Verizon wins $31 million judgment in cybersquatting case

By , IDG News Service |  Legal, OnlineNIC, Verizon

Verizon Communications has won USD$31.15 million in damages in a cybersquatting case it brought against domain registry OnlineNIC, while Microsoft is seeking judgment against the same company and Yahoo has recently filed similar charges.

Verizon had accused OnlineNIC of registering at least 663 domain names identical or confusingly similar to Verizon trademarks. The domain names listed in the complaint, filed June 6, included verizon-cellular.com and buyverizon.net. Both of those domains are now in the hands of other companies.

OnlineNIC must now pay Verizon $31.15 million and transfer the disputed domain names to Verizon, according to the default judgment handed down by Judge Jeremy Fogel in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California in San José on Dec. 19. In addition, OnlineNIC may not register or trade in further domain names containing Verizon trademarks, Fogel ruled.

The win was an easy one for Verizon -- although it may have trouble collecting the sum awarded, as OnlineNIC did not oppose the company's request for default judgment.

Microsoft filed its suit with the same court on Oct. 7, accusing OnlineNIC of registering over 97 domain names identical or confusingly similar to Microsoft trademarks including Windows, Encarta and Halo. On Dec. 16, Microsoft requested entry of a default judgment against OnlineNIC.

Yahoo filed suit on Dec. 19, accusing OnlineNIC of cybersquatting and trademark infringement. Yahoo listed over 500 domain names it claims are identical or confusingly similar to its brands, including yahoozone.com, yahooyahooligans.com and denverwifesexyahoo.com. It said the disputed domain names were registered by OnlineNIC either for itself or 10 other defendants, most of them with addresses in China.

OnlineNIC is still listed by ICANN, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, as an approved registrar for the .asia .biz .com .info .mobi .name .net .org .pro and .tel domains.

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