain name. The name of the underlying owner of the disputed domain name, Tulip Trading Company, provided by the Registrar, does not provide any support for a finding by the Panel that the Respondent might be commonly known by the disputed domain name. The publicly available WhoIs data lists the disputed domain name registrant as “on behalf of pfizerrxpathway.com OWNER, c/o whoisproxy.com”. In the absence of a Response the Panel accepts the Complainant’s submission that there is no connection between the Parties. In any event, the issue is whether the Respondent might be commonly known by the disputed domain name, not whether it registered or holds the disputed domain name as agent or on trust for the rightful owner.
The evidence accompanying the Complaint is that the disputed domain name resolves to a website with sponsored links to third parties providing assistance in relation to medications. The Complainant’s trade mark PFIZER appears there. The Panel need not consider the Complainant’s submission that the resolving website implies a connection with the Complainant’s business under the Trade Mark since it is enough for the Panel to find that the use of the disputed domain name is not in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services since it potentially misdirects Internet users to online locations having no connection with the Complainant. Finally, there is no legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the disputed domain name.
The Panel finds that the Complainant has established a prima facie case that the Respondent lacks rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name, and that the Respondent in failing to reply to the Complainant’s contentions has not rebutted such prima facie case.
The Panel finds that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name and so the Complainant has satisfied the second element of the Policy.
Paragraph 4(b) of the Policy sets out circumstances which shall be evidence of the registration and use of a domain name in bad faith. They are:
“(i) circumstances indicating that you have registered or you have acquired the domain name primarily for the purpose of selling, renting, or otherwise transferring the domain name registration to the complainant who is the owner of the trademark or service mark or to a competitor of that complainant, for valuable consideration in excess of your documented out-of-pocket costs directly related to the domain name; or
(ii) you have registered the domain name in order to prevent the owner of the trademark or service mark from reflecting the mark in a corresponding domain name, provided that you have engaged in a pattern of such conduct; or
(iii) you have registered the domain name primarily for the purpose of disrupting the business of a competitor; or
(iv) by using the domain name, you have intentionally attempted to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to your website or other online location, by creating a likelihood of confusion with the complainant’s mark as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation, or endorsement of your website or location or of a product or service on your website or location.”
The Panel finds that the Respondent’s conduct falls squarely within paragraph 4(b)(iv) above. The Panel has already found the disputed domain name to be confusingly similar to the Trade Mark. The Respondent was clearly targeting the Complainant when registering the disputed domain name, particularly in light of its similarity to the Complainant’s domain name <pfizerrxpathways.com>. The Panel accepts the Complainant’s submission that the resolving website exists for commercial gain by way of referral fees or similar. In terms of the Policy the Panel finds that the Respondent has intentionally attempted to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to its website by creating a likelihood of confusion with the Trade Mark as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation, or endorsement of that website.
Accordingly, the Complainant has satisfied the third and final limb 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 <pfizerrxpathway.com> be transferred to the Complainant.
Debrett G. Lyons
Date: July 31, 2018
1 See section 1.2.1 of the WIPO Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions, Third Edition (“WIPO Overview 3.0”).
Stay updated! Get new cases and decisions by daily email.