Microsoft sues 'cybersquatters'

25 Aug 2006
00:00
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Microsoft has filed three lawsuits against 'cybersquatters,' in an effort to fight back against a surge of online trademark infringement by people seeking profit from pay-per-click advertising.
The software giant said cybersquatters and typosquatters, people who register Web addresses either with trademarked terms or with common misspellings in the hopes of luring Web surfers who mistype addresses into their browsers, are now registering more than 2,000 domains each day targeting Microsoft.

The vast majority of the sites, which have addresses like 'microsoftrebate.com,' 'xbox36com.com' and 'msnfinance.com,' are bought by professional operations that place nothing on the pages but pay-per-click ads served by online-ad networks, Microsoft said. About a quarter of the sites use privacy services to disguise their identities.

'Microsoft has witnessed a virtual land rush for Internet domain names with the goal of driving traffic for profit,' said Aaron Kornblum, the company's Internet safety enforcement attorney. The company noticed the surge in sites earlier this year as part of its efforts to monitor so-called phishing sites, which mimic bank and other sites as part of identity-theft schemes.

In response, Microsoft filed two civil lawsuits against four defendants it said are profiting from domain names that infringe on Microsoft trademarks.

Microsoft argues that the Web sites are forbidden under the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act.

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