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Microsoft goes after 17 year old to get this domain
How far Microsoft prepared to go.

 2:05 pm on Jan 19, 2004 (gmt 0)

Its seems these days each week new stories applier in the press about Microsoft's law suits. The latest subject may be Mike Rove, 17 year old from Canada who is using Mikerowesoft.com domain name for his website to promote web development business. Microsoft says that domain is too similar to its name and may confuse users.

Many experts (including me ;))would say that this case wouldn't go much further beyond this point as Microsoft does not have good ground but it does not stop them to intimidate Mr Rove.

It probably going to do more good then harm to Mike overall.



[edited by: max_rk at 2:08 pm (utc) on Jan. 19, 2004]



 2:07 pm on Jan 19, 2004 (gmt 0)

If he's name is Mike Rowe, then they havent got a leg to stand on. Else.... Could go either way.

Mind you Micro$oft went after a site called hotmale.com and lost.

Should be interesting.


 2:18 pm on Jan 19, 2004 (gmt 0)

I promise if MS did not exist or was named Billy's Software that guy would not have named his company that. I think MS should have every right to go after somebody that named there company just like theres. Reminds me of McDowells in Comeing to America. I love that movie.


 5:49 am on Jan 20, 2004 (gmt 0)


I don't think it's a copyright violation. There is a big difference between www.mikerowesoft.com
and www.microsoft.com


 5:53 am on Jan 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

It's not insane. It's business.

I once told a manager that we should settle a case and his response was to send me into small claims court and let the judge decide.

It's the judge's place to decide this, not you, me or Microsoft.


 8:30 am on Jan 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

Yes Microsoft lawyers are insane. The amount of bad publicity is just amazing, plus they dont have any legal ground in this case it is just bulling.
That poor guy's page [mikerowesoft.com] just got 250000 hits.
I think microsoft will give up in this case


 8:45 am on Jan 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

and they offered him $10, they just have no clue. Either offer him a fair price, offer to reimburse him or offer nothing.


 8:47 am on Jan 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

>It's the judge's place to decide this, not you, me or Microsoft.

That is a golden phrase everyone should appreciate ;)

But, just for fun, if I were the judge in this instance, I would have to conclude that Mike is in the right and tell the M$ crew they had taken things a little too far.

Big fan of M$, but let's keep things in some kind of perspective ;)

The outcome will be very interesting, I just hope Mike doesn't fold his hand too early ;)


 2:00 pm on Jan 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

What is Microsoft trying to say? That people looking for them might mistakenly type in 'MikeRoweSoft' instead? Haven't they got more important things to be doing!?


 2:03 pm on Jan 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

Haven't they got more important things to be doing!?

I thought they were supposed to be building a new search engine :)

More from The Register here:


 2:25 pm on Jan 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

I wonder if it's him or Microsofts lawyers who started talking about "copyright" here.

If it was the lawers, then they're in for a cold shower, because this is obviously and exclusively a trade mark dispute. Suing him for copyright infringment would get them laughed out of court before the hearings even start.


 2:30 pm on Jan 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

Are they crazy?
I totally agree with Mr. Mike Rowe. Why would a billion dollar company want to go in the hassle for accusing a 17 year old boy who co-incidentially has the name of who? Microsoft?

Anyone can put a 'soft' in front of their name, it is NOT a copyright violation to register a domain with 'soft' in front of your name, no matter what it ends up being.

I actually quite like that Mike Rowe guy - Cool sense of humor ;)

If I were Bill Gates, I'd be looking at Microsoftsucks.com [microsoftsucks.com], Microsucks.com [microsucks.com] or even Microwsoft.com [microwsoft.com] instead of picking on a 17 year old guy who accidently ended up with the same name as Micro$oft!



 3:04 pm on Jan 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

How many threads have we seen across these forums asking about similar sounding domain names, hyphenated domain names and the like? If it's good enough for us (figuratively speaking) to consider purchasing these names to protect our own interests (present and future).....

I'd like to know why they (MS) don't just purchase all these similar sounding / hyphenated domain names and be done with it? <- Pre-emptively speaking. ;)

This comment/question is not intended to spurn any debates about how litigation is so ingrained into American culture, that we can't do without it, ok?


 3:20 pm on Jan 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

Microsoft would win if it went to court. Thats what the ICANN rules are for, he purposely registered the name knowing it sounds like Microsoft and it only willing to sell it at a higher market value than it is worth.


 3:27 pm on Jan 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

He is using it for a legit business. It is not like he just parked it and waited for MS to come pay him. I bet he is making some money. That could be a whloe business stratagy get yourself in the news and rake in the dough.


 3:32 pm on Jan 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

Big American company picking on a nice Canadian boy.


 3:38 pm on Jan 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

i think yous are very wrong.
He knew exactly what he was doing, he knew he would get in trouble, maybe people are not familiar with what are trademarks are but this kid has violated that.

