Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Verizon Announces $33.2 Million Cybersquatting Default Judgment

Several news sources ( and Dow Jones Newswire) reported on the $33.2 million default judgment obtained by Verizon Communications Inc. against OnLineNIC, Inc. for alleged cybersquatting. See Verizon California Inc. et al v. OnLineNic Inc., Case No. 08-cv-02832 (N.D. Cal.).

Verizon sued OnLineNIC for registering 663 domain names that were “identical to or confusingly similar to Verizon trademarks.” Verizon claimed that the registrations were done in order to steer traffic away from Verizon's sites.

The default judgment awarded Verizon $50,000 per domain name.

Verizon’s counsel associate general counsel Sarah Deutsch was quoted as saying “This case should send a clear message and serve to deter cybersquatters who continue to run businesses for the primary purpose of misleading consumers."

Or maybe it just sends a message that if you are sued, you should take the lawsuit seriously or else face the consequences of a default judgment and, in the cybersquatting context, the strong likelihood of the plaintiff electing to receive statutory damages under 15 U.S.C. § 1117(d) which can range from a minimum of $1000 to a maximum of $100,000 per domain name depending on what the court considers just, which apparently in the Verizon case was $50,000.

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