WIPO Case No. D2019-1726
September 11, 2019
How is the language of a UDRP proceeding determined? This is important as domain name arbitration is essentially international, with disputing parties frequently having different languages and understandably wanting to use them in the proceeding.
Unless otherwise agreed by both parties, the UDRP rules state that the default language of any proceeding is that of the respondent’s registration agreement. However, the panel does have the authority to determine otherwise, (usually by ordering that the language of the proceeding is to be English) by way of a discretion, which is what happened in the recent case of Philip Morris Products S.A. v. Omur Kaba.
NOTE THAT THERE ARE RULES ON THIS.
Rule 11 provides:
Language of Proceedings
(a) 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.
(b) The Panel may order that any documents submitted in languages other than the language of the administrative proceeding be accompanied by a translation in whole or in part to the language of the administrative proceeding.
By default, the proceedings of this case were to be conducted in Turkish, as this was the language of the Respondent’s registration agreement. However, the Complainant, tobacco giant Philip Morris, requested that proceedings be conducted in English instead. When considering the language in which to conduct the proceedings, under the UDRP, a panel must ultimately ensure that it would not be unfair for either party to proceed in a language other than that of the registration agreement. In this instance, the Respondent made no formal reply to the language request, or the Complaint at large, and the panel therefore found no issue in conducting proceedings in English.
See the extensive discussion of the Language of the Proceedings in Levine, Domain Name Arbitration, Legal Corner Press, New York pp. 573-575.