Microsoft has gone off the deep end again. This time they’re going after a 17 year old who owns a small web-design business called MikeRoweSoft. The teenager’s name is Mike Rowe, and he thought it would be funny to tack the word “Soft” to the end of his name. He registered the domain back in August 2003.
This month, Microsoft noticed the domain and sent him a letter ordering him to turn the domain over to them. He refused, asking for a settlement that would compensate him for lost business. They offered him $10 for the cost of registering the domain. He demanded $10,000 half-jokingly (not to mention, illegally). Apparently this kid is pretty bold.
Microsoft’s argument rests on the assumption that Mr. Rowe purchased the domain with the intent to sell it to Microsoft for top-dollar, a practice known as
cyber-squatting, and that Mr. Rowe’s $10,000 counter-offer is proof in the pudding. However, Mr. Rowe claims he had no intention of ever selling the domain, and it appears as if he truly has been building his business around the name for the past six months. He feels that Microsoft has no right to take away his name because it really is his name. He also points out that no confusion of goods and services has been created, since he is building websites, not operating systems.
Microsoft has since stated that they may have been a little too harsh with the boy, and will try to treat him fairly through the remainder of the negotiations/court proceedings.