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Typosquatter Defendant Says Microsoft's Settlement Offer Amounts to Extortion

Neat follow-up from the Seattle PI’s Microsoft Blog.

It’s talked with Microsoft and exercise equipment maker Alf Temme about the Western District suit Microsoft filed accusing Mr. Temme of typosquatting. (Previous STL post here.)

The post reveals a few new facts:

  • Microsoft has offered to settle with Mr. Temme for $500k.
  • Mr. Temme calls Microsoft’s settlement offer “extortion.”
  • He does not intend to hire a lawyer.
  • Mr. Temme is no stranger to the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act. He’s been sued by Dell, the American Automobile Association, Air France, Alaska Airlines, Register.com, IMDb, and America Online.
  • In the Dell suit, the Middle District of Florida defaulted Mr. Temme for not answering the complaint and awarded Dell almost $130k for willful trademark infringement, including attorney’s fees.

“What Microsoft is in effect trying to do is put a small company of eight employees out of business,” Mr. Temme said. “It’s extortion! All they could have wanted to do was get the domain names.”

“OK, so I did a naughty, right? But a punishment that’s the same as the death penalty? That’s ridiculous.”

Microsoft, for its part, says it’s trying to teach typosquatters a lesson.

“From our perspective, if there are thousands of people doing this, we can’t sue all of them. We have to show that this is not a valid way to do business,” its associate general counsel said. “Our goal is to have an enforcement program to get people to stop tyring this, so they stop doing this in the first place.”

He added that Microsoft is “prepared to fully litigate” its case.

For Mr. Temme’s part, he does not intend to hire a lawyer. It sounds like he doesn’t intend to defend himself in the case, other than transfer the domain names to Microsoft — something he offered before Microsoft made its $500k demand.

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