The Hazards Of Being Mike Row
From the Proof That Microsoft Has No Sense of Humour, Is Appallingly Cheap, But Eventually Gets It Dept:
Paul Thurrott of Windows and .NET Magazine tells the story of a Canadian teenager called Mike Rowe who brought down the full wrath of Redmond’s lawyers when he set up a website called MikeRoweSoft.com. They sent him a 25-page letter demanding that he hand over the domain name. Rowe goes to the press, his site gets massive interest, his case gets lots of support, and suddenly, Microsoft has backed down, issuing an
apology in which the company admitted that it had acted improperly.
As Paul points out, they probably had to go after Mr. Row. According to trademark law, trademark owners are required to defend their trademarks against infringement or risk losing the mark. But, Paul says, few people could argue that Rowe doesn’t have a valid claim for the domain name. “It’s not [Microsoft’s] name,” Rowe recently said. “It’s my name. I just think it’s kind of funny that they’d go after a 17 year old.”
Mind you, the lads at Redmond have a point: If you type MikeRowSoft into Google you get the inevitable question: ‘Did you mean microsoft?’ But did they have to be so grizzly about it? Newspapers say that when Rowe demanded compensation the lawyers offered him US$10 in U.S. funds — what it cost him to register the domain. That was when the 17-year old got mad and asked for $10,000.
Me? I’m going to see whether the following are registered: mycrowsoft.com, microwsoft, mikeroesoft.com, mikerohsoft.com, etc etc.