WIPO

 

WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center

 

ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION

The Way International, Inc. v. Diamond Peters

Case No. D2003-0264

 

1. The Parties

The Complainant is The Way International, Inc. of New Knoxville, Ohio, United States of America ("the Complainant"), represented by Baker & Hostetler, LLP of United States of America.

The Respondent is Diamond Peters of Uttar Pradesh, India ("the Respondent"), represented by Allen Klein of United States of America.

 

2. The Domain Name and Registrar

The disputed domain name <thewayministry.org> ("the Domain Name") is registered with Go Daddy Software ("the Registrar").

 

3. Procedural History

The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the "Center") on April 7, 2003. On April 8, 2003, the Center transmitted by email to Go Daddy Software a request for registrar verification in connection with the Domain Name. On April 8, 2003, Go Daddy Software transmitted by email to the Center its verification response confirming that the Respondent is listed as the registrant and providing the contact details for the administrative, billing, and technical contact. The Center verified that the Complaint satisfied the formal requirements of the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (the "Policy"), the Rules for Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (the "Rules"), and the WIPO Supplemental Rules for Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (the "Supplemental Rules").

In accordance with the Rules, paragraphs 2(a) and 4(a), the Center formally notified the Respondent of the Complaint, and the proceedings commenced on April 10, 2003. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response was originally April 30, 2003, but there were difficulties in getting the Complaint through to the Respondent and the Respondentís representative and the time for lodging the Response was extended to May 8, 2003. The Response was filed with the Center on May 7, 2003.

On April 21, 2003, the Respondentís representative, a Mr. Allen Klein, sent an email to the Center and to the Complainant and its representatives making serious allegations about the Complainant and its owners and former officers/employees. On May 5, 2003, following receipt of a letter from the Complainantís representative, Mr. Klein retracted his email of April 21, 2003, and apologized to the Complainant.

The Center appointed Tony Willoughby as the sole panelist in this matter on May 16, 2003. The Panel finds that it was properly constituted. The Panel has submitted the Statement of Acceptance and Declaration of Impartiality and Independence, as required by the Center to ensure compliance with the Rules, paragraph 7.

More recently, the Center has received a Supplemental Filing from the Complainant, but the Complainant has given the Panel no good reason why the Panel should depart from the normal procedure and look at it. The Panel declines to do so.

 

4. Factual Background

The Complainant is an Ohio based corporation which claims to have offered religious instruction and education material in the United States and elsewhere under the name and mark THE WAY since 1955. It claims to be the proprietor of a large number of trade mark and service mark registrations around the world covering goods and services concerned with religious instruction and education. Some of those registrations (including two US registrations) are for the mark THE WAY.

The Complainant is also the proprietor of the domain names <theway.com>, <theway.org> and <theway.net>. The Complainant also claims to have produced since 1955 "The Way Magazine" and since 1971, by one of its divisions, The Way Productions, musical recordings and promotional films etc.

Since 1980 the Complainant has operated in Florida, the home territory of the original registrant of the Domain Name.

The Domain Name was first registered by one Allen Klein on June 3, 2001. Mr. Klein is the Respondentís representative in this administrative proceeding.

It is not in dispute that from that day to this the Domain Name and any Internet facility to which it has been connected (e.g. the website at "www.thewayministry.org") has always been under the control of Mr. Klein.

Mr. Klein operates under the names The Way Ministry and The Way Ministry International. He claims to have been using the name The Way Ministry since the beginning of 2001 including using an email address thewayministry@yahoo.com. He has produced an email from one of his correspondents verifying that he/she received a study from Mr. Klein over Easter 2001 from that email address.

From about November 2001 Mr. Klein has been operating a website at "www.thewayministry.org." As the Complainant puts it in paragraph 19 of the Complaint:-

"Klein has used and continues to use the website for the Domain Name to operate ĎThe Way Ministry International,í an online ministry which provides links for independent ministries in India, Thailand, and Cameroon. Annex 8 contains copies of the website. As Annex 8 shows, the website offers religious instruction and materials, recruits members, and solicits monetary and non-monetary donations in direct competition with Complainant."

On March 20, 2002, Mr. Klein incorporated his business in Florida under the name The Way Ministry International Inc.

On October 14, 2002, the Complainant sent a cease and desist letter to Mr. Klein seeking transfer of the Domain Name to the Complainant.

