In a National Arbitration Forum decision issued yesterday, Activision triumphed over Anthony Abraham, the holder of the modernwarfare3.com domain which temporarily redirected to Battlefield's website as part of what appeared to be an elaborate prank.
Activision argued that it held trademark rights to the term "Modern Warfare" and claimed that the domain name under discussion was "confusingly similar" to its trademark. It also argued that Abraham had no rights or legitimate interests in the disputed trade name, and that he was using it in bad faith. Abraham's counterargument was that the term "modern warfare" is generic and not monopolized by Activision. He also claimed that the domain name pointing to Battlefield's website was a mistake and that he was making preparations to "use the disputed domain name to establish a site for commentary, news, discussion and criticism as part of a fan site and forum for video gamers." He also argued that the upcoming new Call of Duty title was not being promoted as "Modern Warfare 3," the game's name instead being stylized as "Call of Duty: MW3."
The three person National Arbitration Forum panel found Abraham's arguments to be "uncompelling" and found that "the evidence of a fan or social networking site are perfunctory." The panel also noted that Abraham used the site to promote "goods sold in competition with Complainant's [Activision's] goods" and that "given notice of the dispute, it reiterated that abuse by redirecting Internet users to the site of a direct competitor of Complainant."
The panel found that the the three limbs of Activision's case -- its "confusing similarity" to its trademark, the fact Abraham had no rights or legitimate interests in the name and that he was using it in bad faith -- to be firmly established. As a result, the panel ordered that modernwarfare3.com be transferred from Abraham to Activision.
This article originally appeared on GamePro.com as Activision Wins Modernwarfare3.com Case