Microsoft vs. MikeRoweSoft
This is a fun story that almost sounds like it’s the plot of a teen movie. It all started in 2003 when a high school student from Canada named Mike Rowe registered a website called MikeRoweSoft.com. He was an enterprising young man who wanted to start a part time web design business. He thought the name was a funny pun on Microsoft and didn’t think much of it. Microsoft saw it differently though. They saw it as an attack on their trademark and brand, and they demanded that Rowe give up his domain. He received a letter asking him to remove the domain. He replied and asked to be compensated for it.
When A Cheap Settlement Offer Makes Things Worse!
Microsoft said that they would pay for the out of pocket expenses he incurred in setting up the domain – $10. He was insulted by this, and countered their offer with one for $10,000. Later, he would say that he did this because he was upset with them for their first offer. They declined to pay the $10,000 and instead decided to send him a cease and desist order instead. They accused him of cyber-squatting, which is a term for taking domains that resemble those of large companies as a way to get them to pay a large sum for the domain when they need it. However, Rowe was actually trying to set up his website business.
What Did Mike Rowe Do?
Rather than keeping things quiet, Rowe decided that it was a good idea to go to the press. This proved to be a smart move for him. He was able to receive more than $6,000 in donations and received free advice from an attorney. The media saw this as a David vs. Goliath case, and public sympathy sided with Rowe. Meanwhile, it painted Microsoft as a giant, powerful entity that was out to squash the small guy. Naturally, Microsoft was not happy with the situation, and they saw that their public relations were suffering.
The Final Settlement
Instead of going to court, they decided that they would settle with Rowe. Rowe would transfer control of the domain name, and Microsoft help him set up another site. They also paid for a Microsoft certification course, provided him with a subscription for the Microsoft Developer Network site, and even paid for his family to go to the Microsoft Research Tech Fest, which they held in Richmond, Washington. To make the deal even sweeter, they gave him an Xbox and games.
A Teen With Great Intentions
Rowe even offered to return the money donated for his defense fund since Microsoft had offered to pay for his out of pocket expenses. He said that the donations were no longer needed, and that he was never into it to make money. He did, however, eventually sell the original 25-page cease and desist document that Microsoft had sent to him. He thought that it was a part of Internet history. It ended up selling on e-Bay for a little over a thousand dollars. It’s nice to see that things seemed to work out well for everyone involved in this case. Want more Lawsuits for using company name… Try Jack Ass vs Jackass.
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