back to article Verizon awarded $33.15m against cybersquatter

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 …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "Verizon says that the judgment "should send a clear message...""

    And that message is: "Make sure you use enough shell corporations and aliases that nobody can collect the judgment."

  2. J


    How hard can it be to find them? If they are selling ads, they must be reachable, somehow. Or so I think, which isn't much nowadays. Buy some ad space from them, don't pay, and they'll even contact you too...

  3. Gerrit Tijhof

    @ J

    Somewhere in the whole moneycollecting process there will be a teenage boy at a Western Union franchise collecting cash, and there the trail vanishes disappears.

  4. g e

    So why not...

    Award the domains to verizon so they can be transferred away by the registrar?

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Gerrit Tijhof

    What? That kid is just helping process payments for a highly respected BMW tuning company / textile importer / steel refiner / international financial business company! How cynical of you.

  6. Herby Silver badge

    How the money trails...

    It is probably one of those companies that is "Crazy Like a Fox" ads that show up on late night TV. They always have a different URL at the bottom of the ad, or some such. Yes, you can "make money fast"! Often is it one of those schemes that propose to make you a small fortune, only after you had a large fortune to start with.

    Maybe they should go "up the food chain". Oh, sorry it is InterNIC, they don't do anything!

  7. Dan

    Follow the money... @ Gerrit

    "That teenage boy at at a Western Union" can be made to give up what he did with the cash trail real easy. Take the judgment, and take his parent's house, car, and all of their possessions. Unless he can prove that he is not the person that they just won against in court. This is shaping up to make Verizon the new RIAA.

    Frankly, they don't even have proof that the same person was behind each of these domains, and they still need to prove service of the proper process. Good luck doing that in China.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I don't have that much of a problem with this issue. Why?

    This issue isn't about Verizon wanting to buy up domain names which it could use, such as in case of people guessing the URL, and still being directed to their site.

    So people googled Verizon, and inadvertently went to one of his sites, and he made a bit of money out of doing it. Big deal. The user would then just go back to the search engine and continue to seek out the official Verizon site. No harm has been done and Verizon haven't lost any revenue.

    It's really a copyright/trademark issue that this guy was creating site names using the word Verizon which is presumably trademarked and using without authorisation.

    But I understood you could use a trademarked name as long as you put the "TM" in superscript at the end, and have the phrase "All trademarks recognised".

    But it's hard to do that in a domain name isn't it!

    I suppose the guy could have recognised the trademark on the website itself.

    But I don't think this is what the case was about.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters


    They're on Nom-steer. plotting to make Nominet pay for it!

    Black helicopters, because they're watching you.

  10. James Woods


    Good luck collecting the money from this company. It's a chinese company, probably ran by the Chinese Government. We attempted to do business with this company a number of times and their true identities were always elusive.

    Let's hope that GoDaddy is next in these types of lawsuits. They do the same thing with domains.

  11. Dick Middleton

    Stop this happening

    "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."

    This capability should be abolished. The ability to use a domain free for 5 days results in much spam and scam. Use of a domian should not be enabled until payment is received, should be for a minimum of 2yrs and should be non refundable.

  12. Mr. Carver

    Court Summons..

    Since when did it fall on major corporations or companies to serves summons? I was always under the impression that a court was supposed to do this. I guess if i want to bring suit against someone, all i have to do is say i tried to contact/serve them, was unsuccessful, and i'm guaranteed to win my argument.

  13. Anonymous Coward

    @Gerrit Tijhof

    Somewhere in the whole money collecting process there will be a teenage boy at a Western Union franchise collecting cash, and he can be grabbed by the authorities and used to follow the money trail. The only reason cyber crooks are "untraceable" while billion dollar drug cartel kingpins are "traceable" is that the authorities actually care about catching the billion dollar drug cartel kingpins.

  14. Richard Silver badge

    Surely Google knows?

    Most of the ads will be Google ones.

    And thus one way to collect is to get the court to allocate all the funds Google would have paid to OnlineNIC to be to Verizon.

    This would pretty mush crush OnlineNIC without even finding out who they are - they'll lose their revenue stream.

  15. MarkMac

    follow the money

    Doesn't matter if someone is collecting cash, they've got to be handing it to someone. No punk collecting cash is going to do jail-time over his involvement, not if faced with a backpayment of $33M to pay off, and he must be passing it on to someone. of course, the guys behind this could stop operating, break off all contact with middlemen and thus cover their tracks entirely - but they won't, they like money too much.

    More to the point, what sort of rubbish vetting do ICANN run, that lets this happen? Phoney names? Book-and-cancel fraud? Don't they do /any/ KYC checks? Heck, and people call Wall Street lax and sloppy.

  16. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  17. Brandon


    What happened that was illegal? Someone bought a domain name before a big corporation... and somehow that's damaging the big company? Oh that's right... big companies are also big contributors to legislators' campaigns.... I remember... <slaps forehead>

    Aliens, because they know how to regulate commerce... and they need to abduct some US senators...

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