Nigerian Turns Red Eyes At Google, GoDaddy Over $150m YouTube Patent Suit

Nigerian Turns Red Eyes At Google, GoDaddy Over USD150m Website Shutdown Suit
Google in court over YouTube Patent
A Nigerian web publisher, Mr. Chianugo Peter, has disagreed with Google LLC over the allegation that his case against the multinational digital company is baseless, irrelevant, frivolous, and unmeritorious.

Peter had sued Google LLC and GoDaddy.Com LLC, a United States of America-based web hosting firm, and demanded the Federal High. Court, Abuja, to ask the two companies to pay him a whooping sum of $150 million for illegally shutting down his website, YouTubeAudio.com, which he claimed he had been managing and marketing for the past eight years.

YouTubeAudio.com which was hosted in the GoDaddy.Com LLC platform was shut down by the company after receiving a complain from Google LLC that YouTubeAudio.com has infringed on his trademark.

Google LLC, reacting to the allegation leveled against it by Peter, the company counsel, Mark Mordi, SAN, in its statement of defense dated Nov. 9, 2023, and filed Nov. 10, 2023, by its lawyer, Mark Mordi, SAN, argued before
Justice Obiora Egwuatu of a Federal High Court, Abuja that Peter's case lacks merit and therefore urged the court to dismiss the case even though since the trial commenced, GoDaddy.Com had not been represented in court and it not filed any motion of defense to join the suit.

However, counsel to Peter, Emmanuel Ekpenyong Esq. of Fred-Young & Evans LP, disagreed with Google's statement of defense and objected to the company's plea for the dismissal of the case.

Google LLC, which is the 2nd defendant in the case, through its counsel argued that "Peter did not own the YOUTUBE trademark nor did he have a bona fide claim to use or register any mark that incorporates or is similar to the YOUTUBE trademark.

However, Peter's counsel replying to the defense statement pressed further that "though it is common knowledge that Google owns the YouTube trademark, the plaintiff’s YouTubeAudio.com domain and business name is different and distinct from the YouTube trademark.”

“The 1st defendant being a domain registrar who works hand in hand with the 2nd defendant, has been in the domain hosting business for more than 2 (two) decades and has a database of existing domain names and domain names likely to infringe existing domain names.

“Upon a compulsory search, the plaintiff lawfully purchased and acquired the YouTubeAudio.com domain name from the 1st defendant without any caveat or objection that the domain name is similar or infringes the YouTube trademark or any of the 2nd defendant’s trademarks.

“The plaintiff approached the Corporate Affairs Commission (“CAC”) and upon conducting the compulsory search, reserved and registered YouTubeAudio.com as a business name for the plaintiff’s business without any caveat or objection that it is similar or infringes the YouTube trademark or any of the 2nd defendant’s trademarks.

“The plaintiff approached the Trademark, Patents and Designs Registry, Commercial Law Department, Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade And Investment, Abuja, Nigeria (“the Trademark Registry”) to register the YouTubeAudio.com trademark with logo No. 173554 in Class 16.

“And after the compulsory search, the Trademark Registry accepted the same for publication without any caveat that it is similar or infringes the YouTube trademark or any of the 2nd Defendant’s trademarks.

“The 2nd defendant only has exclusive right over its trademarks registered in Classes 9, 41, 38, 35, 42 as listed in Paragraphs 9.1 to 9.8 of its Statement of Defence.

“None of the 2nd defendant’s trademarks is registered in Class 16 where YouTubeAudio.com trademark and logo is accepted for registration before the Trademark Registry.

“In 2021, the plaintiff approached the 2nd defendant to host the YouTubeAudio.com application as “YTAudio” and its website youtubeaudio.com on the 2nd defendant’s Google Play store.

“And the 2nd defendant duly approved the name and the website and hosted the same on its Google Play store without any caveat or objection that it is similar or infringes the YouTube trademark or any of the 2nd defendant’s trademarks until 25th December 2023 when it unilaterally removed the plaintiff’s application on its Google Play store in reaction to the plaintiff commencing this suit.

“Upon clicking the application on the 2nd defendant’s Google Play store, users are seamlessly redirected to the website youtubeaudio.com which was duly approved by the 2nd defendant.

“The YouTubeAudio.com website functioned as the application’s engine room on the 2nd Defendant’s Google Playstore.”

"In 2021, Google also duly approved and registered YouTubeAudio.com on its Google AdSense program with publisher ID pub-4279408488674166 without any caveat or objection that YouTubeAudio.com infringed its YouTube trademark.

"The 2nd defendant would not have registered the YouTubeAudio.com domain name on its Google AdSense and Google Playstore platforms in the first place if it infringed on its YouTube or other trademarks.

Before Justice Egwuatu subsequently adjourned the matter until April 18 for mention, the lawyer to the plaintiff had expressed intention to amend their state of claim and writ of summon.

Category: World-News
Tag: Nigerian Turns Red Eyes At Google GoDaddy Over USD150m Website Shutdown Suit
Written by Author (author)
Published 2/13/2024 12:12:49 PM


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