News Article

Nintendo's Claim to WiiU.com is Denied

Posted by Thomas Whitehead

If Ninty wants it, it'll have to pay

A relatively common occurrence, and one that a lot of large companies confront on a regular basis, is the issue of cybersquatters that buy up common URL addresses in the hope that they'll subsequently make money selling them to the parties concerned. The likes of Nintendo and its rivals resist buying up addresses early for fear of names being leaked and products revealed ahead of time, which certainly happens regularly.

Nintendo's latest battle to claim a bought-up web address has failed, with the World Intellectual Property Organization finding against the company in its attempts to be awarded WiiU.com. That leaves Nintendo in a position where it'll likely have to negotiate a fee with the owners to acquire the address, which is especially frustrating as the URL was up for auction in February anyway, which was the time that Nintendo raised its objection.

It's not the first time Nintendo has battled for a URL, yet this one was bizarrely registered way back in 2004, perhaps explaining why Nintendo's claim has been rejected. As Eurogamer reports, Nintendo previously failed to win the award of the already-owned Wii.com in 2006, and ultimately had to pay the owners a fee suggested to be six figures.

[via eurogamer.net, fusible.com]

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User Comments (37)

grenworthshero

#1

grenworthshero said:

Holy crap, six figures to buy out a domain name? I wish I had that kind of luck. The person who made the side probably had no idea what was going to come of it back in 2004.

Maskeraid

#3

Maskeraid said:

Six figures... For a website name? What other product/thing is called WiiU? -.-

Araknie

#5

Araknie said:

@Happy_Mask You're missing the point by a mile.

It's not that the matter, it's people buying and creating domain to take advantage of videogame companies that have to buy them from 'em.
Also called Blackmail.

Sekuiya

#7

Sekuiya said:

It's not exactly blackmail. It's how everything happens.
Why do you have to buy that completely empty territory to build your house there? Because someone claimed it before.
Internet domains work the same way.

FantasiaWHT

#8

FantasiaWHT said:

I don't have any problem with so-called "squatters". How is it any different than buying some vacant land in the hope that a developer will be willing to pay big bucks for it sometime in the future?

Dizzard

#9

Dizzard said:

@Araknie I don't understand how somebody can buy a domain name legally and then be called out in the wrong afterwards? Isn't that how business works? You buy something in the hopes you can make more money by selling it later.

They bought the domain legally and now Nintendo have to buy it from them. Tough luck for Nintendo. That's just how it works.

rjejr

#10

rjejr said:

Was it registered in 2004 after the Wii was announced, or did that not happen until 2005? If it's before even the Wii name was announced it's hard to see this as related. And Nintendo should have looked into this BEFORE the WiiU was announced. How hard is it to type www.WiiU.com into a browser and see what comes up? Then just have some unknown underling buy it for $100 from the guy.

Nintendo also needed to establish - Wii2, WiiHD, WiiPlayTogether, WiiMii and probably another dozen or so offshoots. Pay now or pay later.

ferthepoet

#11

ferthepoet said:

if it bought in 2004 it can't be a squatter, you are a only a squatter if you get a domain with a trademark on it ( I guess nintendo did not had trademarks for Wii U either back then) AND don't use for a legit purpose don't know what this guy was using it for.

You can also legitimately make lots of money by registering a domain of something that is not trademarked before it gets big, like a guy did by getting mp3.com before mp3 became the thing

BATRA

#13

BATRA said:

why do they need this ?
they have nintendo website with wii u on it they can make a wii u channal on the wii u console you no

Ristar42

#14

Ristar42 said:

Reminds me of 'Dave's Sega Saturn Page', though that was a cool website for Saturn fans, rather than a case of 'squatting'.

F4LLEND4RK

#15

F4LLEND4RK said:

I don't understand they don't have to buy it? Over 1 mill for a URL? I don't see how buying a URL for over a Million would generate money for them?

theadrock13

#17

theadrock13 said:

If I were N I'd just forget about that domain and let the squatter stew. The domain name is unimportant. Most people who want info will google it anyways. Nobody types URLs by hand anymore.

