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Cybersquatter to pay Verizon $33m
663 squat sites have to pay up for damages.

 3:47 am on Aug 27, 2009 (gmt 0)

A federal court in California has upheld a massive $33.15m penalty against a cybersquatting domain aggregator that registered hundreds of websites mimicking Verizon's name and trademarks.

The Reg reported on the initial ruling back in December 2008, suspecting that the American telco had a slim chance of ever finding the people responsible to collect. Verizon had been awarded the judgment against OnlineNIC by default after failing to locate any of its employees to serve a summons.

Court documents later reveled that Verizon's council claims to have been telephoned by OnlineNIC's president Rex Liu just days before the default judgment was granted. The Verizon attorney alleges Liu discussed settling the matter out of court, but said the company would not pay any substantial sum of money and would likely ignore the case even if an adverse judgment were entered.

Despite contacting Verizon's council by phone, OnlineNIC failed to appear before the court until February 2009 when it filed a motion for relief from the judgment. Liu claims the five-month delay was due to him forgetting about the package containing the summons and having a poor understanding of the US legal system.

As reported at The Register



 5:52 am on Aug 27, 2009 (gmt 0)

Yippie, another worthless million dollar ruling.

Until we get some internet laws that every country must obey we will continue to have people in countries other than the U.S. do whatever they want.


 6:21 am on Aug 27, 2009 (gmt 0)

StoutFiles... we don't need "internet laws"... all we need is compliance of EXISTING copyright and trademark laws. No rocket science needed in that regard. What's missing is (IMHO) ordinary care as regards registrars and ISPs to do the right thing. Don't see that happening anytime soon.


 8:51 am on Aug 27, 2009 (gmt 0)

I've just finished a series designed to help small businesses protect themeselves from alllbeit a lower form of cybersquatting.

It is an unnerving situation that we currently see it possible for companies to register, verify and then squat companies on the web, pretty easily.

That the onus is on small businesses to take corrective steps is something we can only hope will change in the future, and that mechanisms for authenticating businesses, become easier, more authoratative and ultimately transparent for the internet users.



 10:54 am on Aug 27, 2009 (gmt 0)

Someone who has to squat on other companies trademarks to make a living likely can't afford 33 million anyway. You'd think they would round up every dime he has but all the ruling does is allow them to file for enforcement of the order which is like a whole new trial.

If Verizon wins an enforcement order the appeals begin, when finished other legal motions can be filed as well and finaly... bankrupt the company and keep right on squatting.

Laws, there are lots of them, none with gumption.


 11:51 am on Aug 27, 2009 (gmt 0)

Surely the registrar must now force these jokers to hand over the domains as an absolute minimum.



 3:38 pm on Aug 27, 2009 (gmt 0)

You may not like my opinion. But let me say it. If the penalty is unreasonably high, it will only benefit the BIG players. Small companies will be forced to go bankruptcy.

This is not good for small business. All the small potatoes will be intimidated/scared and die.

Only the BIG ones will have big $ to hire expensive lawyers (who are often liars too) to squeeze competitions.

In the end, The big player will kill competition/small players, using/abusing legal means similar to this case and then raise prices for consumers.

(I am not speaking for cybersquatter. Just speak in general on cases like this.)


 4:48 pm on Aug 27, 2009 (gmt 0)

I have to agree with Stevegpan2...

Any big corporation can come along and bully the smaller guys. I realize that the guy mentioned in the article probably did this on purpose....and fine, he got what he deserved.


 7:10 pm on Aug 27, 2009 (gmt 0)

Laws, there are lots of them, none with gumption

A judgement like this has to be immune from bankruptcy. It's not a golden umbrella, many things are not protected. If so, it is an important lessen for the punished who wont come up with 33 mil, but will end up liquidating and paying most of what they do own or make in the future.


 8:41 pm on Aug 27, 2009 (gmt 0)

Until we get some internet laws that every country must obey we will continue to have people in countries other than the U.S. do whatever they want.

there are far tougher laws in several countries (European ones for example) than the cop-out legislation currently on the books in the States, the result of endless rounds of lobbying and dilution.

also, this might interest you:


The United States sends out more spam than any other country in the world, according to a report published Monday by security firm Sophos.

During the second quarter of 2009, 15.6 percent of the globe's junk mail traffic was relayed from the United States, followed by Brazil, which was responsible for 11.1 percent, and Turkey, at 5.2 percent. The top three rankings did not change from the first quarter.

Typically, the relaying PCs were part of large botnets designed to deliver unwanted emails on behalf of spammers located elsewhere, the report said. That is, the spam usually did not originate in the United States, but could be traced to compromised U.S. machines that actually sent it out.

(I thought china was the worst, no?)


 5:46 am on Aug 28, 2009 (gmt 0)

but will end up liquidating and paying most of what they do own or make in the future.

Not likely, can't touch his home or vehicle, can't touch anything not fully his, can't touch whatever he needs to be able to earn a living which might very well be parts of his business, especially if he had employees. That's what I meant by laws and rulings without gumption. He has rights that even a 33 million ruling cannot alienate.

About 18 months ago I read a story about a divorce case in the local paper, one of the parties emptied the bank account and bought a $110,000 sportscar and proceeded to file for divorce the day after. The vehicle was his only transportation, the party was allowed to keep it legaly at the other parties full expense (roughly $5,000 remained in equity between them after the car). Was $110,000 to $5,000 a fair split? no, but that's how the judge interpreted the law on that day.


 5:59 pm on Sep 1, 2009 (gmt 0)

StoutFiles... we don't need "internet laws"... all we need is compliance of EXISTING copyright and trademark laws.

...which differ depending on the country you are in.

"Internet laws" would be the same no matter what country you're from and would take into account copyright and trademark laws. If every country could agree we could have "internet police" (currently this is Google) who can investigate these claims and have sites shut down and internet priviledges revoked.

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