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The cyberlaw informer #37

Welcome to the 37th issue of the weekly Mishpat Cyberlaw Informer 

Law on the net newsletter from

This newsletter is sent only to subscribers. If you no longer 

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instructions at the bottom of this newsletter.


In this issue:

1. Introduction

2. Open Directory at Mishpat.Net

3. News from the Microsoft Antitrust trial

4. Registering Domain names as trademarks

5. Cyberlaw resource of the week

6. Computer & Internet law news and updates



1. Introduction


I would like to welcome more than a hundred new subscribers who joined

the list this week. 

This week's feature article takes a look at domains and trademarks

from a different perspective. Usually the issue arises (as some

examples in the cyberlaw news section show) when a trademark owner

wants to get hold of a domain name that uses his trademark. This week

we look at new U.S. guidelines for domain name owners who want to

register their domain name as a trade or service mark.

This issue also includes a summary of events regarding the Microsoft

antitrust trial and a look at the 'Open Directory' that is now used at

Mishpat.Net. As usual, the weekly cyberlaw resource and cyberlaw news

sections are located at the end of this newsletter. 

Last week I told you about the new cyberlaw message board at but only one reader

posted a message on the boards, Please visit the message board and

help create a lively discussion (you can recommend Internet law

resources or discuss cyberlaw issues). You can also reach the message

board by clicking on the link "Discuss law" that appears on the top

and bottom of every page on the site.

Please note that when you post for the first time, you will need to

register. In the registration form you only need to choose a username

and password. You DON'T have to fill out any of the personal info

(including your real email address). The personal info can be viewed

by other visitors to the site (it isn't used by Mishpat.Net in any

way). Fill in your personal info only if you want other people to be

able to contact you using your profile.

I hope you enjoy reading the newsletter. Comments, tips, and articles

are always welcome. Send them to

The Mishpat Cyberlaw Informer Archive (issues 1-35) is located at:

Feel free to use any of the material, or forward the newsletter to a

friend. Just don't forget to mention that they can subscribe to the

Cyberlaw Informer by visiting or by

sending an email to and typing 

subscribe as the subject

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2. Open Directory at Mishpat.Net


While work on a new database, that will give you a better legal

research tool, continues (this will hopefully be finished by the

end of January), I added the functionality of the Open Directory to

the site.

The Open Directory at is the fastest growing directory

online, with more than one million sites listed. The Open Directory

Project's goal is to produce the most comprehensive directory of the

web, by relying on a vast army of volunteer editors. With more than

12,000 volunteers the directory will probably reach the database size

of Yahoo!.


Because the Open Directory is based on volunteer work, its contents

are open source, meaning that under certain limitations, anyone can

use their data. Actually major search engines and directories such as

Lycos, Hotbot and Netscape Netcenter, are based on data from the Open


You can find a link to Mishpat.Net's version (using Netscape data)

pointing directly to the category "Law" on the right hand bar of the

homepage at

There is also a link titled "Directory" at the bottom of every page on

the site, that will lead you to data from the Open Directory.

Currently there are almost 10,000 sites listed under "law". 


3. News from the Microsoft trial


* DOJ files proposed conclusion of law *

In its proposed conclusions of law, the U.S. Department of Justice

claims that Microsoft Corp. has violated the nation's antitrust laws

in several ways. Government attorneys laid the groundwork for harsh

remedies against the software giant. But the brief, which constitutes

the government's legal arguments, didn't spell out what remedies the

government would seek if it ultimately prevails. 

Microsoft will file a written reply next month, and both sides will

appear in court on February 22nd to give oral arguments prior to the

judge's verdict. 

The government's brief argues that Microsoft violated the law through

actions that thwarted competition in the operating systems market. The

company, the government said, illegally maintained a "critical barrier

of entry" for operating systems of Intel-compatible personal

computers. Microsoft also "entered into a variety of illegally

exclusionary agreements" with personal computer makers, Internet

access and online service and Internet content providers, the

government said. 

The government also said that Microsoft violated the law through its

anti competitive campaign to impair Netscape Navigator's access to

consumers, including tying the Internet Explorer browser to the

Windows operating system.

