Take-Two loses out on bioshock.com
Squatter keeps hold of precious domain.
Take-Two has lost its battle to take control of the domain name bioshock.com after the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) ruled in favour of a company that basically runs a silly landing page on it.
According to the detailed ruling (thanks Gamasutra), bioshock.com became available at the end of October 2004 when the original registrant, Chem-Pro, let it lapse. BioShock itself was first announced at the start of October.
However, for reasons not fully explained, nothing happened with the domain until December that year when Name Administration, Inc snapped it up.
Take-Two told the WIPO that previews of BioShock had been hitting since October and that the domain's new owner must have known that and registered it with that in mind. Take-Two also pointed out that Name Administration has previous - it used to own taketwointeractive.com until it gave it to the publisher after a complaint.
However, Name Administration retorted that Take-Two didn't actually file a trademark on an "intent-to-use" basis for BioShock until November 2005, almost a full year after it bought the domain name.
The game itself didn't come out until August 2007, and Name Administration had a bit of a pop at Take-Two about that too.
"The suggestion that [announcing a game] acts as some sort of placeholder 'right' for the nearly four years before the Complainant actually released a product would not only confer such a 'right' against all known principles of trademark law, but would do so apparently for an indefinitely long period of time," it protested.
WIPO then basically agreed.
"The Panel finds that the publication of an interview with the game developer and the announcements of the release of the BioShock videogame in certain blogs and on videogame web sites described by the Complainant are insufficient on their own to establish a common law trademark right prior to the date of the Domain Name registration," it ruled.
It also said that the name wasn't unique anyway - Johnson & Johnson wanted to use it at one point for cleaning products. (Much as we like the game, that would have been awesome.)
Bioshock.com then - your first stop for random links to "Telescopes", "Hazardous Material Training" and, er, domainnamesales.com. Correct in law but not in spirit, perhaps.