The company that bought domains like myverizonwireless.com, iphoneverizonplans.com, and verizononline.com may have thought it was picking up high-profile domains that could leverage the cell carrier’s popularity, but instead has picked up a tab for over $33 million dollars. A court awarded the sum to Verizon last week after the representatives of the company that registered the domains failed to appear in court to defend it.
OnlineNIC, a company based in San Francisco, was found to have registered 663 domain names in bad faith – an illegal attempt to mislead Verizon customers. When no one from the company appeared in a San Jose federal court to make a case for it, the court tabulated a default award of $50,000 per domain, producing the final sum of $33.15 million, which is the largest in cybersquatting history, according to Verizon.
“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 and associate general counsel, in a statement.
The judgment may be the first of many cybersquatting legal clashes to come, as both Microsoft and Google also have such cases in the legal pipeline.
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