WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Robein Leven N.V. V. Internet Service Dokkum
Case No. D2000-1783
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Robein Leven N.V., a corporation organized under the laws of The Netherlands, having its principal place of business in ís-Gravenhage (Sophialaan 4, 2514 JP), The Netherlands and represented by Mr. Jeroen Bedaux and Mr. Gregor S.P. Vos ("the Complainant").
The Respondent is Internet Service Dokkum, a one-man business, having its principal place of business in Dokkum (Parkbolsterweg 29, 9101 JX), The Netherlands ("the Respondent").
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The domain name at issue is <robein.com>. The Registrar is Bulkregister.com, 7 East Redwoodstreet Third Floor, Baltimore MD 21202, United States of America ("the Registrar").
3. Procedural History
A complaint was submitted electronically with the World Intellectual Property Organization Arbitration and Mediation Center (The "WIPO Center") on
December 21, 2000.
The hardcopy under cover of a letter of the same date was received on December
22, 2000 ("the Complaint"). An Acknowledgement of Receipt was sent
by the WIPO Center to the Complainant dated December 28, 2000.
On January 1, 2001, a Request for Registrar Verification was transmitted to the Registrar. On January 18, 2000, the Registrar confirmed by e-mail that the domain name <robein.com> is registered with Bulkregister.com and that the Respondent is the current registrant of that domain name.
On January 19, 2001, a Notification of Complaint and Commencement of Administrative Proceedings (the "Commencement Notification") was transmitted by e-mail and by courier to the Respondent setting a deadline of February 7, 2001, by which the Respondent could make a response to the Complaint.
On February 7, 2001, Respondent tried to submit its Response ("the Response") at the WIPO Center by e-mail. Apparently, due to technical problems, this e-mail was not delivered at the WIPO Center. On February 7, Respondent succeeded however in sending its Response to Complainant by e-mail. On February 12, 2001, the mail to the WIPO Center was returned to Respondent by its postmaster. On February 13, 2001, the Respondent submitted its Response at the WIPO Center by e-mail once again. The hard copy of the Response was received by the WIPO Center on February 12, 2001.
On February 15, 2001, Complainant submitted to the WIPO Center a Supplemental Submission ("the Supplement"). On February 22, 2001, Respondent submitted to the WIPO Center a Response to the Supplement ("the Second Response").
Respondentís Response identifies Internet Service Dokkum as Respondent and
Mr. G. Poortenga as the person to whom communications should be sent. The Response confirms that Respondent is the owner of the domain name <robein.com> and agrees that the dispute be decided by a sole panelist from the approved list of panelists. Respondent however points out that Mr. Charles Gielen, one of the Dutch panelists on the approved list of panelists has a conflict of interest.
On March 16, 2001, the WIPO Center sent a Notification of Appointment of Administrative Panel and Projected Decision Date by e-mail to the parties, in which
Wolter Wefers Bettink was appointed as the Sole Panelist. The Sole Panelist finds that the Administrative Panel was properly constituted and appointed in accordance with the Rules and Supplemental Rules.
The panelist accepted Respondentís Response, although received by the WIPO Center after the set deadline, because Respondent has provided evidence that he tried to e-mail the Response on February 7, 2001, to the WIPO Center, but that this e-mail bounced back due to technical problems at the wipo-int host. Moreover, Complainant did receive Respondentís Response within the set deadline.
On March 22, 2001, the Panelist communicated to the parties that the Decision date would be postponed until April 4, 2001, due to the acceptance of the Supplement and the Second Response.
4. Factual Background
On the basis of the documents submitted by the parties the following facts can be established as agreed between parties or insufficiently disputed.
The Complainant is the owner of the registered Benelux trademark ROBEIN, registered on October 13, 1987. The trademark is registered for "insurance" (class 36).
In July 2000, the Complainant became aware that the domain name <robein.com> was registered by Namezero, an American internet service provider which, inter alia, registers domain names in its own name, on behalf of third parties. At Complainantís request Namezero informed Complainant that the domain name <robein.com> was registered on behalf of Mr. E. Edens, and that according to Namezeroís general conditions, it was not up to Namezero, but up to the member to sell the domain name. By letter of August 15, 2000, the Complainant summoned Mr. E. Edens to transfer the domain name. Mr. E. Edens replied on behalf of Respondent that all negotiations ("onderhandelingen") had to go through Mr. G. Poortenga.
Namezero has transferred the domain name <robein.com> to Respondent.
The Complainant has summoned the Respondent at September 1 and
November 30, 2000, to transfer the domain name <robein.com>. The Complainant has also offered to pay the Respondent an amount of Dutch Guilders 1000 and 2000 to compensate the costs made by Respondent.
5. Applicable Rules
Paragraph 4a of the Policy directs that Complainant must prove each of the following:
(i) the domain name in issue is identical or confusingly similar to Complainant's trademark, and
(ii) Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the domain name, and
(iii) the domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.
Paragraph 4b of the Policy sets out, by way of example, four circumstances, each of which, if proven, shall be evidence of the registration and use of the domain name in bad faith for the purpose of Paragraph 4 (a)(iii) above.
Paragraph 4c of the Policy sets out, by way of example, three circumstances, each of which, if proven by Respondent, shall demonstrate Respondentís rights or legitimate interests in the domain name for the purpose of Paragraph 4 (a)(ii) above.
6. Partiesí Contentions
The Complainant states in the Complaint and the Supplement that it uses the name "robein" through its trademarks "robein".
The grounds for the Complaint are:
(1) The domain name <robein.com> is identical to the trademark "robein" in accordance with Paragraph 4a (i) of the Policy;
(2) The Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the domain name <robein.com> as provided in Paragraph 4a (ii) in connection with Paragraph 4c of the Policy.
Firstly, before any notice of the dispute, the Respondent did not use, or make demonstrable preparations to use the domain name <robein.com> for providing goods and services in commerce. Not until after the Complainant filed its Complaint did the Respondent present a website, allegedly containing a complete collection of all search-engines over the world, that the Respondent would have built in the past one and a half year. The intentions with regard to Respondentís website are implausible. The Complainant remarks that the categorization of the search-engines is exactly the same as on www.searchengines.com/searchengine_listings.html. The little puppet named Robot Einstein (Robein) by Respondent as displayed under the domain name is copied from Microsoftís Gallery of Office Assistants. Complainant states that Respondent has tried to create a legitimate interest in violation of the UDRP.
Secondly, the Respondent has not been and is not commonly known by the domain name.
Thirdly, the Respondent is not making a legitimate non-commercial or fair use of the domain name, without intent for commercial gain to misleadingly divert consumers or to tarnish the trademark "robein". This follows from the fact that Respondent has confirmed in the negotiations that it has registered the domain name to commercially exploit it.
(3) The domain name <robein.com> was registered in bad faith as provided in Paragraph 4a (iii) in connection with Paragraph 4b of the Policy.
Firstly, the Respondent has registered or acquired the domain name <robein.com> primarily for the purpose of selling, renting, or otherwise transferring the domain name to Complainant. This follows from offers Respondent made to Complainant in negotiations to rent the domain name for NLG 1,000 per month or to sell it for NLG 1,000,000.
Secondly, according to Complainant, the fact that some domain names registered by Namezero, which are (confusingly) similar to some famous trademarks are redirected to Mr. Edensí website (www.thelighted.com) is indication that the Respondent has registered the domain name in order to prevent Complainant from reflecting its trade mark in a corresponding domain name and that Respondent has engaged in a pattern of such behaviour.
In the Response and Second Response, Respondent states that he registered the domain name a year ago via Namezero. Respondentís plan is to make a great looking website for its project "ROBEIN". ROBEIN is an assembly of the words Robot Einstein. Respondentís goal with <robein.com> is to build a website with a complete collection of all search-engines in the world. The robot "Robein" would guide visitors through the site. The project was divided in three stages. The first two stages are completed at the moment. The third stage (restyling and redesigning the site) is not finished yet.
Respondent states that it did not know of Complainantís existence until Complainant contacted Respondent. Respondent contests Complainantís statement that Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the domain name.
Respondent contests Complainantís statement that Respondent has registered and is using the domain name in bad faith. Respondent has legitimate and decent intentions with the site (see above). Respondent never had the intention to rent or sell the domain name. Respondent also contests that he has offered to rent or to sell the domain name to Complainant.
Respondent contests that he only presented a website under <robein.com> after the Notice of Complaint was filed. Respondent states that a website existed at <robein.com> since Namezero registered the domain name, but that during the transfer of the domain name from Namezero to Respondent no website may have been connected to the domain name. Respondent states that before Complainant contacted Respondent for the first time he used test pages as a website.
7. Discussion and Findings
a. Trademark rights
Complainant has provided sufficient evidence of its rights to the trademark ROBEIN in the Benelux.
b. Identical or confusingly similar
The domain name <robein.com> is clearly confusingly similar to Complainant's trademark ROBEIN.
c. Bad faith
Complainant is relying on Paragraph 4(b)(i) of the Policy, which provides that sufficient evidence of bad faith may consist of:
(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.
The Panel finds that Complainant had provided sufficient evidence in this regard.
First, it appears that Respondent has bought the domain name <robein.com> from Namezero after Namezero was summoned to transfer the domain name by Complainant. For the Panel, this is a clear indication that Respondent acquired the domain name primarily for the purpose of selling or renting it to Complainant.
Second, in a letter dated August 15, 2000 to Complainant Respondent states that all negotiations regarding the domain name <robein.com> have to go through Mr. G. Poortenga and that Complainant can continue to negotiate with Mr. Poortenga as soon as he returns from his holidays. This puts in doubt the correctness of Respondentís statement that he never had the intention to sell or rent the domain name <robein.com>, nor that he ever offered to rent or sell the domain name to Complainant. It is, therefore, very likely that, at the time, Respondent was willing to negotiate a possible sale or lease of the domain name <robein.com>
Third, from a letter dated November 30, 2000 from Complainant to Respondent, it appears that in a telephone conversation Respondent has offered to rent the domain name <robein.com> to Complainant for NLG 1,000 a month and to sell it for NLG 1.000.000. Respondent has not provided evidence that it has contested the correctness of the content of this letter of November 30, 2000 at the time.
Until Complainant filed a Notice of Complaint, Respondent did not inform Complainant or otherwise show that he was working on the Robot Einstein project. Respondent never mentioned his intentions with the domain name to Complainant. These circumstances are an indication for the Panel that the domain name was primarily registered or acquired for the purpose of selling, renting, or otherwise transferring the domain name registration to the Complainant.
Based on the above, the Panel finds that Respondent has registered the domain name <robein.com> in bad faith.
c. Rights or legitimate interests
Under Paragraph 4c of the Policy, Respondent may demonstrate that it has a right or legitimate interest to a domain name for the purpose of Article 4(a)(ii), inter alia, by providing evidence of any of the following circumstances:
"(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 non commercial 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."
Respondentís statement that he registered the domain name <robein.com> for his Robot Einstein project seems unlikely. Respondent states that it has been working on the Robot Einstein project for one and a half years. However, Respondent does not provide any evidence for this statement. The current website at <robein.com> - in which Respondent allegedly has worked intensively for the past year and a half Ė contains a copy of the search engine categories on the website www.searchengines.com/searchengine_listings.html. Furthermore, it shows a picture of a puppet ("Robot Einstein", according to Respondent) which appears to be a copy of a picture from Microsoftís Gallery of Office Assistant.
Furthermore, Respondent has not provided any evidence of its statement that, before any notice of the dispute was given to Respondent it had used or made demonstrable preparations to use the domain name in connection with the bona fide offering of goods or services. No evidence of the alleged test pages which allegedly featured the website under <robein.com> has been provided.
Respondent has provided evidence that it (or the project) is commonly known by the name ROBEIN or the domain name <robein.com>. Respondent does not have "Robein" or "robein.com" as a trade name or any other right to the use of this name. In fact, in the correspondence between the parties prior to the filing of the Complaint, no mention is made of either Robein, Robot Einstein or any project with such a name.
Based on the above mentioned, the Panel finds that Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the domain name for the purpose of Paragraph 4 (a)(ii).
In light of the foregoing, the Panelist decides that Complainant has provided the required evidence for the requested order transferring the domain name from Respondent to Complainant. Accordingly, pursuant to Paragraph 4 (i) of the Policy, the Panel orders that the registration of the domain name <robein.com> be transferred to Complainant.
Dated: April 4, 2001