back to article Al Capone was done for taxes. Now Microsoft's killing domain-squatters with trademark law

Bit-by-bit, Microsoft is hitting back at an international domain-squatting/drive-by-hacking operation by taking over the domains involved. An unsealed order from US District of Eastern Virginia judge Bruce Gerald Lee shows that at the end of June, Redmond gained control of more than 60 domain names registered with the Public …

  1. David Roberts Silver badge

    Next up


    Yes, I did check it exists.

    1. fobobob

      Re: Next up

      It's a fairly old (10+ years) and reasonably active non-commercial message board on a .org domain, using Microsoft's name to identify them specifically, so hopefully that's more than enough to convince any judge with a semblance of sanity that it needs to stay in those hands.

      1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

        Re: Next up

        Sane or insane - if using Microsoft's name as part of a domain name constitutes a copyright violation, then that's that.

        If MS are smart, they realise that this is a channel for honest feedback they can monitor and let it be.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Next up

          Trademark law doesn't work like that.

          1. bombastic bob Silver badge

            Re: Next up

            they could change it to MICROSHAFT SUCKS and it would have the same effect.

            /me considers registering THAT one

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Next up

              It all depends on intent. You can always file a suit, but if the inherent topic of forum isn't profitably and knowingly malicious at its core or ambigous enough, freedom of speech (currently) holds weight, regardless of public or private (unless of course you state anything at all negative about the USA gov., which has to mean you're a terrorist of course... of course).

     WAS an example, so was/is or or or... the old Hell, if you roll the clock back 20 years I couldn't name 1 celebrity who actually owned thier own not 1.

              1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

                Re: Next up

                Hell, if you roll the clock back 20 years I couldn't name 1 celebrity who actually owned thier own not 1

                Me, me me! I've had my surname vanity domain for at least 25 years (got it as a freebie for attending a SunOS course!).

                You could argue that I'm not a celeb, but in my own mind (and in my cat's minds) I qualify.

  2. Number6

    I think there's precedent for such things being allowed. It's clearly not attempting to masquerade as the trademark owner and I think courts have taken the view that it's a useful outlet for complaints. Some [...]sucks domains have been bought for lots of money by the trademark owners before now as the only way they could take them down.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Trademarks are meant to protect identity. Using a trademarked name in criticism is considered satire or complaint, both protected under the 1st Amendment.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Good job Microsoft, they didn't have to do this, it's nice to see them fighting the good fight.

  4. Haku
  5. Andrew Commons

    Just 65 names?

    An ars technical piece from a couple of days ago:

    It contains a link to 200 PAGES of domain names 3 columns per page and small print.

  6. -tim

    Scammy domains?

    Two decades ago it was common to register to run scams. While working for a fortune 500 company, I found a large number owned by the same guy and contacted some of the trademark owners. The in house IP lawyer for another company coordinated 10 processes servers to meet the guy who was trying to run a scam. Its one thing learning your being sued by a company with unlimited money for lawyers, it is another be learn about 10 law suits in about 5 minutes.

  7. Pangasinan Philippines

    Bruce Lee fights on just like in the '70s

  8. Tezfair

    glad im not in the double glazing industry

    imagine all those domains all suddenly disappearing!!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Australians wouldn't give a XXXX for any version of Windows...


      Does this relate to

      - An extremely pornographic version?

      - A sponsored version for the Australian market that includes a free tinnie with every copy? (Export versions will be sold as "Fosters' Windows" instead with the implication that everyone in Australia uses it, even though they don't).

      - Expletive-censoring asterisks aren't a legitimate part of a domain name, so "XXXX-windows" is the closest they could get?

  9. Peter2 Silver badge

    Under the heading “good luck with that”, the June judgement grants an injunction against the John Does prohibiting them from “undertaking any similar activity that inflicts harm on Microsoft”.

    Doesn't that mean that should further examples come before the court Microsoft can use an expidited proceedure for taking control of the domains based on this court case?

  10. handleoclast

    That explains

    All the domains like and registered by a Mr V. Putin recently.

  11. Neil Lewis

    Nice to see a trademark being used as intended for once

    Trademarks were supposed to be an assurance to buyers that the product they purchased came from a trusted supplier. In other words, to protect consumers. In the modern era, they do seem to have more often been used to stifle competition.

    What I see here is MS actually using trademarks for their intended purpose - to protect users from suckered into believing they are visiting a trusted domain.

    Yes, I'm also aware of the opportunities for ironic responses about MS own products and services, but this seems to be one of those rare occasions when they're trying to do the right thing.

    1. PappyB

      Re: Nice to see a trademark being used as intended for once

      Can't agree more - I think Microsoft should be commended here for taking real action against these scammers. I'm surprised so many people on this forum are bagging Microsoft for this - other vendors could follow their lead.

  12. Nameless Faceless Computer User

    This is true. Microsoft grabbed a domain which was my last because it was being used to control a botnet. Wasn't I surprised when I tried to register it.

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2021