The full text of the brief can be found at:

* Justice Department Hires Advisers *

The U.S. Justice Department has hired the New York investment firm

Greenhill & Co. to advise the government on possible remedies to seek

in the ongoing antitrust case against Microsoft.  Those potential

remedies include "conduct and structural relief" which indicates that

the federal government has yet to focus on a single form of remedial

action.  When relating to "structural relief", the Justice Department

shows a desire towards a strong remedy such as breaking up Microsoft.

The Justice Department indicated that the tapping of the outside firm

doesn't indicate that efforts at mediation have failed and that the

government intends to resolve the case in court.

* Israeli authorities try to reach agreement with Microsoft *

Ha'aretz, a daily Israeli daily newspaper, said Microsoft and Israeli

antitrust officials had met in recent months to find ways to adapt

Microsoft's activities to Israel's competition laws. The newspaper

said discussions on the subject had also been held this week, but

without major breakthroughs.


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4. Registering Domain names as trademarks


The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) recently published a guide

to registering trademarks or service marks composed in part of domain

names or in their entirety. Registering domain names as trademarks

such as has become a regular practice as part of protecting

the business name. The following article brings a summary of these new

guidelines, and a short explanation about domain names and trademark

law. These rules apply directly only in the U.S. but because trademark

law in different countries is very similar, these guidelines might

help resolve trademark disputes in other countries.

 * Background - what are domain names *


A domain name is comprised of a second-level domain, a "dot," and a

top-level domain (TLD) such as '.com' and '.net'. The wording to the

left of the "dot" is the second-level domain, and the wording to the

right of the "dot" is the TLD. National domain names have a country

code top-level domain (ccTLD) to the right of the TLD.

For example: If a company name is 'ABC' it might want to register the

domain name the term "abc" is a second-level domain and the

term "com" is a TLD. If the company operates in Australia, it might

want to register the domain, where the term "au" is the

ccTLD (Australia's top level domain). 

Registrars in different countries offer different TLDs, for example in

the U.K. 'co' is used instead of 'com'. If ABC registered its domain

in England the domain name would be

Generic TLDs are designated for use by the public. Each generic TLD is

intended for use by a certain type of organization. For example, the

TLD ".com" is for use by commercial, for profit organizations.

However, the administrator of the .com, .net, .org and TLDs does not

check the requests of parties seeking domain names to ensure that such

parties are a type of organization that should be using those TLDs. On

the other hand, .mil, .gov, and .int TLD applications are checked, and

only the U.S. military, the U.S. government, or international

organizations are allowed in the domain space. 

Registrars in other countries use different checking mechanisms. For

example, the Israeli registrar will allow you to register a

domain (il is the Israeli ccTLD) only if you are an Internet Service

Provider certified by the Israeli ministry of communication.

* Applications for registration of marks composed of domain names *

Since the implementation of the domain name system, the U.S. Patent

and Trademark Office (PTO) has received a growing number of

applications for marks composed of domain names. 

When a trademark, service mark, collective mark or certification mark

is composed, in whole or in part, of a domain name, neither the

beginning of the URL (http://www.) nor the TLD have any source

indicating significance. Instead, those designations are merely

devices that every Internet site provider must use as part of its


Today, advertisements for all types of products and services routinely

include a URL (Uniform Resource  Locator - an Internet address) for

the web site of the advertiser. The average person familiar with the

Internet recognizes the format for a domain name and understands that

"http," "www," and a TLD are a part of every URL. 

Applications for registration of marks consisting of domain names are

subject to the same requirements as all other applications for federal

trademark registration. 

* Use Applications *

A mark composed of a domain name is registrable as a trademark or

service mark only if it functions as a source identifier (identifying

the source of the good or service). The mark as depicted on the

specimens must be presented in a manner that will be perceived by

potential purchasers as indicating source and not as merely an

informational indication of the domain name address used to access a

web site. 

