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  1. #1
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    Post Microsoft Files Three Cybersquatting Cases in September 2007

    Microsoft has filed 3 cybersquatting cases at the beginning of September 2007, as reported in the Inside Indiana Business article found at:

    http://www.insideindianabusiness.com...m.asp?ID=25423

    I took the liberty of accessing the cases via the PACER system, and posted the major documents at:

    http://www.loffs.org/microsoft-cases/

    The 3 cases are:

    #1: Microsoft Corporation v. Peppler et al
    #2: Microsoft Corporation v. Kovyrin et al
    #3: Microsoft Corporation v. Cody

    They should prove very interesting. Microsoft has had multi-million dollar settlements in the past, as mentioned before at:

    http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/p...uattingPR.mspx

    It looks like they're stepping up efforts to defend their trademarks, and seeking big damages in court, rather than go the way of the UDRP.

    As always, these claims are not proven in court yet.
    George Kirikos - (416) 588-0269
    I'm a domain buyer. Please use the contact form on my company website to submit lists of domain names. If a matter is urgent, please telephone me instead.

  2. #2
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    Reading the Microsoft vs. Peppler claim, I find the 5th point of the "Prayer for Relief" interesting (page 18), namely "That the Court orders Defendants to disgorge all ill-gotten gains;"

    Suppose profits and earnings from TM-infringing names were used to purchase generic domain names, i.e. so called "clean" names that infringe upon no one. Would Microsoft be entitled to those names?

    In other words, suppose someone started off as a squattter, and then "went legit" using the proceeds of cybersquatting to bootstrap entry into generic domains. Can Microsoft (or other companies in a group) go after the entire legitimate portfolio as a product of the "ill-gotten gains" that need to be disgorged?

    NB: As before, all the claims are not proven in courts....just curious from a hypothetical point of view. Conceivably, some folks could be put out of business if one rolls back the clock far enough to look at how they started.
    George Kirikos - (416) 588-0269
    I'm a domain buyer. Please use the contact form on my company website to submit lists of domain names. If a matter is urgent, please telephone me instead.

  3. #3
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    I'd have thought that would only apply if they couldn't find the liquid cash to pay the judgment.
    When using google for counts - use double quotes for usage counts for multiword terms and set "match type" to "exact" for all search volume lookups. Click here for more info

  4. #4
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    I guess the question is, would the judgement necessarily be a cash judgement?

    e.g. suppose one made $50K from a Microsoft typo domain between 1999 and 2002. Then, you used that money to buy a set of generics that cost $50K in 2002, but are now arguably worth $10 million.

    Could Microsoft say "No, we don't want only $50K + bank interest (at 6%) + statutory damages + treble damages + legal fees. We also want the $10 million in current value of the domain names that you bought with the $50K in 2002."

    Of course, Microsoft could say the above (one can advocate anything, after all), but would a judge be able to award the $10 million worth of domains, in a scenario like this, where the ROI from the proceeds of the "ill gotten gains" was far above bank interest rates or regular court interest rates?
    George Kirikos - (416) 588-0269
    I'm a domain buyer. Please use the contact form on my company website to submit lists of domain names. If a matter is urgent, please telephone me instead.

  5. #5
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    That first one is interesting because Peppler receives no income from advertisers, his company in the Caymans does.

    Let us know what happens.

  6. #6
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    There was an interesting case involving jurisdiction that didn't get much forum discussion at:

    http://home.businesswire.com/portal/...40&newsLang=en

    although methinks Microsoft won't worry about it too much.
    George Kirikos - (416) 588-0269
    I'm a domain buyer. Please use the contact form on my company website to submit lists of domain names. If a matter is urgent, please telephone me instead.

  7. #7
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    I wonder where Peppler's PPC check come from?

    A default judgement would mean MSN could collect from the provider, and possibly get a court order to block DNS ala. bodog.

