Microsoft has launched legal action against a number of cybersquatters. The company has initiated thousands domain disputes over the years - including reclaiming "more than 1,100 infringing domain names worldwide in the past six months."

Cybersquatters register Internet domain names which contain trademarks or recognisable brands - such as windowslivemessenger.com and www.micr0soft.co.uk. These domains often redirect unsuspecting visitors to pay-per-click ad network sites.

"These sites confuse visitors who are trying to reach genuine company Web sites, which can negatively affect corporate brands and reputations as well as impair the end-users' experience online," says Aaron Kornblum, a senior attorney at Microsoft . "We hope that our stance and activity on this issue will help motivate and empower other companies whose brands are abused to take action."

Microsoft has conducted five new legal actions in the UK against companies "allegedly having registered domain names infringing on Microsoft's trademark and other statutory and common-law rights."

The company also settled a case with the Dyslexic Domain Company Limited and two US civil lawsuits filed in Salt Lake City and Los Angeles.