December 24, 2008
BASKING RIDGE, N.J. – In the largest cybersquatting judgment ever, a federal court in the Northern District of California has awarded Verizon $33.15 million in a case in which an Internet domain registration company tried to take advantage of Verizon and Verizon customers by using Internet names chosen to be easily confused with legitimate Verizon names.
The default ruling came in a case filed by Verizon against OnlineNIC, a company based in San Francisco 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.
“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. “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 has increased its vigilance in trademark cases as part of its broader effort to protect its brand and put its intellectual property innovations to work.
Verizon’s intellectual property legal group was named one of the five best in the world by the International Law Office, with the support of the Association of Corporate Counsel. The organizations named Verizon a winner in their Global Counsel Awards for 2008, based on an “in-depth analysis of in-house lawyers and legal departments worldwide.”
Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ), headquartered in New York, is a leader in delivering broadband and other wireline and wireless communication innovations to mass market, business, government and wholesale customers. Verizon Wireless operates America’s most reliable wireless network, serving nearly 71 million customers nationwide. Verizon’s Wireline operations include Verizon Business, which delivers innovative and seamless business solutions to customers around the world, and Verizon Telecom, which brings customers the benefits of converged communications, information and entertainment services over the nation’s most advanced fiber-optic network. A Dow 30 company, Verizon employs a diverse workforce of more than 228,000 and last year generated consolidated operating revenues of $93.5 billion. For more information, visit www.verizon.com.
Eric Rabe, 908-559-3500
December 20, 2008
by Adam Strong
The US Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration sent a letter to ICANN expressing concern over the plans to introduce new TLDs.
December 19, 2008
By Eric Goldman
Yesterday, the court ruled on class certification, and perhaps not surprisingly, the court denied certification – giving Google and the other defendants an early Christmas gift. Happy holidays! This ruling doesn’t completely squelch the lawsuit, but without class certification, the case becomes a whole lot less interesting to the plaintiff’s lawyers.
December 19, 2008
Marina del Rey, CA – ICANN’s redesigned system for receiving reports of inaccurate domain name registration data has gone live today.
The Whois Data Problem Report System (WDPRS) has a number of advantages over the previous system, which was first introduced in 2002. Among them are:
- More detailed information is captured from complainants to assist registrars in investigating Whois inaccuracies
- Duplicate reports regarding the same domain name are not accepted by the system
- Reports concerning domains already on hold are removed
- Greater capacity has been introduced to allow for bulk submissions of reports
- Processes have been put in place to assess registrar compliance with RAA Whois inaccuracy investigation requirements
The revamped WDRPS can be found at http://wdprs.internic.net/.
The WDPRS allows the public to file reports of Whois inaccuracy regarding active domain names. The WDPRS transmits Whois inaccuracy reports, via email, to the sponsoring registrars for investigation as required by Section 3.7.8 of the Registrar Accreditation Agreement (RAA) http://www.icann.org/en/registrars/ra-agreement-17may01.htm.
In 2002, ICANN developed the WDPRS to improve Whois data accuracy and to assist registrars in carrying out their responsibility to take reasonable steps to investigate Whois inaccuracy claims. Although significant system enhancements were made over the past six years to address community needs, a more comprehensive system redesign was determined necessary to realise the system objectives. This new software system also allows ICANN to make future enhancements quickly to respond to community needs.
Since its implementation in 2002, ICANN has seen a significant rise in the number of Whois inaccuracy reports filed through this system. In 2002, approximately 24,000 Whois inaccuracy reports were filed using the WDPRS. In 2008, over 200,000 reports have been filed since 1 March 2008
In an effort to improve Whois accuracy, registrar compliance with RAA investigation requirements, operational effectiveness, data processing, data recovery, and increase data capacity, ICANN commenced WDPRS redesign plans earlier this year. In consultation with the Intellectual Property Constituency, the Registrar Constituency and other community members, ICANN redesigned the system.
Through the redesigned WDPRS, ICANN seeks to address concerns raised by the Internet community regarding system irregularities, the filing of irrelevant claims and insufficient data capacity. ICANN conducted beta testing with external constituencies to ensure operational functionality and usability of the system prior to launching the redesigned WDPRS. ICANN encourages the Internet community to provide comments to ensure the continual improvement of the WDPRS.