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Microsofts’ efforts to curb typosquatting and other cybersquatting

“Typosquatting is a practice of purchasing URLs that’re deceptively similar to URLs for well-known brands, like Microsoft’s Windows Live Hotmail service.” “Although the practice’s unlawful under Anti-Cybersquatting Consumer Protection Act, the fact’s that typosquatters do cause harm, and not just to companies whose brands they exploit, but also to unwary Internet users who misspell a web address. Microsoft has an ongoing enforcement program to protect its trademarks, and recently filed three civil lawsuits (two in Washington State and one in California) to help curb typosquatting and other cybersquatting on Microsoft’s Hotmail and MSN Messenger brands. In these cases, Microsoft alleges that people who inadvertently visited URLs with misspelled Hotmail or other Microsoft marks were re-directed to sites promoting deceptive toolbar downloads, expensive exercise equipment and, in the case of one defendant, a directory filled with pornographic links (particularly troubling in the case of minors who may inadvertently visit these sites). We hope our actions will deter future typosquatting and cybersquatting on Microsoft and other companies’ web properties,” notes Microsoft.


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