Microsoft Has Success Against Cybersquatters
Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) scores judgements against cybersquatters.
Microsoft is redoubling its efforts to go after cybersquatters (and specifically typosquatters) that have registered typos of its brand names, such as Microsoft and Xbox, according to several news reports today.
Instead of filing UDRP disputes, which at best result in the return of the domain to the trademark holder, Microsoft has sued a number of typosquatters. It won two U.S. lawsuits, according to The Financial Times, resulting in judgements of $3M. It also won a case against a UK company that will result in payments of approximately Â£24,000 to Microsoft. That is the estimate of the profit the company made on the infringing domains.
Microsoft credits it Strider Typo Patrol tool for finding the offending domains.
Typosquatting and cybersquatting is giving legitimate domain holders a bad name. Recent revelations that some of the world’s biggest domain holders, such as Marchex (NASDAQ: MCHX), own a substantial collection of trademark infringing domains has exacerbated the problem. Many of these large companies obtained the domains during portfolio acquisitions. To prevent this problem these companies could write into their portfolio acquisition contracts that the seller is not aware of any trademark-infringing domains. However, these domains make good money, which is why these companies are upset whenever someone discloses trademark and typo domains in their portfolios.
However, Microsoft’s hands are not completely clean. When a user of its popular Internet Explorer web browser types a non-existent domain name (including trademark typos) into the browser then an MSN search page resolves. This search page includes sponsored links that create revenue for Microsoft whenever an ad is clicked. Users of various toolbars, such as the Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) toolbar, land on search engine pages when they enter a typo as well.