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Microsoft Resumes Lindows Fight

Lindows officials are in a Dutch court this week after Microsoft lawyers argued the desktop Linux vendor is in violation of their original settlement.

The hearing, set for Tuesday afternoon in Amsterdam, is expected to decide a few issues: Whether Lindows, the San Diego-based company, will need to pay a $100,000 Euros-a-day fine (approx. USD$118,000) for keeping the Lindows name on its Linspire.com Web site; Dutch access to the Lindows.com Web site and the continued use of Lindows as its corporate trade name.

According to the May 4 complaint obtained by internetnews.com, Microsoft wants the judge to "order the defendant within 3 days of service of judgment to be rendered in this matter to cease and desist from the use the designation "Lindows" as a trademark, as a trade name or otherwise, in connection with the distribution... and advertising by the defendant of its software in the Benelux countries."

A Microsoft spokesperson was not immediately available for comment.

Previously, the Amsterdam judge declared the name Lindows bore too much resemblance to the Windows OS trademark name for the common PC user to differentiate.

Microsoft has already tried to get the Dutch courts to levy the 100,000 Euro daily fine: when Lindows first lost in appeals court and removed the software title from Dutch store shelves, Microsoft said software customers in the country were still able to view Lindows products and company name on the company's Web site, a breach of a April 21 settlement between the two companies.

To avoid future skirmishes, Lindows changed everything but its corporate name to LinspireOS, in the hopes it would assuage the Dutch courts and court cases taking place at the time in Canada, the U.S. and France. Since that time, the French courts have ruled against Microsoft and the software company is appealing a decision against Microsoft made in the U.S.

A particular point of contention at Microsoft, according to Lindows officials, is the copyright notice found at the bottom of the Linspire.com Web site, which contains a reference to the Lindows corporate entity. Lindows officials say the copyright notice at the bottom of the Web site are required in the U.S.

Outspoken Lindows CEO Michael Robertson said the hearing Tuesday is yet another example of Microsoft's "bullying tactics" over the last 20 years that have obliterated the competition.

"Its recent actions demonstrate that it has not reformed, but continue to be one of the world's worst corporate citizens that will do anything to squash competitors that threaten its monopoly practice," Robertson said in a statement. "Now Microsoft is taking the ridiculous position that the U.S. required copyright notice in tiny text on the bottom of some of the pages of the Linspire.com Web site will confuse consumers."

The statement also makes reference to the March 24 ruling by the European Union, which hit Microsoft with a whopping $613 million fine for abusing its "virtual monopoly" and violating European antitrust laws, according to Mario Monti, EU Competition Commissioner, at the time.

Despite the court ruling in Amsterdam, the U.S. and French courts have so far ruled against Microsoft's contention that Lindows, the operating system, infringes on its trademark name, siding with Lindows' contention that the term "windowing" is a common computer term in any GUI-based operating system.