WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISION
BPG SRL v. Eugenie Staicut / Ioan Cad
Case No. DRO2016-0013
1. The Parties
The Complainant is BPG SRL of Rome, Italy, represented by SafeNames Ltd., United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (“United Kingdom”).
The Respondent is Eugenie Staicut / Ioan Cad of Ibiza, Spain.
2. The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <wwwnetbet.ro> is registered with ROTLD.
3. Procedural History
The Complaint was filed in English with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on October 21, 2016. On October 21, 2016 the Center transmitted by email to the Registry a request for verification in connection with the disputed domain name. On October 24, 2016 the Registry transmitted by email to the Center its verification response informing the Center that the language of the registration agreement for the disputed domain name is Romanian and disclosing registrant and contact information for the disputed domain name which differed from the named Respondent and contact information in the Complaint. The Center sent an email communication to the Complainant on October 24, 2016, providing the registrant and contact information disclosed by the Registry, and inviting the Complainant to submit an amendment to the Complaint. The Complainant filed an amendment to the Complaint on October 25, 2016.
The Center sent an email to the Parties in English and Romanian regarding the language of the proceedings on October 24, 2016. On October 25, 2016, the Complainant submitted an email to the Center, requesting English to be the language of proceedings. The Respondent did not submit any comments in this regard.
The Respondent submitted an email in English on October 26, 2016. The proceedings were suspended at the request of the Complainant on October 27, 2016. The Parties presented a standard settlement form signed by both Parties on November 16, 2016. Claiming difficulties with the implementation of the settlement, the Complainant requested the suspension period to be extended on November 25, 2016, and again on December 15, 2016. The proceedings were reinstituted at the request of the Complainant on January 27, 2017.
The Center verified that the Complaint together with the amendment to the Complaint (hereinafter referred both together as the “Complaint”) satisfied the formal requirements of the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (the “Policy” or “UDRP”), 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 and 4, the Center formally notified the Respondent of the Complaint in English and Romanian, and the proceedings commenced on February 3, 2017. In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5, the due date for Response was February 23, 2017. The Respondent did not submit any response.
The Center appointed Mihaela Maravela as the sole panelist in this matter on March 3, 2017. 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.
4. Language of the proceedings
As regards the question of the language applicable to this dispute, paragraph 11(a) of the Rules provides:
“Unless otherwise agreed by the Parties, or specified otherwise in the Registration Agreement, the language of the administrative proceeding shall be the language of the Registration Agreement, subject to the authority of the Panel to determine otherwise, having regard to the circumstances of the administrative proceeding.”
“However, the Panel has the discretion to decide otherwise having regard to the circumstances of the case.
The Panel’s discretion must be exercised judicially in the spirit of fairness and justice to both parties taking into consideration matters such as command of the language, time and costs. It is important that the language finally decided by the Panel for the proceeding is not prejudicial to either one of the parties in his or her abilities to articulate the arguments for the case.” See, Groupe Auchan v. xmxzl, WIPO Case No. DCC2006-0004.
In the present case:
- the Registrar of the disputed domain name has informed the Center that the language of the relevant Registration Agreement is Romanian;
- the Complainant has filed the Complaint in English, and following the Center’s communication regarding the language of proceedings, the Complainant confirmed, on October 25, 2016, its request for English to be the language of the proceedings, arguing, inter alia, that a review of the Respondent’s portfolio shows that the Respondent has a working knowledge of the English language with the registration of other domain names which have words in English, and also that the translation of the Complaint by the Complainant would cause additional costs and delay of the proceedings;
- the Respondent did not file a Response but carried correspondence with the Center and the Complainant in English (correspondence dated October 26, 2016, and November 4, 2016);
- the Respondent signed the standard settlement form in English on November 16, 2016.
According to the Rules, paragraph 11(a), based on the circumstances of this case the Panel finds that the language of the present proceeding should be English, for the following reasons:
- the Complainant requested for English to be the language of the administrative proceedings;
- during the present proceedings, the Respondent carried some correspondence with the Center and the Complainant in English;
- the Respondent signed the standard settlement form in English on November 16, 2016, agreeing to transfer the disputed domain name to the Complainant;
- the mentioned correspondence and standard settlement form is an indication that the Respondent is familiar with the English language;
- the Respondent did not oppose to English as the language of the proceedings.
