Activision has filed a complaint with the National Arbitration Forum against the holders of ModernWarfare3.com.
According to Fusible, the complaint was filed on July 15 and promptly posted in full to ModernWarfare3.com – although it seems to have been removed since.
In the 11-page complaint, which cost Activision $2,600 to file, the publisher attempts to fulfil multiple requirements for a dispute of this kind.
The first issue, that “the domain name is identical or confusingly similar to complainant’s trademark”, seems pretty clear. In claiming that the “respondent has no legal right or legitimate interest in the domain name”, Activision’s lawyers suggest that by hosting advertising and links to games retailers (both since removed), the site is a commercial interest.
Activision also attacked the site’s use of copyrighted assets, and said that by talking up Battlefield 3, “attempted to cause confusion with and tarnish” the Modern Warfare 3 trademark. It also took issue with being prevented from “using the logical choice” for its Modern Warfare 3 website. All this, Acti submits, adds up to a lack of legitimate interest.
As for ModernWarfare3.com’s having “registered and used the domain name in bad faith”, oh boy, it found “various indicia” of just such a motivation.
Citing the registration’s timing – after announcement of Modern Warfare 2 – Activision calls it an “opportunistic” domain grab – squatting, in other words – before pointing again at everything listed above.
Activision’s lawyers have turned up several past cases supporting a ruling in its favour, and requested the domain be turned over to it.
Last week, ModernWarfare3.com cheekily redirected to Battlefield 3’s website. Although it has returned to a former appearance, it has removed advertising and retail links, and added the label “a parody”, possibly an attempt to claim fair use of Activision’s trademark and assets.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 is due on PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 in November.