In the Eilberg case, the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board held that a

term that only serves to identify the applicant's domain name or the

location on the Internet where the applicant's web site appears, and

does not separately identify applicant's services, does not function

as a service mark. Eilberg, a lawyer, proposed the mark

WWW.EILBERG.COM , and the specimens showed that the mark was used on

letterhead and business cards. The Board refused registration on the

ground that the matter presented for registration did not function as

a mark, stating that: 

"The asserted mark, as displayed on applicant's letterhead, does not

function as a service mark identifying and distinguishing applicant's

legal services ... the asserted mark ... merely indicates the location

on the Internet where applicant's Web site appears. It does not

separately identify applicant's legal services as such .... For

example, if applicant's law firm name were, say, EILBERG.COM and were

presented prominently on applicant's letterheads and business cards as

the name under which applicant was rendering its legal services, then

that mark may well be registrable."

It is the perception of the ordinary customer that determines whether

the asserted mark functions as a mark, not the applicant's intent,

hope or expectation that it do so. If the proposed mark is used in a

way that would be perceived as nothing more than an address at which

the applicant can be contacted, registration will be refused. Examples

of a domain name used only as an Internet address include a domain

name used in close proximity to language referring to the domain name

as an address, or a domain name displayed merely as part of the

information on how to contact the applicant. 

For example: The mark is WWW.XYZ.COM for online ordering services in

the field of clothing. Specimens of use consisting of an advertisement

that states "visit us on the web at" do not show service

mark use of the proposed mark. 

Another example: The mark is XYZ.COM for financial consulting

services. Specimens of use consisting of a business card that refers

to the service and lists a phone number, fax number, and the domain

name sought to be registered do not show service mark use of the

proposed mark.

* Advertising services on the Internet is not a Service *

Advertising one's own products or services is not a service.

Therefore, businesses that create a web site for the sole purpose of

advertising their own products or services cannot register a domain

name used to identify that activity. In examination, the issue usually

arises when the applicant describes the activity as a registrable

service, e.g., "providing information about [a particular field]," but

the specimens of use make it clear that the web site merely advertises

the applicant's own products or services. In this situation,

registration will be refused because the mark is used to identify an

activity that does not constitute a "service" within the meaning of

the Trademark Act. 

* Surnames *

If a mark is composed of a surname and a TLD, registration will be

refused because the mark is primarily merely a surname. A TLD has no

trademark significance, and surnames cannot be trademarked. If the

primary significance of a term is that of a surname, adding a TLD to

the surname does not alter the primary significance of the mark as a


* Descriptiveness *

If a proposed mark is composed of a merely descriptive term combined

with a TLD, the examining attorney should refuse registration. For

example: The mark SOFT.COM for facial tissues and BOOKOUTLET.COM for

retail book store services, are descriptive and registration would be


The rational for this general trademark rule is that the society does

not want to let a business owner get exclusive use of a word

describing his products. If a facial tissue manufacturer registers the

mark 'SOFT', no other facial tissue producer can use that term when

describing his product. Therefore descriptive terms can not be


The TLD will be perceived by the public as part of an Internet

address, and does not add source identifying significance to the

composite mark, exactly as the terms "Inc." and "LTD" merely indicate

the type of entity that performs the services and have no significance

as a mark. Therefore description+TLD can't be registered.

* Generic terms *

If a mark is composed of a generic term for applicant's goods or

services and a TLD, the registration would be refused on the ground

that the mark is generic and the TLD has no trademark significance.

For example: TURKEY.COM for frozen turkeys and BANK.COM for banking

services are unregistrable. The rational is same as for descriptive


* Geographical terms *

When a geographic term is used as a mark for services that are

provided on the Internet, sometimes the geographic term describes the

subject of the service rather than the geographic origin of the

service. Usually this occurs when the mark is composed of a geographic

term that describes the subject matter of information services. For

example NEWORLEANS.COM for "providing vacation planning information

about New Orleans by means of the global computer network". In these

cases registration would be refused because the mark is merely

descriptive of the services. 

* Adding or deleting TLDs in domain name marks *

Generally, amendments may not be made to the drawing of a registered

mark if the character of the mark is materially altered. The modified

mark must contain what is the essence of the original mark, and the

new form must create the commercial impression of being essentially

the same mark. 

For domain name marks, the applicant may add or delete a TLD to the

drawing of the mark without materially altering the mark. A mark that

includes a TLD will be perceived by the public as a domain name, while

a mark without a TLD will not. However, the public recognizes that a

TLD is a universally used part of an Internet address. As a result,

the essence of a domain name mark is created by the second level

domain name, not the TLD. The commercial impression created by the

second level domain name usually will remain the same whether the TLD

is present or not. 

For example: Amending a mark from PETER to PETER.COM would not

materially change the mark because the essence of both marks is still

PETER, a person's name. 

Similarly, substituting one TLD for another in a domain name mark, or

adding or deleting "http://www." or "www." to a domain name mark is

generally permitted. For example: Amending a mark from XYZ.ORG to

XYZ.COM would not materially change the mark because the essence of

both marks is still XYZ.

* Likelihood of Confusion *

In analyzing whether a domain name mark is likely to cause confusion

with another pending or registered mark, the marks should be

considered as a whole, but generally little weight should be given to

the TLD portion of the mark. 

The full text of the PTO guidelines is available at:


5. Cyberlaw resource of the week


This week's resource is Famous American Trials at the University of

Missouri-Kansas (UMKC) School of Law

The site currently features 12 famous American trials, including the

Rosenbergs Trial (accused of spying for the USSR after W.W.II),

President Andrew Johnson Impeachment Trial (Clinton wasn't the

first...) and 10 other cases.

The site includes biographies, chronology, transcripts, photos and


The site was created by legal historian Prof. Douglas Linder. Several

additions (such as the O.J. Simpson trial) are currently under


If you would like to recommend an Internet legal resource, please send

it to

You can also recommend resources at the online bulletin board


6. Cyberlaw news and updates


Each week Mishpat-Update brings you the latest news about

online and computer law, with links to the full reports available

on the web.

* Smith pleads guilty to creating 'Melissa' *

In a bargain with New Jersey prosecutors, David Smith, 31, pleaded

guilty to one charge of computer theft. Smith acknowledged that

the Melissa virus he created caused more than $80 million in damage.

Based on the agreement with Smith's attorneys, New Jersey prosecutors

recommended a sentence of 10 years in prison for Smith, the maximum of

what the law calls for in such crimes. Later Smith also pleaded guilty

to federal charges, and is facing a five year prison term for those

charges. As part of the plea agreement, prosecutors recommemded that

the sentences run concurrently.,4586,2406928,00.html

* Internet TV re-broadcasting causes legal trouble *

Canadian Internet startup offers live television

programming from 17 Canadian and American television stations over the

Internet. In the U.S. copyright provisions and political pressure have

prevented live TV programming from being piped over the Net.

iCraveTV's service, however, may fuel a new fight over copyright

issues and country specific laws that are hard to enforce when it

comes to the borderless Internet. 

The service is meant solely for Canadian viewers. To log on, users

have to type in a Canadian area code and click a button indicating

that their computer is in Canada. But there is no technological bar

that stops viewers anywhere in the world from offering any Canadian

area code and logging on to the TV service. 

Under Canadian law, any company is allowed to retransmit public

television signals, as long as it is a live stream and the signal is

not changed in any way. iCraveTV fulfills both of these conditions,

transmitting commercials and programs without cutting or adding any

new content. 

But citing what they believe to be trademark violation and copyright

infringement, both the Canadian Association of Broadcasters and the

Canadian Film and Television Production Association warned the startup

to cease rebroadcasting their shows or face legal action.

defied the ultimatums. As a result, both groups are preparing to take

legal action.

* Death sentence for Chinese hacker *

A Chinese court has upheld the death sentence for Hao Jingwen, who

hacked into the computer system of a state bank to steal money. Hao

Jingwen and his brother Hao Jinglong hacked into the computer network

of the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China and shifted 720,000

yuan ($87,000) into accounts they had opened under false names.,4586,2404321,00.html


* Y2K law will not stop Xerox suit *

Justice Charles Ramos ruled that Xerox Corp.'s claim against its

insurer, for coverage of $180 million it has spent over the past three

years to correct Y2K (year 2000 computer bug) deficiencies is not

subject to the new U.S. federal law requiring a cooling off period

before litigation can proceed. Xerox's claim is seen as the beginning

of a trend by insureds to seek coverage under "sue and labor" clauses

of their property damage policies. These clauses require an insured to

mitigate damage to covered property and provides compensation for such

mitigation expenses. Justice Ramos ruled that the suit is a contract

based action (determining whether Xerox provided its insurer with a

timely notice of claim) and is not premised on a Y2K failure.

