RealTime IT News

Windows/Lindows Case Delayed

It's been nearly two years since Microsoft sued Lindows.com for alleged trademark infringement, but the software giant will have to wait another three months to make its case to a jury.

Citing a scheduling conflict with a criminal case, Judge John Coughenour of the U.S. District Court in Seattle moved the highly-publicized trial to March 1, where a jury will determine whether Lindows.com is cashing in on the popularity of the Windows name.

"Lindows is clearly infringing on our trademark, (their name) is off by one letter," said Stacy Drake, a Microsoft spokesperson. "We believe we are right on the law and this is a clear case of trademark infringement. We are merely asking that Lindows change its name."

Lindows.com officials argue that term is synonymous with a common computer term used to describe panes used in a graphical user interface operating system, and as such, falls outside the limits of a trademark. Lindows.com officials liken it to a furniture store trying to trademark the name "chair."

Michael Robertson, Lindows.com CEO, perhaps best known as the founder of MP3.com, said the name is a composite (LINux + winDOWS) for the Linux kernel-based operating system that runs both Linux and Windows applications.

What's more, he has said, there are a host of shareware and other applications that have used the "Windows" moniker without incurring Microsoft's wrath, all before the LindowsOS came into being. Microsoft didn't file for a trademark on its premier software product until 1990, five years after Microsoft Windows 1.0 rolled off the assembly line.

The delay is the latest in a long line of events surrounding Microsoft vs. Lindows.com. It began in December, 2001, when Microsoft filed for a preliminary injunction asking the court to force Lindows.com to shut down its Web site.

On March 18, 2002, the judge ruled against Microsoft, prompting the Redmond, Wash., software giant to pursue a jury trial. Now, nearly two years after the original paperwork was filed, even Lindows.com officials are anxious to get the trial over with.

"I think it's pretty clear that we just are looking forward to having resolution on this," said Cheryl Schwarzman, a Lindows.com spokeswoman.