Gajus /
20 October 2016Africa

Novartis wins growth hormone domain dispute

Healthcare company Novartis has won a domain name dispute at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Arbitration and Mediation Center.

The domain,, was registered on June 30 and was selling pharmaceutical products, particularly “growth hormone” goods.

It was transferred to Novartis on October 11. The decision was published yesterday, October 19.

Novartis brought its complaint against of Queensland, Australia and Sergei Lir of Blagoveshchensk, Russia in August.

The healthcare company has used the ‘Novartis’ trademark for “decades and owns international trademark registrations for that brand since at least 1996”, according to the decision.

Rodrigo Azevedo, sole panellist at the centre, held that the domain was confusingly similar to Novartis’ trademark, was registered and used in bad faith, and that the respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in it.

“It is unlikely that the respondent was unaware of the complainant when it registered the disputed domain name,” said Azevedo.

He explained that the disputed domain name differs from the trademark only by the addition of a hyphen and the word “-bio”, making the domain confusingly similar.

Azevedo added: “Therefore, the panel concludes that it would not be reasonable to conclude that the respondent was unaware of the complainant’s trademark, nor that the adoption of the expression ‘novartis-bio’ in the disputed domain name could be a mere coincidence.”

The panel added that the website would also “potentially obtain revenue selling pharmaceutical products” and prevent Novartis from selling its products to prospective clients.

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