Over the holidays, telecom giant Verizon (NYSE:VZ, news, filings) won a high profile lawsuit against OnlineNIC for cybersquatting, and was awarded $33.15M. Apparently they went and registered all sorts of domains like itunesverizon, iphonefromverizon etc. But in a rather humorous turn of events, it seems Verizon’s adversary may be beyond their reach. According to InternetNews they are based in Xiamen, China and are one of the largest domain name registrars in the country.
That’s right, it wasn’t just cybersquatting, it was remote wholesale cybersquatting. So far, it appears the company has no assets in the US, so how can they collect the judgment? I suppose they could call me up while I’m here in Beijing and have me go knock on doors! Well, maybe not, given that a) I’m not in Xiamen, b) OnlineNIC would just laugh at me, and c) Verizon and I aren’t currently on speaking terms. Suffice to say that enforcing a US civil judgment in China is probably just as hard as enforcing a Chinese civil judgement in the US.
So what appeared to be a giant victory over cybersquatting now seems to have transformed into a blueprint for how to get away with it instead. What a wonderful job by the Verizon legal team that was, eh? Ah well, while I doubt they ever get their money, maybe Verizon will find a way to put some pressure on OnlineNIC and its owners anyway.
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