Video game company Build a Rocket Boy tried reverse domain name hijacking

Gaming companies duke it out in cybersquatting dispute.

The words "Reverse domain name hijacking" and a computing image of a skull

A World Intellectual Property Organization panelist has found (pdf) Build a Rocket Boy Games Ltd guilty of reverse domain name hijacking.

The video game company was founded by Leslie Benzies, a well-known video game producer credited for his work on Grand Theft Auto. It’s currently working on a “AAA” title called Everywhere.

Build a Rocket Boy uses the domain It filed a UDRP against, which is owned by eSports company Build a Rocket GmbH.

That company was founded in 2016, two years before the Complainant started its business. The Respondent initially used the domains and and then acquired the matching .com in 2018, the same year the Complainant was founded.

The Complainant did not file a dispute against the domains registered in 2016 but made a curious argument about why the .com was a case of cybersquatting:  .com implies global relevance, but the Respondent’s business activities are limited geographically. It’s a novel argument but not relevant to the UDRP (and the Respondent argues it does offer services globally).

The parties have been involved in trademark cancellation proceedings, so the Complainant was aware of the Respondent’s history.

Panelist Assen Alexiev found that Build a Rocket Boy Games Ltd engaged in reverse domain name hijacking:

In the present case, the Complainant is represented by counsel. There is no question that the Parties are involved in numerous trademark cancellation and opposition proceedings, and the Respondent has submitted evidence showing that the facts about the Respondent’s company name and its activities prior to the commencement of the Complainant’s activities in 2018 have been brought forward by it in these proceedings. The Complainant was therefore aware of these facts and ought to have known that it could not succeed as a result, but nevertheless proceeded to file the Complaint.

Marks & Clerk Solicitors represented the Complainant, and Osborne Clarke Rechtsanwälte Steuerberater Partnerschaft mbB represented the domain owner.

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