On October 27, 2002, Mr. Klein responded. That letter is relied upon by the Complainant to demonstrate bad faith. Accordingly, it needs to be read in full:

"Dear Mr. Steiner,

I did a general search on the internet which failed to bring up your clieent before I registered the domain name thewayministry.org. Several Pastors and Missionaries Ė all of whom have a minimum of 10 years in their respective positions, have never heard of your client. I have never received a donation from the internet and mostly send studies out of the U.S. There can be no misconception that a sponsorship or affiliation exists between us, and would not like the association if there was one as your client appears to be classified as a cult amongst those who have been researching this on my behalf.

Also, The Way is a biblical term attributed to Jesus and if it is able to be claimed by anyone it most probably be the heirs of King James or Jesus himself. The Way is what Christianity was called before was dubbed with the name it has today. It appears this will be a long drawn out affair as I do not plan to give up the right to use The Way in my ministry name or itsí use in any other way shape or form.

Your letter is focused on one thing only. You want thewayministry.org domain name and that is not going to happen unless the courts force me to give it up. The domain name thewayministry.org is owned by a lady in India whom you must now contact with all future corresponcance. Subscribers from around the world have rallied around, promising to buy thewayministry.eu (Europe), thewayministry.it (Italy), thewayministry.de (Germany), thewayministry.co.ro (Romania), thewayministry.org.uk (U.K.), thewayministry.ng (Nigeria), thewayministry.cd (Congo), thewayministry.au (Australia), thewayministry.th (Thailand) and I expect to hear form others, and all of which will be online and all of which will be at the top of the major search listings and all featuring the continueing story prominently on the homepage. I promise to oppose you all the way sir, unless directed otherwise.

I am one man who began 16 months ago sending out bible studies on a public library computer financed by my disability check and have grown into what you see today. Please advise your client with a word of caution. The Father will not allow anyone to tear down what He has made to prosper, even it be another ministry. We all walk in covenant with the Father, but as an individual or ministry moves out from His area of protection, out of that covenant, harm may come to him.

I hold no ill will towards your client, as they know no better. Many have made a business out of Christ, and it appears your client has done this exceptionally well.

Very respectfully

Allen Klein"

The Domain Name was transferred by Mr. Klein into the name of the Respondent shortly before that letter was written. The Panel has been unable to discern from the papers precisely when the transfer took place but there appears to be no dispute that it took place after the date of the Complainantís cease and desist letter to Mr. Klein.

In the Response, Mr. Klein states that he hopes to marry the Respondent, that the transfer was effected to buy him some time to enable him to raise sufficient finance to pay for his defence of the litigation which he anticipated that the Complainant would launch against him. In his email of April 21, 2003, referred to above, Mr. Klein indicated that on conclusion of this dispute the Domain Name would be transferred back to his organization, The Way Ministry International Inc.

Not surprisingly, this tactical manipulation of the ownership record for the Domain Name has put the Complainant to expense and inconvenience and is relied upon by the Complainant in support of its claim that the Domain Name should be transferred to the Complainant.

 

5. Partiesí Contentions

A. Complainant

The Complainant contends that the Domain Name, comprising as it does the Complainantís trade mark THE WAY and the word Ďministryí which is a descriptive term applicable to the services provided by the Complainant, is confusingly similar to the Complainantís trade mark, THE WAY.

The Complainant contends that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Domain Name. The Respondent appeared out of the blue in circumstances inconsistent with her having any rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Domain Name and is in any event tainted with Mr. Kleinís bad faith. Insofar as Mr. Klein is concerned:-

(i) prior to registering the Domain Name Mr. Klein was not known by that name or any similar name;

(ii) Mr. Klein was aware of the Complainantís rights. Knowing and deliberate exploitation of anotherís mark is not a bona fide use;

(iii) the manner of the transfer of the Domain Name registration to the Respondent is inconsistent with Mr. Klein having had any rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Domain Name.

