BioShock publisher Take-Two has failed in a bid to wrestle control of www.Bioshock.com from a professional domain name purchaser known as Name Administration.
Cayman Islands-based Name Administration acquired Bioshock.com in December 2004, shortly after rumours of the original BioShock game surfaced. Take-Two didn’t file for the trademark BIOSHOCK until November 2005.
Take-Two put lawyers on the case to gain control of the domain name, leading to arbitration proceedings before the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) in May 2010, GamerLaw reports.
The publisher argued that "the only reason for [Name Administration’s] use of the domain name is to trade off the value and goodwill of [Take-Two’s] BIOSHOCK trademark by diverting users to third-party commercial websites for profit". It also pointed out that Name Administration had been found to have cyber-squatted a number of other websites in the past, including taketwointeractive.com, although this was given to Take-Two on request.
However, the panel said that Name Administration had acquired Bioshock.com before there was any association of Take-Two with Bioshock, and pointed out that Bioshock.com was associated with fields other than videogames, as proven by prior interest in the domain from chemical and cosmetic firms.
"[Take-Two] has failed to prove that [Bioshock.com] was registered and used in bad faith", the panel ruled.
Take-Two currently owns the domain bioshockgame.com and BioshockInfinite.com, but not Bioshock2.com.