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EA loses domain dispute for SSX.com for upcoming SSX launch

Video game maker unsuccessful in challenge to SSX.com domain name.

SSXElectronic Arts releases a reinvention of the SSX snowboarding video game next month, but it has failed to convince an arbitration panel that it deserves the domain name SSX.com.

The domain name was purchased by Abstract Holdings International LTD as part of a $200,000 domain name portfolio purchase last October. For a brief period of time the domain name was parked with ads related to video games.

EA pounced on this brief infringing pay-per-click usage to show bad faith on the part of the registrant.

For its part, the registrant admitted a brief bad faith use of the domain name but said the domain wasn’t registered in bad faith.

The three person National Arbitration Forum panel determined that EA did not establish a prima facie case of bad faith:

The EA allegations of bad faith in part are based upon the lack of due diligence conducted by retailers of domain names like Respondent. EA would seem to require that entities like Respondent conduct an international search for relatively obscure trademarks in order to determine whether a name is a registered mark. The Panel is not willing to go so far, as discussed below.

Still, and particularly in this case, the Respondent is treading on thin ice. A fair reading of its pleadings reveals that Respondent made absolutely no attempt to examine its purchases for domain names which were also trademarks. Again, here, at least one “generic” string of three letters has been trademarked and is perhaps a common law mark of a number of business and other entities in a number of lines of business all around the world. Given the ease of searches using the common tools of the Internet, how much is it to ask of a retailer like Respondent to do a little extra work?

The panel also determined that the domain registrant had established rights or legitimate interests in the SSX.com domain name.

The respondent was represented by domain name attorney Zak Muscovitch of The Muscovitch Law Firm.

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  1. @Domains

    I agree with the outcome, now lets see what happens. You really have to be careful with what people see if they type in your domain name, you don’t want to infringe on a trademark for sure.

  2. JamesD

    Well done ZM!
    Is it just me, or are panelists becoming less biased towards complainants recently? Some well considered cases coming through.

  3. John Berryhill

    “Is it just me, or are panelists becoming less biased towards complainants recently?”

    Over time, yes. Most UDRP cases are pretty much no-brainers. It’s sort of like traffic court in that regard. Two things that have helped over time are (a) over-reaching complainants with bad claims that have motivated panelists to be a little more skeptical of taking them at face value, and (b) skillful advocates like Zak who are able to explain in terms panelists can understand, why cases with merit on the respondent’s side are different from the run of the mill.

    Zak has been a real pioneer in this area. When the UDRP and other domain dispute policies were launched in what seems like not too long ago, nobody really knew how to defend these things and not many attorneys were interested in doing it. Zak has been extremely clever and effective in his work, and has also generously shared his ideas with others who work in this area.

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