Which language should be used for arbitration when both the parties appeal in different languages

Arbitrations are intense because each side tries to present their version as the righteous one. In order to do so they present their arguments backed by facts and reasoning. However, what happens when both apply for dispute resolution in different languages, what should the decision making body converse in.

Klarna Bank AB. has been in the banking business and providing online payment services since 2005. It possesses trademark rights over ‘KLARNA’ marks in several categories. Besides this, it operates on the domain name Klarna.cn. However, several related domain names were registered by someone. Klarna thus filed a complaint at the WIPO.

The respondent had registered a range of domain names related to the Complainant, such as KlarnaCloud.cn, KlarnaPay.cn, KlarnaCloud.com.cn and KlarnaPay.com.cn. All of these domain names were registered in 2021. Way after the Complainant acquired the trademark rights over related domain names. The case was open and shut. However, there was a peculiar problem.

The Complainant had requested the panel to use English as the medium of the conversation, as the Registrant also used the same in a legal letter to it. The panel noted that in such cases the rule book states that unless decided  by the parties and the experts, the language used should be based on terms of registry agreement, which in this case should have been Chinese. The panel also stated that translating Complainant’s appeal into Chinese was also time- consuming. The panel thus accepted both parties’ documents in either of the languages.

The judgement also, is available in both the languages. You can read the full case here.


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