The Complainant contends that the Respondent registered the Domain Name in bad faith and is using it in bad faith. In support, the Complainant points to the following:-

(a) Mr. Klein had constructive and actual knowledge of the Complainantís marks;

(b) with that constructive and actual knowledge he nonetheless went ahead and registered the Domain Name which is confusingly similar to the Complainantís trademarks;

(c) both the Respondent and Mr. Klein removed all contact information for themselves on the Whois database in order to evade legal action;

(d) in his letter of 27 October which is quoted above, Mr. Klein threatened to have his supporters register a variety of other confusingly similar domain names, thereby threatening to establish a pattern of abusive registrations and primarily for the purpose of disrupting the Complainantís business;

(e) Mr. Kleinís transfer of the Domain Name to the Respondent was conducted in circumstances which are themselves evidence of bad faith, i.e. effectively to evade the consequences of his illegal activities;

(f) the Respondent accepted the transfer of the Domain Name, despite having knowledge of the infringement of the Complainantís rights;

(g) following the transfer to the Respondent Mr. Klein continues to operate the website connected to the Domain Name, exploiting confusion with the Complainantís trademark and with the Respondentís knowledge and assistance. In so doing, the Respondent and Mr. Klein are making commercial use of the Domain Name to attract for commercial gain internet users to the website by creating a likelihood of confusion with the Complainantís trade marks. In this context, the Complainant points out that the goods and services offered by the Respondentís Ministry are identical to those offered by the Complainant under the Complainantís trademarks.

B. Respondent

The Respondent denies that the Domain Name is confusingly similar to the Complainantís trademark. The Respondent points out that ĎThe Wayí is a term that is widely used by Christians and Christian organizations stemming from Jesusí description of himself as ĎThe Wayí. The Respondent quotes legal authority for the proposition that "the holder of a trade mark may not remove a word from the English language merely by acquiring trade mark rights in it".

The Respondent also claims that there are so many other religious organizations which use ĎThe Wayí in their titles (he cites several operating in Florida) that mere use of that term as part of a title of an organization cannot of itself give rise to confusion.

The Respondent goes on to indicate that confusion is improbable, given that the Respondentís target audience is different from that of the Complainant and that the manner in which the Respondent delivers its services is very different from that of the Complainant.

The Respondent claims to have rights and legitimate interests in respect of the Domain Name. Reliance is placed on the history of Mr. Kleinís use of the name The Way Ministry and the email address thewayministry@yahoo.com which date back to Easter 2001, pre-dating registration of the Domain Name.

The Respondent contends

"the Complainant cannot prohibit us from using the phrase within the scope of our Christian beliefs, the term having been derived from the very source of those beliefs. The State of Florida gave us permission, as well as others, to use the phrase ĎThe Wayí within our corporate name. The very guarantee that allows this use will also allow the use within our domain name. The Way International has the term The Way trademarked. Not The Way Ministry, nor, The Way Church Ministries, nor, The Way International Ministries, nor, The Way Ministry International, nor, TheWayMinistry.org."

The section of the Response dealing with this aspect concludes as follows:-

"[1] For approximately sixteen months before the Respondent received any notice of the dispute, evidence of the Respondentís use of the Domain Name is not only easily obtainable, but has been supplied by the Complainant throughout this document, and the Domain Name has been used consistently with the offering of free goods and services;

[2] The Respondent has been and is commonly known by the domain name Respondent has registered, not only on the Internet, but locally. Flyers are handed out with the Domain Name for those who wish to pursue online study or follow up the free CDís handed out;

[3] The Respondent is making a legitimate non-commercial or fair use of the Domain Name for the last sixteen months without intent for commercial gain or to misleadingly to divert consumers or to tarnish the trademark at issue."

The Respondent denies that the Domain Name was registered in bad faith and is being used in bad faith.

As indicated above Mr. Klein on behalf of the Respondent acknowledges that the transfer to the Respondent was a sham and designed to give rise to delays. Mr. Klein says that he was not seeking to evade responsibility but simply to buy himself extra time to enable him to be able to pay attorneysí fees to defend the litigation that he was anticipating following the cease and desist letter.

Mr. Klein on behalf of the Respondent says that the Respondent was not implicated in the transfer at all and can have had no bad faith intent.

Mr. Klein contends that for his part he registered the Domain Name in good faith with intent to trade as The Way Ministry and did in fact do so for some time before receiving the Complainantís cease and desist letter. He claims that his use of the name was bona fide and not intended to have any adverse effect on the Complainant. Indeed, he says that at the time of registration of the Domain Name "I had no idea they even existed."

