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For Mrs Esther Dyson
I found your presentation at the recent WIPO sponsored conference in Geneva on
e-commerce extremely interesting and have since encountered a problem which I
think you would find interesting and on which I am hoping you may be able to
offer some suggestions and perhaps even support in finding a solution.
I am in-house counsel for the Orange plc group. Our business is in
telecommunications, most importantly mobile telephony. Our brand name "Orange"
is high profile in the UK and more recently has been licensed to operators in
other countries, including Partner Communications in Israel. Shortly after
Partner announced its launch of services under the "Orange" brand persons
unconnected with either us or Parther incorporated a company named Orange Phones
Ltd, registered under the domain name www.orangephone.il and started advertising
telephone equipment for sale at retail. To cut a long story short, we took the
matter to Court and eventually obtained judgement in our favour, a permanent
injunction, court order that the domain name be assigned to us, damages and
costs. When the defendants ignored the court orders, we were also successful in
contempt proceedings. The defendants "disappeared" without assigning the domain
name to us so our law firm approached the registration body ISOC (Israeli
Chapter of the Internet Society) with a request that they implement the court
order by assigning the name. Our legal advice is that ISOC could do this
legitimately but disagrees on the ground that it was not a party to the court
proceedings and not obliged to observe the court order. Our lawyers have had
numerous discussions with ISOC but cannot persuade it to change its position.
Our Israeli lawyers are now recommending that we either join ISOC as a
co-defendand to the earlier proceedings and register the judgement against it or
start a separate action against ISOC and seek damages. They are confident that
either approach will eventually achieve our objective but it does seem to me
rather unreasonable that we should have to go to such lengths in these
circumstances and that it would be in the interests of all legitimate domain
name owners if ISOC could be persuaded to recognise their rights and, in
particular, to recognise court orders, especially those made within their own
legal system. I am sure we will not be the last name owner to problems of this
sort if ISOC cannot be persuaded to take a more national approach. If ISOC were
to apply the time-honoured principles relating to a registration body's duty to
maintain "the purity of the Register" it could surely have to accept that a name
recorded in the ownership of someone a court has held not to be the rightful
owner and to have acted in bad faith should not remain on the register in the
If you would like to discuss this directly, please telephone me on 0973 266 748.
You can call at any time; if calls are diverted I will pick up your messages and
respond as soon as I can.