Whenever there is something viral or trending, it seems that people register a ton of domain names to try and capitalize on the trend or participate in it in a unique way.
If you’ve been watching the news for the last few days (or are into gaming), you’ve probably heard about Pokemon Go. If you haven’t, CNN published an article about it yesterday.
As with other trends, it seems that people are trying to capitalize on it by registering domain names with the word “Pokemon” or other related terms that are likely trademarks of Nintendo. Here’s a tip if you’re thinking about doing it: stop! Registering obvious trademark domain names can be pretty dumb and potentially costly.
Most domain names with trademarks aren’t worth anything, and they can lead to threatening letters, UDRP filings, and potentially litigation. Although Nintendo doesn’t seem to be too active on the UDRP front (I only found 3 filings from Nintendo at WIPO since 2010), there is still that risk. There could also potentially be litigation if they want to be even more aggressive.
It should be pretty obvious by now that registering domain names with trademarks is a dumb idea. Judging by the hundreds of “Pokemon” related domain names that have been registered over the last few days, it doesn’t seem like people are being wise about it. Here are just a handful of Pokemon .com domain names that have been registered very recently:
I don’t think registering domain names like this is a good idea, and it may end up costing people more than just a few dollars and their time.
Keep in mind that I am not a lawyer, so don’t take this as official legal advice.
Non-dictionary trademark words are glaring examples of infringement. “Fair Use” interpretations are unacceptable with non-generics where no basis to claim unawareness of the famous mark at the
time of registration is reasonable.
What about the domains already registered? As per Namebio:
pokemon-age.com 1,006 USD 2008-06-02 Sedo
pokemononline.org 900 USD 2008-03-16 GoDaddy