Cydia Creator Files Lawsuit In a Bid for Cydia.com Domain

Cydia Creator Files Lawsuit In a Bid for Cydia.com Domain

Having previously requested ownership with no success, Jay Freeman, known to the jailbreaking community as Saurik, the creator of Cydia, has now filed a lawsuit in a bid to obtain the Cydia.com domain from its current owner.

Freeman, who own Saurikit LLC, believes the owner of Cydia.com is infringing the Cydia trademark and would like the domain to be transferred into his ownership.

Freeman originally requested ownership of the domain back in March, but lost the dispute under the uniform domain name dispute resolution policy (UDRP) because the current owner registered the domain six years ago — long before Cydia was introduced to our iPhones. However, Freeman argues that as things stand, visitors to Cydia.com could be confused by the name and led to believe that Cydia is affiliated with Apple.

DomainNameWire reports:

The company’s in rem lawsuit against the Cydia.com domain name alleges that the owner of the domain name changed the content of the page from a parked page to one about Apple products after it contacted him.

In addition to the Cydia.com domain, Saurikit LLC is requested damages for legal fees.

At present, the Cydia.com website is down:

Due to massive malicious attacks and overwhelming spam activities recently by hackers, our forum unfortunately has to be temporary suspended for major maintenance, please check back later. We are sorry for the inconvenience.

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  • Haroh Garcia

    He should buy it from the owner if he really wants it. 

    his case is invalid since the owner registered it 6 years ago. 

  • baby_Twitty

    Where’s my popcorn…
    ok got it.

  • Ed_Kel

    The owner of the domain has every right to do whatever he wants to a website that he acquired six years ago. I think the question is, how much is Saurikit LLC willing to pay for the domain?

    Sheesh.. Jailbreakers always thinking they are entitled to everything.. ;-)

  • Sakhawoat Hossain Sagar

    This is a nice post.  If you want this you must buy from it’s buyer. Thank you for this good writhing. 
    Very nice…. :-) 

  • imajoebob

    Freeman seems completely ignorant of the definition of Irony.

  • SbMobile

    co-sign!

  • SbMobile

    I love Cydia & all of the work Saurik has done, but this is a good example of why the hackers/geeks don’t own anything significant in the world of tech. They never seem to understand business & the way it works.

  • SbMobile

    Agreed! He crys & complains how Apple isn’t an open-system, then turns around & tries to sell you the same apps or functions once he realizes the App Store is really not interested. This is my main problem with hacker/geeks & their “open” beliefs!

  • saurik

    The key thing to realize here is that cydia.com, which was originally a website with random ads on it (totally unrelated, obviously, to the iPhone or Cydia), has, over the years, attempted to take advantage of the work that I’ve put into this name, without any quotes for how I might be able to get the domain from them.

    Further, when I first reached out to them regarding the domain name, they not only refused to simply sell it to me, but immediately decided to put iPhone-related advertisements on it, which caused a large number of users to believe that cydia.com was, in fact, Cydia: the ads even mentioned things like “get apps here”.

    This, of course, violated the registered trademark that I have on “Cydia”: they cannot construct something that attempts to confuse people in this fashion for their monetary gain. Now, what I should have done at this point is, apparently, filed a UDRP: supposedly I would have easily won. :(

    However, as I did not have domain name lawyers at the time, my personal lawyer simply said I should file a cease and desist. This resulted in the owners of cydia.com deciding to randomly turn their website into a non-profit forum. They put out a call for moderators, and nowhere on the site was it clear that they were not Cydia.

    In fact, they even sent so far as to backdate the post they made to claim the forum had been in existence since 2009, even though it was posted in 2010. (This made no sense, however, given that my trademark was registered in 2008, so I’m not certain why they felt the need to lie about this.)

    This forum was actually (unfortunately) quite popular, and (of course) all of the posts made on it were about Cydia: users asking for help, from the people they considered to be the official source. I even received e-mail from angry users claiming they had gotten no, useless, or even incorrect advice when they used cydia.com, as everyone, of course, assumes that I own the domain name: it is just too similar in content.

    So, more complaints from me to them (with no response), and the result ended up being this notice at the bottom of the page… the very bottom of the page, where no one even looks (and therefore is not legally useful for them)… that claims that they aren’t actually affiliated with Cydia.

    At some point, and I do not know of any triggering event for it, they decided to change the website to something that claims they’ve been “hacked” and hit with “spam”. This has been even worse for Cydia: potential users see this and assume Cydia is some horribly insecure platform.

    None of this, however, helped the actual confusion problem: I seriously got a message from a reporter a few weeks ago asking about my plans for cydia.com, which they assumed that I owned. Seriously: they assumed I own cydia.com, and simply was unable to deal with the hacking and spam, and was rethinking it. *sigh*

    Regardless, further attempts to reach out to them have failed, which has led to this lawsuit. I think this is the correct thing for everyone involved, and I’m still perfectly happy to come to some reasonable settlement with the owners of the domain name. The hope is that this lawsuit paves the way to actually getting people to sit down and talk at all. :(

    So, if you want, you all can sit around and tell me I’m being unreasonable here, but you are simply wrong. These people own many thousands of thousands of domain names (this is not an exaggeration), many of which are one-off typos of existing brands (like wokia.com), and seem to be in the business of laying seeming-harmless land mines that they can use to later twist the knife on otherwise innocent people.

    I, certainly, have no issue with taking them to court over this, and my only regret is that the end result of my winning will almost certainly not manage to make any change in their overall harmful business operation. :(

  • saurik

    After turning down my offer a few years ago, the owners of this domain name have refused to provide a quote in response. I am not certain why you would assume that a lawsuit would be filed before a simpler solution would be attempted, but you wrong.

  • saurik

    Cydia does not sell you things that the App Store is able to sell: in fact, if you tell me your software was turned down from the App Store, it is major black mark against you in our community, as there is certainly a reason why your app was rejected.

    Cydia is about distributing things that are not applications at all: things that modify the system in some more fundamental way. These things add features to existing apps, or may have nothing to do with apps at all.

  • saurik

    Then neither, apparently, do my lawyers.

  • saurik

    Since the owner has been using it for purposes similar to my registered trademark, all after my registration of the trademark, and seemingly with the goal of extorting me into needing the domain name and being willing to pay a higher price (not that they have been willing so far to give me an actual quote), my case is actually not “invalid”, although it may be tough. :(

  • CSMcDonald

    Interesting outlook.  Looking at your store I can see several “modifications” that sure look a heck of a lot like games.   Stuff that would be turned down from the App store such as snes4iPhone – don’t see how that type of “modification” adds features to existing apps or isn’t an app itself.

    Oh wow, there’s even a whole section for ‘Games’ – you may wish to investigate that as it seems to be against your stated goal.

  • miscstuff

    But it’s Ok for you to make money off the back of Apple’s hard work, by breaking their system, because you think it should be that way? How much better is that than what these people are doing?

    You may not be infringing on Apple’s copyright, but you are “taking advantage of the hard work Apple put into their name/company/product” by going against the rules Apple wants for its platform

  • prof_peabody

    I kind of despise most of the Jailbreaking community, but thanks for the insight into some of the details of the case and for fighting back against some of the more ignorant comments you’ve been getting.  

    I don’t think you really have a hope in hell of winning though and I don’t think you should have received your trademark in the first place.  

    “Cydia” is a word in fairly common use long before you got a hold of it.  If you *did* own “cydia(dot)com” then a trademark granted for that makes some kind of sense as it’s a trademark on your particular use of the word.  

    Trademarking “cydia” by itself seems wrong to me in the same way as “droid” and “windows” is.  These are all just words in common usage, not trademarks per se. Also, *.com addresses are not the bee all and end all.  Why not move your domain to another country and use “cydia.ca” or “cydia.biz.uk” or something?

  • mixter504

    I wonder who is behind the “massive malicious attacks”…

  • Chris Robinson

    I don’t believe that any company has the right to tell you what you can and cannot do with hardware that was legally purchased. Once I own it, I have the right to use it in any manner I see fit. This is what Mr. Freeman is implementing with Cydia. Apple, Microsoft, or any other major corporation makes plenty of money off of their products without having to tell me how I can use them. Plain and simple.

  • SbMobile

    I just read your reasoning. Makes sense to me. I’m glad you replied so I could better understand.

  • Anthony M Perez

    The author needs a spell and grammar checker.

    [Freeman, who own Saurikit LLC,...] It’s “owns”.

    [Saurikit LLC is requested damages for legal fees....] It’s “has requested”.

    [uniform domain name dispute resolution policy (UDRP)] It’s an ACRONYM. The the initial letters of the words need to be CAPITALIZED.

    How in the world did you get this job?

  • Anthony M Perez

    True – waiting 6 years is no excuse. Of course I’m sure the site is being hammered by Freeman’s lemmings…

  • Anthony M Perez

    Exactly! Meanwhile, the rest of us programmers are being fleeced everyday because someone is crying “poor mouth”. If you can’t afford an app, how in the hell did you get an Apple device to begin with?

  • miscstuff

    I don’t necessarily believe companies have that right either (though I do believe they have a right to refuse service if you mess where they don’t want you too – they can’t cover everyones programming mistakes that may cause the device to get messed up). And I don’t believe how much money they makes has a bearing on anything.

    My point was really that Jay is complaining that these guys are making money off of his hard work. I think he is doing the same.

    Should he have a right to tell someone what they can do with their website? – a site they legally own, and did long before his company existed. Should Apple then be able to have everything Jay has done turned over to them? Hacking is one thing. Profiting from that hacking is another.

  • Anthony M Perez

    I never understood that either. He’s doing the EXACT same as Apple. The only difference is one is called “App Store” and the other one is called “Cydia.com” – same thing; different name. Greed, does that. He did the community well when he started, but I guess the thought of charging people took over the brain.

  • saurik

    I have no control over any of the content in that section (not just “I delegated it”, but seriously: that is a third party website you are using Cydia to access), and I certainly don’t make a single cent off of it; even the ads on those pages are controlled entirely by third parties that do not answer to me.

    Regardless, most of the stuff in there is built by people who aren’t old enough to be allowed to use the App Store, so you are pretty much just picking on a bunch of children.The reason people use Cydia is for stuff like SBSettings: you drag your finger over the status bar, and you get immediate access to settings like brightness; or Five Icon Dock: put five things in the dock instead of four. These aren’t “apps”, they don’t even have icons: they are modifications to the system.

  • imajoebob

    You design and sell products that violate Apple’s TOS.  Period.  So you commit acts that violate the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, but call foul because someone started using the name Cydia BEFORE you, but won’t just fork it over so you can make MORE money violating Apple’s patents?  And try to BS us with ‘it’s not our responsibility what others do with the product.”  YOU have to test it before you sell it, so you DO break the law.  (Or will you claim you sell UNTESTED software to your customers?)

    Again, Irony obviously escapes you.

  • imajoebob

    No, he’s not.  Apple invested millions (billions?) to develop a hardware/software system to sell to its customers.  Freeman breaks the law, violates Apple patents and TOS to piggyback his software on their work.  It’s akin to painting a border around a Jackson Pollock and then selling it as a new work of art.

    And then suing somebody who who started the web site “FrameItYourself.com” years before you even did that.

  • imajoebob

    Jeezus, shut up!  They had the name YEARS before you started your parasitic little business. You’re just trying to use your ill-gotten money to muscle somebody’s site from them so you can make more of your filthy lucre.  And then there’s a ‘mysterious’ DOS attack to shut them down.  What a freakin’ coincidence.

    Go away.  You’re a bloodsucking stooge.

  • saurik

    If they want to start a laundromat with their website, that would be totally within their rights. But no: it is generally accepted by the laws in virtually every country I have ever dealt with that you cannot confuse people into believing you are, or are affiliated with, someone whom you are not. If you want to go out and get a trademark on Cydia for the usage of laundromats, you can, right now, and that’s great: but if you want to suddenly decide to use a domain name “appleco.com” you’ve somehow owned for the last 200 years for a computer company, you can’t do that under our laws, and that’s a good thing for everyone.

  • saurik

    Actually, I don’t have much money, so luckily filing suits is actually quite cheap (probably because it is a very common thing to do). I certainly have nothing to do with the claimed “DOS attack” that is mentioned on the website (that notice has been there for many many months, btw, and as far as I know was added because the content of their forum was overly incriminating: a ton of users thinking they had found the official website of Cydia asking for tech support).

  • saurik

    You do realize that the App Store is not designed to be a profitable business center for Apple, right? You also know that the Android Market actually loses money? Apple makes money off of hardware: they have a multi-hundred dollar margin on those iPhone sales, and users tend to upgrade every couple years. The /revenue/ from the App Store is orders of magnitude lower than their hardware sales, and Apple has a much lower margin on apps to boot. Meanwhile, I don’t even compete with Apple: I don’t sell things that are capable of being sold in the App Store; I certainly don’t steal any of Apple’s hardware. In essence, nothing I do affects Apple in any way except maybe causing them to sell more hardware.

    Meanwhile, what I’m doing has been backed up by laws: you are legally allowed to do anything you want with these physical objects in the privacy of your own home. You are not, however, allowed to run a website, no matter when you bought the domain name, if you decide to operate in the same space as someone else using the name; you can run a laundromat with the name “Cydia” (and even get a second trademark registration of your own for the same term), but you can’t run a website for Apple products, where most of the users are just asking questions about Cydia, as they think they finally found the official website.

