It was announced this week, that Electronic Arts and The Walt Disney Company signed a multi-year video game agreement which allows them to create Star Wars games.
Now Lucasfilm, which was acquired by Disney last year, has registered a slew of new domain names that include titles like: Star Wars Alliance, Star Wars Rebels, Star Wars Wolf Pack, Wolf Pack Adventures, Order 67, Bothan Spies, Gungan Frontier 2, Gungan Frontier 3, Gungan Frontier 4, and Wookie Hunters.
Darth Vader was introduced in 1977 when the first of the Star Wars films was released. Now, more than 35 years later, Lucasfilm has secured the rights to the DarthVader.com domain name.
As of this week, according to Whois records, the domain name is registered to “Lucasfilm Ltd”.
For more than 10 years, the name was owned by the same individual named Ron Koskinen, before going into Whois privacy in early July 2012.
Of course, while it would have been impossible for Lucasfilm to register the name in the 70s, and very few companies registered names in the 80s, the studio could have picked up the name somehow in the 90s or 2000s.
No surprise, Lucasfilm has had trademarks to the “Darth Vader” name dating back to the late seventies, but the studio has brought very few public complaints against owners of Star Wars domain names, disputing only a handful of cases since the early 2000s at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).
Many of the disputes you don’t hear about are likely handled by Lucasfilm lawyers sending cease and desist letters or demanding the names be turned over.
One of the more notable Lucasfilm complaints was over Tatooine.com back in 2000.
Lucasfilm lawyers sent a letter to the owner Steve Mount asking that the name be relinquished.
Steve Mount had registered the domain Tatooine.com in 1997, and told a CNET reporter he used the website to post photographs and advertisements for his programming and web design services. The dispute made headlines, but the name was ultimately turned over to Lucasfilm.
It’s unknown whether Lucasfilm acquired the name DarthVader.com from Koskinen or another private party.
It’s also unknown if the studio opened up its checkbook and bought the name for a large amount of cash or if it had its lawyers send a letter demanding the name.
The movie studio hasn’t been so lucky with the web addresses of other popular characters belonging to Star Wars films.
HanSolo.com (Whois) is registered to HANSOLO Building Services.
ObiWanKenobi.com (Whois) is a parked web page monetized with ads.
Lucasfilm doesn’t even own LukeSkywalker.com (Whois) or Chewbacca.com (Whois).
I’ve reached out to Koskinen by email to see if any more details about the exchange can be provided and will update this post if I hear back.
At the time of this story, DarthVader.com does not resolve to a web page.
UPDATE 1 – OCT. 8, 2012: It turns out, Tucows donated the DarthVader.com domain name to Lucasfilm after it had expired. “In exchange, Lucasfilm agreed to make a donation to the Tucows Elves Project. This annual charitable effort is organized by Tucows staff and provides toys to the children of lower-income families in the Parkdale neighborhood adjacent to the Tucows Toronto office.” Via Canada News Wire.
More information has surfaced in recent days in the way of two new trademark applications submitted to the United States Patent and Trademark Office. On August 23, 2012, Lucasfilm Entertainment Company Ltd. filed trademarks for “First Assault” (Serial Number: 85711610) and “Star Wars: First Assault” (Serial Number: 85711618).
Both applications cover the same goods and services which, among other things, includes “Entertainment services provided on-line by means of global and local area networks, namely, providing interactive computer games and interactive video games.”
