Activision files notice against owners of ModernWarfare3.com URL

Activision is now taking action against the mysterious owners of the web site URL ModernWarfare3.com. Fusible.com reports that the game publisher has filed to dispute the ownership of the URL with the National Arbitration Forum after it was discovered that whomever currently owns ModernWarfare3.com was redirecting its traffic to the official Battlefield 3 web site. Activision is developing and publishing Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3, the next game in the highly successful modern day first person shooter series. Its biggest rival this year is Electronic Arts' game own upcoming modern day shooter Battlefield 3. Both games are due for released within days of each other this fall.

At one point ModernWarfare3.com actually posted the 11 page complaint that Activision sent to the National Arbitration Forum (you can read the PDF of the complaint right here). The document basically says that in Activision's opinion the current owner of ModernWarfare3.com, who bought the URL back in March 2009, has no legitimate right to own the the URL and has secured the web site address "in bad faith."

The ModernWarfare3.com web site now has a number of other features including embedded and humorous YouTube videos of the movie Monty Python and the Life of Brian that have some dubbing added to make the characters refer to Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3. It also has other videos and statements supporting the web site owner's opinion that Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3 will not be as good as Battlefield 3. So far it seems EA has no direct connection to the owners of the ModernWarfare3.com URL.

Report a problem with article
Previous Story

Image of ZTE Mango Windows Phone appears

Next Story

Anonymous banned from Google+; will make their own network

51 Comments

Commenting is disabled on this article.

What stops people from registereing ModernWarfare4, 5, 6, 7, 8....why didn't activision do this years ago when they created the ModernWarfare name?

IT'S A DOMAIN NOT A ****ING URL

GET IT RIGHT GOD DAMN IT. THIS IS A ****ING TECH SITE SO GET THE TERMS RIGHT!

LOL JUST SICK OF THESE STUPID POINTLESS ARTICLES

war said,
IT'S A DOMAIN NOT A ****ING URL

GET IT RIGHT GOD DAMN IT. THIS IS A ****ING TECH SITE SO GET THE TERMS RIGHT!

LOL JUST SICK OF THESE STUPID POINTLESS ARTICLES

is marketing stunt

war said,
IT'S A DOMAIN NOT A ****ING URL

GET IT RIGHT GOD DAMN IT. THIS IS A ****ING TECH SITE SO GET THE TERMS RIGHT!

LOL JUST SICK OF THESE STUPID POINTLESS ARTICLES


You mad?

[quote=war said,]IT'S A DOMAIN NOT A ****ING URL

GET IT RIGHT GOD DAMN IT. THIS IS A ****ING TECH SITE SO GET THE TERMS RIGHT!

LOL JUST SICK OF THESE STUPID POINTLESS ARTICLES [/quote

Like, Well, We are going to release the game we are developing named the same as the website you registered. We technically started making the game before you registered the website - so we feel it should be ours.

That worked for the Indians with their land didn't it?

what said,
Yet for 364 days of the year, everyone hates domain squatters. Go figure.

I've never had a problem of domain squatters. If they can snatch it up before a company, and make money off of it, more power to them.

They bought it in 2009, was Modern Warfare 3 even announced yet? Besides they paid for the domain and they are the owners until it expires. Who gives a **** what Activi$ion says. All of the games have a central site http://www.callofduty.com and as far as I know it's been that way for a while.

If Modern Warfare is trademarked then Activision will get the game. Doesn't sound like it though eh? I use to work for Disney and we would 'cease and desist' any domain with "disney" in it. Ran into a lot of problems of parked domains without 'disney' and we could do nothing but offer to buy it from the owner. You can make mad bank from this. Whoever owns mw3.com should sell it to Activision... could make an easy $20k.

Aside from that, whoever owns the domain also needs a life.

I'm going to create the URL modernwarefare10 domain in good faith for the fact it won't be alive for another 6 games as it has it's name changed every few games.

b0nker said,
WHAT? They don't have a legitimate right to own the URL? They bought the domain name, wow.

That's nothing compared to the stuff going on here, there was a company who renamed itself, they knew that the site that they wished was already taken (and had been taken for a decade or so), but they still disputed it.

