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WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Shire Biochem Inc., Shire Pharmaceuticals Group plc and Shire International Licensing B.V. v. Syed Hussain
Case No. D2002-0453
1. The Parties
The Complainants in this administrative proceeding are: Shire Biochem Inc., a corporation incorporated under the laws of Canada with a principal place of business in Laval, Québec, Canada; Shire Pharmaceuticals Group plc, a corporation incorporated under the laws of the United Kingdom with a principal place of business in Chineham, Basingstoke, Hampshire, United Kingdom; and Shire International Licensing B.V., a corporation incorporated under the laws of the Netherlands with a principal place of business in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. The Complainants have a sufficient common interest in the domain name in dispute for a joinder to be permissible. Each Complainant has rights in trade marks that are partially or entirely comprised in the domain name in dispute.
The Respondent is Syed Hussain, doing business as MIC and CPIC NET, of Closter, New Jersey, United States of America.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The domain name in dispute is <shirebiochem.com>. The domain name was registered with Bulkregister.com, Inc., of Suite 1600, 10 E. Baltimore Street, Baltimore, Maryland, 21202, United States of America on December 11, 2000.
3. Procedural History
The complaint that is the basis of this proceeding was received by the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center ("Center") by electronic mail on May 8, 2002, and in hardcopy on May 13, 2002. The Complainant requested a resolution of the dispute on the basis of the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy, adopted by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers ("ICANN") on August 26, 1999 ("Policy"), the Rules for Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy, approved by ICANN on October 24, 1999 ("Rules"), and the WIPO Supplemental Rules for Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy ("Supplemental Rules").
The complaint was filed in compliance with the requirement of the Rules and the Supplemental Rules and payment was properly made. The Center notified the Respondent of the complaint on May 17, 2002, when this administrative proceeding was commenced. No response having been made, the Center issued a Notification of Respondent Default on June 10, 2002. The administrative panel was properly constituted to determine the dispute on June 17, 2002, and the Panelist submitted a Statement of Acceptance and Declaration of Impartiality and Independence.
4. Factual Background
Shire Biochem Inc. and Shire International Licensing B.V. are subsidiaries of Shire Pharmaceuticals Group plc which is an international specialty pharmaceutical company founded in 1986. Shire Biochem Inc. was formerly known as Biochem Pharma Inc., and had been operating under that name since it was founded in 1986. It took on its current name when it became a subsidiary of the Shire Pharmaceuticals Group plc on May 11, 2001. This merger of Biochem Pharma Inc. and the Shire Pharmaceuticals Group plc had been announced on December 11, 2000, an announcement that had received substantial publicity.
Shire Biochem Inc. is the owner of twelve Canadian and one U.S. trade mark registrations involving the word "Biochem", acquired when the company was known as Biochem Pharma Inc. Since the merger with Shire Pharmaceuticals Group plc, the company has applied for the following Canadian registrations: (i) "Shire Biochem" (application 1104505, filed on May 28, 2001, and used in Canada since May 11, 2001); (ii) "Shire Biologics" (application 1106771, filed on June 15, 2001); (iii) and, "Shire Life is our Business (& design)" (application 1115657, filed on September 14, 2001). Shire International Licensing B.V. is the owner of two U.S. trade mark registrations involving the word "Shire" acquired before the merger with Biochem Pharma Inc. The company is the applicant for the following Canadian trade mark registrations: (i) "Shire" (application 1030156, filed on September 24, 1999), (ii) and "Shire" (application 1127296, filed on January 11, 2002, and used in Canada since January 15, 2000). Finally, it is also the owner of registered trade marks involving the word "Shire", or has similar applications pending, in fifteen other jurisdictions around the world.
On February 8, 2001, Shire Biochem Inc. successfully registered the domain name <shire-biochem.com> with Verisign, Inc., of 21355 Ridgetop Circle, Dulles, Virginia, 20166, United States of America. However, it was unable to register the domain name <shirebiochem.com> on the basis that it had been registered by the Respondent with BulkRegister.com, Inc. on December 11, 2000.
