Utube Sues YouTube Over Domain-Name Confusion

A company that shut down its Web site because it was overwhelmed by millions of people looking for YouTube has sued the online video-sharing portal.

Universal Tube & Rollform Equipment Corp. said the cost of hosting its Web site — utube.com — has grown significantly in the last two months.

"We've had to move our site five times in an effort to stay ahead of the youtube.com visitors," said Ralph Girkins, Universal Tube's president.

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The lawsuit, filed this week in U.S. District Court, asks that YouTube Inc. stop using the youtube.com or pay Universal Tube's cost for creating a new domain. It did not specify damages.

Universal Tube, which sells used machines that make tubes, has said it has lost business because customers have had trouble accessing its site.

"We were there first by 10 years," Girkins said.

The confusion took off a couple of months ago, Girkins said.

The company, with just 17 employees, got 68 million hits on its site in August, making it one of the most popular manufacturing Web sites.

The site shut down in early October just before Google Inc.(GOOG) announced plans to buy YouTube for $1.65 billion. It took several days before it was back up.

A YouTube spokeswoman did not return a message seeking comment Wednesday.

Universal Tube, based in suburban Perrysburg and founded in 1985, has about $12 million in annual sales.

Girkins has said the company was looking to sell the Web address and find a new home for its Web site.