Here’s a look at the full list of goods and services in each filing:
Interactive entertainment software and accompanying instruction manuals sold as a unit, namely, computer game software and manuals sold as a unit, video game software and manuals sold as a unit; video game software, computer game software, and pre-recorded compact discs and DVDs featuring games, films, animation, music, computer game software, and video game software; downloadable video game software and downloadable computer game software; computer game software for use on mobile and cellular phones
Books containing puzzles and games; calendars; children’s books; children’s books combined with toys and sold as a unit; comic books; comic magazines; gift books in the field of video games; graphic novels; printed instructional manuals and strategy guides in the field of computer games; magazines in the field of entertainment; markers; non-electronic personal planners and organizers; notebooks; novels for juveniles; pencil cases; pencil sharpeners; pencils; pens; personal organizers; postcards; posters; puzzle books; series of fiction books; sticker albums; sticker books; stickers; temporary tattoos; trading cards; animation cels; lithographic prints; original works of art created from paper; photographic prints; printed art reproductions
Toy action figures; accessories for use with toy action figures; action type target games; balloons; bath toys; board games; card games; cases for action figures; cases for play accessories for action figure, model vehicles and model space craft; connecting links for toy building blocks; construction toys; costume masks; costume masks for dolls; dolls; rubber hi bounce balls; jigsaw puzzles; paper face masks; parlor games; play sets for toy model vehicles, toy model space craft; plush toys; protective pads and padding for skateboarding; role-playing games; toy model space crafts and related accessories sold as units; three-dimensional puzzles; toy action figures; toy building blocks; toy candy dispensers; toy candy holders, namely, plastic candy dispenser designed as a toy; toy coin banks; toy model hobby craft kits for making model spacecraft, model cars and model vehicles; toy model vehicles and related accessories sold as a units; toy modeling dough kits and accessories for use therewith sold as units; toy remote control vehicles, namely, airplanes, spacecraft, boats; toy scooters; toy snow globes; toy vehicles; toy weapons; toy model vehicles and accessories therefore sold as a unit; water squirting toys; wind-up toys; yo-yos; collectible card games; collectible miniature board games, and toy helmets
Entertainment services provided on-line by means of global and local area networks, namely, providing interactive computer games and interactive video games, all on-line by means of global and local area networks; providing news and information in the field of entertainment relating to interactive computer game software and interactive video game software over an electronic network; fan club services
Online social networking services
While little is still known about “Star Wars: First Assault”, the trademark filings offer more insight.
UPDATE 3 – MARCH 11, 2013:.Kotaku reports that Star Wars: First Assault is a downloadable multiplayer shooter that was originally slated for release this spring. Jason Schreier writes, “First Assault is “step zero” to the heavily-rumored, highly-anticipated Star Wars: Battlefront III. If First Assault sells well—assuming it is released at all—the third Battlefront could be next.”
UPDATE 2 – FEBRUARY 28, 2013:. Sources familiar with game development at LucasArts have all told Kotaku that development on the game has been frozen or put on hold since the Disney acquisition.
UPDATE 1 – OCTOBER 1, 2012:. The box art for Star Wars: First Assault for Xbox Live Arcade (XBLA) was discovered (via NeoGAF).
Lucasfilm, the parent company of LucasArts, appears to have another big project in the works, this one called “Star Wars First Assault” according to several domains the company secretly purchased this week.
On August 22, 2012, names like StarWarsFirstAssault.com (Whois) and StarWarsFA.com (Whois) were registered through the internet brand protection agency Corporation Service Company (CSC). And you can bet Lucasfilm is the registrant behind the names, as they are a well known client of CSC, which protects many of the world’s most valuable brands. CSC is the same registrar responsible for managing flagship names like StarWars.com (Whois).
The fact the names were all privately registered, indicates the company is trying to keep the project under wraps for now.
No trademark application has been filed at the United States Patent and Trademark Office nor has the company announced anything about this project, so it’s unknown if it’s related to a video game, film, or some other Star Wars product.
The domains aren’t much help either.
At the time of this story, most of the names resolve to a blank web page.
UPDATE 2: May 6, 2012 @ 7:42 PM Est:. Star Wars 1313 now looks less likely related to a new film. Lucasfilm Entertainment Company Ltd. has filed a trademark application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office for “Star Wars 1313″. The filing hints that a new video game will be released.
ORIGINAL STORY:. Last July, talk of a film featuring Boba Fett was making the rounds on the internet after Screen Rant interviewed director Joe Johnston who said he was trying to get George Lucas to make a movie based on the Star Wars bounty hunter.
Though nothing was ever confirmed, Lucasfilm is hinting at a new project called Star Wars: 1313, according to several domain names registered on May 2, 2012, through the brand protection agency Corporation Service Company. The registrations I spotted include names like StarWars1313.com (Whois) and SW1313.com (Whois).
It’s unknown at this time, what Lucasfilm has in store for Star Wars: 1313.
The company hasn’t officially announced anything at this point, but has registered eight domains in total including: 1313starwars.com, 1313starwars.net, 1313sw.com, 1313sw.net, starwars1313.com, starwars1313.net, sw1313.com, and sw1313.net.
I’m only speculating that Star Wars: 1313 is the Boba Fett movie.
UPDATE 1 at 3:37PM EST:. In addition to the eight domain names I spotted earlier, Lucasfilm registered the same names in a number of different extensions. The following names were also registered on the same day: