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Diller wins challenge of cybersquatters

Media mogul seeking damages

Unwilling to pay $10 million to purchase Web site barrydiller.com, Barry Diller and his USA Networks has instead asked for more than $10 million for privacy and trademark violations against three cybersquatters who were trying to cash in on the name.

Diller and USA Networks won a default judgment Monday against the three men who operate Thoughts and Cybermultimedia Inc., a New York-based startup that buys the names to Web sites in order to sell them to the highest bidder.

The site also owns the rights to sites for prominent execs such as Citigroup Inc.’s Sanford Weill, investor Warren Buffett, American Express Co.’s Harvey Golub, Intel Corp.’s Andrew Grove and IBM Corp.’s Louis Gerstner.

The trio put the site up for sale for $10 million in the hopes that Diller might buy it. In an attempt to foil their attempts, Diller filed suit in New York against the company in June.

The suit also claimed that cybermultimedia.com used Diller’s photo and the USA Networks trademark without permission. He asked to have the barrydiller.com address transferred over to him.

Diller was granted judgment by default when the defendants — Eric Steurken, Rich Preisig and Thomas Kaplan — failed to appear in court or reply to the suit.

Justice Beatrice Shainswit of New York State Supreme Court in Manhattan also ordered an inquiry on possible damages.

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