GN004Nadleeh

#18

GN004Nadleeh said:

since Nintendo is so stupid and greedy because their flop of a console called the wii u isn't selling so they try to sue people. glad you lost and hope you have to pay out the burro for the site. they could have easily bought it but no, they wanted to steal it. ha ha for losing! the man owned the site before the crap wii brand even existed

GN004Nadleeh

#19

GN004Nadleeh said:

@rjejr that is so underhanded, the greed of this world will kill us all. they should have bought it outright with no secret henchman.
Threats against other users will not be tolerated. Don't do it again. — TBD

Falco

#20

Falco said:

I think apple once had to fork out 500 million for a company name from a Chinese company, they initially conned it of them for 50 grand by hiding the fact it was apple they were dealing with.

Yorumi

#23

Yorumi said:

They should just leave it, the owners can't use anything trademarked or copyrighted so it'll be pretty obvious it's not an official site. Nintendo doesn't need the address.

MrL1193

#26

MrL1193 said:

@CowLaunch I'd say "extortion" would be a pretty good word for it, though. Whatever the current owners are using the name for, I'll bet it's not worth millions to them, but that's what they'll make Nintendo pay.

R_Champ

#29

R_Champ said:

@Araknie

I think there is a technical term called patten trolling (not kidding, I think that's what it's called) where people coin names or technology just in hopes of being able to sue someone or get a company to pay them later.

Razalom

#31

Razalom said:

Sorry they registered the domain in 2004 which was before even the name Wii was announced let alone the Wii U. Glad Nintendo didn't win.If you want something go buy it Nintendo.

Hylirica

#33

Hylirica said:

@FantasiaWHT No different, but that doesn't make either right. You're just holding something and leaving it empty when plenty of other people want to turn it into something useful or fun. It's a drain on society, and hopefully we can put a strong enough social stigma on such behavior that people and companies will no longer be willing to make a buck that way since they'll lose all their friends/customers. At any rate, it's not illegal, but neither is picking your nose and wiping it on the salad bar.

Zantagor

#34

Zantagor said:

It might not have been a cybersquatting site in 2004, but right now, it is.
There's no content on that page right now aside a phony site that's fed from dubious search engines. Even worse, the 3rd link is "Download Nintendo WII Games" which downright promotes piracy.

I still don't get how the hell WIPO would not take Nintendo side for such an obvious squatting site.

They definitively didn't side with Apple UK instead of Apple, or itunes.uk.co (which existed years before itunes even came to existance)

To me, it just sounds like WIPO didn't do their job correctly on that one.

cubed

#35

cubed said:

@miletich3 Wii U is trademarked by Nintendo, but it does not mean they should have the rights to own WiiU.com.

If you think otherwise well it's like saying …Nintendo is a trademark?? …so in theory any domain name that has the word Nintendo in it …should belong to Nintendo …Right?? GoNintendo, NintendoLife, NintendoEverything etc etc etc

My point is Nintendo are just cherry picking, because they have the money to do so...

Take that other site Nintendo went after something like downloadwii…com. ...well it has the word Wii in it, so Nintendo wanted it. I know they were some other stuff, but that's not relevant in this case.

Mortenb

#36

Mortenb said:

Nintendo can't just go around taking domain names they want through force. Trademarks should be a way to go after people who do business in your domain under your name without permission, presuming you were first to use the name in said domain. It is not for owning a particular name in all it's possible uses. If these guys start actually fooling anyone to buy their products in stead of Nintendo's Wii U on this site, then they should be forced to stop doing it. But they should not loose the domain still.

Henmii

#37

Henmii said:

"If Ninty wants it, it'll have to pay"

I guess they will pay. After all, this domain is important for Wii u's succes!

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