Skip to main content

US Judge fines cyber-squatters over $33 million

Verizon earns millions of dollars from cyber-squatters
Verizon earns millions of dollars from cyber-squatters

In the largest cybersquatting judgment ever, a federal court in the Northern District of California has awarded Verizon $33.15 million (£22.5 million) from an Internet domain registration company that registered hundreds of domains using Verizon trademarks.

OnlineNIC, a company based in San Francisco, had registered at least 663 domain names in its campaign against Verizon.

Some were identical to Verizon brands, others were close enough to potentially confuse customers or anyone who accidentally mis-typed URLs - a practice known as typosquatting.

Cyber-squatting costs $50K a pop

The court calculated that each fradulent domain name cost the massive telecoms company $50,000 (£34,000), giving Verizon a very nice Christmas present.

"This case should send a clear message and serve to deter cybersquatters who continue to run businesses for the primary purpose of misleading consumers," said Sarah Deutsch, Verizon Vice President.

Verizon has won a string of similar cases. In three earlier cybersquatting cases, courts granted preliminary injunctions against three seperate violators.

However, neither OnlineNIC nor lawyers representing the company appeared in court in OnlineNIC's defense and it is unclear whether Verizon will actually see any of its multi-million dollar payout.