The Respondent concludes this section of the Response with the following summary:-

"The Domain Name <thewayministry.org> was registered and is being used in good faith in accordance with the guidelines which establish their use;

[1][a]The domain name was not registered for the purpose of selling, otherwise transferring the domain name registration to the Complainant, as the alleged owner of the trademark or service mark, or to a competitor of the Complainant, for any value or consideration for doing so. The Domain Name was registered for the sole use of Allen Klein dba TheWayMinistry.org on the Internet, which was an extension of the e-mail address from which the ministry began.

An active and visible Internet presence has been maintained since 2001, and it has taken the Complainant fourteen months to come foreword;

[b] The Domain Name was not registered in order to prevent the Complainant from reflecting the mark in a corresponding domain name an, the Respondent has not engaged in a pattern of conduct that would inhibit the Complainant from doing so;

[c] The Complainant and the Respondent are not competitors for similar products or services as the Complainant simply does not offer any online at all. The Domain Name was not registered to disrupt the Complainantís business as I had no idea they even existed. Even when registering the Domain Name I only searched TheWayMinistry as that was the e-mail address under which we began. I never thought to try anything else;

[d] The Domain Name was not registered by the Respondent in an attempt to attract for commercial gain, Internet users to the Respondentís website by creating a likelihood of confusion with the Complainantís alleged mark as the source, or affiliation to the Respondentís web site or location or of a product or service on the Respondentís web site or location. Quite the contrary, having learned of the Complainants history during this procedure, we will explore options to distance ourselves from them."

The Response ends

"I do not request the Panel to make a finding of reverse domain hijacking, but I would like you to consider it due to the frivolous nature of the Complaint and, in my opinion, the use of manipulated information. It is obvious the Complainant has watched us grow and now feels we are becoming a threat, which now warrants this expense. (Rules para 15e)."

 

6. Discussion and Findings

According to paragraph 4(a) of the Policy, the Complainant must prove that

(i) The Domain Name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which the Complainant has rights; and

(ii) The Respondent has no rights or legitimate interest in respect of the Domain Name; and

(iii) The Domain Name has been registered in bad faith and is being used in bad faith.

If the Complaint fails, the Panel has to have regard to paragraph 15(e) of the Rules and in particular the following sentence namely:

"If after considering the submissions the Panel finds that the complaint was brought in bad faith, for example in an attempt at Reverse Domain Name Hijacking or was brought primarily to harass the domain-name holder, the Panel shall declare in its decision that the complaint was brought in bad faith and constitutes an abuse of the Administrative Proceeding."

Reverse Domain Name Hijacking is defined in paragraph 1 of the Rules as meaning "using the Policy in bad faith to attempt to deprive a registered domain-name holder of a domain name."

Before moving on to the essence of the Complaint, the position of the Respondent needs to be considered. The Respondent is someone whom Mr. Klein, the Respondentís representative and the original registrant of the Domain Name, wishes to marry and who appears to have had the Domain Name wished on her by Mr. Klein as part of a device to buy Mr. Klein time in his dispute with the Complainant. It is not in dispute that Mr. Klein has maintained control of the Domain Name from the date of original registration of the Domain Name in June 2001 to date. In reality, Mr. Klein is and has been the registrant all along and the Respondent is nothing more than a Ďfrontí and an innocent and temporary front at that.

Clearly, in these circumstances, the Respondent (and therefore Mr. Klein) cannot be permitted to benefit from the Respondentís innocence in the matter. When the time comes to consider the question of bad faith, the Panel will view the matter as if Mr. Klein was the Respondent.

A. Identical or Confusingly Similar

Absent the generic domain suffix which can be ignored for this purpose, the Domain Name comprises the term "The Way" which the Complainant claims as its trademark for religious services etc and the word "Ministry".

In the context of religious instruction and education both parts of the Domain Name are apposite. "Ministry" describes the operational activity of both parties and "The Way" is derived from the Gospel according to St. John, Chapter 14, verse 6 which reads "Jesus said to him ĎI am the way, and the truth and the lifeí".

In that context, there can be no doubt that The Way Ministry is similar to The Way. If, as the Complainant claims, "The Way" means the Complainant in the context of a ministry, then manifestly, there is serious scope for confusion. However, it seems to the Panel somewhat extraordinary that a Christian organization can assert "I am The Way" in the face of Jesusí claim to the same effect Ė possible scope for an interesting trade mark battle in another place and at another time.