    __

    On another note, that list of names in the 3rd case is funny/worthless/costly mistake.

  8. #8
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    Wow, if I'm not mistaking, case #1 is one of snapnames' biggest bidders.

  9. #9
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    It looks like the above lawsuits are just the first 3 out of a much larger number. See:

    http://www.networkworld.com/community/node/19417
    http://www.inta.org/index.php?option...1&getcontent=4

    Also today, INTA members Dell Inc., Microsoft Corp., Time Warner Inc., Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Yahoo! Inc. announced their stance against cybersquatters who target their respective brands. This week, each of these INTA members intends to pursue individual legal actions against a total of 22 cybersquatting operations to provide a more secure online experience and to prevent the violation of genuine trademark rights.
    I'm not going to pay for all 22 PACER case dockets!
    George Kirikos - (416) 588-0269
    I'm a domain buyer. Please use the contact form on my company website to submit lists of domain names. If a matter is urgent, please telephone me instead.

  10. #10
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    I wonder how many of the "22 cybersquatting operations" plan to attend TRAFFIC, where process servers can personally serve them?

    Prediction: An increase in the number of telephone bidders at the next auction.
    George Kirikos - (416) 588-0269
    I'm a domain buyer. Please use the contact form on my company website to submit lists of domain names. If a matter is urgent, please telephone me instead.

  11. #11
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    In totally unrelated news, the ICA announced a Code of Conduct today, :

    http://www.internetcommerce.org/
    George Kirikos - (416) 588-0269
    I'm a domain buyer. Please use the contact form on my company website to submit lists of domain names. If a matter is urgent, please telephone me instead.

  12. #12
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    Originally posted by subg

    On another note, that list of names in the 3rd case is funny/worthless/costly mistake.
    Yes, very unfortunate, the owner has probably made next to nothing yet faces millions in claims.
    GamesRoom.com, Possum.com, Arithmetic.com on greatdomains auction, low reserves, priced to sell!

  13. #13
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    "Yahoo! Inc. announced their stance against cybersquatters"

    Now I wonder what would happen if Yahoo had to disgorge all their profit from TM names
    GamesRoom.com, Possum.com, Arithmetic.com on greatdomains auction, low reserves, priced to sell!

  14. #14
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    Originally posted by GeorgeK
    I wonder how many of the "22 cybersquatting operations" plan to attend TRAFFIC, where process servers can personally serve them?

    Prediction: An increase in the number of telephone bidders at the next auction.


    George, you're a rascal.

  15. #15
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    Originally posted by GeorgeK
    Reading the Microsoft vs. Peppler claim, I find the 5th point of the "Prayer for Relief" interesting (page 18), namely "That the Court orders Defendants to disgorge all ill-gotten gains;"

    Suppose profits and earnings from TM-infringing names were used to purchase generic domain names, i.e. so called "clean" names that infringe upon no one. Would Microsoft be entitled to those names?
    Isn't there a legal doctrine about (Fruit of a poisonous tree?) that would cover this? I think that particular doctrine relates to evidence but the subsequent purchase of other domains from the profits of the initial cybersquat would effectively be laundering the profits. I'm sure a good (evil) lawyer could play with this in so many ways.

    In other words, suppose someone started off as a squattter, and then "went legit" using the proceeds of cybersquatting to bootstrap entry into generic domains. Can Microsoft (or other companies in a group) go after the entire legitimate portfolio as a product of the "ill-gotten gains" that need to be disgorged?
    Well they would, to an extent, be the proceeds of criminal activity (again it might be blurring the line between civil and criminal). There are other actions that could be pursued here such as Microsoft freezing the arguably ill-gotten gains to prevent the cybersquatter from disposing of them.

    NB: As before, all the claims are not proven in courts....just curious from a hypothetical point of view. Conceivably, some folks could be put out of business if one rolls back the clock far enough to look at how they started.
    It should be interesting to see what MSFT does.

    Regards...jmcc

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