Microsoft Targets Cybersquatters in Civil Suits

Microsoft on Tuesday launched a legal campaign against parties that register Web addresses designed to attract visitors by using trademarked terms and common misspellings of more popular domains.

The software giant filed three lawsuits this week against alleged "cybersquatters" and "typosquatters." Microsoft estimates that these types of individuals and companies are registering thousands of such domains each day, targeting it and its products and properties. The firm said its action is the first step in a broader initiative to thwart professional domain name holding operations from profiting from the misuse of its intellectual property.

"Microsoft has witnessed a virtual land rush for Internet domain names with the goal of driving traffic for profit," said Internet Safety Enforcement Attorney Aaron Kornblum, who is leading Microsoft's new enforcement campaign. "Placing a high profile or pop culture trademark in your domain name is a tempting but illegal way to generate pay-per-click revenue."

Microsoft's two civil lawsuits target a total of four named defendants who allegedly are profiting from domain names that infringe on Microsoft trademarks. These two lawsuits include federal law claims under ACPA and the Lanham Act as well as state law claims for statutory unfair competition and common law unfair competition and conversion.

The defendants named in these actions are Jason Cox of Albuquerque, N.M., with Daniel Goggins of Provo, Utah, and John Jonas of Springville, Utah, d/b/a Jonas and Goggins Studios and Newtonarch; and Dan Brown, of Long Beach, Calif., d/b/a Partner IV Holdings.

Microsoft is also taking action to unmask defendants who have used privacy protection services to conceal their identities. This can be challenging, Kornblum said, because some domain registrars have created services that protect the registrants' personal information at a minimal cost. To uncover those identities, Microsoft is filing a John Doe lawsuit aimed at identifying cybersquatters and typosquatters who have used privacy protection services to conceal their identities.

News source: Tech News World

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