Arbitration panel rules against movie studio for domain for upcoming film release.
Warner Bros. is releasing The Gangster Squad, starring Sean Penn, Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone, this coming October.
But it’s missing a key ingredient: the domain name TheGangsterSquad.com.
The movie studio filed a complaint with the National Arbitration Forum to try to get the domain name but failed to show trademark rights in the domain.
The history of the name is actually quite interesting from a UDRP perspective. “Tales From The Gangster Squadâ€ was a series of articles in the Los Angeles Times written by Paul Lieberman about the division of the Los Angeles Police Department called “The Gangster Squadâ€. He ran those articles beginning October 26, 2008; the registrant of the domain registered the domain on October 30, 2008. It wasn’t until November 26, 2008 that Warner Bros purchased rights to the to the article series for its movie.
Dates are an issue here, of course. But even if Warner Bros had purchased rights prior to the domain registration, would it have any sort of trademark rights to “The Gangster Squad”?
Also interesting is if L.A. times writer Paul Lieberman had any sort of rights at the time of the registration. According to the panel, the article titles that appeared in the Los Angeles Times do not constitute trademark use.
For his part, the respondent says he is an author working on a book about The Gangster Squad.
Warner Bros might have trouble with another name: GangsterSquad.com is owned by Mike Mann.