Below are the internet’s most interesting domain disputes. They all got settled in some way…
Microsoft.com Domain Dispute
There were two interesting domain situations with Microsoft. The actual domain microsoft.com was not at dispute, however two versions have been.
First, the domain micros0ft.com with a zero instead of the letter ‘o’ was registered by the company Zero Micro Software (1997-12-30) which later abandoned the domain, after the registration was suspended when Microsoft filed a protest. The domain registration eventually expired and Vision Enterprises of Roanoke, TX registered the domain and apparently expired in 12/2007. Currently the domain is registered until 2017-12-29 year, Vision Enterprises being the registrant.
In a second incident, a 17-year-old high-school student named Mike Rowe registered MikeRoweSoft.com. Microsoft then contacted him to give up his domain asserting confusion among the public for a name that sounded like theirs. Long story short, Microsoft now owns the domain name, expiring 2018-08-05.
The domain name mcdonalds.com has an interesting story. In 1994, Joshua Quittner, a writer for Wired magazine was writing an article on domain names and their value and registered the McDonalds domain name for his story. At that time, nobody at McDonald’s seemed to have any interest in being online.
In 1995 people were still writing articles about how the internet was just a bunch of hype. “Are you finding that the Internet is a big thing?” a media relations rep reportedly asked Quittner. We may laugh about it now, but for most Americans it really wasn’t quite a “big thing” yet.
At the end of his article Quittner encouraged people to email with ideas on what to do with the domain. Should he auction it off? Or keep it as a trophy, he wondered? Interestingly, “sell it to McDonald’s for a profit” wasn’t an idea in the piece.
Quittner eventually agreed to hand over the name to McDonald’s if the company made a donation to a charitable cause of his choice — $3,500 to a public school in Brooklyn for computers and internet access. Seems like a very cheap price…
Candyland.com Domain Dispute
The domain name candyland.com was registered by an adult entertainment business. Hasbro, the maker of the CandyLand board game sued the company.
The company that registered the domain was the Internet Entertainment Group (IEG) that placed sexually explicit material at the domain.
Hasbro claimed that the use of the domain name candyland.com was an infringement of their CandyLand game trademark, asserting that the public associated the name with fun and wholesomeness.
IEG obtained the domain adultplayground.com and Hasbro still has candyland.com
MTV.com Domain Dispute
Former MTV staff Adam Curry registered the mtv.com domain name back in 1993. He told MTV what he was doing and MTV didn’t have any problem with it. In fact, according to Curry, MTV said that they had “no interest in the internet.”
All that changed in 1994 when Curry quit MTV. They suddenly had a realization. The TV network sued Curry but he decided to fight.
Curry ultimately gave up control of the name, settling out of court for an undisclosed amount.