Following the publication in an IMTJ blog of the 370 domain names owned by Jonathan Edelheit
, a co-founder and CEO of the US based Medical Tourism Association (MTA), affected domain owners have expressed their displeasure at Edelheit’s alleged breach of the ICANN guidelines and are considering action to regain what they believe is rightfully theirs.
Dr Uwe Klein, Chairman of the European Medical Travel Conference (EMTC) a long established event for the medical tourism industry was shocked to find that a rival conference organizer had registered a collection of web domain names that he believes infringe directly on his trade and service marks. Dr Klein has run previous EMTC events under the domains emtc2010.com,emtc2011.com, and emtc2012.com. Planning for his future events, Dr Klein found that a third party had registered emtc2014.com, his conference brand - europeanmedicaltravelconference.com - and a string of similar names such as europeanmedicaltravelcongress.com. It became apparent that the domain name speculator was Jonathan Edelheit. Alongside the “non-profit” MTA, Edelheit and his partner Renee Stephano are involved in several for profit businesses including a conference business.
ICANN rules are very clear.”By applying to register a domain name, ..........you hereby represent and warrant to us that ...........to your knowledge, the registration of the domain name will not infringe upon or otherwise violate the rights of any third party; ......you are not registering the domain name for an unlawful purpose; ........... It is your responsibility to determine whether your domain name registration infringes or violates someone else's rights.”
ICANN also defines use of a domain name in “bad faith” where “by using the domain name, you have intentionally attempted to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to your web site or other on-line location, by creating a likelihood of confusion with the complainant's mark as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation, or endorsement of your web site or location or of a product or service on your web site or location.”
Dr Klein has requested the return of the offending domain names from Edelheit, stating .
“Your domain registration of emtc2014.com and of europeanmedicaltravelconference.com is a clear breach of the ICANN rules. If you do not hand back the names, I will pursue the matter through the domain dispute resolution process. Let me know how you want to proceed here.”
A reply was received from Lisbeth Stein, Membership Coordinator at the MTA, on behalf of Mr Edelheit.
The reply in full;
From: Lisbeth Stein [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Monday, 17. October 2011 21:04
TO: 'CHAIRMAN 2012'
Subject: RE: Jonathan Edeleheit
The nature of the reply speaks for itself. It also raises questions about the relationship between Edelheit’s conference business and the MTA. Stein replied as an MTA employee not as an employee of Edelheit’s conference business.
Two other domains trentaccreditation.com and trentaccreditation.org have also been registered by Edelheit. These are alleged to infringe on the long established brand of the UK’s Trent Accreditation Scheme, a healthcare accreditation scheme based in the UK. (It’s similar in nature to JCI). Professor Stephen Green commented:
“The QHA Trent accreditation standards for hospitals and clinics contain a potent section on probity and ethics in advertising and finance. We should be expecting no less of other organisations involved in the healthcare and medical tourism businesses including trade associations, doctors, hospitals and businesses. Patients’ welfare should always be put first.”
The registration of the domain names - arabhealht.com and arabheatlh.com - by Edelheit appears to conflict with the long established Arab Health, the major health event in the Middle East run by global conference organisers, Informa. It’s not the first time that domain name speculators have attempted to abuse the Arab Health brand. According to Simon Page, Managing Director at Informa
“We have found that as soon as anything is successful there are always companies and people that want to ride of the back of your success, we have had many cases of people not only using very similar named websites but also logos and fonts that are similar to our brands. We have numerous cases where people have blatantly used our good will to say they are our official travel partner or official magazine etc that is just completely unfounded. Normally we have a very good relationship with our customers and they pass us on information when people are illegally using our brand or association with that brand. When the customers find out that they are not officially linked with us it tends to do more damage to that company. We find that a letter from our lawyers is enough from them ceasing the use, we have trademarked our shows and logos around the world, but this can be very expensive.”