5. Parties’ Contentions
The Complainants submit that the domain name in dispute is confusingly similar to the "Shire" and "Biochem" trade marks in which they have rights in different countries around the world. They also submit that the domain is confusingly similar to the combined trade mark "Shire Biochem" in which they collectively have rights. They submit that the Respondent has no legitimate interests in respect of the trade name in that he is not using the name, has never been commonly known by the name, and has not been granted any rights in respect of the Complainants’ trade marks. They claim that the registration was made in bad faith and that this is evinced by: (i) the fact that the domain name was registered on the day that the merger of Biochem Pharma Inc. and the Shire Pharmaceuticals Group plc had been announced; (ii) a pattern of cybersquatting established in twelve previous cases brought against the Respondent; (iii) and, the fact that during a telephone conversation with a representative of the Complainants on March 29, 2001, the Respondent offered to sell the domain name to the Complainants for a sum clearly in excess of the Respondent’s out-of-pocket costs directly related to the domain name.
6. Discussion and Findings
The Panel determines that the Complainants have established all of the elements required under Paragraph 4(a) of the Policy.
A domain name which is identical or confusingly similar to a name in which the Complainant has rights
At the date of the registration of the domain name, Shire Pharmaceuticals Group plc had a valid registration for the word "Shire". Shire Biochem Inc. did not have registration of the word "Biochem" per se, but it did have registration of at least twelve Canadian marks, and one U.S. mark, involving the word "Biochem". The domain name may be confusingly similar to any of these registrations.
Further, it is likely that at the date of the registration of the domain name, the Complainants could have established common law rights in the trade mark "Shire Biochem", which is virtually identical with the domain name (see Glaxo plc v. Glaxowellcome Ltd  FSR 388).
Finally, since the date of the registration of the domain name, rights have been established in the trade mark "Shire Biochem" which is virtually identical with the domain name. In at least one WIPO decision, rights have been established in marks resulting from mergers where, as here, an application to register the name of the company resulting from the merger was made promptly after the merger and there has been trading using the mark from the date of the merger (CGNU plc v Tess Caffrey/WIPPYWOW, WIPO Case No. D2000-0769).
The Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the domain name
The Respondent is not using the domain name, has not ever been commonly known by the domain name and has not ever been authorized to use any of the Complainants’ marks. He has no right or legitimate interest in the domain name.
The domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith
The Complainants have successfully established bad faith on two of the grounds outlined in Paragraph 4(b) of the Policy.
First, there is evidence that the Respondent acquired the domain name primarily for the purpose of selling the name to the Complainants as envisaged under Paragraph 4(b)(i). Evidence of such an intention might be found in the fact that the domain name was registered on the same day that the merger of Biochem Pharma Inc. and the Shire Pharmaceuticals Group plc was publicly announced (see CGNU plc v Tess Caffrey/WIPPYWOW, WIPO Case No. D2000-0769 and The Chase Manhattan Corporation and Robert FlemingHoldings Limited v. Paul Jones, WIPO Case No. D2000-0731). It might also be found in the telephone conversation between the Complainants’ representative and the Respondent of March 29, 2001. Indeed, the facts that are the subject of this proceeding evince a pattern of cyber-squatting on the back of announced mergers that has consistently been held to show bad faith under Paragraph 4 of the Policy in WIPO arbitrations (see, for example, Astro-Med, Inc. v Merry Christmas Everyone! And B. Evans, WIPO Case No. D2000-0072; CGNU plc v Tess Caffrey/WIPPYWOW, WIPO Case No. D2000-0769; The Chase Manhattan Corporation and Robert FlemingHoldings Limited v. Paul Jones, WIPO Case No. D2000-0731; Pharmacia & Upjohn v. Sol Meyer, WIPO Case No. D2000-0785; and Clifford Chance LLP and Pünder GmbH v. CPIC Inc. , WIPO Case No. D2000-1603).
Second, there is evidence that the Respondent acquired the domain name in order to prevent the Complainants from reflecting their trade marks in a corresponding domain name in a way that reflects a pattern of conduct on the part of the Respondent, as envisaged by Paragraph 4(b)(iii) of the Policy. This evidence might be found in the pattern of cyber-squatting activities undertaken by the Respondent and reflected in a history of domain name arbitrations against him.
Pursuant to Paragraphs 4 of the Policy and 15 of the Rules, the Panel requires the Registrar to transfer the domain name <shirebiochem.com> to the Complainant Shire Biochem Inc.
Michael J Spence
Dated: June 19, 2002