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21 Jan, 2004

Microsoft has admitted it took things 'too seriously' when its lawyers threatened a 17-year-old student called Mike Rowe over his domain name.

So, Microsoft admitted it after the case received widespread coverage (a.k.a. bad publicity) on the Internet. Microsoft still demands the domain name.

News article: ZDNet and Silicon.com

The Register has a good report on this, Microsoft prepares Mike Rowe legal exit:
Microsoft has started making the first sounds about extricating itself from the brouhaha surrounding its legal threats against 17-year-old student Mike Rowe and his MikeRoweSoft.com domain.

The Beast of Redmond crossed the line when it sent in its lawyers over the site Mike uses to display his Web design talents, claiming that it infringed the company's trademark. It even went to the trouble of playing out the classic sting where it offered a low amount of money in order to get the owner to ask a higher amount and so "prove" his bad faith with regard to the domain.

However, following a huge amount of negative press coverage across the world, Microsoft is now telling reporters that it may have taken the case "too seriously" after all. Microsoft takes its trademarks very seriously, we are told, and the official line is: "We are currently in the process of resolving this matter in a way that will be fair to him [Mike Rowe] and satisfy our obligations under trademark law."

...
Why that does not exist here is that MikeRoweSoft is not a misuse of the trademark Microsoft, it is merely a man's name - Mike Rowe - with Soft put on the end, amounting to a phonetic approximation of a different word.
...

It won't be the first time that Microsoft, or any other big company, has backed down in the face of press hostility only to relaunch its efforts once the fuss has died down.

Posted by Antony at January 21, 2004 11:41 AM
>> more January 2004 entries.
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