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Keganator
21st Jan 2004, 04:28 PM
http://www.silicon.com/networks/webwatch/0,39024667,39117872,00.htm

'We may have overreacted just a little…'
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Microsoft has admitted it took things 'too seriously' when its lawyers threatened a 17-year-old student called Mike Rowe over his domain name

Microsoft has admitted it may have made a mistake in threatening Mike Rowe for using his website, mikerowesoft.com

Rowe, a student from Vancouver, registered mikerowesoft.com to front his part-time website design business in August 2003. Three months later, he received an email from Microsoft's lawyers asking him to transfer the domain name to Microsoft. They offered to pay him a "settlement" of $10 (£5.55), which is the cost of his original registration fee.

However, after the case received widespread coverage on the internet, Microsoft has admitted it may have taken things too far and has promised to treat Rowe fairly. A Microsoft spokesperson told silicon.com's sister site ZDNet UK: "We appreciate that Mike Rowe is a young entrepreneur who came up with a creative domain name. We take our trademark seriously, but maybe a little too seriously in this case."

Under the law, Microsoft is required to take action to protect its trademark against widespread infringement. Struan Robertson, editor of legal IT Web site Out-Law.com, explained that if a trademark holder does not take action to protect its trademark whenever it is aware of a potential infringement, it risks losing that protection.

Robertson gives Hoover as an example of a trademark that has become a generic word: "If you or I talk about hoovering our house, that is not an issue, but if Electrolux talks about hoovering, that is an issue," he said.

According to Robertson, Rowe may have a good argument for keeping the domain name because it is his real name and he isn't pretending to be affiliated with Microsoft. But he said that Microsoft probably regrets getting involved with the case because of all the bad publicity it has generated.

"It is probably a very trivial issue for Microsoft and I wouldn't be surprised if they regret getting involved with it. Microsoft may be prepared to pay him some money to make this go away because this is not the kind of publicity that Microsoft wants to attract," added Robertson.

Microsoft hopes to resolve the problem in a way that both parties are happy: "We are currently in the process of resolving this matter in a way that will be fair to him and satisfy our obligations under trademark law," the spokesperson said.

"we might have overreacted just a little."

HAHAHAHAHA!



/me wipes a tear from his eye

Well, thank goodness. Not only did Microsoft take a publicity black eye for this, but the kid who did it got a new site host, with 250,000 hits a day. It was the kid's name. A very clever name, I do admit. I bet he won't want for customers now :D Expect to see Mike Rowe Soft on the next IPO block ;) :D

Rostam
21st Jan 2004, 04:30 PM
I heard about it today too :)

I just love the 10 dollar settlement. I think he asked for 10,000 after that though

geogob
21st Jan 2004, 04:34 PM
yes! this story is just out of this world lol 10$ lmao... overeacted hahaha :¨D lol

yurch
21st Jan 2004, 04:34 PM
Personally, I don't see what's so funny or interesting about this.
Under the law, Microsoft is required to take action to protect its trademark against widespread infringement. Struan Robertson, editor of legal IT Web site Out-Law.com, explained that if a trademark holder does not take action to protect its trademark whenever it is aware of a potential infringement, it risks losing that protection.
Read this carefully. This is nothing but usual business in the copyright world.

Of course, everyone is so eager to make microsoft look like more of the bad guy I guess they don't pull any punches nowadays... :rolleyes:

Keganator
21st Jan 2004, 04:45 PM
He wasn't trying to infringe on it, it was the kid's name. They even admit it, "We appreciate that Mike Rowe is a young entrepreneur who came up with a creative domain name. We take our trademark seriously, but maybe a little too seriously in this case." Legal reasons aside, it still has made Microsoft look bad.

yurch
21st Jan 2004, 04:53 PM
I don't think it matters if he was trying to infringe on it or not. They aren't mind readers, and as much as everyone likes to stick up for the little guy, it really is quite unimportant.

Did you read the part about requiring companies to actively protect thier trademarks? If they don't, they lose the right to do it later, it's that simple. Every company with a trademark probably does it, microsoft isn't any different, no matter how bad a bunch of geeks think it makes them look.

edit: If you want to go on about how silly copyright laws are, go ahead, but microsoft isn't different from General Mills cereal in this case.

Keganator
21st Jan 2004, 05:14 PM
Yup, read it. The question in my mind is whether it qualifies as infringement. MikeRowe sounds like Micro, but it is not Micro. This is different from people calling facial tissues "kleenex tissues" or "hoovering". Even though I speak as a near total layman on copyright, it would seem to me, since his name is Mike Rowe, he would have a good case to defend himself.

DamienW
21st Jan 2004, 05:15 PM
HA ha ha M$ is teh bad ah ah ah lololoz aren't we the rebelious lot ....... :rolleyes: