WEDNESDAY, 29 MAY 2013
Hemstedt.com: UDRP decision in Korean
Hemstedt GmbH, a German manufacturer of floor heating pipes, and owner of the German trade mark rights in HEMSTEDT for the relevant goods, was until summer of 2012 proprietor of the domain name hemstedt.com. Then, the registration apparently lapsed and the domain name was registered by a Korean individual. Hemstedt GmbH filed a request for transfer under the UDRP with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center.
Only to find out that the request had to be translated into Korean - as the panelist pointed out, according to Paragraph 11 of the UDRP Rules, unless the parties to an administrative proceeding agree otherwise, or the Registration Agreement that relates to the domain name in question specifies otherwise, the language of the administrative proceeding will normally be the language of the relevant Registration Agreement. And the Registration Agreement was in Korean.
On the merits, the panelist found that Hemstedt GmbH owned rights in the sign HEMSTEDT, and that the respondent did not have any right or legitimate interest in HEMSTEDT. However, the panelist did not find that the registration was in bad faith, as HEMSTEDT was unknown in Korea and was, as the name of a city in Germany, in principle free to be used by anyone. Applicant's allegation that respondent had offered to sell the domain name for USD 15,000 was unsupported by evidence.
For the practitioner, the case serves as a reminder that the language of the proceedings under the UDRP is not necessarily English, and will more and more often not be English, as registration agreements are increasingly offered in other languages.
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