So You Wanna Be A Domain Name Rockstar??

The Complainant, Rockstar Games, develops and publishes computer software.  Its parent company holds U.S. trademarks for, among others, the mark "ROCKSTAR GAMES", which was registered on May 29, 2001.  Since 1999, the ROCKSTAR GAMES trademark has been used extensively around the world to advertise Complainant's computer software products, including its well-known video game series "Grand Theft Auto".  Complainant also owns the domain name "rockstargames.com", which it registered in 1998.

The disputed domain name, "wwwrockstargames.com" was created on October 3, 2002.  At the time the WIPO Complaint was filed, the disputed domain name resolved to a website offering, among other things, pop-up advertising and links to various computer games and computer game products.

Respondent failed to respond to the Complaint.  Ordering transfer of the disputed domain name to Complainant, the Panel noted that the main difference between Complainant's trademark and the disputed domain name is the "www" that precedes "rockstargames".  As spaces are not permitted in domain names, there was no other distinguishing feature of the Respondent's domain name which was capable of differentiating it from Complainant's domain.  Recognizing that it is no longer mandatory with most modern browsers, the use of "www." in front of a domain name is invariable global practice when typing a URL into a browser and here, an Internet user would merely have to omit a single dot, rather than misspell the trademark element of the domain name in order to find itself at Respondent's website.

In finding registration and use in bad faith, the Panel cited to the fact that the disputed domain name resolved to a website offering advertisements, as well as "Sponsored links" to Playstation video games, Rockstar Games and credit and dating sites, which provide revenue to the website owner every time an Internet user clicks on those links.  The Panel further noted that Respondent's website contained reference to "Grand Theat Auto 3", a misspelling of Complainant's popular "Grand Theft Auto 3" game.  Rockstar Games v. Juan Carlos Azurdia, WIPO Case No. D2007-1557