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  Microsoft: We took MikeRoweSoft too seriously
Time: 10:49 EST/15:49 GMT | News Source: ZDNet UK | Posted By: Byron Hinson

Microsoft has admitted it may have made a mistake in threatening Mike Rowe for using his Web site, Rowe, a student from Vancouver, registered to front his part-time Web site design business in August 2003. Three months later, he received an email from Microsoft's lawyers asking him to transfer the domain name to Microsoft. They offered to pay him a "settlement" of $10 (5.55), which is the cost of his original registration fee.

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#1 By sodajerk (3382 Posts) at 1/20/2004 12:30:36 PM
stu, why should Mike Rowe do everything to consider Microsoft, adn nothing to consider himself? He thought: this is clever, he thought hundreds of companies use the Soft suffix, he thought their is no way anyone would confuse "a personal name (His own at that) + soft" as being Microsoft... That's all he had to do. He didn't have to think: I need to do everything in the world to make it easy for Microsoft.

As for what Microsoft has to do and not do, trademark law requires more than this... but Microsoft has had to avoid looking like a dominating, bullying, arrogant, calous company for over a decade now... They could have considered that as well.

#2 By sodajerk (3382 Posts) at 1/20/2004 12:50:00 PM
What the hell are you talking about Moo?

What about the 300+ names of companies or software products that Microsoft hasn't approached with similar names or product names in their names?

Phonetics is not enough for a valid trademark case.

So? Why can't the guy sell it if MS wants it? They do not have a RIGHT to that name.

IT business? He builds web pages... he is one kid. Microsoft is the world's largest software manufacturer in the world. You think these are the same businesses?

Why can't he plead ignorance? You think he can't act as a businessman... how can someone who you insist can't legally engage in any contractual activity be held to contractual and legal arguements? Rather hypocritical...

He doesn't need the word "soft"? What the F kind of argument is that? Sun doesn't need the sun because they don't sell suns, Oracle doesn't need oracle because they don't predict the future, Peoplesoft doesn't need the people because they don't sell people.... Completely assinine attempt at a point.

The kid is perfectly able to engage in purchases (a domain purchase is hardly a contract that is going to be argued, it is more like a purchase with a service agreement) and a minor can certainly engage in a contract... some companies are unwilling to do so because their legality may ultimately be argued... but if you willingly submit to one that's your business.

This post was edited by sodajerk on Tuesday, January 20, 2004 at 12:51.

#3 By AWBobStein (1074 Posts) at 1/20/2004 1:15:23 PM :-)

#4 By sodajerk (3382 Posts) at 1/20/2004 1:20:42 PM
"You say "a domain purchase is hardly a contract that is going to be argued", erm, It IS BEING ARGUED in this case :D "

It is? Where have you read this? As far as I can tell, Microsoft is trying to resolve it NOW amicably and with some semblence of respectability... not by arguing that his domain purchase is invalid.

As I stated above, a minor can always potentially break a contract, but the other signee cannot do so because the other party isn't responsible legally. So... yes, anyone can sign a contract with a minor... but they face the repercussions. Anyone who is protecting themselves won't do so... However, that doesn't make every agreement with a minor invalid... To do so, requires the minor to challenge the validity of the agreement. A person who willing agrees to a binding contract with a minor is bound to that agreement.

And why are you bringing up the title "Director"? It's a one man operation, moo.

#5 By sodajerk (3382 Posts) at 1/20/2004 1:37:14 PM
"If theyre not arguing it , how come we are even discussing it?"

Because YOU, and you ALONE, keep bringing it up. Which is why I've asked you: what are you talking about?

"and how come the dude got a pile of legal mail?" Because they wanted to sue him for trademark infringement. What the hell does that have to do with a minor engaging in a contract?

"Ofcourse theyre arguing it you ninney." Don't insult me, you twit! There is no argument there. If the domain registrar agreed to sell the domain name to the kid, it's legal. The minor and his parents could potentially get out of the deal but not the other way around. I have not seen a single source say: "Microsoft is now arguing the domain name purchase was never valid because Mike Rowe is a minor." Please post a link to such a statement.

"One man operation or not, that one man is still held responsible under the law of TORT, yet under 18s are NOT legally responsible." What the hell does TORT or DIRECTORS or anything else have to do with a trademark case that MS wants to resolve outside of the courts?

"If you cant see whats wrong with that picture. get glasses."

I'm wearing glasses right now, but I got a feeling I'd see better than you if I took them off.

What the hell are you talking about?

This post was edited by sodajerk on Tuesday, January 20, 2004 at 13:45.

#6 By sodablue (5248 Posts) at 1/20/2004 2:55:05 PM
Bah, I'm sorry, but is witty, he has every reason to register that domain, and Microsoft has no reason to go after him.

Hey, I just downloaded new Real Player. They're giving you an option to note enable the stupid traybar thing.

#7 By BobSmith (3719 Posts) at 1/20/2004 3:13:21 PM
I don't even have a registered corp. Not even a piddly subchapter S. Even I know that before you embark on some endeavor, you need to do a trademark search to ensure that you aren't infringing.

Mr. Mike Rowe? Well, wisdom would have told him not to do it. ActiveWindows? Again, same thing. Does anyone really claim that Mr. Rowe or Mr. Stein didn't know what they were doing? They did. Microsoft had the right to enforce their trademarks.

This isn't a Microsoft issue. This is a trademark issue. Intel did the same thing when people used 486 in their products, which is when they got shot down and changed their naming scheme to Pentium. Does anyone thing that Mr. Koch (pronounced K OH K), if he registered, and sold soft drinks, that Coka-Cola wouldn't come after him? They would. That's the nature of trademarks and big business.

#8 By AWBobStein (1074 Posts) at 1/20/2004 3:25:56 PM
I never disputed the fact I did anything right. Just lack of better judgement. Microsoft treated us kindly, and respectfully since we do more good for the name than not, so it wasn't a problem. There were some mitigating factors though (a pissed off Windows Me beta coordinator), that had they not of come up, our domain issue might have never come up.

#9 By GhostRider (309 Posts) at 1/20/2004 3:38:50 PM

This is the first time I disagree with you.

Bob is correct. They have to protect their trademark. If my last name was buerger it would not be ok for me to call my burger place buerger king ( even if it was witty ).

This post was edited by GhostRider on Tuesday, January 20, 2004 at 15:39.

#10 By BobSmith (3719 Posts) at 1/20/2004 3:49:46 PM

That's a dang good point. Companies protect themselves within the current framework of the law. If we disagree so much with this issue, we should be pressing for review of the law, rather than attack the businesses who are obeying the law.

#11 By TechLarry (4034 Posts) at 1/21/2004 11:09:20 AM
"The problem lays with the Trademark law, you MUST enforce it or lose it. "

Where's the Trade Mark? It's the guys name for crying out loud!

Using the Logic applied here, anyone who has any sort of Trademark using the words Micro, or Soft, or Mic, or whatever would have a case against Microsoft.

This is bloody stupidity.


#12 By BobSmith (3719 Posts) at 1/21/2004 4:13:53 PM
Um, no TL.

MikeRowe is a guy's name. MikeRoweSoft is a play on Microsoft.

It's bloody stupidity that won't admit that.

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