The legitimate owner of the domain was using the domain mostly for internal traffic + email/ftp, so he had very little of a website externally (There was always one up, but the usefulness could be argued).

Anyway they ruled in the favor of the company, based on the fact that he didn't seem to be using the domain externally, what a great ****ing way to basically lose all of your emails, not to mention that the company could in theory just hijack any potentially sensitive emails on that domain as long as they set up a mailserver.

There was also another company who made a similar attempt, this time on a website that was fully active, and similarly also used for several years by the same guy for his company, in this case before anything happened the company was basically forced to withdraw from all of the bad publicity it got for it

since when did bad faith have anything to do with registering domains? if i register the domain obamasucks.com does that mean i have vioalted a rule?

Windows7even said,
since when did bad faith have anything to do with registering domains? if i register the domain obamasucks.com does that mean i have vioalted a rule?
The discussion is about company trade marks dude. Come on..

This situation is so very funny. +1 to who ever that started forwarding to the comeptition.

Activision might have a case if they have Modern Warfare trademarked in addition to Call of Duty M...W...

That pay for taken URLs is a dead market in the US. Either companies find another site if the want the URL or they get the site revoked based on IP ownership. Who knows which way this can go. I for one want it to go to the present owner because one I think this is halarious, and two they should have registared it first.

jeff_pony said,
I am amazed Activision does not already own the domain modernwarfare3.com and beyond. Someones slipped up there....

I'm more amazed by the siteowners actually trying to defend the site from being reassigned by ICANN, must be a pretty naive bunch if they think suddenly slapping together a site with a youtube video on it would change anything.

FISKER_Q said,

I'm more amazed by the siteowners actually trying to defend the site from being reassigned by ICANN, must be a pretty naive bunch if they think suddenly slapping together a site with a youtube video on it would change anything.


What if I owned the domain "SteveJobs.com" and had it point to "BillGates.com"? Where does ICANN draw the line? Seriously, it's a domain name. If Activision, a $100's million company, forgot or missed the chance to buy this domain, why should they be allowed to get it back? They dropped the ball, shame on them.

Elessar said,
Seriously, it's a domain name. If Activision, a $100's million company, forgot or missed the chance to buy this domain, why should they be allowed to get it back? They dropped the ball, shame on them.
So you're seriously suggesting that it's okay for someone to deliberately buy a domain for a trademarked product with the sole intention of financial game? I suppose if I forgot to lock my car door it would also be my fault and criminals should be allowed to charge me money to get it back?

Did you even think before you started typing?

theyarecomingforyou said,
So you're seriously suggesting that it's okay for someone to deliberately buy a domain for a trademarked product with the sole intention of financial game? I suppose if I forgot to lock my car door it would also be my fault and criminals should be allowed to charge me money to get it back?

Did you even think before you started typing?

Where have you been? People have been buying up domains for that exact reason for decades...

theyarecomingforyou said,
So you're seriously suggesting that it's okay for someone to deliberately buy a domain for a trademarked product with the sole intention of financial game? I suppose if I forgot to lock my car door it would also be my fault and criminals should be allowed to charge me money to get it back?

Did you even think before you started typing?

t was purchased before Activision filed the trademark for it. Who's not thinking now? Y shouldn't be allowed to just take over a website because you trademarked it after the fact.

Elessar said,

Where have you been? People have been buying up domains for that exact reason for decades...

And the "stolen" domains are almost always forcefully turned over to the rightful owner of the trademark at fair market value.

war said,
And the "stolen" domains are almost always forcefully turned over to the rightful owner of the trademark at fair market value.

How is it "stolen" ? And why should it be turned over to the trademark owner? You forget the domain name was bought before Activision registard the trademark. If they want it. Pay the domain name owners for it. Simple as.

theyarecomingforyou said,
So you're seriously suggesting that it's okay for someone to deliberately buy a domain for a trademarked product with the sole intention of financial game? I suppose if I forgot to lock my car door it would also be my fault and criminals should be allowed to charge me money to get it back?

Did you even think before you started typing?