* Internet Provider Not Liable For Defamation *

The New York Court of Appeals held that an Internet Service Provider

(ISP) is merely a conduit for information, as opposed to a publisher,

and consequently is no more responsible than a telephone company for

defamatory materials transmitted over its lines. The Court unanimously

upheld a decision that dismissed a defamation lawsuit brought against

Prodigy Services Co., by the father of a Boy Scout whose identity was

usurped by an unknown impostor. The court in Lunney v. Prodigy

Services, stated that "The public would not be well served by

compelling an ISP to examine and screen millions of e-mail

communications, on pain of liability for defamation." However, the

court found the question of liability for bulletin board postings

"more complicated" due to the "generally greater level of cognizance

that their operators have over them." Still, the Court held that

Prodigy was not a publisher of the electronic bulletin board messages.

This case began in September 1994 when Alexander Lunney, was a 15 year

old Boy Scout. An impostor who had opened several Prodigy accounts

under different variants of Alexander Lunney's name transmitted an

e-mail message to the local scoutmaster threatening to kill him and

molest his sons. Lunney, through his father, sued Prodigy contending

that the company negligently allowed accounts to be opened in his


The court concluded that: "Prodigy's role in transmitting e-mail is

akin to that of a telephone company, where one neither wants nor

expects to superintend the content of its subscribers' conversation,"

and that Prodigy's power to exert editorial control does not alter its

passive posture or render it a "publisher" of electronic bulletin

board messages. 

A full report on this case is planned for next week's issue.

* Amazon wins patent round against *

U.S. District Court Judge Marsha J. Pechman issued a preliminary

injunction barring online bookseller from using its

version of 1-Click technology (technology that allows online shoppers

to purchase goods with a single mouse click), while a lawsuit over the

issue is pending. filed a suit, almost two months ago,

claiming had illegally copied's

patented 1-Click technology. The 1-Click feature stores billing and

shipping information so that returning customers can purchase selected

items by clicking their mouse once, re-entering any information.,1087,4_253081,00.html

Disclaimer: Mishpat.Net cyberlaw bookstore at

is in association with

* Naughton's fantasy defense *

The legal strategy for the former Internet pioneer Patrick Naughton,

who is charged with soliciting sex from a 13 year old over the

Internet, is the "fantasy defense". Kimberly Young, a professor at the

University of Pittsburgh, and Nancy Kaser-Boyd, a Los Angeles clinical

psychologist, are expected to argue that Naughton was not a pedophile

seeking sex with an underage girl but a fantasy addict similar to

thousands of other Internet users who assume that the people they chat

with over the Internet regularly take on false identities.

Naughton is facing up to 35 years of prison if he is convicted of all

three felony counts that he is charged with: using the Internet to

solicit sex from a minor, crossing state lines to meet with her and

having child pornography on his laptop computer. Police arrested the

34 year old former Infoseek executive on a Santa Monica pier after he

approached an undercover FBI agent he thought was the girl planning to

meet him. His lawyers hope to use the two defense experts to strike

down claims by government prosecutors that Naughton arranged the

meeting at the pier with the explicit purpose of having a sexual

encounter with a 13 year old.

As this issue was ready to be sent out, the trial concluded, and the

jury is begining deliberations, I'll update you on the outcome next


* Japanese FTC raids Apple Japan *

Japan's Fair Trade Commission (FTC) has begun an investigation into

allegations that Apple Japan has been fixing the prices of the iMac

desktop and iBook notebook machines. This week the FTC raided Apple

Japan's Tokyo offices in search of incriminating evidence. The FTC

believes Apple has been twisting retailers arms not to discount either

the iMac or the iBook.


