Company granted patent for typosquatting and cybersquatting tools.
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office today granted Microsoft U.S. patent number 7,756,987 (pdf) for “Cybersquatter Patrol”. The patent is for a system of generating lists of typo and cybersquatted domains and peeling back the onion to determine their ownership and revenue source. It also refers to methods to block these cybersquatted domain names.
An exemplary method includes providing a typographically erroneous domain name, tracing the domain name where tracing includes entering the domain name as part of a URL and recording one or more subsequent URLs, identifying a domain parking service for the domain name based at least in part on information in one of the recorded URLs, determining client identification information in at least one of the recorded URLs where the client identification information identifies a customer of the domain parking service and blocking one or more domain names based at least in part on the client identification information. Other exemplary technologies are also disclosed.
Microsoft has done significant research on typosquatting and cybersquatting, and has a tool called Strider Typo-Patrol. Using browser plug-ins, typosquatted and cybersquatted domain names can be blocked from resolving on a user’s computer (or at least from showing ads). Given that Microsoft owns the most-used browser, it will be interesting to see if the company implements this technology on a larger scale. In its patent, Microsoft acknowledges that blocking all internet ads is problematic (a nod to legitimate advertising and parking), which is distinctly different from some services such as DNS Advantage.
It seems that some of the technologies in this patent could cause problems for CitizenHawk if enforced.