Microsoft sues

Software company Microsoft said on Monday it was suing a company run by a Dutch mother because it had started using a Microsoft domain title in computer programmes aimed at curbing children's use of the Internet.

"Microsoft has filed suit against Unicaresoft Corporation for violation of intellectual property rights in using our MSN brand," said a spokesman for Microsoft's Netherlands interests.

Unicaresoft Corporation is headed up by 46-year-old Carola Eppink, a mother keen to restrict her children's use of the Internet.

"We filed suit to prevent the use of MSN in the name of the product and in the domain names on the Internet," the Microsoft spokesman said.

Unicaresoft Corporation began earlier this month marketing its software programme enabling parents to limit the time their children spend surfing and in chatrooms.

The programme also helps parents to check out Internet sites which their children have been visiting or to filter out groups of words received in email reception boxes.

Unicaresoft Corporation originally named their product MSNLock, but changed it to Benzoy. "We gave up the idea because Microsoft put pressure on us," said Gerard Ghazarian, a partner of Eppink.

"I don't get it," Ghazarian told AFP. "There are thousands of Internet sites using MSN, for example pornographic or sex sites on webcam, and Microsoft is not suing them."

"We're only trying to protect our children," he stressed. "We're all Microsoft customers, one might expect them to have our interests in mind, but all they see are their business interests at stake, because (our programmes) will limit the amount of time spent by children on MSN."

An initial court civil hearing is set for Wednesday when a judge is expected to focus on domain names bought by Unicaresoft Corporation mentioning MSN in order to market Benzoy.


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Microsoft sues