Typosquatter Plays Innocent By Casting Microsoft As Big And Mean
from the pot-meet-the-kettle dept
Typosquatting seems to attract persistently slippery individuals. For example, even after typosquatter John Zuccharini served time and was fined for his typosquatting behavior in 2003, it was not long before he returned right back to his typosquatting behavior in 2007, earning him another $164k in fines.
Temme claims that Microsoft's $500,000 settlement offer is "in effect trying to do is put a small company of eight employees out of business." While the David & Goliath angle might play well, digging a little more deeply into the story casts a different light. Considering that Temme has registered around 1,000 domains that could be considered typosquatting, it's clear that he has made a habit of this deceptive practice. Furthermore, Temme has already lost $130,000 to Dell in a similar lawsuit. So, while Temme claims that he would happily turn over the domains in question, to do so would merely make typosquatting even more profitable than it already seems to be. Likening mistyped domains to prime real estate, Temme equates the practice to buying "some property next to Disneyland."
Though this case may have some slight similarities to the pre-settlement groups that have been set up to deal with copyright infringement, the difference is clear: in this case, unlike the copyright "criminals," not only is Temme in clear violation of typosquatting laws, he has made it an integral part of his business practice to do so. So, whereas the pre-settlement groups use a shotgun approach in an extortion-like shakedown, Microsoft's offer is specific to the Temme case only. Settling potential lawsuits, by themselves, is not a form of extortion. It's just when the potential viability of the actual lawsuits are suspect that questions of extortion-like actions begin.
That said, Temme must be selling a good number of $14,000 exercise machines if he considers these fines to be just a part of his cost of doing business.