Global tech giant Google and GoDaddy.com have been sued by a Nigerian called Chianugo Peter for $150 million.
The lawsuit revolves around the shutdown of Peter’s domain name—YouTubeAudio.com—which Peter bought eight years ago from GoDaddy to host his application.
Google, the parent company of YouTube, says that Peter’s domain name infringes on its trademark rights. But Peter says he bought the domain name in good faith. He also alleges that GoDaddy and Google encouraged him to make use of the YouTubeAudio.com domain name for the past eight years.
Google, the second defendant in this legal showdown, isn’t pulling any punches. In a statement filed on November 10, the company asked a high court in Abuja to dismiss Peter’s claims as “unmeritorious” and “unworthy.” They argue that Peter didn’t act in good faith and even approached Google before starting operations, acknowledging the tech giant’s rights.
Peter wants a declaration that he rightfully registered the YouTube Audio business name and secured the YouTubeAudio.com domain name in good faith from GoDaddy.
He also wants $50 million for the 8 years of promotional work and marketing efforts. He is also asking to be paid $100 million for loss of anticipated profits associated with the brand equity and goodwill of YouTube Audio and YouTube Audio.com domain name.
Peter also wants ₦50 million ($62,292) for fresh registrations and securing an alternative domain name, and an additional ₦10 million ($12,458) for legal expenses in prosecuting this suit.
Google counteracts, claiming that Peter lacks a bona fide claim and doesn’t own the YouTube trademark. According to Google, they are the international owners of the “YOUTUBE” trademark, registered in Nigeria since 2007, predating Peter’s use by eight years.
During a recent court appearance, Google’s defence was acknowledged, but GoDaddy.com is yet to join the legal dance floor.
The court granted an extension to Google’s legal team, and the next hearing is set for February 12, 2024.