Microsoft Sues Cybersquatters

Whether you’re a Microsoft fan or not, it’s hard to root against a company going after the parasitic domain squatters of the world.

NEW YORK (AP) – Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) said it 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 Redmond, Wash., 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.

Microsoft argues that the Web sites are forbidden under the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act. That law, which was signed into law by President Clinton in 1999, imposes fines of up to $100,000 in damages for anyone who, with bad-faith intent to profit, “registers, traffics in or uses a domain name that is identical to, confusingly similar or dilutive of” an existing trademark, according to Microsoft. The suits also cite state laws and common law forbidding unfair competition.

Of course that’s just the tip of the iceberg. GoDaddy CEO Bob Parsons details how broken the domain system really is, with over 92% of all new registrations involved in domain kiting schemes where well organized and well financed squatters register and make money of millions of domains for free.

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