UTube suing Google’s most recent acquisition: YouTube

The internet video-sharing giant, YouTube is probably one of the fastest growing websites in internet history. For those of you who don’t know, YouTube allows its users to upload videos to their servers to be viewed by the masses. The website’s trademark “Broadcast Yourself” perfectly embodies the company’s vision. The site has become a social haven for amateur film makers, comedy clip seekers, and interested viewers.

Just under four weeks ago, the site was sold to another internet giant, Google, for a grand total of $1.65 billion in stock; more than three times the amount News Corporation paid for MySpace.com. Obviously, there is some serious money to be made here. Since purchasing the site, Google even plans on paying back its users by rewarding uploaders for popular videos.

Now, just three weeks after Google bought YouTube (November 1st), another company, UTube.com, is filing a lawsuit against the internet giant. UTube.com, which is the web address for a company called Universal Tube & Rollform Equipment Corporation of Perrysburg, Ohio, is suing YouTube because of the conflict in the name. UTube claims that YouTube has stolen their name and now their company is suffering damages because of it.

The company, which specializes in selling tubes, pipes, and other machinery, complained that their website has been bogged down by heavy amounts of internet traffic. Apparently, due to YouTube’s popularity, users have been typing “UTube” into their search engines in hopes of finding “YouTube.” These mistakes have caused UTube.com’s traffic to skyrocket from 1,500 unique visitors a month to 2 million unique visitors a month. Due to the heavy increase in traffic, UTube has been forced to move hosts 5 times. They also claim that bandwidth bills have increased by a factor of 100. The company registered their domain back in 1996, making their site much older than YouTube.com. Now here’s the kicker, instead of simply getting a new domain, the company claims that UTube.com is strongly tied to the company’s identity.

Universal Tube owner Ralph Girkins said in a statement that the whole ordeal has been an “enormous expense and distraction” for them. He also said that the problem has caused communication issues with his customers. The company has also had other identity problems regarding YouTube.com. Girkins claims the company has been contacted by Australian police and accused of having child pornography on their website. Girkins said: “I resent this personally and this confusion is hurting our business.”

As for the lawsuit, it asks that either YouTube stop using youtube.com as their domain name or reimburse Universal Tube for all the damages caused to the company and the cost of re-branding their products and services; a move Girkins claims would take years to complete.

The problem with this whole lawsuit, however, is that YouTube has done nothing legally wrong. YouTube.com is a completely different domain than UTube.com. What has happened here has happened out of chance; it could not have been predicted. To top it off, UTube isn’t even the company’s real name, it’s just a domain. The company wouldn’t have to change their identity, they would only have to change their web address. It would be unfair for YouTube to change their domain simply because a similar domain is suffering from their success. It seems more like somebody trying to bank on YouTube’s success than it does a legal issue. But, who knows, maybe the courts will see it differently.

Source: CNet, Mashable!

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