Los Angeles Business Litigation Attorney | Will Video Game Companies Have to Pay Big Bucks for Domain Names?

The technology news website Fusible reported on June 30 that the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) denied a cybersquatting complaint Nintendo of America had filed against the owner of the website WiiU.com. Wii U is the name of Nintendo’s latest video game console, but the video game website Kotaku reported that WiiU.com was actually registered in January 2004, even before the original Wii existed. As Fusible noted, the case “seemed like a slam dunk case for the video game company,” which now casts a little more doubt on the chances of success for Microsoft in regards to its own complaint filed over the domain names XboxOne.com and XboxOne.net—although that complaint was filed with the National Arbitration Forum, not WIPO.

Fusible reported that Nintendo filed its complaint just days after WiiU.com was set for auction on the domain name auction marketplace SnapNames, but the listing was removed once the case was filed with WIPO. The video game company may have been able to buy the domain name at a much cheaper price than what it is expected to command now, and Fusible noted that Nintendo previously paid “a substantial amount of money for Wii.com” in 2006. The price paid to Washington paper company Weyerhaeuser was never publicly disclosed, but the video game blog Joystiq wrote that it would “expect that sum to be upwards of seven digits” and domain name industry website Domain Name Wire’s Andrew Allemann said he “wouldn’t be surprised” if Weyerhaeuser received more than $3 million for the domain.

“Nintendo’s efforts to recover the domain name wiiu.com through a Uniform Dispute Resolution Policy administrative proceeding were unsuccessful,” the company said in a statement. “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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