Is "The Way" a trademark? The Complainant states that it is and produces a schedule of trademark registrations, but no registration certificates and there is nothing in the way of evidence to support the existence of unregistered rights. The Panel contemplated throwing out the Complaint on the ground of absence of sufficient proof of title to trade mark rights, but concluded ultimately that it would be unjust to do so. The Complainant is represented by a reputable law firm and the relevant attorney has certified the accuracy of the contents of the Complaint. Accordingly, the Panel accepts that the scheduled registrations exist. Whatever the Panel might think of the trademark, the Panel is not competent to look behind a United States trademark registration.

Accordingly, albeit with some misgivings, the Panel finds on the balance of probabilities that the Complainant has registered rights in the mark THE WAY in relation to religious services of one kind and another and finds that the Domain Name is confusingly similar to that trade mark.

B. Rights or Legitimate Interests

Manifestly, the Respondent, a front for the original registrant, can have no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Domain Name and the Panel so finds. Mr. Klein might very well have rights or legitimate interests in respect of the Domain Name, given his previous use of the name, but in light of his manipulation of the ownership database, which the Panel regards as an abuse of the system, the Panel declines to take his previous use of the Domain Name into account under this head.

C. Registered and Used in Bad Faith

The purpose of the Policy is to deal with cybersquatters, people who deliberately register domain names knowing them to be identical or confusingly similar to the Complainantís trade mark and with a view to causing damage to the Complainant or deriving unfair benefit on the back of the Complainantís goodwill.

Accordingly, for the Complaint to succeed, the Complainant has to satisfy the Panel that when registering the Domain Name the Respondent had bad faith intentions towards the Complainant of the kind contemplated by paragraph 4(b) of the Policy.

While the list in paragraph 4(b) of the Policy is not exhaustive, it is indicative of the type of bad faith intended to be covered by the Policy.

Which registration is the Panel to consider? The original registration by Mr. Klein in June 2001 or his transfer of the registration to his girlfriend Diamond Peters, the Respondent, in October 2002?

The Panel starts by considering the most recent registration in the name of the Respondent, the registration which resulted in the Respondent being named as the Respondent in this dispute. What were the motives of (a) the Respondent and (b) Mr. Klein?

Insofar as the Respondent is concerned, she may well have had no knowledge of the transfer and seems to have played no part in the transfer/registration at all. The Panel is not prepared in these circumstances to saddle her with a finding of bad faith.

Insofar as Mr. Klein is concerned, what he did in effecting the transfer to the Respondent was plainly an abuse of the system and was plainly intended to make life difficult for the Complainant, whether or not his primary purpose was to buy him time to raise money. None of that, however, has much to do with what is covered by paragraph 4(b) of the Policy. That of itself does not make Mr. Klein or his front a cybersquatter.

There can be no doubt that Mr. Kleinís purpose was one way or another to enable him to defeat the Complainantís attack, which he regarded as unjustified, and to maintain control of the Domain Name and continue using the Domain Name as he had been using it before. The Panel accepts Mr. Kleinís assertion that after this dispute is over he will transfer the Domain Name back into the name of his organization.

Accordingly, the Panel looks to the circumstances surrounding the registration of the Domain Name by Mr. Klein in June 2001, the registration which provoked the Complainant to complain in the first place. The Panel is conscious that this may seem inconsistent with his approach above in connection with the Respondentís rights and legitimate interests, but it is important not to lose sight of the fact that the Policy is not intended to deal with all abuses of the system, simply cybersquatting.

The evidence, much of which appears not to be in dispute, supports the proposition that Mr. Klein was using the name The Way Ministry at Easter 2001 and was issuing religious material under and by reference to that name from Easter 2001 onwards. Moreover, prior to the launch of the Complaint and from about November 2001, he was operating a website at "www.thewayministry.org." Accordingly, he was using the name The Way Ministry in a manner which on its face was perfectly straightforward, several months before the Complainant complained.

The crucial question in all this is whether or not from the outset Mr. Klein was aware of the Complainant and its trade mark rights. If he commenced use of the name The Way Ministry and registered the Domain Name in the knowledge of the existence of the Complainant and its trade mark rights, then what he was doing was calculated to cause confusion and he must be taken to have done it deliberately with a view to damaging the Complainant and/or benefiting unfairly on the back of the Complainantís goodwill under one or more of the sub-paragraphs of paragraph 4(b) of the Policy.

Mr. Klein states categorically that he was not aware of the existence of the Complainant when he registered the Domain Name in June 2001. Should the Panel accept that denial?

