Feeds

Verizon awarded $33.15m against cybersquatter

Good luck collecting it

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications

Verizon has been awarded $33.15m in a cybersquatting lawsuit against a shady domain aggregator that registered hundreds of websites using the telco's name and trademarks.

In a default judgment this week, a federal court in Northern California ruled this week that OnlineNIC should pay $50,000 for each of the 633 domains Verizon claims were created specifically to be confused with legitimate Verizon brands.

According to the lawsuit filed in June 2008, OnlineNIC used an automated process to claim sites such as verizononline.com, myverizonwireless.com, 123verizonphones.com, accountverizonwireless.com, and iphoneverizonplans.com. The fake Verizon sites hosted ad links and pop-under advertisements that resulted in revenue for OnlineNIC.

Verizon calls the decision "the largest cybersquatting judgment ever" – which is probably a bit far-reaching unless the company follows the ancient Mayan calendar in which the universe ends in 2012. And that award could be $22 zillion, for all it matters - the real trick will be collecting it. No one appeared in court on OnlineNIC's behalf, and Verizon itself can't figure out exactly who's behind the scheme, according to court documents.

Verizon claims that OnlineNIC conceals its owners' true identities and involvement by using numerous shell entities, fictitious businesses, and personal names for ICANN registration. The firm also allegedly deletes infringing domains within five days and then re-registers to avoid paying registration costs and to avoid detection by trademark owners.

OnlineNIC claims to be based in San Francisco, although its website offers an Oakland, California mailing address. Court filings show that Verizon was unable to find a correct mailing address for any OnlineNIC employees at which to serve the court summons.

Nevertheless, in a statement Verizon says that the judgment "should send a clear message and serve to deter cybersquatters who continue to run businesses for the primary purpose of misleading consumers."

Microsoft and Yahoo also have similar lawsuits currently pending against OnlineNIC. ®

HP ProLiant Gen8: Integrated lifecycle automation

More from The Register

next story
Auntie remains MYSTIFIED by that weekend BBC iPlayer and website outage
Still doing 'forensics' on the caching layer – Beeb digi wonk
Bring back error correction, say Danish 'net boffins
We don't need no steenkin' TCP/IP retransmission and the congestion it causes
NBN Co adds apartments to FTTP rollout
Commercial trial locations to go live in September
GoTenna: How does this 'magic' work?
An ideal product if you believe the Earth is flat
Samsung Z Tizen OS mobe is post-phoned – this time for good?
Russian launch for Sammy's non-droid knocked back
Telstra to KILL 2G network by end of 2016
GSM now stands for Grave-Seeking-Mobile network
Seeking LTE expert to insert small cells into BT customers' places
Is this the first step to a FON-a-like 4G network?
What FTC lawsuit? T-Mobile US touts 10GB, $100 family-of-4 plan
Folks 'could use that money for more important things' says CEO Legere
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable
Learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.