Royal Dutch Shell Group .com ROYAL DUTCH SHELL PLC DOMAIN NAMES DISPUTE: LATEST NEWS: Designated an "exceptional case" by panel appointed under WIPO auspices: 05.00pm (GMT+1) Wednesday 10 August 2005 (06.00pm Geneva time)


By John Donovan


A decision is imminent in regards to the proceedings brought by Shell International Petroleum Company Limited against 88 year old owner, Alfred Donovan, in respect of Shell related domain names:-


A three person panel was appointed via the Geneva based World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) with a remit to decide the case by 28th July 2005. In accordance with the WIPO rules, the parties were then to be notified within 3 calendar days of 28 July. When this did not happen, it was evidence that something unusual was afoot.


Emails from Alfred Donovan to the WIPO in the days after the verdict notification deadline were ignored. He eventually received an email from the WIPO several days after the notification deadline had passed. It indicated that the panel had invoked a rule declaring that it was an “exceptional case” and on that basis, the new deadline for the panel to give their verdict to the WIPO is today, 10 August 2005. Hence the above comment that the verdict is imminent i.e. within three calendar days.


Commonsense suggests that the “exceptional case” designation means that it has not been an open and shut case and could therefore go either way, possibly on a split decision.


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