Microsoft sues Dutch internet lock firm

Software giant Microsoft is suing a Dutch company in a dispute over the use of the letters MSN in the marketing of its software aimed at curbing the use of the internet by children.

The Dutch firm, Unicaresoft Corporation, is headed by Carola Eppink, a mother who is keen to restrict her three children’s use of the internet, news agency AFP says.
Earlier this month Unicaresoft began marketing a software programme enabling parents to limit the time their children spend surfing and in chat rooms. The programme also helps parents to check which internet sites their children have been visiting.
The company originally named its product MSNLock, but has now changes it to Benzoy. ‘We gave up the initial name because Microsoft put pressure on us,’ Gerard Ghazarian, a partner of Eppink, told AFP.
Ghazarian: ‘There are thousands of internet sites using MSN, for example pornographic or sex sites on webcam, and Microsoft is not suing them. All they see are their business interests at stake, because [our programme] will limit the amount of time spent by children on MSN.’
In a statement Eppink said she had presumed the M is MSN stood for ‘messenger’, not Microsoft.
An initial civil court hearing is set for Wednesday when a judge is expected to focus on Microsoft’s demand that the company hand over all domain names using MSN and the name MSNLock.

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