Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/02/07/domain_dispute/

MGM floored over Wargames.com

David 1 : Goliath 0

By Lester Haines

Posted in Law, 7th February 2007 15:58 GMT

The owner of Wargames.com - a website dedicated to selling, well, wargames - has won the right to retain the domain name despite the best attempts of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer to wrest it from him.

Rogers Cadenhead, aka the "Popesquatter" following his cheeky registration of BenedictXVI.com back in 2005, had been challenged by MGM for ownership of Wargames.com on the grounds that it breached "a trademark related to the 1983 film WarGames and the upcoming sequel WarGames 2: The Dead Code".

As Cadenhead explains on his blog, he initially had confidence in winning a Uniform Domain-Name Dispute-Resolution Policy (UDRP) adjudication. He'd registered the domain back in 1998 "with the idea of one day using it to sell wargames over the Internet", as the final report explains.

Although Cadenhead didn't actually open the store until 14 September 2006, seven days after he received MGM's complaint, the three-member panel of arbitrators denied MGM's claim on the grounds "that I established my legitimate interest in selling wargames at the domain".

The judgement explains:

Complainant rightly submits that what Respondent did after receiving the letter of September 7, 2006 cannot be taken into account in determining legitimacy. However, the speed with which Respondent was able to open his online store after having received that letter lends support to Respondent's contention that much work by way of preparation to use the disputed domain name for the purpose of selling wargames over the Internet had already been done by the time that letter was received. The sworn statements mentioned above cannot be dismissed as ex post facto attempts to concoct a defense to this Complaint. Indeed, they explain the acquisition in 2004 of the sales and use tax permit and the subscription to the Drop Ship Source Directory as being related to Respondent's intended online wargames store.

Of course, this may not be an end to the matter. MGM could opt to mobilise its considerable financial arsenal on a different battlefield. In the meantime, though, Cadenhead is a happy chappie indeed. He told El Reg: "I probably shouldn't admit this, since I own a macho domain name like wargames.com, but I'm so happy I cried like Chad Lowe at the Academy Awards." ®