Do you even think before typing? The car situation is nothing alike. You already own the car. What you're describing would be more like hackers gaining access to the domain.

farmeunit said,
It was purchased before Activision filed the trademark for it. Who's not thinking now? Y shouldn't be allowed to just take over a website because you trademarked it after the fact.
So I should be able to register Windows 10 and stop Microsoft being able to use it? The trademark is Modern Warfare and each subsequent version adds an additional trademark for the name, so the domain is still infringing upon their trademark and is profiting from it.

Let me repeat again, did you even think before you started typing? Let's have some common sense. I think it's rather sad that you think it's acceptable to register a domain for a sequel to an existing trademark and to then profit from it. How about I go and setup a store called McDonald's 2 or Subway 2? Does that make sense? Or how about I register iPhone 7? Do you REALLY not get it? The point is the trademark - here Modern Warfare - was registered before these cybersquatting criminals decided to setup shop.

theyarecomingforyou said,
So I should be able to register Windows 10 and stop Microsoft being able to use it? The trademark is Modern Warfare and each subsequent version adds an additional trademark for the name, so the domain is still infringing upon their trademark and is profiting from it.

Let me repeat again, did you even think before you started typing? Let's have some common sense. I think it's rather sad that you think it's acceptable to register a domain for a sequel to an existing trademark and to then profit from it. How about I go and setup a store called McDonald's 2 or Subway 2? Does that make sense? Or how about I register iPhone 7? Do you REALLY not get it? The point is the trademark - here Modern Warfare - was registered before these cybersquatting criminals decided to setup shop.

Unfortunently it doesnt work that way with the WWW.

And heres a loophole: Modern Warefare can mean different things, obviously many people know it by the game, however, modern warefare can be said in a legitmate context that doesnt involve the game. All the owner did was add a three to a different context of modern warefare. If the owner of the domain had no intention on stealing intellectual property of the game itself, then theres really no proof that ''modernwarefare3.com'' means Activitions Modern Warefare game.

I would sell the url for no less than eight to nine figures, as Activision only cares about money. Then put the money in to gaming charities like the ones for buying Nintendo Wii's and stuff for Children's Hospitals.

SpecialK. said,
I would sell the url for no less than eight to nine figures, as Activision only cares about money. Then put the money in to gaming charities like the ones for buying Nintendo Wii's and stuff for Children's Hospitals.
Good thing you can't sell urls then.

Elessar said,
I honestly can't see Activision getting anywhere with this, outside of paying the owners for the domain...

they have rights to the name modern warfare 3 so Im pretty sure they can get it fairly easily.. they will have to pay a small amount for it.. But its the same if I were to open up a store and called it ModernWarfare3 .. its their name and they have it trademarked so that no one else can use it.

Lachlan said,

they have rights to the name modern warfare 3 so Im pretty sure they can get it fairly easily.. they will have to pay a small amount for it.. But its the same if I were to open up a store and called it ModernWarfare3 .. its their name and they have it trademarked so that no one else can use it.

you may have it trademarked; however if the prior owner owned it before you trademarked it, and wanted to push the issue... So if whoever owns ModernWarfare3 registered it before Activision filed for their trademark, i dont think theres much that can be done save from Activision paying the owner an outrageous fee for his domain name.

Elessar said,
I honestly can't see Activision getting anywhere with this, outside of paying the owners for the domain...

The difference is...Activision can keep the case going...appeal after appeal till the owners of the site runs out of money.

texasghost said,

The difference is...Activision can keep the case going...appeal after appeal till the owners of the site runs out of money.

Not really. Arbitration isn't able to be appealed... So Activision isn't able to keep this going with litigation.

Trademarks only work for non-generic terms or if a generic word (eg. Apple) instances that are market specific (ie. only in Electronics).

They don't need Modern Warfare 3 trademarked, Modern Warfare would do. Usually companies trademark more just for protection.

If the user of the website was using it for something completely different to PC games, and for good use, for example had something about real warfare in the last 3 years they have legitimate claim to it.... even if someone else trademarked it for a game first.

Trademarks are there to protect consumers, so only really apply if they use confuses consumers.

Frazell Thomas said,

Not really. Arbitration isn't able to be appealed... So Activision isn't able to keep this going with litigation.

Well said! Some companies could do that with regular litigation. It seems like this indeed is a arbitration.. yes, the small guy for the win!!