WIPO orders Korean national to transfer biotiquekorea.com to BIOTIQUE owner

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WIPO Administrative Panel orders Korean national to transfer the domain biotiquekorea.com to Bio Veda Action Research, owner of popular Indian cosmetics brand BIOTIQUE.

Bio Veda, owner of the registered trade mark BIOTIQUE, filed a complaint under the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy before the World Intellectual Property Organization against a Korean national (respondent) for having parked the domain name biotiquekorea.com.

It contended that the domain name was confusingly similar to the mark BIOTIQUE; the respondent lacked legitimate interest or rights therein and that the domain name was registered in bad faith.

The Administrative Panel noted that the BIOTIQUE mark was registered in favour of Bio Veda in several countries and it had a significant online presence on major e-commerce websites, including those in Korea. Given that the disputed domain name merely adds a geographic location  to the mark BIOTIQUE, it is not likely that the respondent came up with the disputed domain name independently without the trademark BIOTIQUE in mind.

The Panel concluded that mere addition of a geographic term to the mark demonstrated the respondent’s knowledge of the similarity between the registered mark and disputed domain. That it was holding the domain name passively and not carrying on any commercial activity from it, assisted in a finding of bad faith in the facts.

Bio Veda Action Research Private Limited (India), and H.W. Cheong (Republic of Korea); before the Administrative Panel, WIPO; order dated 17 April 2017