* Playboy looses again to former Playmate *

A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed by Playboy Enterprises

against Terri Welles a former playmate who ran her own Internet site

that the company claimed violated trademark laws. Playboy sued Welles

in February 1998, contending that her use of the trademarked words

"Playmate" and "Playboy" were illegal. The words appeared both on web

pages and in the HTML meta tags (hidden code that is visible to search

engines spidering the site, these tags influence search result ranking

for mentioned keywords). Judge Judith Keep ruled that Welles' use of

the words was proper because they simply described her and her web

site, and was done in good faith. Playboy announced it will appeal the


* Italy wants to fight online money laundering *

The Palermo prosecutor's office and Italy's anti-mafia police have

asked for new investigative powers to combat money laundering on the

Internet. In a recent report to the Italian government and parliament,

Palermo investigating magistrates suspected that the surge in trading

volumes on international stock markets on certain days was in part due

to money laundering by criminal organizations.

* Hudsonville requires library filtering *

Hudsonville City Council (Michigan) suspended Internet activity at the

Gary Byker Memorial Library indefinitely in response to a petition

circulated by a conservative organization. Hudsonville's decision came

after the board unanimously adopted an ordinance requiring filtering

software to be installed on all but one of the library's seven public

computers with Internet access.

* British police raids child pornographers *

British police launched nationwide raids in a major investigation

targeting child pornography on the internet. The raids were the result

of an investigation by officers from the north west England force's

specialist obscene publications unit.

* EPIC sues NSA over the 'Echelon' spy net *

Americans could learn more about the degree to which the secretive

U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) -- the government body charged

with cracking codes and protecting critical information -- has been

spying on U.S. citizens. The questions arose from reports to the

European Union last year that the United Kingdom and Australia had

cooperated with the United States to collect electronic communications

across national borders. In the report, the spy network was dubbed

"Echelon." EPIC filed a suit in federal court to free up documents

regarding the legal justification for any surveillance that NSA had

performed regarding U.S. citizens. These same documents were requested

earlier this year by the House Intelligence Subcommittee, but the NSA

refused to provide them.

* Mitnick accomplice sentenced *

Lewis DePayne, the accomplice of notorious hacker Kevin Mitnick, was

sentenced to six months of home detention and fined $2,500 for his

supporting role in one of Mitnick's crimes. DePayne, 39, pleaded

guilty to impersonating an employee of Nokia Corp. in an attempt to

trick the company out of valuable software in the early 1990s.

* Two men arrested in Indiana for online sex solicitation *

Two men were arrested and charged with soliciting sex from a child

using a computer. Both men made arrangements "to meet a 13 year old

female with expectation of sexual activity," police spokesman said.

The only connection between the cases is that they were investigated 

by the Indiana computer crime unit. One case had been in the works 

for weeks,  and the other developed more quickly, over a week, the 

spokesman added.

* First domain arbitration filed with WIPO *

The first complaint seeking international arbitration to resolve an

Internet domain name dispute has been filed at the World Intellectual

Property Organization (WIPO). The case was filed at WIPO's arbitration

and mediation center a day after new rules aimed at curbing the abuse

of trademarks on the Internet took effect. WIPO declined to identify

the parties or the domain name in dispute.

* Harvard sues alleged cybersquatter *

Just a week after the new U.S. law against trademark cyberpiracy,

Harvard University is using the law to sue a Boston man who is

trying to reap a fortune by selling Harvard the Internet rights

to its own name. Harvard filed suit alleging that Michael Rhys and the

company Web-Pro, violated trademark infringement and cyberpiracy laws

by registering 65 Internet domain names incorporating the words

Harvard and Radcliffe. After paying $70 to register each name with

Network Solutions, Web-Pro offered to sell domain names such as for a minimum of $10,000.

* America's Cup domain dispute *

The same new law banning 'cybersquatting' was used by New Zealand's

America's Cup team (that won the famous yachting competition) which

won a temporary injunction preventing two New Zealand men who own the domain from using it for a web site. The America's Cup

suit was filed by Quokka Sports, a company handling the web sites for

the New Zealand America's Cup yachting team, the same day the law was

signed. The lawyer representing the current domain holders insists the

case is an example of trademark holders trying to abscond with a

legitimately owned domain name that the plaintiff covets after failing

to register it.

Free registration with the NY Times required.

