Squatter mounting bike defence against Morgan Stanley
What's wrong with morganstanleydeanwitter.com anyway?
Sau Wong, a chip engineer in Silicon Valley and a cybersquatter who registers variants of the names of investment bankers, has been challenged over msdwonline.com because Morgan Stanley Dean Witter wanted the name for its online service (which is at the less-intuitive www.online.msdw.com). MSDW didn't like it, the New York Times says, and on having its $10,000 bid rejected ("a nice bag of money for a guy your age") and refusing to agree with Wong père to pay $75,000 - later reduced to $50,000 with morganstanleydirect.com thrown in - filed in the US District Court in Manhattan. What is interesting about the case is the novelty of the defence: Wong claimed that Ivan, his high-school son in Los Altos, California was using the site for "Mud Sweat's Downhill World", supposedly after a mountain bike shop called Mud, Sweat and Gears. So far there have been over 12,000 visitors, although perhaps not too many were capable of riding a mountain bike, even downhill. The defence has already started; Wong junior said that "In school, we learned about freedom of speech..." but there is a problem in that the site only appeared ten days after the suit was filed, with parts still "under construction". ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) is still getting its act together over cybersquatting, and it is not clear whether new legislation before Congress will be retroactive. Meanwhile the courts are tending to rule against cybersquatters, but the mountain bike case is not a clear one because the Morgan Stanley merger only happened in 1997 and MSDW is not readily recognisable to many people. ® Related stories Intel porn squatters stick up for AMD Intel porno squatters want $400k -- bare faced cheek Mobo giant hosts secret porn site US senator Orrin Hatch priced at $45k Cyber bullies told to goof off US appeal court breaks trademark/domain name link Amazon.com sues Amazon.gr UN body moves to ban Web squatters New body to end cyber squatting Porn site squats in cancer charity domain Microsoft sues over 'cybersquatting'