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December 29, 2008

Verizon wins $33.15m in cybersquatting case

OnlineNIC registers 663 domain names similar to those of Verizon

By CBR Staff Writer

Verizon Communications has been awarded $33.15m in a cybersquatting case against an internet domain registration company that registered hundreds of domain names with Verizon trademarks.

According to Verizon, the default ruling came in a case filed by Verizon against OnlineNIC that had unlawfully registered at least 663 domain names that were either identical to or confusingly similar to Verizon trademarks.

The court concluded that OnlineNIC’s bad-faith registrations of Verizon-related domain names were designed to attract web users who were seeking to access Verizon’s legitimate websites and calculated an award based on $50,000 per domain name. Neither OnlineNIC nor counsel representing the company appeared in court in OnlineNIC’s defense.

Sarah Deutsch, vice president and associate general counsel at 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. Verizon intends to continue to take all steps necessary to protect our brand and consumers from Internet frauds and abuses.

Verizon has won a string of similar cases. In three earlier cybersquatting cases, courts granted contested preliminary injunctions against three different violators. Verizon says it has increased its vigilance in trademark cases as part of its broader effort to protect its brand.

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