Why would he want to add soft, how convenient... He could of left it as MikeRowe, I hope microsoft take him to the cleaners and anyone who is supporting this kid because he is clearly and utterly wrong.

Its not fun or a joke, why dont all the people name Mcdonalds as a surname suddenly add 'restaurant' at the end, im sure no one will notice.....


 3:46 pm on Jan 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

Well i expect some people to be rooting for the boy, probably the same people that register a bunch of misspellings for TM names or sound a like names hoping to get some traffic. Just read the kids url, what companys name comes to mind? Very easy case for MS to win if they to decide to take it to court.


 3:53 pm on Jan 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

I wonder if there is any precedent with phonetic sounding names with regards to trademarks. I read in another thread that ms had lost other cases like this.

If I had a related site I would have offered him hosting yesterday when I saw his site was down, it would be worth having a link, though 250,000 visitors doesn't seem like that much compared to the amount of coverage this story has.


 3:56 pm on Jan 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

>>>>I hope microsoft take him to the cleaners

You realize you are talking about a 17 year old kid. Even Gates lawyers will not be punitive given the facts and the kids age. How can you say something so utterly mean.


 3:57 pm on Jan 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

His page rank must be going through the roof!

I am actually surprised that M$ even felt this was an issue - he isn't even poking fun at them. I could kind of understand if it was abusively mocking or at the very least satirical - but he's cleverly using a psuedo to promote his service

I say: MS leave him alone! and spend some time tackling problems with your browsers instead!


 3:59 pm on Jan 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

There is a Foo thread on this

There have been several cases like this. In the foo thread I mmentioned the victorssecret.com vs victoriassecret.com. Virctor's knew the name sounded the same but Victoria's lost in court because the judge said that there was no way someone would mix up the two stores.

I think it's the same case here. No one will mistake Mike Rowe's site with Microsoft's site or business.


 4:01 pm on Jan 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

From a U.S. law perspective, I think Microsoft would have a strong case for trademark infringment and trademark dilution (this has nothing to do with copyright infringement).

Courts often consider the sound of the name as it is pronounced, not just the spelling. They also look at factors such as "bad faith" which in this case would probably weigh against Mike, since he was trying to take advantage of the well known Microsoft name.

Furthermore, there is no absolute right to surnames as trademarks in the United States. If your surname happens to be famous, it doesn't give you the right to go around competing with the famous mark.


 4:04 pm on Jan 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

and what will you think Microsoft will make him do? Nothing, just apologize, take down the site.
They are not that stupid...

Its not about him being 17, many people do it to microsoft, him being 17 is the reason for the press coverage.

Trademark is much more obvious and they are sure to win on that alone.
Do you think the kid did not know that adding soft made it sound exactly like microsoft?

He knew exactly what he was doing, hes not gonna go to prison or get a fine, he should just learn his lesson by apologizing.

He is breaking the law


 4:08 pm on Jan 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

Unfortunately, companies have to protect their trademark, or they could lose it. It is business, and this guy chose his name specifically because it sounded like Microsoft. It wasn't a coincidence, it was bad faith. If his name was Mike Rowesoft he might have a chance.

If it was registered in bad faith, I don't believe Microsoft even had to offer $10 at all. And Rowe asking for a larger amount works against him legally as well.

If Microsoft let this guy keep his name, then they'd have to let all the others who have registered "confusingly similar" domain names keep theirs, because they have now set a precedence.

It makes no difference if he is a 17 year old kid, a 38 year old businessman or a 98 year old grandma, although it does make a better media story with a "kid". Trademark law is trademark law, and this is a clearcut case in Microsoft's favor.


 4:08 pm on Jan 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

Slightly off-topic, but if you do a google search for MikeRoweSoft, google will ask you if you meant "Microsoft." I don't know if that could be used to support Microsoft's case or not...



 4:12 pm on Jan 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

This is a tough case because it is his name, but he admits he did it on purpose and that he didn't think MS would do anything. MS lawyers are just out trying to protect the name regardless of the persons age. MS needs to give him a fair settlement that is undisclosed to prevent more people from doing a copycat.

10000 is ridiculous. A couple hundred would be fair. The reason it is worth anything is because of the story. It will be worthless later.

[edited by: korkus2000 at 4:13 pm (utc) on Jan. 20, 2004]


 4:13 pm on Jan 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

From ZDNet [news.zdnet.co.uk]:

...Microsoft has admitted it may have taken things too far and has promised to treat Rowe fairly...


 4:14 pm on Jan 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

Jenstar is dead on.

Asking for more money sealed the deal. It definitely looks like he registered the domain to exploit money from a trademark holder.


 4:17 pm on Jan 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

I think Microsoft are doing this on purpose, i think they want to show finally and in the public eye that enough is enough with people infringing there trademark.

They should not settle or will have to face other people who will do the same and settle with them.

This 63 message thread spans 3 pages: 63 ( [1] 2 3 > >
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