The Complainant has two responses to that denial. First the Complainant says:-

"Given Complainantís longstanding continuous widespread and extensive use of the mark THE WAY in the United States and abroad, it is inconceivable that Respondent and Klein were unaware of Complainantís marks. Moreover, given Kleinís apparent Internet-related work and Respondentís involvement with the online ministry, it is equally inconceivable that Klein and Respondent were unaware of the Complainantís registration and use of the mark THE WAY on the internet."

Secondly, the Complainant cites The Planetary Society v. Salvador Rosillo Domainsforlife.com, WIPO Case No. D2001-1228 as support for the proposition that "placement [of the Complainantís trade mark] on the principal register gives Respondent constructive notice of Complainantís rights in the mark."

On the first of those points, it is the fact that the Complaint contains no information of any substance to support "Complainantís longstanding continuous widespread and extensive use of the mark Ö". True, it gives dates when various activity is said to have started, but it contains no information as to the extent of those activities. There are no trading figures of any kind. While it may be that the Complainant is very well known in the United States, there is insufficient material before the Panel for the Panel to conclude on this basis that Mr. Klein is a liar when he says that he was not aware of the existence of the Complainant and its trade marks when he registered the Domain Name in June 2001. While it is true that the Complaint contains a schedule of some 128 trade mark registrations in 36 countries, only a handful of those are for THE WAY (per se), there are a large number of device marks, but the Complaint does not identify clearly what those device marks are and in any event the existence of a trade mark registration does not of itself give any idea of the extent of use of that mark.

As to constructive knowledge, the Panel takes the view that there is no place for such a concept under the Policy. The essence of the complaint is an allegation of bad faith, bad faith targeted at the complainant. For that bad faith to be present, the cybersquatter must have actual knowledge of the existence of the complainant, the trade mark owner. If the registrant is unaware of the existence of the trade mark owner, how can he sensibly be regarded as having any bad faith intentions directed at the complainant? If the existence of a trade mark registration was sufficient to give the Respondent knowledge, thousands of innocent domain name registrants would, in the view of the Panel, be brought into the frame quite wrongly. In so saying, the Panel is conscious that some panels have deemed the requisite knowledge in cases where the respondent is snapping up lapsed domain names in circumstances where he must have a very good idea that the domain name is a trade mark of a third party (e.g Red Nacional De Los Ferrocarriles Espanoles v. Ox90, WIPO Case No. D2001-0981), but this is not such a case.

The only other matter of potential significance is the clear abuse of the system by Mr. Klein in transferring the Domain Name into the name of the Respondent on being notified of the Complainantís objections to his registration of the Domain Name. It was an abusive thing to do and it was also a very stupid thing to do. It was a surprising thing for a man of the church to do. However, was it indicative of any bad faith on Mr. Kleinís part when he first registered the Domain Name? Was it indicative of any intention to use the Domain Name for any of the purposes contemplated by paragraph 4(b) of the Policy? The Panel has found this a very difficult issue to resolve, but finds on balance that the Complainant has failed to prove that the Respondent/Mr. Klein registered the Domain Name either in June 2001 or October 2002 with the intention of achieving any of the bad faith results contemplated by paragraph 4(b) of the Policy or the Policy as a whole.

Essentially, the Panel believes it likely that Mr. Klein had no knowledge of the Complainant or its trade mark rights when he first registered the Domain Name. If that is wrong and the Complainant is very well known in the United States and particularly to persons, such as Mr. Klein, engaged in Christian ministry, then the Complainant was remiss in not putting sufficient evidence before the Panel to enable the Panel to make that finding.

Finally, for the record, the Panel has considered the Complainantís complaint regarding the removal of contact information from the ownership database, but observes that it was not sufficient to prevent the Center communicating with the Respondent and/or the Respondentís representative. If there was a bad faith objective behind this maneouvre, it was consistent with Mr. Kleinís desire to delay/obstruct the Complainant in the face of what the Respondent believed to be an unjustified Complaint, not to cybersquat.

 

7. Decision

The Complaint is dismissed. As is apparent from the above, the Panel found this a very difficult case to resolve. The Panel is of the view that the Complainant was justified in making the Complaint. This is certainly not a case where it would be appropriate to find a case of reverse domain name hijacking.

 


 

Tony Willoughby
Sole Panelist

Dated: May 29, 2003