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Xbox One domains: Microsoft goes for cyber-squatter's jugular

By Randell Suba , May 27, 2013 08:13 AM EDT
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Xbox One game console (Photo : Microsoft | iTech Post)

Microsoft has filed a complaint with the National Arbitration Forum (NAF) to claim ownership of the domains XboxOne.com and XboxOne.net. Case Number 1501205 was initiated by the manufacturer of Xbox One on May 23 and is currently tagged as "pending" on the database of the agency.

Based on traces made using the WhoIs domain registration search engine, both XboxOne.com and XboxOne.net are registered to and currently owned by a London resident. The domains were purchased on December 29, 2011. As of reporting, both xboxone.com and xboxone.net are parked domains.

"Microsoft's domain name portfolio is a part of its ongoing business strategy, but beyond that we have no comment," a representative from the software giant informed IGN.

The NAF functions similar to a court and handles disputes with regard to ownership of domains. It is not yet clear how long it will take to resolve the case. The company needs to prove that the domain names are somewhat similar or identical to a trademark that it owns.

The Redmond, Washington based company did not buy the Xbox One-related domain names prior to the official unveiling of the gaming console to avoid leaking potential names of the device to domain name hoarders and watchers, according to a report on Fusible.

This is not the first time Microsoft has gone for the jugulars of cyber-squatters. Back in 2003, the company filed a case against MikeRoweSoft.com, a website used for a web design business of a certain Mike Rowe, a high school student from Canada. Microsoft saw the case as an infringement of their brand and asked the youngster to give up the domain name. It also accused Rowe of cybersquatting.

"Cybersquatting is registering, selling or using a domain name with the intent of profiting from the goodwill of someone else's trademark. It generally refers to the practice of buying up domain names that use the names of existing businesses with the intent to sell the names for a profit to those businesses," the plain-English law dictionary, Nolo, defined.

The ICANN policy is also very clear about such disputes - complaints may be filed when a certain domain name is confusingly similar or identical to an existing trademark, when a registrant has no right or legitimate interest in the use of the domain name, and when the domain name is registered in "bad faith."

The ICANN is a non-profit organization based in Los Angeles that oversees various internet-related issues to make sure the web remains secure, orderly, and interoperable.

Microsoft unveiled the Xbox One in May 21. The newest gaming console was previously referred to as the Durango or Xbox 720 during development. The console will be available before the end of 2013.

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