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Take-Two loses legal battle over BioShock domain

Court rules in favour of Name Administration for Bioshock.com

BioShock publisher Take-Two has lost a legal battle to try and wrest control of the URL www.bioshock.com from a company specialising in domain squatting, Name Administration Inc. (NA Media)

Gamer/Law reports that the publisher failed to win over a legal panel on a number of points, resulting in the site remaining under the control of NA Media, who first acquired it in 2004 - after BioShock had been unofficially announced but before Take-Two had registered it as a trademark.

The fact that Take-Two hadn't registered the trademarks at the time of the URL's registration weakened the publisher's case, but Name Administration also argued that Bioshock had other connotations separate from Take-Two's business, citing that cosmetics company Johnson and Johnson had expressed interest in the URL whilst it was mooting an unrelated Bioshock skincare range.

Take-Two had also argued that NA Media had a history of squatting its domains, having initially registered taketwointeractive.com, control of which was given to Take-Two shortly afterwards. NA Media pointed out that, at the time of the unofficial announcement, Take-Two were not openly associated with BioShock.

Bioshock2.com is currently in a similar situation, whilst Irrational Games has ensured that Bioshockinfinite.com is under its control.

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Latest comments (11)

Lawrence Makin Audio 6 years ago
Domain squatting should be criminalised. Next.
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Stephen Arnold Business Development, Localsoft Games6 years ago
I hate domain squatters. I've had battles with people who snapped up my domain as I hadn't set it to re-register automatically, then the guy tried to sell it back to me for thousands of dollars. He still has it to this day - I ended up switching to .org
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Joe Bognar Junior PR Manager, Techland6 years ago
Exactly!
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Jim Webb Executive Editor/Community Director, E-mpire Ltd. Co.6 years ago
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Luke Salvoni Senior iOS Developer 6 years ago
Firstly, I totally agree with Lawrence. In addition, seeing as companies/organisations/individuals are still able to (partially) get away with domain squatting, why doesn't the games industry take a leaf from the movie industry.

eg, bioshockgame.com (registered by Take-Two) // bioshock-game.com (available) // etc.

... if they're so insistent on buying new domains per title/series, I don't see what's wrong with this; granted it's not ideal, but would save time and money to both parties... and potential embarrassment when they lose such a case.
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I think, most publishers are now wise to this issue however, back in 2004 - domain squating wasnt so rampant yet.

Nevertheless, I think in this case TakeTwo had a good argument but not necessarily a strong case in a court of law.
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Jordan Woodward Level Designer, Rebellion Developments6 years ago
I really hate domain squatters. I registered a .co.uk domain recently and not long after had a company bombarding me with emails trying to get me the .com and .net they were sitting on, unfortunately for them I don't care enough to pay thousands of pounds for it. I get really annoyed when a name for something i want is taken and all that's on the site is some crappy random ads.
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Jim Webb Executive Editor/Community Director, E-mpire Ltd. Co.6 years ago
All Name Administration Media had to prove was that a 3rd party (in this case Johnson and Johnson) had interest in the domain name and that the domain name was not a moniker exclusive and unique to Take-Two Interactive.

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Michael Tegos Editor, Official PlayStation Magazine Greece, Attica Media6 years ago
NAM did manage to find legal grounds for this, but it doesn't make it any less despicable.
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Christopher Bowen Owner, Gaming Bus 6 years ago
What this court case shows is just how blinkered the legal system is in regards to the internet, both the defence lawyers and the judges. Any person who's worked with domain registrations could have won this case. It's patently obvious that the moment Bioshock was a viable product, Name Association used an automated registration script to grab the domain. It should have been obvious because they did it to Take Two, establishing that they've done this before and have a history of squatting. Could'a, should'a, would'a, it doesn't matter what the "purpose" of the site is, because that same site is on hundreds of Name Association sites. No one established to the judge what a "park page" is?

I had my own issues with domain registrars when I lost a domain that I'd been using. Due to some technicalities, I lost the domain - and all my data, since I could now no longer access via FTP - and the company who owns the name wants thousands of dollars for it. It's set to automatically renew (at $10/pop), as well. In short, I'm screwed. They have me by the balls, and there's nothing I can do about it.

I personally feel the judgement was wrong.
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Thomas Avasol CEO, Aurathon AB6 years ago
I don't understand what the fuzz is all about here. They didn't have a Trademark for Bioshock, case closed. Just because it's a game company we all love and care about doesn't mean they have the right to knock on your door and say "Hey gief me ur domainz" and that's what the court had to decide on.

How strong is this legal protection? Well, someoneone registered Xbox2.com before 360 was trademarked, leading some people to believe that Xbox2 was an impossibility because apparently the owner of that domain tried to sell it for a billion dollars. Did he squat on the domain in hopes MS would pay up? Certainly. Just like land owners in the old west who got there first had the right to sell highly coveted property. Nothing strange about it.
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