Microsoft is taking legal action against cyber-squatters in the UK and the US.
The move includes the expansion of a lawsuit filed in Seattle last August and the filing of a new action against US company Maltuzi for alleged trademark infringement.
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Microsoft has also revealed it has settled a domain infringement settlement with the UK's Dyslexic Domain Company and two US civil lawsuits it filed against defendants in Salt Lake City and Los Angeles.
Cyber-squatters register internet domain names containing not only widely recognised trademarked names and brands, but also misspelled variations of them.
Such sites can trick unsuspecting computer users and be used to generate illegal profits. Screens filled with pay-per-click advertisements greet visitors to these sites, which can generate revenue for the registered domain owner and the online ad network.
Microsoft has launched five new legal actions in the UK against companies that have registered domain names allegedly infringing on Microsoft’s trademarks and other rights.
Microsoft's settlement with Dyslexic Domain, which it claimed had registered more than 6,000 domains, included a monetary payment to Microsoft and other confidential clauses.
Microsoft says it has reclaimed more than 1,100 infringing domain names worldwide in the past six months.
“These sites confuse visitors who are trying to reach genuine company websites, which can negatively affect corporate brands and reputations as well as impair the end-users’ experience online,” said Aaron Kornblum, senior attorney with Microsoft. “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 website.”
Microsoft is also investigating potential violations of intellectual property law in other nations. “We hope that our stance and activity on this issue will help motivate and empower other companies whose brands are abused to take action,” Kornblum said.
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