Alleged cybersquatter forced to give up ‘Xbox’ domains

An independent judge handed Microsoft a victory in a domain dispute with a Chinese man who owned several registered domain names incorporating the term “Xbox.” Microsoft’s complaint to the National Arbitration Forum alleged the names of the domains were too close to the name of Microsoft’s widely known Xbox game system.

Rules set down by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers were guidelines used by the NAF and the website registration site GoDaddy.com to resolve the domain name dispute. The NAF, comprised of a group of attorneys and ex-judges to resolve disputes outside of court, received no response to a written notice sent to the domains’ registrant.

Microsoft felt the domains’ owner was cybersquatting with no rights to register the domains, including xbox8.org. The domain name is presumably a mash up of the trademarked Xbox video game console and Windows 8, the soon-to-debut upgrade of Microsoft’s personal computer operating system.

An NAF judge agreed that the registrar appeared to have no valid interests in the domains including “Xbox” in the name. At least three of the Chinese owner’s Xbox domains linked to other sites that were for sale, an indication the names were purchased with bad-faith intent.

Cybersquatting is a practice used by companies or individuals to profit from reserving potentially valuable domain names. Microsoft might have chosen to purchase the domain names to protect its trademark or file a full-blown, expensive lawsuit against the registrant.

The NAF judge granted Microsoft rights to all the disputed domain names. A separate Microsoft complaint to the NAF over the domain name xbox8.us named the same registrant, using a different name, for cybersquatting. Microsoft also won that dispute.

Among the domain names Microsoft acquired through the GoDaddy.com transfer were xboxlivetv.com, xboxtablet.com, xboxphone.com and xboxcompanion.com, names that Microsoft argued were confusingly similar to its trademark.

Source: The Verge, “Microsoft acquires Xbox8.org and other domains in China,” Dave Tach, July 3, 2012