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News > March 2007

15-Mar-2007

Microsoft sues cybersquatters in U.S & U.K

Microsoft Corp. today said it filed lawsuits against cybersquatters in the U.S. and the U.K. to stop them from illegally profiting from the misuse of intellectual property and Internet Domain Names from the use of online ads.

In addition to the new lawsuits, Microsoft said it settled a domain- infringement settlement with the Dyslexic Domain Co. in the U.K. and two U.S. civil lawsuits filed against defendants in Salt Lake City and Los Angeles.

Cybersquatters who register domains such as winowslivemessenger.com and www.micr0soft.co.uk have an agedna as the web addresses contain widely recognized trademarked names but also include misspelled variations of those names to trick users and illegally profit from them through online ad networks.

Microsoft said it has reclaimed more than 1,100 infringing domain names worldwide in the past six months.

"These sites confuse visitors who are trying to reach genuine company Web sites, which can negatively affect corporate brands and reputations as well as impair the end users' experience online," said Aaron Kornblum, a senior attorney at Microsoft, in the statement. "With every ad hyperlink clicked, a registrant or ad network harvests cash at the trademark owner's expense, while derailing legitimate efforts by computer users who are trying to go to a specific Web site."

Microsoft said it is also investigating potential violations of intellectual property law in other nations.

Microsoft said it has filed or amended four U.S. civil suits.

The company claims that Maltuzi LLC profited from domain names that infringe on Microsoft trademarks. Microsoft also alleges that Maltuzi registers large blocks of domain names, some of which infringe on Microsoft's intellectual property rights.

Microsoft names Sule Garba, Darin Grabowski and Yi Ning acted as defendants in an amended civil lawsuit filed in August in federal court in Seattle. The lawsuit names owners of 217 domains that the company says where infringed on Microsoft trademarks. In the initial lawsuit, Microsoft identified the defendants as John Doe.