Verizon Wins $33 Million in Suit Over Domain Name
Verizon Communications, the telecommunications company, has been awarded $33.2 million in a lawsuit against an Internet services company that it claimed had registered hundreds of domain names with Verizon trademarks.
The default judgment of $50,000 for each of 663 addresses registered by the Internet company, OnlineNic, was issued last Friday by United States District Judge Jeremy D. Fogel in San Jose, Calif. Judge Fogel froze OnlineNic’s assets and ordered the transfer to Verizon of all identical or confusingly similar addresses.
Verizon sued OnlineNic of San Francisco in June, accusing the company of trademark infringement and illegal “cybersquatting,” or registering addresses intentionally to confuse Web users. Such knockoff names often take users to pages that advertise competing products, Verizon said.
“This case should send a clear message and serve to deter cybersquatters who continue to run businesses for the primary purpose of misleading consumers,” Sarah Deutsch, an associate general counsel at Verizon, said Wednesday in a statement.
OnlineNic registered more than 900,000 domain names similar to some of the world’s biggest companies, including Google, Adidas, the News Corporation’s MySpace, Wal-Mart Stores and Yahoo, Verizon said in court papers. Verizon accused OnlineNic of using an automated process to register the addresses and employing “numerous means to conceal its true identity.”
OnlineNic’s Web site says the company has been an accredited registrar since 1996 for the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, or Icann, the organization that oversees the functioning of the Internet.
OnlineNic did not immediately respond to e-mail messages seeking comment. Directory assistance could not provide a number for the company. No lawyers for the company were listed on the court docket.