News Trademarks Video Games

Activision files trademark for The Blast Furnace game, privately acquires domain

The Blast Furnace

Activision Publishing, Inc. filed a trademark application on April 18, 2012, for “The Blast Furnace” with the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

The goods and services in the trademark filing (Serial Number: 85601232) cover “computer game software” and “Entertainment services, namely, providing an on-line computer game”.

In addition to the trademark filing, it appears Activision has privately acquired the related domain name, (Whois), through the internet brand protection company MarkMonitor.  Activision is a client of MarkMonitor.

In March 2012, the domain name <> was registered to domain investor Frank Schilling’s Name Administration Inc.  In April, the name transferred to DNStination, Inc., the Whois privacy service provided by MarkMonitor.

I’ve reached out to Frank Schilling via e-mail to see if any details about the transaction can be shared and I will update this story if I hear back.

At the time of this writing, Activision has made no announcement regarding “The Blast Furnace”.

[Update 1 at 8:30pm EST:. After a little digging on DomainNameSales, the online marketplace that features premium domain names from Frank Schilling’s private collection and other investors, it appears the domain name sold for anywhere between $10,000 and $20,000 USD.  The sale was reported on April 19, 2012.]

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News Video Games domain registration by Activision adds to mystery

Skylanders Patriots

Almost a week after I first reported that Activision had purchased several “Skylanders Giants” domain names like and, it appears the video game company has registered another new Skylanders domain, further adding to the mystery of the company’s future plans for the Skylanders brand.

On January 24, it appears Activision registered the domain name (Whois), through the internet brand protection company MarkMonitor, a service that over half the Fortune 100 rely on for online brand protection.

The “Skylanders Giants” story created quite a buzz among gaming and tech sites like Joystiq,, and Giant Bomb, but as of today, there has been no official word from Activision.

At the time of this story, does not resolve to a website.

[Update 1 on January 26, 2012:  Reporting Gamer suggests the registrations may be for a Skylanders sports game pitting the Giants vs Patriots.]

Discussion: Wired UK

News Video Games

Domains show Activision may create a new game called “Skylanders Giants”

Sklyanders Giants game

Activision, which is a known client of the internet brand protection company MarkMonitor, has apparently gone on a small buying spree for “Skylanders Giants” domain names, hinting that a new game is in the works.

On January 19, the video game company that released Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventure last year, acquired six domains with Skylanders Giants in the name like and

Although the owner of each name is hidden behind Whois privacy, because MarkMonitor is in the business of protecting brands of some of the biggest companies, the owner is all but guaranteed to be Activision.

Here’s the list of names that were registered:

At the time of this story none of the domains resolve to a website and Activision has made no official announcement.

[Update 1 on February 7, 2012: Activision announced Skylanders: Giants. It is scheduled to be released in Fall 2012.]

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News Video Games Whois record changes hint Activision may be involved Whois record

Since early August when a Treyarch employee was caught playing a game titled “Iron Wolf” on the Xbox 360, rumors of the next Call of Duty series being called “Iron Wolf” or “Project Iron Wolf” have been swirling on the internet.

A fake website located at, likely setup by a Call of Duty fanboy, even went online in late December albeit with some significant errors like the misspelling of “Treyarch”.

Whether it’s a more clever stunt by another Call of Duty fanboy or a sneaky but legitimate transfer to Activision’s legal department, the domain name (Whois) was updated earlier this week and now has Whois details that match that of Activision’s other coveted domain names like (Whois). 

The biggest similarities include the domain servers listed, as well as the address and phone information. 

The big difference between the two Whois records, of course, is the name used as the contact, which is the telltale sign that this is nothing more than another silly stunt.  Whereas Activision’s Whois contact used for its domains is usually Mary Tuck, the company’s litigation counsel, the contact listed for is currently George Pharell, who also uses an unrelated e-mail: callofdutytiw -at- is owned and operated by World Media Group, LLC, an online company that specializes in owning premium domain names like and

According to Whois historical records, was first registered in early January by a resident of the Ukraine.  The domain name changed hands days later to George Pharell.

Recently, the owner of the name (who ran a now suspended Twitter account) redirected visitors to, but as of today, the web address does not resolve to any web page. 

I’ve reached out to George Pharell by e-mail, who appears to have a lot of free time on his hands, and will update this post if I hear back.

The Whois changes to appear to be just an online ruse, but with all the “Iron Wolf” buzz emerging, I guess we’ll have to wait and see whether the domain ends up in the hands of Activision.

Activision’s involvement in this whole thing, may merely be a matter of a cease-and-desist letter.

Discussion: This Is Xbox

News Video Games

Sequel may be closer as Activision secretly acquires domain

Black Ops 2

A sequel to Call of Duty: Black Ops, one of the best-selling games of all-time, may seem more likely as it appears Activision has secretly acquired the domain name

First registered in May 2010 shortly after Black Ops was announced, the domain remained under Whois privacy up until this week using Go Daddy’s Domains by Proxy service.

Now, the domain (Whois) has switched from Domains by Proxy to the privacy service provided by internet brand protection company MarkMonitor, who caters to over half the Fortune 100, of which Activision is a client.

In August, I reported that Activision went through MarkMonitor to buy up a slew of Black Ops domains, all the way up to 

Missing from the list was 

A deal has now apparently been struck.

Treyarch, the development studio behind Call of Duty: Black Ops, hasn’t officially gone on record to say it is creating a sequel.  But with all these domain acquisitions, signs point to a Black Ops 2 being a very strong possibility in 2012.

If a cash amount was paid, the sale price of the domain will likely remain unknown, as the previous owner’s identity and contact information were hidden through Go Daddy’s privacy service.

As of today, does not resolve a web page.

[Update 1 on February 17, 2012: Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 has been outed by Amazon reports GameSpy.]

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