* And the NFL goes after domain names *

The U.S. National Football League (NFL) is suing Ken Miller, a web

designer, who operates a site offering gambling tips on football games

for a subscription fee. The site can be found at, and The NFL alleges that the site

infringes on the NFL's copyrights and trademarks and violates

provisions of the Anti-Cybersquatting Consumer Protection Act. The NFL

offered Miller $270 for the domain name. Miller countered by asking

for $120,000, and the NFL responded by filing the suit.

* Australian court bars use of domain name *

The Queensland Supreme Court issued a restraining order, barring the

owners of the domain name from using the Bartercard

name. The orders against Ashton-Hall Pty Ltd prevent the company from

using the name Bartercard and from reproducing information from the

site run by the Bartercard International trade exchange organization.

* Battle over

French Connection, a high street clothing chain, was unhappy with a UK

company using its Fcuk trademark in a Web address. is

currently used by the company First Consultants UK, or FCUK  for

short. A British Judge ignored French Connectionís plea for an

immediate injunction and ordered a full trial. The judge said: "Fcuk

is just a euphemism for the obscene expletive f**k".

* Microsoft sues software pirates *

Microsoft announced that it has filed lawsuits against defendants in

six different states to stop them from offering and distributing

counterfeit Microsoft software, primarily through the Internet. Three

of the defendants are alleged to have been offering illegal software

via Internet auction sites. The others, Microsoft claims, offered

counterfeit software to consumers over a variety of Websites.,1282,32985,00.html

* Gambler sues credit card companies *

A California man who lost $25,000 gambling online has sued American

Express and Discover Financial Services, arguing the credit card

companies encouraged his gambling. The lawsuit alleges the credit card

companies participate in and profit from illegal online gambling by

issuing merchant accounts to Internet casino operators who accept bets

from web surfers located in California where such gambling is illegal.

The plaintiff, Frank Marino, lost over $25,000 to online gambling

casinos while web surfing in California using his American Express and

Discover credit cards. American Express spokeswoman said the company

prohibits merchants from accepting the American Express card via the

Internet for gambling


* FTC sues over bogus HIV test kit *

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced that it won a

temporary restraining order against a Florida company it says sold

bogus HIV test kits online. The FTC says that Medimax claimed to be

selling "clinically proven and FDA approved diagnostic rapid tests."

The FTC also said Medimax claimed that the tests were 99 percent

accurate. According to the commission, however, the tests were neither

FDA approved nor accurate. The commission says it tested 10 of the

kits using HIV positive blood: Nine of the kits gave false negative

results and one had an inconclusive reading.,1151,7971,00.html

* Privacy groups worried because of email cookies * 

Consumer and privacy advocates asked the U.S. Federal Trade Commission

(FTC) to close software loopholes that potentially allow bulk

e-mailers to identify consumers by exploiting 'cookie' technology. The

groups said that if someone reads an e-mail through a web browser, and

that e-mail contains graphics pulled from the Web, a cookie can be

deposited on the user's PC. When the user surfs online later, that

cookie can be read by the depositing site, and matched with the e-mail

address of the user.,4586,2403580,00.html

* Go2Net former worker sues over stock options *

In a lawsuit filed by former Go2Net columnist Tom Taulli, Taulli

claims he was wrongfully fired days before his stock options

skyrocketed in value. Taulli charges six Go2Net executives with

conspiring to eliminate his job just before the company secured a

major investment by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen. In exchange for

writing columns for Go2Net publications, Taulli got a salary of $500

month plus options for 68,000 shares of company stock. Taulli

estimated the options would have been worth $5.1 million, since shares

of Go2Net have soared in the course of the year. But Taulli never

cashed in. Go2Net fired him in March, about six months before he would

have been able to sell his first installment of shares.,1367,32712,00.html

* German digital signature chip hacked *

Hackers have succeeded in cracking the Siemens digital signature card

used in cashless payment systems and access control systems Germany.

The German Digital Signature was ratified by the European Union less

than two weeks ago. The breach of security means that anyone using

Siemens' system stands the risk of having money transferred without

their knowing it.

* Internet stock fraud *

The New Jersey Attorney General filed suit against three men for

allegedly duping on-line investors of $750,000 through an Internet

stock trading web site they pretended belonged to a well known

Australian financial services company.

That is all for this week,

Yedidya (Didi) M. Melchior 



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