Expect to see a number of unhappy faces at Nintendo headquarters for a while – at least, wherever Nintendo's legal team sits – as the company has officially lost an appeal with the World Intellectual Property Organization over the rights to the domain name wiiu.com.
Nintendo officially filed a cybersquatting complaint against the owner of wiiu.com in February of this year, but there were a few kinks in the plan even back then. For starters, the unknown owner of the domain first registered it in 2004, well before Nintendo ever debuted or released the original Wii console, let alone the Wii U. It's thought that the name was simply part of a mass registration of four-letter domains and, in this case, the owner struck gold.
Worse for Nintendo, the domain name was scheduled to go to auction over at SnapNames prior to the cybersquatting complaint being filed. Once the complaint hit, however, the auction was officially pulled – it's likely that Nintendo might have been able to score the name for cheaper than what it might ultimately end up paying to secure the site post-appeal denial.
It's estimated that Nintendo paid anywhere from $5,000 (£3,280) to $250,000 (£164,000) for the original wii.com back in 2006 – the transaction being bound by a nondisclosure agreement, hence the wildly ranging estimates that might, themselves, not even come close to what Nintendo actually plunked down for the site.
As first reported by Fusible, Nintendo's not the only gaming company in a bit of a predicament when it comes to domain name ownership related to their trademarks. Sony doesn't currently own the domain name playstation4.com, referencing its upcoming console. Microsoft doesn't own xboxone.com (or xbox1.com), but the company has already filed its own cybersquatting complaint against those domains, and others, in an attempt to win them over.
In Microsoft's case, the company went to the National Arbitration Forum instead of the World Intellectual Property Organization with its dispute. There are plenty of differences between the two organisations for those looking for judgment on a domain name dispute, including the raw number of words one can file in a complaint, the fees involved with doing so, and the makeup of the ruling body that decides on said complaints.
The World Intellectual Property Organization didn't list any reasons for why it elected to deny Nintendo's appeal, nor have Nintendo representatives offered up any commented related to the dispute.