Zuffa Sues for TheUltimateFighter.com

May 5, 2010

J.R. Riddell of Sherdog.com is reporting that Zuffa has filed a lawsuit against the owner of theultimatefighter.com in attempt to gain ownership of the domain name. Zuffa currently uses the similar UltimateFighter.com to promote its reality TV series The Ultimate Fighter. Hence, its concern.

In the complaint, Zuffa alleges that it began using a number of “The Ultimate Fighter” trademarks as early as 2003. Records of the United States Patent and Trademark Office show that Zuffa filed to register trademarks in “The Ultimate Fighter” in June 2004. Zuffa’s complaint also alleges that in January 2004, an individual named Anton Resnick registered the domain name at issue with the domain registration company, eNom, Inc. Zuffa claims Resnick never used the domain name in connection with a legitimate commercial fair use, and so should therefore be deemed a “cybersquatter” under the provisions of the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act (United States Code, Title 15, section 1125(d)). Zuffa cited this Act in asking the court to restrain and enjoin eNom from transferring the domain name to any other party. Zuffa’s prayer for relief includes a request for a permanent injunction requiring eNom to transfer the registration to Zuffa.

Payout Perspective:

In March, Zuffa launched the ad-supported UltimateFighter.com with the aim of increasing the reach of the popular reality TV series. The website features every episode and fight from all eleven seasons of the show. The website is somewhat of an experiment; one that might eventually allow Zuffa to host entire events on the internet through the same ad-supported model (or even a branded content model). Another upside to the ad-supported website is that it gives the company a host of tracking options that allow it to really drill down on viewership patterns and demographics.

Thus, understandably, Zuffa is looking to protect its interests by gaining ownership of similar domain names. I can’t help but be reminded of the MikeRoweSoft incident of a few years ago, but it would seem as though this issue is past the point of sending the domain holder an Xbox and calling things even.

One Response to “Zuffa Sues for TheUltimateFighter.com”

  1. Joe on May 12th, 2010 3:00 PM

    Zuffa’s claim isn’t that strong. That’s why they’re suing in federal court under the ACPA instead of engaging in an arbitration under the UDRP.

    They’re betting that they can throw their weight around and that this defendant can not afford the cost of litigation.

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