Microsoft Takes On MikeRoweSoft

from the ah,-trademark-law dept

I'm surprised this one hasn't gotten more attention yet (though, it probably will). A kid in Canada named Mike Rowe needed a name for his website design business, and picked the somewhat obvious choice: The legal folks at a company you might have heard of, Microsoft, didn't take too kindly to that, and sent the typical threatening legal letter. They offered Mr. Rowe a whopping $10 for the domain. He wrote back saying $10,000 seemed more appropriate - and now Microsoft is accusing him of holding the domain hostage to try to get money out of Microsoft. I read the story a few times before I actually believed it. Even the name of the Microsoft law firm involved in this case (Smart & Biggar) made me wonder if it's all a big hoax - but it all seems real enough. Before the legal beagles chip in with the point that Microsoft needs to do this to protect their trademark, I'll respond by saying that this should be a perfect example of why that rule doesn't make much sense. How many people are actually going to confuse MikeRoweSoft with Microsoft? If anything, Mr. Rowe is going to have more trouble getting people to remember what his domain name is - as he's going to need to spell it out to everyone. However, as a publicity stunt for Mr. Rowe's web design business, this is probably going to help him out quite a bit.

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  1. identicon
    rynther, 30 Jan 2004 @ 10:52am

    much noise about little mike

    okay, so mike is a young geek with a sense of humor about naming his website, big deal

    precision blogger said "mikerowehard" would be more obvious, is HTML a microchip variety, or is it code, (aka software)? If you don't think people name a company after thier full name you might not have heard of J.C. penny

    second, here in the US it is perfectly legal to use your name for the name of a business, without publishing a dba (aka FICTITIOUS name statement)

    third, is your spelling that bad? my spelling might not be very good, but I haven't been directed to mike's site once, or even been asked by the "helpful" search engines if I'd like to buy the domain, which happens alot when you type a domain name that doesn't exist(and nobody has paid off the search engines to re-direct you)

    the only people that seem to be confused are the smallnsoft lawers, who appear to be worse at spelling than I am, and whose firm is probably named for the lead attorney, or senior partners

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