The registrant of chatgpt.com must have thought he’d hit the motherlode when he picked up the domain last December, almost a month after it launched and days after the wildly popular AI chatbot had already received rave reviews from the global press.
What he got instead was a UDRP complaint with WIPO, which ChatGPT maker OpenAI filed last week.
While you’d expect it to be an open-and-shut case, it appears OpenAI was almost as slow with its trademark applications as it was with its domain registration strategy.
The company uses a subdomain of openai.com for the chat service. It launched November 30 last year and received high praise in outlets including the New York Times over the following week.
The .com registrant picked up the previously unregistered name on December 13, but it was not until December 27 that OpenAI applied for a US trademark on the brand.
It wasn’t even the first to apply for a trademark. A company called BrandCentral applied for the mark on December 15, in various “merch” categories unrelated to AI or software, but has since withdrawn the application.
Fortunately for OpenAI, WIPO allows complainants to assert common law trademark rights if the brand is sufficiently famous, and ChatGPT had well over a million users by the time the domain in question was registered.