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Domain Name Dispute [WIPO AMC Decision] - Israel Bar Association v. Itai Ram [2010]

Domain Name Dispute [WIPO AMC Decision] - Israel Bar Association v. Itai Ram [2010]

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10/21/2010

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WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center
ADMINISTRATIVE PANEL DECISIONIsrael Bar Association v. Itai RamCase No. D2010-00031.The Parties
The Complainant is Israel Bar Association of Tel Aviv, Israel, represented by Soroker -Agmon, Advocates & Patent Attorneys, Israel.The Respondent is Itai Ram of Haifa, Israel.
2.The Domain Name and Registrar
The disputed domain name <israelbar.mobi> (the “Domain Name”) is registered withEnCirca, Inc. (the “Registrar”).
3.Procedural History
The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (the “Center”) on January 4, 2010. On January 5, 2010, the Center transmitted by emailto the Registrar a request for registrar verification in connection with the Domain Name. On January 6, 2010, the Registrar transmitted by email to the Center itsverification response confirming that the Respondent is listed as the registrant and providing the contact details.The Center verified that the Complaint satisfied the formal requirements of the UniformDomain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (the “Policy” or “UDRP”), the Rules for Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (the “Rules”), and the WIPOSupplemental 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 theRespondent of the Complaint, and the proceedings commenced on January 12, 2010.In accordance with the Rules, paragraph 5(a), the due date for Response wasFebruary 1, 2010. The Respondent did not submit any response. Accordingly, theCenter notified the Respondent’s default on February 2, 2010.
 page 1
 
The Center appointed Tony Willoughby as the sole panelist in this matter onFebruary 8, 2010. The Panel finds that it was properly constituted. The Panel hassubmitted the Statement of Acceptance and Declaration of Impartiality andIndependence, as required by the Center to ensure compliance with the Rules, paragraph 7.On February 10, and February 11, 2010 the Complainant and the Respondentrespectively filed unsolicited submissions. They arrived early enough to avoid anyinconvenience to the Panel and are very short. Neither of them adds significantly towhat was already in the case papers, but it seems to the Panel more proportionate toadmit them than to exclude them.
4.Factual Background
The Complainant is the Israel Bar Association, also known as The Israel Bar. It is anindependent Israeli statutory entity established under the Bar Association Act 5721 of 1961. Its primary purpose is to regulate the legal profession in Israel.The Complainant is the proprietor of the domain names <israelbar.org.il> (registered onFebruary 2, 1999) and <israelbar.co.il> (registered on June 25, 2006).The Domain Name was registered on October 3, 2006. Nothing is known of theRespondent save that at some stage following the registration of the Domain Name hewas a student doing an MBA at the MIT Sloan School of Management.On November 6, 2008 the Complainant filed applications for registration in Israel of THE ISRAEL BAR as a trade mark in classes 9, 16, 35, 36, 41 and 45 for a variety of goods and services relating to the activities of a bar association. As at the date of theComplaint those applications had not matured into registrations.On December 4, 2008 the Complainant’s representative wrote to the Respondentdrawing the Respondent’s attention to the Complainant’s rights, alleging infringementand demanding
inter alia
transfer of the Domain Name.On January 19, 2009 the Respondent replied to that letter stating that he had registeredthe Domain Name when registration of ‘.mobi’ domain names was opened to the public, that he made the registration at a time when there was no trade mark of thatname registered in Israel, that there was never any bad faith intent (his intention beingto create as part of his business plan “an online website for mobile devices that will provide a portal with links to popular Israeli bar.”) and that he has no intention of transferring the Domain Name without consideration. He invites the Complainant tonegotiate a purchase.On January 25, 2009 the Complainant’s representative responds asking the Respondenthow much he wants for the Domain Name.On January 28, 2009 the Respondent emails back saying that his total expensesassociated with the Domain Name (including costs of web maintenance and his business plan) amount to USD 3,500 and that is the value he puts on the Domain Name.
5.Parties’ Contentions
 page 2
 
A.Complainant
The Complainant contends that it has common law trade mark rights in the name THEISRAEL BAR arising from long and extensive use of that name since the foundation of the Complainant in 1961. The Complainant contends that the Domain Name isconfusingly similar to a trade mark in which it has rights.The Complainant contends that the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests inrespect of the Domain Name.Finally, the Complainant contends that the Domain Name was registered and is beingused in bad faith. The Complainant contends that the Respondent’s offer to sell theDomain Name at a profit is an indication of bad faith. The Complainant contends thatthe fact that the Respondent has made no use of the Domain Name since registering itin 2006 is also evidence of bad faith. Moreover the Complainant contends that theRespondent’s stated plan for his use of the Domain Name is calculated to deceive andto tarnish the name of the Complainant. All these allegations of bad faith are based onthe proposition that the Respondent, an educated Israeli, must have been aware of theComplainant when he registered the Domain Name.
B.Respondent
The Respondent did not reply to the Complainant’s contentions. However, he did seek leave to file a Response out of time and the Panel has accepted that Response into the proceeding.The Respondent contends that when he registered the Domain Name there was no trademark registration covering ISRAEL BAR. He points out that even now theComplainant’s applications for registration of that mark in Israel have not beenadjudicated upon.The Respondent denies any bad faith and amplifies slightly upon his letter of January 19, 2009 referred to above to the Complainant’s representative. “I purchasedthis domain name as part of my business plan to create a website for mobile devicesthat will provide an online bar (similar to the Google Bar, or the Yahoo Bar) with linksto popular Israeli websites. The execution of my business plan was postponed due tomy pursuing of a Master of Business Administration (MBA) studies at the MIT SloanSchool of Management and the financial difficulties I was under. As of today I have ateam of engineers who are starting the development of our beta product.”The Respondent observes that prior to his registration of the Domain Name there had been a 6 month period reserved for rights owners to register their names in the ‘.mobi’domain, yet the Complainant chose not to avail itself of that opportunity.As to the allegation concerning the Respondent’s willingness to sell the Domain Name,the Respondent asserts that he was only willing to do so because at that time he was infinancial straits. He asserts that the figure of USD 3,500 was a reasonable onecalculated by reference to his costs of acquiring the Domain Name, planning thewebsite and producing his business plan.
6.Discussion and FindingsA.General
 page 3

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