5. Factual Background
The Complainant and its related company, Cosmo Gaming Ltd., are the sole operators of the NetBet brand, an online casino which has grown to be a leading online betting service both in its home country of Italy and in neighboring European Union countries. Since 2006, the Complainant has held a European license enabling them to offer over 450 state-of-the-art casino games and become a market leader within the business of online betting. In addition to its websites, NetBet also offers an app, which features more than 30 games and enables consumers to use the popular NetBet services on the move. The Complainant’s NetBet brand is the first hit on many Google search engines when searching for “NetBet” including that of Romania. The Complainant is active on social media websites such as Twitter and Facebook. The Complainant refers to an extensive advertising program featuring the NETBET trademark.
The Complainant referred in its Complaint to various registrations of the NETBET trademark, including European Union trade mark registration No. 8916314, registered on May 16, 2012.
The disputed domain name was registered on January 5, 2016. The disputed domain name does not resolve to any active website.
6. Parties’ Contentions
The Complainant contends that the disputed domain name is confusingly similar to the well-known NETBET trademark as it incorporates such trademark, with the addition of the letters “www” that do not materially affect the overall impression of the disputed domain name.
In addition, the Complainant argues that to the best of its knowledge, the Respondent does not have any rights in the name “netbet” since it is not known as “netbet”. The disputed domain name is inactive and appears to have been this way since its registration.
The Complainant further shows that the Respondent has registered and used the disputed domain name in bad faith. Given the extent of the online presence of the Complainant, the Respondent would have been exposed to the existence of the Complainant’s NETBET trademark at the time the disputed domain name was registered. The disputed domain name is not used and there is no plausible reason for its registration other than to take advantage of the Complainant’s NETBET trademark and divert Internet traffic to the disputed domain name.
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions; however, in its email communication of October 26, 2016, an in subsequent correspondence during the suspension of the proceedings, the Respondent indicated that it agreed to transfer the disputed domain name to the Complainant.
7. Discussion and Findings
The Parties signed during the suspension of the proceedings a standard settlement form with regard to the disputed domain name and asked the Registry to transfer the disputed domain name from the Respondent’s control to the Complainant. Despite the suspension period being extended twice by the Center, the transfer procedure was not finalized as required under Rule 17(a) of the Policy. As such, on January 26, 2017, the Complainant informed the Center that the transfer had not been completed by the Respondent by the specified deadline.
Under the above circumstances, the Complainant asked the Center to reinstitute the proceedings and the proceedings were reinstituted on January 27, 2017.
By the standard settlement form signed by the Respondent on November 16, 2016 the Respondent has agreed to transfer the disputed domain name to the Complainant. Because the Respondent has consented to the relief requested by the Complainant, it is not necessary to review the facts supporting the claim.
As held by previous panels in similar cases, “this Panel is also satisfied that consent by the Respondent to transfer the Disputed Domain Name to the Complainant provides a sufficient basis for an order for transfer and for concluding the proceeding without deciding at this time whether the requirements of paragraph 4(a) of the Rules are met.” (See, for example, Williams-Sonoma, Inc. v. EZ-Port, WIPO Case No. D2000-0207; The Cartoon Network LP, LLLP v. Mike Morgan, WIPO Case No. D2005-1132; Infonxx. Inc v. Lou Kerner, WildSites.com, WIPO Case No. D2008-0434; SYTradingPost, Inc. v. OS Domain Holdings IV, LLC., WIPO Case No. D2008-0815 and La Quinta Worldwide LLC v. Privacy Ltd. Disclosed Agent for Yolapt, WIPO Case No. D2009-0524.
For the foregoing reasons, in accordance with paragraphs 4(i) of the Policy and 15 of the Rules, the Panel orders that the disputed domain name <wwwnetbet.ro> be transferred to the Complainant.
Date: March 17, 2017