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Microsoft vs. MikeRoweSoft (wikipedia.org)
52 points by Hrundi on July 20, 2013 | hide | past | favorite | 24 comments

Well this is kind of weird to see here. Especially since it happened almost 10 years ago. I am Mike Rowe. I can answer any questions if people want. I did an AMA on reddit in 2009 as well http://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/ajsih/i_am_the_guy_who....

Did the fact that MikeRoweSoft.com sounds like Microsoft.com have any bearing on your decision to register the former?

Since you've gone through the trouble of being sued, was it worth at the end?

I am considering buying a domain name that has a similar spelling to an existing domain name but it only existed briefly, I wonder if it's worth buying knowing I could be sued.

I never got sued. They just sent me a cease and desist letter telling me to stop using the domain. I went to the media with that and it all blew out of proportion from there. The only thing I was ever at risk of losing was my domain name. I ended up selling out for a bunch of goodies and a couple trips to Redmond.

For the first paragraph of the article, I believed that you were the host of Dirty Jobs...

I'm pretty much the opposite of that Mike Rowe. I've never worked a day of hard labour in my life. I've considered starting a YouTube channel with me doing clean jobs, but there's only so many times in life you can copy the success of other people/companies.

I just wanted to say, you are my hero.

I think you need to re-evaluate your criteria in choosing a hero.

Haha honestly my comment was sort of half joking :p

I still really like that he didn't bend over to Microsoft's will despite him being extremely young and up against one of the largest companies on the planet.

Why is he your hero?

Well because as a high school student he stood up to a multi-billion dollar corporation and didn't bend over to their offer of $10 measly dollars.

Also my original comment was half joking, but the sentiment remains.

For those interested in a breadth of interesting domain squatting litigation:

Panavision Int'l, L.P. v. Toeppen http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dennis_Toeppen - company Panavision vs. a domain squatter ostensibly showing pictures of Pana, Illinois

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals v. Doughney http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/People_for_the_Ethical_Treatmen... - PETA vs a guy who registered peta.org as 'People Eating Tasty Animals'

Lamaparello v. Falwell http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lamparello_v._Falwell - fallwell.com mistyped domain used to criticize preacher Jerry Falwell

Am I missing something? The wikipedia article claims he intentionally bought the domain because it sounded like Microsoft. The domain very clearly infringed on Microsoft's trademark. Microsoft offered to repay him the cost of buying the domain name (which they are under no legal obligation to do). I don't really get why Microsoft is the bad guy here (and I'm no particular fan of the company).

What does trademark law say about using one's given, legal name that was not intentionally selected to resemble an existing trademark in trade when it does, in fact resemble such a trademark? I don't think it's as clear-cut as you suggest, though admitting to choosing the domain name because it resembles Microsoft is a bad move from a legal perspective.

When a multi-billion dollar corporation thumps a 12th grader over the head with its legal department, people are going to call foul.

From my reading of the article (which may well not represent the whole story, I admit) they only "thumped him over the head" with a C&D when he asked for $10,000 for his infringing domain. I'm not sure being a 12th grader gets you off the hook for that.

I'm pretty sure he does - if he sent them a death threat the courts would see that somewhat differently to an adult doing the same thing. Having said that, given the way terrorism is defined in the US these days, I could be wrong. I did some pretty bad things while at school - I had the LAPD emailing me after I emailed a spammer and said I was sick of him and had an especially pointy stick saved up to visit him with. Would I do that now? Hell no, it was stupid. I was a(nother) dumb bored kid.

According to the article, all they did was send him a cease an desist order (albeit a rather long one.) That's pretty standard.

Just sounds like the public got riled up for no good reason.

Slow news day? How did this make it to the front page?

My guess is that it has to do with the Nissan.com story also on the front page.

I agree. It's only remarkable from a public relations point of view.

Following the case it was suggested by Struan Robertson – editor of Out-Law.com – that Microsoft had little choice but to pursue the issue once it had come to light or they would have risked weakening their trademark. This view was also espoused by ZDNet, who noted that had Microsoft knowingly ignored Rowe's site, the company would have risked losing the right to fight future trademark infringements.

I don't mind reading up on something I didn't know. It's an interesting case.

When checking out the site that was mentioned in the article, I mispelled the URL slightly and ended up at mikerowsoft.com which the AVG virus scanner reported as an "attack" page. Now there is something for the Microsoft legal team to sink there teeth in.

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