When you’re building what might just be the cutting edge of consumer technology, what’s one of the first things you should do? Buy a domain name, right? That should be like, number three on the to-do list. It’s kinda important.
Well, someone at Oculus Rift forgot and now they’re fighting a fan community over oculusrift.com.
Kotaku is reporting that Oculus Rift is has filed a complaint under the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy against Ivan Smirnov, a developer who registered oculusrift.com in June 2012. Until this weekend, the domain hosted a VR fan forum.
Oculus owns the trademark to “Oculus Rift,” so this fight over a domain (they can’t forget .net, .org, and .xxx, just to be safe) should be relatively quick. According to the internationally recognized URDP, “one person or company can wage legal warfare” if the domain name is “identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which the complainant has rights.”
Smirnov told Kotaku in an email that he didn’t intend harm. “We considered ourselves a part of the Oculus developer community,” he wrote. “We’ve been building a developer-oriented community on social media and oculusrift.com for the last couple of years. As volunteers, [we spent] our personal time helping the company.” But that community’s foothold is muddier than he’s letting on. Their Facebook page can be misleading if you’re not careful, and their Google+ is actually named “+OculusRiftOfficial.” C’mon.
Smirnov has denied that he’s cybersquatting, having turned down other offers to sell the domain. “We’re fans and developers,” he said to Kotaku. “We have no ads and we don’t do this for profit.”
When pressed by Oculus’ lawyers to give up the domain, Smirnov asked for $58,000. He got a laugh in the face. He was also told to move all of the community’s content to another domain.
A disclaimer in fine print separating oculusrift.com from Oculus Rift sat at the bottom of the forums, but it wasn’t enough to protect themselves from Oculus’ lawyers. Right now, oculusrift.com is still in use by the community but the forums have been deactivated with the following message posted at the top:
Our forum is closed.
Thanks everyone for the last 3 years.
It is a very sad day for so many of us who loved this place.
Right now, Oculus, the real guys are happily using oculus.com.