Disputes Featured Technology WIPO

Complaint Denied: Nintendo loses dispute over domain name [UPDATED]

Wii U

In February, Nintendo of America filed a cybersquatting complaint against the owner of with the World Intellectual Property Organization, in what seemed like a slam dunk case for the video game company.

A decision in WIPO Case Number D2013-0322 was posted to WIPO’s website Saturday and Nintendo has lost.

The domain, which matches the name of Nintendo’s latest video game console the “Wii U”, will stay with its current owner.

Now, if the company wants to own (WHOIS), it may have to write a big check in order to acquire it.

What’s interesting is days before Nintendo originally filed its complaint back in February, was set for auction on the domain name auction marketplace SnapNames.  However, once the case was filed with WIPO, the auction listing was removed.


If Nintendo opted to take the auction route, it may have paid the same price as the UDRP fees, had it beat out other bidders for the name.  It’s possible it may have even paid less, as other bidders may have avoided the name fearing it would be turned over in a dispute.

Today, is parked at SmartName and displays sponsored ads, many of which are for Nintendo’s products, as you can see in the screenshot below. parked page

In related news, Sony doesn’t own (WHOIS) nor has the company filed any kind of dispute.

Microsoft filed a complaint over in late May and added another complaint over in early June.  Decisions have not been reached in either case.

In 2006, Nintendo reportedly paid a substantial amount of money for  Because of a non-disclosure agreement, the price was never publicly disclosed, but some put the price tag anywhere between $5,000 – $250,000 and over $3 million.

Nintendo announced the launch of the Wii U back in 2011 without owning the name.  It didn’t file trademark applications until August 2011.

UPDATE 1: Details of the decision by the three-member panel have now been published online.  While the panel found that the domain is “identical or confusingly similar” to Nintendo’s WII U trademark, it also concluded that Nintendo failed to prove that the respondent had no rights to the name.  The respondent provided evidence the name was registered in January 2004 in order to establish a website for a “We Invest in You” business venture.  (You can read the full decision here.)

UPDATE 2: Nintendo told it is looking at other legal options.  “Nintendo has a strong history of protecting against infringement of our intellectual property rights and we are continuing to review our legal options. This decision does not impact Nintendo’s ability to enforce against violations concerning intellectual property.”

Talking about this story: Techmeme, Kotaku, PC Magazine, IGN, The Escapist, Game Informer, Spong, Action Trip, Gameranx, StickSkills, T3,, Nintendo Insider, GeekWire, Game Politics, GamesIndustry International, Digital Trends, Joystiq, ShackNews, ScreenCrush, Kotaku Australia, Area Games, GameStar,, PC Games, Gameplayer-Magazine, ntower,,, VG247, Polygon, All Games Beta, GameSpot,,, GoNintendo, Nintendo Everything, KonsoliFIN, Softpedia, Videogameszone,,, genGAME, MeriStation, 3DNews, Numerama, Revogamers, Europa Press, Gamereactor Danmark, Game Revolution, ITProPortal, Latinos Post,, iNSIDE, Geekosystem, GameDynamo, GameZone, Jeux and Gaming Union

(Image of Ninja Gaiden for Wii U via

News Video Games domain expires (Nintendo still doesn’t own it long after announcement) [UPDATED]

UPDATE February 19, 2013: According to DNW, Nintendo has filed a cybersquatting complaint with World Intellectual Property Forum over the domain name:

ORIGINAL STORY: Nintendo announced the Wii U more than a year and a half ago at E3 2011.  Incredibly, the company made the announcement without owning the domain name  Fast forward months later to the video game console’s launch in November 2012, and people hoping to find more information about the console instead found themselves on a web site with affiliate offers that included links to a variety of entertainment products.

In an interesting turn of events, the domain name, which was likely raking in some decent earnings, expired on January 13, 2013, according to WHOIS records.

As of today, has been replaced with a parking page indicating the name has expired. domain expired

The domain, which is privately registered, has attracted a good amount of visitor traffic.

According to a very rough estimate by the analytics site Compete, had nearly 7,000 unique visitors to its website in November 2012, and more than 6,000 visitors in December.

The name is already listed on the domain name auction marketplace SnapNames with a minimum bid of $69.  Two people have already placed bids.


At this point, it’s unknown whether the domain’s current owner is intentionally allowing the name to expire or simply forgot.  It’s also possible that Nintendo has sent the owner a cease-and-desist letter.

Surprisingly, Nintendo hasn’t filed a domain dispute through UDRP arbitration, which it has done before for names like and  In 2011, Nintendo secured rights to the domain after filing a complaint with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).

Before you say, “How does a major company not own the matching domain to one of its products?”

Nintendo isn’t the only company guilty of this.

Neither Sony, Nintendo, nor Microsoft own the domains for their next gen consoles.

Sony doesn’t own, and Microsoft, whose next console’s name hasn’t officially been decided, doesn’t own (Whois) or (Whois).

Talking about this story: GameZone

Movies News Video Games

Sony Pictures registers a slew of ‘Console War’ movie domain names

Playstation 4 PS4 concept

The next generation of console wars between Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft is set to begin as all three manufacturers are due to release a new console in the near future.  Nintendo plans to release the Wii U in 2012, while the PlayStation 4 and Xbox 720 are expected in 2013.  Adding to the “war of consoles”, Sony Pictures has registered several domain names this week like (Whois) and (Whois).

