Feeds

Microsoft halted in phonetic domain crusade

Mocosoft a step too far in IP madness

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

Microsoft has been knocked back in its increasingly bizarre domain name grab by Spanish company Mocosoft.

Domain arbitrator WIPO, meeting in Spain, has decided that Microsoft is not entitled to the domain "mocosoft.com" despite the fact that some of the same letters appear in both companies' names. The site hosts a long list of downloadable applications.

The decision comes on the back off a year-long crusade by Microsoft to take ownership of all and any domains that even sound like its own name. Most famously, Microsoft lawyers descended on 17-year-old student Mike Rowe in January insisting he hand over his domain "mikerowesoft.com". The claim was clearly ludicrous but following heavy press interest, Microsoft went into PR mode and Mike Rowe was dazzled into handing over the domain by a plethora of gifts.

At the time, and despite Microsoft claims otherwise, we reported that the software giant was following the same tactics with a number of other domains. Incredibly, one such person who stood up to Microsoft, Mike Rushton, subsequently had his domain given to Microsoft by WIPO.

"Mikerosoft.net" was too close to Microsoft's trademark and so had clearly been registered in bad faith, the sole panellist Nels T. Lippert decided in April this year. It was just the latest flawed decision in a system virtually designed to provide corporate friendly decisions with little or no justification.

That decision was largely built on a previous decision which, while we have issues with some aspects of it, is far clearer. Tarek Ahmed was forced to hand over "microsof.com" in July 2000. The WIPO sole panellist Frederick M. Abbott gave a lengthy and considered response to the opposing claims and decided in Microsoft favour.

However, that decision was then used (wrongly in our opinion) to justify handing over "Mikerosoft.net" to Microsoft. And in turn the mikerosoft.net decision was then used in an effort to get hold of "mocosoft.com".

But in this case, the WIPO panel - a three-person panel that it cost Mocosoft to introduce comprising Roberto Bianchi, Gabriela Paiva Hantke and Angel Garcia Vidal - did not join the cumulative justification rollercoaster. It decided that "moco" just wasn't phonetically close enough to "micro" to use the "precedent" set by mikerosoft.net.

Mocosoft, naturally, is delighted. But it should never have ended up in this position anyway. Incidentally, the situation is due to get worse. WIPO's efforts to introduce an expanded definition of what it is allowed to hold as trademarked in relation to Internet domains will soon get through the ICANN process.

It has been held up for over a year because large numbers of people refuse to accept WIPO's extensions. ICANN ruled at a Board meeting earlier this month that it needed to set up a temporary committee to break the deadlock.

In the meantime, it is fair to assume that anyone with a domain even remotely similar to "Microsoft" will have its lawyers knocking at their doors. There is at least one case that can put a stop to some of them. ®

Related links

Mocosoft WIPO's Mocosoft.com decision [in Spanish]
WIPO's Mikerosoft.net decision
WIPO's Microsof.com decision

Related stories

Mike Rowe goes soft, hands over PR victory
Microsoft prepares Mike Rowe legal exit
Microsoft lawyers threaten Mike Rowe (17)

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
Facebook pays INFINITELY MORE UK corp tax than in 2012
Thanks for the £3k, Zuck. Doh! you're IN CREDIT. Guess not
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
YARR! Pirates walk the plank: DMCA magnets sink in Google results
Spaffing copyrighted stuff over the web? No search ranking for you
In the next four weeks, 100 people will decide the future of the web
While America tucks into Thanksgiving turkey, the world will be taking over the net
Microsoft EU warns: If you have ties to the US, Feds can get your data
European corps can't afford to get complacent while American Big Biz battles Uncle Sam
Don't bother telling people if you lose their data, say Euro bods
You read that right – with the proviso that it's encrypted
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.