Take-Two Loses Fight Over BioShock.com Rights
If youve ever wandered over to BioShock.com in hopes of finding out more about Irrationals 2007 shooter or its sequels, you may have been surprised when you were instead faced with a website that houses links to just about everything other than BioShock. Thats because the domain is owned by Name Administration, Inc.; the official site of the BioShock game is actually located at BioShockGame.com (pictured above). BioShock publisher 2K Games parent company, Take-Two Interactive, set out earlier this year to obtain the rights to the BioShock.com domain, which has been owned by Name Administration, Inc. since December 2004.
The WIPO notes in its judgment (via Gamer/Law, GamesIndustry.biz) this month that "BioShock" wasnt trademarked until November 16, 2005, nearly a full year after the domain was registered on December 6, 2004. That alone wasnt enough to lose the case for Take-Two. But it didnt help that the term "bioshock" had been used previously, including by Johnson & Johnson, as well as the fact that the domain "is connected to a web site that does not seek to trade on the goodwill of the underlying trademark since it is associated with fields other than computer games and consistent with the scientific fields conjured up by the constituent components of Domain Name."
Take-Twos main argument was the obvious one: "[T]he only reason for [Name Administrations] use of the Domain Name is to trade off the value and goodwill of [Take-Twos] BioShock trademark by diverting users to third-party commercial websites for profit." In addition to that, Take-Two points out that Name Administration is known for domain squatting, which is essentially the practice of registering a domain name involving a trademark owned by someone else with the intent of profiting through advertisements displayed on the website. Take-Two even noted that Name Administration had, hilariously enough, previously registered TakeTwoInteractive.com, though they relinquished control of the domain to Take-Two upon request.
The judgment ultimately declined the complaint, meaning BioShock.com will remain under the control of its current owner. Take-Two will simply have to make do with BioShockGame.com -- BioShock2.com continues to go through a similar situation, though thankfully for Take-Two, it has already snatched up BioShockInfinite.com.