Gamers looking to sign up for Halo 4 Beta, will soon have one less website to be tricked by after Microsoft Corporation won the rights to Halo4Beta.net.
A complaint (Case No. 1426106) was officially filed with the National Arbitration Forum back in late January, shortly after David Ellis of 343 Industries warned Halo fans through Twitter to avoid fake Halo 4 Beta sites.
On March 6, 2012, a single-member panel concluded that all three elements required to be proven under the ICANN Policy were established, and that the name is ordered transferred from Edward Lee (the respondent) to Microsoft (the complainant).
On the subject of registration and use in bad faith:
The <halo4beta.net> domain name is confusingly similar to Complainant’s HALO trademark. Respondent registered and uses the domain name in bad faith under Policy ¶ 4(b)(iv) in that Respondent attempts to benefit commercially from Internet users’ confusion as to the possibility of Complainant’s affiliation with the domain name. See Perot Sys. Corp. v. Perot.net, FA 95312 (Nat. Arb. Forum Aug. 29, 2000) (finding bad faith registration and use where the domain name there in question was obviously connected with a complainant’s marks, thus creating a likelihood of confusion for a respondent’s commercial gain); see also Victoria’s Secret Stores Brand Mgmt., Inc. v. Privacy Protect, FA 1404667 (Nat. Arb. Forum Sept. 30, 2011) (finding bad faith registration and use under Policy ¶ 4(b)(iv) where a disputed domain name resolved to a website offering visitors gift cards in exchange for completing surveys and providing personal information).
It is also significant that Respondent registered the <halo4beta.net> domain name on June 15, 2011, only days after Complainant had publicly announced that it would be releasing HALO 4. This strongly suggests that Respondent’s registration and use of the domain name has been done in bad faith within the contemplation of Policy ¶ 4(a)(iii). See Sota v. Waldron, D2001-0351 (WIPO June 18, 2001) (finding that a respondent’s registration of the domain name <seveballesterostrophy.com> at the time of the announcement of the Seve Ballesteros Trophy golf tournament “strongly indicates an opportunistic registration”); see also Thermo Electron Corp. v. Xu, FA 713851 (Nat. Arb. Forum July 12, 2006) (“If there had been any doubt as to bad faith, the fact that registration was on the same day the news leaked about the merger, which was put in evidence, is a compelling indication of bad faith that respondent has to refute and which he has failed to do. The panel finds a negative inference from this.”).
The full details of the ruling have been released and can be read online here.
For Microsoft Corporation, it’s officially one down, one to go. Unofficially, it’s likely many more.
As I reported yesterday, Microsoft is going after another phony Halo 4 Beta site. A complaint was filed (Case Number: 1432610) with the National Arbitration Forum over Halo4Beta.biz (screenshot). The domain name is owned by a resident of Illinois according to Whois records.