Google Wins ‘Typosquatting’ Dispute
An Internet arbitrator has awarded Google Inc. the rights to several Web site addresses that relied on typographical errors to exploit the online search engine’s popularity so computer viruses and other malicious software could be unleashed on unsuspecting visitors.
The National Arbitration Forum, a legal alternate to litigating in court, sided with a Google complaint alleging that Sergey Gridasov of St. Petersburg, Russia, had engaged in “typosquatting” by operating Web sites named googkle.com, ghoogle.com and gooigle.com.
After former Stanford University graduate students incorporated the search engine in September 1998, Google registered its domain name a year later. Gridasov registered his Web sites in December 2000 and January 2001, according to Google’s complaint.
In a decision made earlier this week, arbitrator Paul A. Dorf, endorsed Google’s contention that the misspelled addresses were part of a sinister plot to infect computers with programs Ã¢€” known as “malware” Ã¢€” that can lead to recurring system crashes, wipe out valuable data or provide a window into highly sensitive information.
Seems reasonable enough. Still, anyone who thinks “Google” is spelled “Ghoogle” deserves what they get.