New lawsuits allege defendants illegally registered domain names to intercept Internet traffic and profit from it.
It may have happened to you.
You’re surfing the Internet, and rather than clicking on a Web page hyperlink or using a bookmark in your favorite Web browser, you manually type in a domain name (like “xbox360.com”) into your browser’s address bar. Only, you accidentally misspell the name, instead entering something like “xbox360com.com.”
Or, perhaps you are not certain of your destination, and enter a word or phrase in the browser’s address bar, like “microsoftrebate.com.”
Microsoft, in fact, does not maintain a Web presence at either of these domains. But, as alleged in lawsuits announced by the company, “cybersquatters” and “typosquatters” have registered these domain names containing trademarked terms or misspelled words – and hundreds of other domain names like them – with the goal of illegally profiting from them via online ad networks. Thousands of such domains targeting Microsoft are being registered each day.
These and other such domains are not maintained by Microsoft, but by professional domain name holding operations that illegally profit through the misuse of Microsoft’s intellectual property.