  • Barriguita

    I don’t want to be a jerk right now, but if I were to create a new business from the ground up, one of the first things I would have checked throughly, was to see if the domains of the business name I wanted, were free…

    And if they weren’t, oh well… get another name until I find one that is not being used.

    So Saurik, why did you decide to go with “Cydia” knowing fully well that it was already taken?

    Peace.

  • baby_Twitty

    …”nothing I do affects Apple in any way except maybe causing them to sell more hardware.”

    Hi, i like the fact that you take time out to come forth and state your case, i really respect that. (Smile)

    But I have to both agree and disagree at the same time, at that particular sentence you made! haha.

    Coz everybody knows how widely and obviously Cydia is affecting Apple, and also strongly influential through the Cydia/Jailbreaking Community and sometimes even beyond. 

    But if you’re talking about Cydia not causing net-financial-losses to Apple, i might agree, perhaps base on my assumption that Sony Playstation 1 & 2′s consoles record breaking sales (many years ago) were actually helped by the abundance of cheap pirated Playstation game discs.

    BUT  PLEASE UNDERSTAND, although the hardwares might be selling good and making lots of money; pirated softwares, apps, are actually causing REAL LOSS to the ORIGINAL, honest, hardworking games/apps developers.

    If the statistics can ever be proven and presented that Cydia is actually  helping Apple to sell more iOS devices, then surely this would sour the relationship between those poor apps developers and Apple. That is why Apple has NEVER officially acknowledged the Jailbreaking community and they need to keep blocking you guys out with every subsequent iOS updates.

    The same thing kinda happened to Sony during its Playstation 2′s booming period. Game developers were dying out and angry with Sony for not making it harder to block pirated game discs. Thus came Blu-Ray PS3.

  • miscstuff

    Well, that’s a rosy picture you paint for yourself. I am sure your hacking of the iPhone is what really put Apple on the map with hardware sales. /end sarcasm

    Look, let me be clear – I think these guys are being jerks and trying to capitalize on what you have done. BUT they did have the domain first, and maybe you should have checked that out. They didn’t get the domain after the fact and they didn’t steal it out from under you. Their little brains thought of it first, so why should you have a right to the domain? Maybe you have a right to stop them from piggybacking off of you, but that’s about it in my opinion.

    You started hacking the iPhone way before it was declared legal. So I think playing the “it is legal card” is just a convenience at this point in time. I can’t pretend to know what you think, but somehow I doubt that the legality of what you were doing entered into play when you started.

    Anyway, my point wasn’t about the legality of what you are doing, but more about the ethics of it. Yes, as the owner of the device, I can do what I want. But does that make it legal (or, more to my point, ethical) to distribute the hack? To profit from it? I guess that is something that everyone will have their own opinion on. I think we know where you stand.

  • CSMcDonald

    http://cydia.saurik.com/store/   is not your site?    So you don’t own saurik.com either then?

  • CSMcDonald

    Amusingly enough a whole bunch of people I know who use Cydia do it solely to get apps like the emulators and the tethering apps (which violate AT&T and Verizon’s TOS).

    Which I foound at cydia.saurik.com 

    I’m not picking on the developers of the apps – I’m picking on your attempt to claim that you aren’t providing apps.

  • Kendall Tawes

    I’m surprised by how many people are bashing Jay and the Jailbreak community yet conveniently forget that Apple itself was founded by hackers that created blue boxes. Sure there are some undesirable jailbreak users who pirate software but to bash people trying to make something they own do more than what it was originally intended to do goes against the spirit that created Apple in the first place. I may not jailbreak myself (at least since this introduction of the App Store and my use of the iPhone for business), but I would be hard pressed to see why one would have such deep hatred for enterprising hackers who are at least partially responsible for the App Store considering Apple was happy just giving users Ajax web based Apps until they saw such desire to have things run natively. They have the right to hack their hardware just as much as Apple has the right to hamper and block their efforts.

    Hacking has lead to some great discoveries and not just piracy. To lump the entire Jailbreaking community together with their seedy underbelly would be to lump every American with serial killers and bank robbers.

    P.S. And just to make it perfectly clear software pirates suck.

About the author

Killian BellKillian Bell is a staff writer based in the U.K. He has an interest in all things tech and also covers Android over at CultofAndroid.com. You can follow him on Twitter via @killianbell.

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