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MGM Loses Bid for WarGames.com

MGM loses UDRP decision to Rogers Cadenhead, owner of WarGames.com.

Last month I analyzed MGM’s UDRP attempt to get the domain name WarGames.com from registrant Rogers Cadenhead. Cadenhead just contacted me to let me know he won the arbitration.

The three member arbitration panel decided that Cadenhead proved that he planned to open a site at the domain that sold war games (not related to the trademark for the movie):

The picture that emerges from this material is of the Respondent, having seen Complainant’s WARGAMES movie as a teenager in or about 1983 and having developed a professional interest in computer programming and wargames, to the extent of writing about them, creating them and publishing material on numerous websites, registered the disputed domain name in 1998 with the idea of one day using it to sell wargames over the Internet. That idea remained in abeyance for six years until Respondent began to prepare to open his online store. Meantime the domain name resolved to a website which, inter alia, contained advertising links which most likely generated PPC revenue. By the time Complainant complained by letter of September 7, 2006, preparations to open the online store had advanced sufficiently to enable Respondent to advance his plans and to open the store on September 14, 2006.

On Cadenhead’s blog, he reflected on the UDRP process and says he is going to write a book about how domain name owners can protect themselves:

When first contacted by MGM in September, I was certain that I would win a Uniform Domain-Name Dispute-Resolution Policy (UDRP) case if my ownership of the domain was challenged. I didn’t know much about the UDRP, having never been involved in one of these disputes in a decade of web publishing, but I understood that it existed to stop people from grabbing domains to profit on somebody else’s trademark. I got Wargames.Com to sell wargames.

The more I learned about the UDRP, the less confidence I had in winning. Most disputes end in victories for trademark holders and there’s a huge number of ways that domain owners have been judged to have acted in bad faith.

Where domain owners are concerned, the UDRP’s a strange game where the only winning move is not to play.

This battle has been four months of stress-induced, take the whole gallon of ice cream out the fridge eating — people are starting to ask my due date. The next book I write will cover how domain name owners can protect themselves from a UDRP grab.

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  1. mike says

    The UDRP is a joke. It essentially subjects americans to foreign courts. It is reason #1 why The United States should not give up control of the internet.
    I recently reviewed every 3-letter domain WIPO case and was shocked at how many of these domains were taken away from their original owners.
    If you can’t own a 3-letter domain and feel secure then what is the point in owning any generic domain?
    If you glance over the lists of all WIPO disputes you will see hundreds of people have had their obviolusly generic domains stolen from them.
    Does anyone remember when JCrew stole crew.com?
    Here is what FRank Schilling had to say on the subject in his open letter to ICANN:
    I am writing to protest your policies and your perception of “Bad Faith” in regard to the holding of domain names. I feel your addition of peoples names, geographical areas and tradenames is oppressive to existing domain holders and smacks of “internet micro-management”. You are quickly moving down a path of where domain holders rights to their registered names are constantly called into question. This creates uncertainty in the name space, stymies capitalism, limits growth potential on the web and will inevitably lead to a backlash. The real reason for your tough stance is incredibly transparent and shallow. You are selling hope to the millions of people who failed to register their domain name of choice. Your are offering these people a soft shoulder to cry on, a chance to re-write history and some teeth to take existing name-holders rights away. The reprocusions of your arbitrators actions are far reaching. You are attempting to legislate the internet’s future growth. Domain names “are the Internet” and I feel your liase-fair attitude and your arbitrators liberal interpretation of “Bad Faith” is doing ireperable harm to the name space. Your actions show incredible lack of judgement and bad faith in of themselves. The internet was created in America at the American tax payers expense. Your arbitrators actions could not run more counter to the American ideals of capitalism and oportunity for all. Frank Schilling

  2. mike says

    I don\’t have any stats, but I would estimate that about 1/3 of UDRP\’s concerning 3-letter domains are decided in favor of the complainant. I don\’t think a 3-letter domain should be taken away from its original owner for any reason.

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