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YouTube sued by UTube

Sara Goo

Universal Tube & Rollform Equipment Corp., of Perrysburg, Ohio, sued YouTube Inc. earlier this week, claiming that millions of people confused its Web site, utube.com, for the online video site where people watch entertaining home-made videos.

UTube said it is now receiving 70,000 visitors to its site per day, a figure that is climbing, because so many people confuse it with the world's biggest Internet video site. You'd think that would be good for business, even if you are selling heavy machinery, but Utube said that was not the case.

From the lawsuit, filed in U.S. District court in Northern District of Ohio: "Due to the confusion in the minds of consumers, the spillover of nuisance traffic to Plaintiff's neighboring website at utube.com has destroyed the value of Plaintiff's trademark and Internet property, repeatedly caused the shutdown of Plaintiff's Web site, increased Plaintiff's Internet costs by thousands of dollars a month, and damaged the Plaintiff's good reputation."

UTube also claims the online video site "condones the public exhibition of lewd and other disgusting videos" and allows visitors to view "unauthorized copyrighted material from major television networks..."
The company is seeking an unspecified amount in damages.

YouTube, which stands to be $1.65 billion richer after Google Inc. completes its purchase, hasn't responded to the lawsuit yet. In an email to me, YouTube declined to comment on the suit.

By Sara Goo  |  November 1, 2006; 6:49 PM ET  | Category:  Sara Goo
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Comments

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Hmm... given that the "utube" trademark in question was only registered a week and a half ago, I would have to think that this lawsuit is probably not going anywhere. You can find the trademark by going to uspto.gov and looking for trademark ID 77023852.

Posted by: Jake | November 1, 2006 10:07 PM

soooo put up some ads and make money off ads instead a spending (wasting ) money on lawyers and MAKE money not lose it and like ht eguy said the trademark being reged a week and a half ago could actually back fir as how long has youtube been up?????
might be grounds for a counter claim and ill bet thye trademarked youtube

Posted by: chronoss | November 1, 2006 11:10 PM

Pretty silly basis for a lawsuit: The letter "U" and the word "You" are pronounced the same (and sometimes used interchangably in webspeak), so let's sue YouTube, who incidentially just got bought by a filthy rich company, because a significant portion of the population spells YouTube as UTube when typing a web address. Or, we could change our web site name...naw, there's no money in that...

Posted by: David | November 1, 2006 11:54 PM

Just because lots of people never learned that YouTube is YOUTube, not UTube, doesn't mean that YouTube owes UTube any money, right? Times are a changing. I remember back in the day there was a website at www.yahooo.com that reveled in the fact they were a typo away from the search giant. To satisfy my curiosity I misspelled Google and Yahoo and apparently they shelled some cash out to purchase those old domains and direct surfers to the right place. I bet those crafty guys who owned yahooo.com made some nice change! Why in the world would UTube burn that bridge? They stood to make a lot of money by transferring their domain name to YouTube. That money could've created them a new web identity (a major point they are whining about to their lawyers). Instead they will spend lots of money (hopefully) and lose the case (they better). Cause if they don't, domain owners like myself may have a new way to gain revenue: sue your neighbors!

So please, I ask that everyone go to: www.utube.com
Go several times a day.
Go every hour.
Why, make it your HOMEPAGE!

Please spread the word, for the love of freedom.

Couldn't they be civil? Google just spent 1.65 BILLION DOLLARS to buy YouTube, do you really think they wouldn't shell out a few MILLION to buy a website that would increase their web traffic?

Idiots.

Posted by: Dustin | November 2, 2006 12:06 AM

Hmmm...UTube suddenly hopes that Google will spend money on them?

Nice pipe dream.

Not.

Posted by: Reality Check | November 2, 2006 1:21 AM

In contradiction to my first post, the recent trademark registration doesn't actually make UTube more likely to lose. In fact, It slightly increases the work YouTube will have to do to defend themselves. But the lawsuit is still silly, and will lose.

Posted by: Jake | November 2, 2006 1:35 AM

According to the Trademark office the UTube moniker has been in use since 1996. I think that pre-dates YouTube by a bit.

I think this is a very valid lawsuit. The extra traffic on UTube's site is costing them real money. Should they just eat the extra expense? I think the parties actually causing should pay for it.

Posted by: DT | November 2, 2006 11:49 AM

This is like a small business suing a sports stadium across the street because all the extra foot traffic going to his store is costing him money. Most businesses would be thrilled to have more foot traffic. Like Chronoss said, put up some ads to help cover the cost. There are sites out there who would drool over this chance. I bet they could sell utube.com to one of those domain squakers for money

Posted by: Dave | November 2, 2006 12:08 PM

I'm glad it's not My Tube ! Bill G-

Posted by: Bill Godwin | November 2, 2006 12:12 PM

Except the vast majority of YouTube's visitors probably aren't in the market for actual tubing. So Universal Tube's cost of business is going up due to increased bandwidth use, but their profit increase is probably negligible, at best.

Posted by: To Dave | November 2, 2006 12:35 PM

Dave: Actually, it's more like the people going to the sports stadium are tromping through your yard and flower garden to get to the stadium.

Posted by: DT | November 2, 2006 4:34 PM

A suit based on "damages" created by idiots who do not understand what a homonym is? BRILLIANT!

Posted by: Ray | November 2, 2006 7:17 PM

U and YOU are different.Some of those looking for youtube but unfamiliar with how it is spelled will type utube and universal tube will get unwanted traffic to there website(this is what I did).These people are not interested in industrial machinery at all(of course there will be exceptions).This is a huge nuisance for utube because due to the large numbers involved.The bottom line is there are millions of websites and the number is of course only going to increase.There are only 24 letters in the English alphabet and all want as few characters as possible in their domain name.Similarities will exist.It would suck to be similar to such a popular site but TOUGH! It is a fact of reality;deal with it!Bringing up the point that youtube condones "the public display of lewd and disgusting videos" is totally irrelavent to their argument and serves as notice to us all how whack this all really is.

Posted by: finalword | November 19, 2006 1:38 PM

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