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.”

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(Image of Ninja Gaiden for Wii U via

Featured News Video Games

Ubisoft pays undisclosed amount of cash to acquire Watch Dogs dot-com domain

Watch Dogs PS4

Watch Dogs has been generating a lot of buzz in the video game community since it was first announced at E3 2012.

Last June, on the very same day Ubisoft kicked off its E3 press conference and unveiled Watch Dogs, the company registered a bunch of new domains like,, and

However, one name was missing from the list:  That’s because the name had a different owner.

Now, according to WHOIS records, Ubisoft owns the domain name as of this week and has begun redirecting the web address to its main Watch Dogs website.

The exact sales amount is unknown since the sale wasn’t publicly reported, but given is a pretty strong name on its own, the price was likely in the five-figure range.

I can only speculate on the sales price.  Although it’s not necessarily apples to apples, sold for over $4,000 USD in 2011 according to DNJournal.  So you can only imagine how much sold for, especially with all the press around the video game.

Ubisoft likely has long term plans for Watch Dogs, that is, if domain names are any clue about the company’s intentions.   Ubisoft also registered Watch Dogs movie domains last year, as well as

I’ve reached out the previous owner of by email and will update this post if I hear anything back.

Talking about this story: PC Games

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.

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(Image of Playstation 4 concept by Tai Chiem)

News Video Games

Ubisoft adds many “online” domains like,

Rainbow Six Online

Last year, Ubisoft revealed it would launch the free-to-play PC game Ghost Recon Online some time in 2012 that will be supported by micro transactions.  The free-to-play model has been part of Ubisoft’s counter to the piracy problem.

Now, Ubisoft has gone off and registered a dozen domains with “online” in the name like (Whois) and (Whois), hinting at the possibility of releasing several more free-to-play versions of its games.

The list of newly registered domains includes:

All of the domains appear to have been registered on June 27, 2012.  According to Whois History, many of the names had been registered before, but then expired and became available again.

While none of these titles have been officially confirmed by Ubisoft, the company did announce that Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Online would also be released on the Wii U.  So, it’s entirely possible if these games see the light of day, once Ubisoft gets the games right on the PC, it will launch them on the Wii U as well.

Currently, each domain name resolves to a parked page on

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