WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
Georg R. Rafael v. Buy This Domain
Case No. D2001-0853
1. The Parties
The Complainant is Georg R. Rafael, Monte Carlo Palace, 7 Boulevard des Moulins, Monte Carlo, MC98000, Monaco.
The Respondent is Buy This Domain, 5 Pechatnikova St., #33, Yerevan, 375010 Armenia.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The domain name in dispute is <rafaelhotels.com>.
The Registrar with which the domain name is registered is Bulkregister.com.
3. Procedural History
The WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center ("the Center") received the Complaint on July 4, 2001, by e-mail and on July 9, 2001, in hardcopy. The Center acknowledged receipt thereof on July 5, 2001.
On July 6, 2001, the Center sent the corresponding Request for Registrar Verification in connection with this case to Bulkregister. On July 8, 2001, the Registrar's verification response confirmed that the Registrant was Buy This Domain and that the current status of the domain name <rafaelhotels.com> was "Registrar LOCK".
On July 10, 2001, after having verified whether the Complaint satisfied the formal requirements, the Center notified by courier and e-mail the Commencement of Administrative Proceeding to the Parties, in accordance with Paragraph 4 of the Rules for Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy ("the Rules").
On July 11, 2001, the Complainant informed the Center that it had negotiated with the Respondent for the transfer of the domain name in dispute back to the Complainant and that they had agreed on the terms thereof; in view of the fact that the Registrar had informed them that this required the administrative proceeding to be withdrawn, the Complainant sought the advice of the Center since the Complainant did not want to withdraw from such proceedings until the domain name at stake had been transferred.
On July 12, 2001, the Center answered to the Complainant that the administrative proceeding needed to be terminated in order to render effective the transfer of the domain name and that, under those circumstances, the Complainant had either to make sure that an agreement on the terms of transfer had been perfected or to let the Center proceed with the appointment of the Administrative Panel to render a decision on the basis of the agreement of the parties.
On that same date, the Complainant advised the Center that he did not wish to withdraw from the administrative proceedings and pointed out that he was anxious to get back the domain name in question as soon as possible. The Center replied the following day to the Complainant in giving the relevant deadlines.
On July 18, 2001, the Respondent informed the Center by e-mail that he "ha[s] agreed to give the domain name to the complainant" and forwarded his Response to the Complaint.
Acknowledgement of Receipt of the Response was made by the Center on this very same day. By the same token, the Center invited the Complainant by e-mail to confirm whether he still wanted that the Center proceed with the appointment of the Administrative Panel. The Complainant confirmed his wish to proceed as expeditiously as possible which was well noted by the Center.
On August 1, 2001, the Center proceeded with the appointment of the Administrative Panel pursuant to Paragraph 6 of the Rules and advised the Parties of the appointment of the undersigned as Sole Panelist in accordance with Paragraph 6(f) of said Rules, after the latter had signed and forwarded to the Center, on July 25, 2001, a Statement of Acceptance and declared his impartiality and independence in this matter.
Transmission of the file to the Sole Panelist was made on August 1, 2001, by e-mail and registered post, hard copy of which was received by the undersigned a few days later.
The Sole Panelist forwarded his decision to the Center within the time limit fixed.
4. Factual Background
The Complainant submits the following :
∑ "RAFAEL" is the family name of the Complainant who has been in the hotel business for more than thirty years (Complainant's Annex C).
∑ The Complainant established Rafael Hotels Limited in November 1986 that operated the Rafael Group of hotels (Complainant's Annex D).
∑ The Complainant was the previous registrant of the domain name <rafaelhotels.com> (Complainant's Annexes C and D), before the website went offline as a result of an oversight to renew the domain name registration.
∑ The Respondentís domain name registration <rafaelhotels.com> incorporates the entire "RAFAEL" mark.
∑ The Whois search reveals the Respondent identifies him/herself as Buy This Domain that links to a "Make an Offer/ Request a Quote Form" (Complainant's Annex F). When one logs onto the Respondentís website, the first webpage provides a link "Domain 4 Sale" (Complainant's Annex G) that also leads to the same form as in Complainant's Annex F. These acts indicate that the domain name was registered primarily for the purpose of selling or transferring the domain name registration to the owner of the trade and service mark "RAFAEL".
∑ The Respondentís website contains obscene, indecent, pornographic and gambling material (Complainant's Annex H) leading the public to be confused that the Respondentís website is related to the Complainant and damages the Complainantís reputation.
∑ There is nothing on the Respondentís website that indicates the Respondent is in the hotel business and has a genuine need to use the domain name.
5. Partiesí Contentions
The Complainant contends that:
(1) The domain name <rafaelhotels.com> is identical or confusingly similar to a trade and service mark in which the Complainant has rights; and
(2) The Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the domain name; and
(3) The domain name was registered and is being used in bad faith.
The Complainant concludes therefore that it is entitled to the transfer of the domain name at stake in its favor.
The Respondent has submitted the following answer in his response dated July 16, 2001:
- the Respondent does not intend to respond to the statements and allegations in the Complaint and does not intend to defend the proceedings in question;
- the Respondent has agreed to transfer the domain name <rafaelhotels.com> to the Complainant and respectfully requests the Administrative Panel to order that the domain name be transferred to the Complainant.
6. Discussion and Findings
Paragraph 4(a) of the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy ("the Policy") sets forth three requirements which have to be met for the Administrative Panel to order the transfer of the disputed domain name to the Complainant. Those requirements are that:
(i) Respondent's domain name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which the Complainant has rights; and
(ii) Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the domain name; and
(iii) Respondent's domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.
The Complainant must prove in the administrative proceeding that each of the aforesaid three elements are present so as to warrant relief, according to Paragraph 4(a) of the Policy.
The Administrative Panel has to decide the Complaint on the basis of the statements and documents submitted and in accordance with the Policy, the Rules and any rules and principles of law that it deems applicable, pursuant to Paragraph 15(a) of said Rules.
In the instant case, the Sole Panelist takes note that the Respondent neither intends to respond to the statements and allegations contained in the Complaint and nor to defend this administrative proceeding.
Moreover, the Sole Panelist notes that the Respondent expressly agrees on the transfer of <rafaelhotels.com> to the Complainant. It shall be therefore decided accordingly in order to render such transfer effective.
In light of the foregoing, it is therefore not necessary to elaborate further as to whether the requirements of Paragraph 4(a) of the Policy have been met in this matter.
Noting that the Respondent has agreed to the transfer of the domain name in dispute, the Sole Panelist decides that the registration of the domain name <rafaelhotels.com> be transferred to the Complainant.
Dated: August 14, 2001