Over the weekend, we learnt that Nintendo lost its case to take over the website name wiiu.com -- a domain registered way the hell back in 2004, before "Wii" even existed as a word or trademark. So what exactly did "wiiu.com" stand for nine years ago?
According to the full text of the World Intellectual Property Organization's judgment, "wiiu.com" originally referred to some kind of semi-acronym meaning "We Invest In You." It was the name of a venture of Oceanside Capital, a venture capital company, and the domain was registered by a Mr Andy Tran on behalf of the company back in 2004.
“WIIU is merely descriptive of the future purpose for which Respondent intended to use the disputed domain [name], in connection with a planned website entitled ‘We Invest in You’,” is how the domain holder described it.
Nintendo, in its filing, alleged that wiiu.com was "first registered on Sept. 15, 2012 and renewed... on Feb. 11 2013." But the domain's owner said Nintendo was alleging that a technical change in domain registration data was the same as a new registration, where wiiu.com was still under "an unbroken chain of underlying ownership by a single entity or within a genuine conglomerate."
The WIPO panel also found that Nintendo did not meet its burdens of proving that the name had been registered and used in bad faith, nor that it proved that its owners "had no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name." For those reasons, the decision was denied, highly unusual considering how successful game companies have been in the past at recovering domains that reference their trademarks.
Nintendo on Monday released a statement acknowledging its case had failed, while saying the company would examine its remaining legal options. Meantime, the official Wii U web site is www.nintendo.com/wiiu
Nintendo of America, Inc., v. Domain Privacy Group/Domain Admin [World Intellectual Property organisation Arbitration and Mediation centre. h/t Hon. Neil Brown, QC Australia]