With the cavaet that I have not handled domain name disputes under Nominet’s procedure, nor have I read the underlying submissions, I will say that I am ‘surprised’ by this Nominet decision awarding game.co.uk to Game Group, owners of a GAME chain of stores selling, hmm, games. 

It’s interesting that someone could establish rights in GAME for games.

The second interesting question is when the relevant time of inquiry should be, given that the Nominet policy is targeted at ‘abusive registration.’   Here, registrant has owned the name since 1995.  Assuming that complainant’s allegations are correct, which is that registrant, after a period of several years of either warehousing the name or using it in connection with his game industry consulting business, then changed the usage of the site fairly recently to compete with complainant’s now-booming business, that would seem to make for a colorable passing-off action, and would not seem to speak to registrant’s actions in 1995, when he registered the name.

The decision is on appeal.

Commentary from The Register here.