WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center

ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION RELATED TO THE REQUEST TO CHANGE THE LANGUAGE OF THE ADR PROCEEDING

Alko Inc. v. Titan Trading OÜ, Stepan Moissejev

Case No. DEUL2021-0001

1. The Parties

The Complainant is Alko Inc., Finland, represented by Roschier, Attorneys Ltd., Finland.

The Respondent is Titan Trading OÜ, Stepan Moissejev, Estonia.

2. The Domain Name, Registry and Registrar

The disputed domain name is <alkot.eu>.

The Registry of the disputed domain name is the European Registry for Internet Domains (“EURid” or the “Registry”. The Registrar of the disputed domain name is Zone Media OÜ.

3. Procedural History

The Request to Change the Language of the ADR Proceeding (the “Request”) was filed in English with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) pursuant to the .eu Alternative Dispute Resolution Rules (the “ADR Rules”), Paragraph A(3)(b), on January 18, 2021. On January 18, 2021, the Center transmitted by email to the Registry a request for registrar verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On January 20, 2021, the Registry transmitted by email to the Center its verification response confirming that the Respondent is listed as the registrant and providing the contact details.

In accordance with the ADR Rules, Paragraph A(3)(b)(3), the Center formally notified the Respondent of the Request, and the proceedings commenced on January 22, 2021. In accordance with the ADR Rules, Paragraph A(3)(b)(4), the due date for Response was February 3, 2021. The Respondent did not submit any formal response, however, the Center received an email from the Respondent on February 2, 2021, but the Respondent did not comment on the language of the proceedings.

The Center appointed Mantas Rimkevičius as the sole panelist in this matter on February 11, 2021, in accordance with the ADR Rules, Paragraph A(3)(b)(4). 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 ADR Rules, Paragraph B(5).

4. Factual Background

The Complainant is a company registered under the laws of Finland, having its authorized representative located in Helsinki, Finland. The Respondent is a company registered and existing under the laws of Estonia.

It results from the Registrar verification that the disputed domain name was registered on November 9, 2020, and that the language of the registration agreement is Estonian. The disputed domain name is used to redirect the web users to a website with the domain name <drinksut.com>, having its content displayed in Finnish and English languages.

5. Parties’ Contentions

A. Complainant

The Complainant requests for a change of the language of the ADR Proceeding due to the fact that the language of the registration agreement of the disputed domain name is Estonian, while the Complainant’s authorized representative is not competent in pleading the proceedings in the Estonian language. Moreover, the Complainant notes that the Respondent is most likely to have competence in English as it is a commonly spoken language.

B. Respondent

The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions.

6. Discussion and Findings

In accordance with Paragraph A(3)(a) of the ADR Rules, “unless otherwise agreed by the Parties, or specified otherwise in the Registration Agreement, the language of the ADR Proceeding shall be the language of the Registration Agreement for the disputed domain name. In the absence of an agreement between the Parties, the Panel may in its sole discretion, having regard to the circumstances of the ADR Proceeding, decide on the written request of a Complainant that the language of the ADR Proceeding will be different than the language of the Registration Agreement for the disputed domain name.”

The Panel has not been made aware of any agreement between the parties pertaining to the language of the proceedings. Furthermore, it is undisputed in the case at hand that the language of the registration agreement is Estonian.

In accordance with the general powers attributed to the Panel under Paragraph B(7)(b) and (c) of the ADR Rules, the Panel shall ensure on the one hand that the Parties are treated fairly and with equality, and shall ensure, on the other hand, that the ADR Proceeding takes place with due expedition. It is recognized that the ADR Rules are considered a variation of the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (“UDRP”), under which the panels recognize that under certain circumstances the language of proceedings may be different from the language of the registration agreement for the disputed domain name. Such circumstances include:

(i) evidence showing that the respondent can understand the language of the complaint;
(ii) the language/script of the domain name particularly where the same as that of the complainant’s mark;
(iii) any content on the webpage under the disputed domain name;
(iv) prior cases involving the respondent in a particular language;
(v) prior correspondence between the parties;
(vi) potential unfairness or unwarranted delay in ordering the complainant to translate the complaint;
(vii) evidence of other respondent-controlled domain names registered, used, or corresponding to a particular language;
(viii) in cases involving multiple domain names, the use of a particular language agreement for some (but not all) of the disputed domain names;
(ix) currencies accepted on the webpage under the disputed domain name; or
(x) other indicia tending to show that it would not be unfair to proceed in a language other than that of the registration agreement (e.g., Chevron Corporation, Chevron Intellectual Property LLC, and Chevron Belgium BV v. Kristiina Loodus, AS QLS, WIPO Case No. DEUL2020-0005; Sky scanner Limited v. Bolognesi Damiano, Aim S.r.l, WIPO Case No. DEUL2020-0001; Sphinx Information Technology Consulting and Software Project GmbH v. Sphinx IT SRL, WIPO Case No. DEUL2018-0001).

In the present case, the Respondent has not submitted any response or communication with the Center claiming that English is a language beyond its comprehension, and even corresponded with the Center in English, indicating a general understanding of the said language.

The Panel further notes that the website that the disputed domain redirects to, is available both in Finnish and English languages, omitting Estonian as a possible option, and supporting the Complainant’s position that the Respondent has competence in the English language.

In light of the indicated circumstances, the Panel is satisfied that the Respondent has more than an adequate knowledge of the English language so that proceeding in English is fair and equal.

Therefore, having regard to the above circumstances, the Panel accepts in its sole discretion that the language of the ADR Proceeding will be English and therefore different than the language of the registration agreement for the disputed domain name.

7. Decision

For the foregoing reasons, in accordance with Paragraph A(3)(b)(6) of the ADR Rules, the Panel orders that the language of the ADR proceeding shall be English and any future submission by the Parties (including the submission of a new Complaint) regarding the disputed domain name <alkot.eu> shall be made in the language of the ADR Proceeding in accordance with Paragraph A(3)(c) of the ADR Rules.

This Panel’s decision shall be final and not subject to appeal.

Mantas Rimkevičius
Sole Panelist
Date: February 23, 2021