Could ‘Console War’ actually be a movie or just a creative marketing video promoting the Playstation 4?

What hints that this is more than just a video, is the names were all registered by Sony Pictures Entertainment, the television and film production/distribution unit of Sony.  The names weren’t registered by Sony Computer Entertainment, the video game company.

Either way, there doesn’t appear to be any news coming out of Sony on the subject, but Sony Pictures Entertainment has picked up well over a dozen names.

Each domain was registered on August 23, 2012, through the brand protection company MarkMonitor.

The full list includes:

At the time of this story, none of the domains resolve to a web page.

Talking about this story: Kotaku, Screen Rant,, /Film, G4tv, Digital Spy, IGN, Tapscape, Game Informer, GameZone, Push Square,,,, I Am,,, The Escapist,, Side Mission (blog), Techzine, Spong, JoystiqLe Journal du Geek and VG247

(Image of Playstation 4 concept by Tai Chiem)

Disputes National Arbitration Forum News Trademarks Video Games WIPO

Neither Sony, Nintendo, nor Microsoft own the domains for their next consoles

xbox 720

The console wars are heating up, but there’s just one problem: the three major companies don’t own the matching domains to their next-generation consoles.

Nintendo doesn’t own, Sony doesn’t own, and Microsoft doesn’t own

Will the companies submit a domain dispute, file an anti-cybersquatting lawsuit, or pay a large sum of cash to get the domains?  Well, it’s unknown whether Sony, Microsoft or Nintendo are considering any of these options, but what is known is that owning the domain names couldn’t their hurt online marketing efforts as the console wars heat up.

That being said, how are the domain names being used today?

Today, re-directs to PSX Extreme, a video game website that has been covering Sony Playstation news for years. and are both owned by Poise Media Inc., according to WHOIS records.  The domain was first registered in 1998, but Poise Media didn’t acquire the name until late 2008. is registered to a Jeremiah Germany of New York, who monetizes the domain using Google Adsense for Domains.  Over the years, the domain has been host to a number of different sites ranging from a Les Paul guitars site in 2006 to a Google Custom Search page in 2008.  However, since 2009 it appears the owner of has been earning money using Google Adsense for Domains.

The owner of, who remains hidden behind WHOIS privacy, has the site set up as a affiliate web page.  I wrote about back in June, after Nintendo announced the console at E3 without owning the domain.  In August, Nintendo filed nearly 20 trademark applications (several including images) with the United States Patent and Trademark Office for the word Wii U.

All three console companies have used a variety of methods in the past to reclaim trademarked names, and in recent years, they have often filed complaints under the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP). 

In nearly all the complaints, the domain names have been ordered transferred.  So given the track record to date, it’s likely when the trademark lawyers finally get around to going after these domains, they’ll use the UDRP.

Recently, Nintendo gained the rights to, over 25 years since it had released Mario Bros. and Super Mario Bros.  The company filed a complaint with WIPO which it won in late September. 

Microsoft has filed and won dozens of Xbox-related domain disputes going back to 2003.

And though Sony Computer Entertainment has only filed a handful of disputes, it has won all 4 that it did submit.  Those cases involved:,,,,,  and

Sometimes, however when companies want a domain and don’t want to risk losing a dispute or are impatient for the time it takes time for proceedings to complete, they will pay cash — as Microsoft likely did with

I’ve reached out to the owner of each domain name to see if they’ve been contacted by the respective console company, and will update this post if I hear back.

(Concept design of Microsoft’s next-generation console ‘Xbox 720’ by Tai Chiem)

News Video Games What’s in store for Nintendo’s newest domain registration?


Nintendo already has over 3,000 domains to its name and as of this week, you can add a new one to the list:

On October 18, Nintendo of America Inc. purchased the never-before-registered domain name.

It’s not clear what the plan is for, as Nintendo has not made an official announcement for a Freaky Forms game.  It may be for nothing more than a future project that will never see the light of day.

Here’s a look at the WHOIS record.

Domain Name……….
  Creation Date…….. 2011-10-18
  Registration Date…. 2011-10-18
  Expiry Date………. 2012-10-18
  Organisation Name…. Nintendo of America Inc.
  Organisation Address. 4600 150th Ave. N.E.
  Organisation Address.
  Organisation Address. Redmond
  Organisation Address. 98052
  Organisation Address. WA
  Organisation Address. UNITED STATES

Admin Name……….. Web Master
  Admin Address…….. 4600 150th Ave. N.E.
  Admin Address……..
  Admin Address…….. Redmond
  Admin Address…….. 98052
  Admin Address…….. WA
  Admin Address…….. UNITED STATES
  Admin Email……….
  Admin Phone………. +425.8822040
  Admin Fax………… +425.8823585

Tech Name………… Nintendo DNS Administration
  Tech Address……… 4600 150th Ave. N.E.
  Tech Address………
  Tech Address……… Redmond
  Tech Address……… 98052
  Tech Address……… WA
  Tech Address……… UNITED STATES
  Tech Email………..
  Tech Phone……….. +1.4258822040

(Photo of the exterior of Nintendo Software Technology via Jon Wilcox)