The following press release was issued by Microsoft concerning its latest cybersquatting initiative, directed at protecting its trademarks and brand names worldwide.
Microsoft Press Release on Cybersquatting IntiativesText of Microsoft press release on cybersquatting initiatives:
LONDON, and REDMOND, Wash. — March 14, 2007 — Microsoft Corp. today announced new legal actions against cybersquatters in the United Kingdom and the United States, which include expansion of a lawsuit filed in Seattle in August and the filing of a new federal lawsuit against the U.S. company Maltuzi LLC for trademark infringement. In addition to these new actions, Microsoft revealed it has settled a domain infringement settlement with the Dyslexic Domain Company Limited from the United Kingdom and two U.S. civil lawsuits filed against defendants in Salt Lake City and Los Angeles.
Cybersquatters register Internet domain names (such as winowslivemessenger.com and www.micr0soft.co.uk) containing not only widely recognized trademarked names and brands but also misspelled variations of them, which often result in tricking unsuspecting computer users and illegally profiting from them through online ad networks. Screens filled with pay-per-click advertisements greet visitors to these Web sites, which can generate revenue for the registered domain owner and the online ad network. Microsoft has reclaimed more than 1,100 infringing domain names worldwide in the past six months with the help of Microsoft researchers led by Yi-Min Wang, who has played a major role in the company’s efforts to combat cybersquatting.
"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, senior attorney with Microsoft. "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 is also investigating potential violations of intellectual property law in other nations. "We hope that our stance and activity on this issue will help motivate and empower other companies whose brands are abused to take action," Kornblum said.