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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]
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$, but let's keep things in some kind of perspective ;)
The outcome will be very interesting, I just hope Mike doesn't fold his hand too early ;)
If it was the lawers, then they're in for a cold shower, because this is obviously and exclusively a trade mark dispute. Suing him for copyright infringment would get them laughed out of court before the hearings even start.
Anyone can put a 'soft' in front of their name, it is NOT a copyright violation to register a domain with 'soft' in front of your name, no matter what it ends up being.
I actually quite like that Mike Rowe guy - Cool sense of humor ;)
If I were Bill Gates, I'd be looking at Microsoftsucks.com [microsoftsucks.com], Microsucks.com [microsucks.com] or even Microwsoft.com [microwsoft.com] instead of picking on a 17 year old guy who accidently ended up with the same name as Micro$oft!
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?
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.....
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.
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!
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.
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.
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
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.
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]