Tech giant Microsoft has expanded its campaign against “cybersquatting,” the practice of buying up misspelled or unsold trademarked domain names and either filling the page with ads or offering to sell it to the trademark holder at an inflated price. Cybersquatting is illegal in both the US and the UK where Microsoft is concentrating its anti-cybersquatting efforts.
“With every ad hyperlink clicked, a registrant or ad network harvests cash at the trademark owner’s expense, while derailing legitimate efforts by computer users who are trying to go to a specific Web site,” said Aaron Kornblum, Microsoft’s senior attorney in a statement.
Microsoft has settled a case against the Dyslexic Domain Company Limited in the UK, an outfit that allegedly squatted on more than 6,000 domains. It has also settled two suits in the US in Salt Lake City and Los Angeles.
Microsoft has filed or amended at least four more US-based lawsuits. One alleges that Maltuzi LLC, a California company, made a habit of registering large blocks of domain names containing Microsoft trademarks.
In Seattle, Microsoft successfully identified the defendants in several John Doe cases who were hidden behind domain registration privacy shields. In August 2006, Microsoft sued 217 John Doe cybersquatters and has been working to uncover their identities though its “Strider URL Tracer” research project.
Microsoft has been actively pursuing cybersquatters since at least 1999.